It has been a tough year with the passing of some of Boise's celebrated and beloved artists. We lost Molly Hill, a longtime Boise Weekly cover artist and mother of Associate Publisher Amy Atkins to a house fire in April, and now we mourn the Sept. 28 death of Bob Neal, 54, whose work not only graced the cover of BW, but is on one of walls in our office. Neal was the recipient of a 2014 Cover Auction Artist Grant, and he created a mural that drew on a concept he was exploring for a series yet to be seen publicly.
Neal was a true renaissance man. He was a slam poet, acted in many i48 films, participated in Modern Art, published zines and coloring books and worked with Treasure Valley Community Television where he hosted "Modern Bob's 21st Century Art Show."
The mediums Neal used were as varied as his interests: sculpture, large-format paintings, multimedia, video and film, and he contributed a design for the city's traffic box art program. Any habitue of Flying M was probably familiar with Neal. A plaque will be placed on a bench outside the coffeeshop in his memory.
- Bob Neal
- Neal's artist statement: "Be sure you've turned the stove off and that there is nothing in the fridge that will spoil before you leave home this holiday season. Oh, and remember to vote."
Neal was born in Conway, Ark. Because his father worked for Morrison-Knudsen, the family moved every year. They arrived in Boise as Neal was preparing for his final year of elementary school, and the family stayed in the City of Trees through Neal's graduation from Capital High School. Lucky for us, he never left. He will be remembered by all those touched by his art, insight and authenticity; his fellow ultimate Frisbee players, the Spud Boyz; and his wife, Jeanne Huff, who will continue many of the projects on which she and Neal collaborated.
A celebration at the Visual Arts Collective is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. Huff hopes those who have supported and collected Neal's work over the years will bring it to VAC on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Monday Nov. 9, noon-6 p.m. so it can be part of a special showcase of the breadth of his career as an artist.
Speaking of beloved community members, BW would like to thank all those who participated in this year's Best of Boise, and if anyone may have felt slighted by our snark, rest assured, we love you (looking your way, Boise Co-op).