A role model, a teacher, a protector and a dear friend

A role model, a teacher, a protector and a dear friend

Jason and Keith

A Coordinator’s thoughts of an advocate who has recently passed away. Keith and Jason became an important part in each other’s lives!

When I first met Jason I quickly learned that his passion in life was art. Painting, drawing, sketching and using anything that came to hand. He was an artist, and like any young artist who takes his work seriously, he needed the support, encouragement and guidance of someone who was experienced and knowledgeable about the art world.

Jason lived in Mapleton so I started to speak to people I knew in the area and very quickly heard about a man who was recently retired, was an artist, and most importantly, was a Good Bloke. No-one here will be surprised to hear that Keith said yes, and in April of 2001, Jason (the young artist) became a Protégé of the well-respected Mr Keith East (the older experienced artist).

Keith took on his role with his usual thoughtful and careful approach. He organised lessons for his young protégé, encouraged him to start painting using quality materials he had never used before, stretched canvases, and gave advice about technique.

As Jason developed his skills, Keith started planning for the career he felt that Jason had ahead of him. He submitted a work in a local art show and celebrated when the unknown local artist Jason surprised the local art community with his win. Keith encouraged, and sometimes cajoled Jason to produce a body of work for his first major exhibition at the Noosa Regional Art Gallery. While this was happening, Keith found that he had to keep a sharp eye out, and be ready to protect Jason from those who might have had plans to exploit his success.

Keith and Jason have been an important part of each other’s lives for as long as they have known each other. Keith has been a role model, a teacher, a protector and a dear friend for Jason.

Since 2001 I have had the privilege of sharing with Keith and his mother, the satisfaction of seeing how Keith’s involvement has guided Jason in becoming the person he is today.