Friday, December 13, 2013

Interview With Ted W. Fickisen (Part One Of Three)

It sits on the East side of Yoctangee Park, in the historical city of Chillicothe, Ohio with a population of 21,735 as of the 2012 US Census Bureau. It is the Pump House Art Gallery. A historical building that in 1982, was seemingly destined for destruction, like some other historical buildings during that time. Enter Ted William Fickisen, a young ambitious man with an extraordinary gift, the gift of foresight.

Ted W. Fickisen is a world renowned pen and ink artist, but before I can even begin to describe Ted Fickisen the artist, I first have to describe Ted Fickisen the man. You see, Ted Fickisen is not your average Joe, and yet, he would be the first to say that he's just a regular guy. When you meet him, you can tell right away that he is a very special human being. His warm smile, gentle eyes, and soft spoken voice immediately tells you that you are in the presence of humble greatness.

On the surface, one would think that with Ted Fickisen, and his amazing God given talent, everything would be about him and his art, but one would be mistaken. Ted Fickisen spends more time preserving not only the integrity of his field, but the history of the community he loves so much. I have never met an artist, or a man, more concerned about the world around him than the art itself in which he creates.

With his dear friend, Charles Queen, by his side, he was able to save the historic pump house from doom, and after eight years of fund raising, gave Chillicothe it's greatest gift, an art gallery, that in my opinion, is second to none anywhere on this planet.

It's not just the amazing art work you will discover when you enter the doors, there's amazing art work in every art gallery, but it's the atmosphere and the people, who volunteer their time to keep this gallery operating, that makes The Pump House Art Gallery so unique.

The foresight of Ted Fickisen, married with his passion for history, his love for his community, and his artistic ability, preserved the past of historic Chillicothe by capturing it in his artwork as they once stood. His activism also saved many historical buildings in Chillicothe from being torn down, and has helped to shape this small town into what it is today; rich in historical tradition.

His legacy is more than being known as one of the greatest pen and ink artists that ever lived, it is a legacy of the human being Ted Fickisen was born to become. A legacy of a man who gave back more than what he has ever received.

Ted Fickisen has spent most of his life dedicated to becoming not only the best artist that he could possibly be, but the best person as well. His charitable contributions are well known throughout this small community which includes, donating his artwork to the "Rock For Tots" organization to auction off, with all proceeds going to the children of needy families.

Even through the many tragedies of his life, Ted Fickisen has maintained his positive outlook on life, and his close relationship with God. He is always looking for the silver lining. He takes things in stride, and pushes through to accomplish his life goals. He never takes on a task with the attitude of "let's try and get it done", but rather, "let's just get it done". This would explain why he has succeeded more times in his life than failed. It's his perseverance that separates him from all the rest.

Pilot of the Highway - Ted W. Fickisen
On a personal level, I met Ted Fickisen in the year of 1995. His friendship, and kindness has left an eternal impression on me every since. I am more than proud to call him my friend, I am honored. For to know Ted Fickisen the man is to know what it was that my mother wanted for me as an adult when I was a young boy growing up. To be someone that everyone else could look up to. To lead by example. To be more than just the artist that resides within.

During a difficult time in my life, Ted Fickisen opened the doors of his Victorian Mansion to me, and helped to steer my thoughts in a more positive direction. In fact, it was his teachings that led me to discovering the artist inside that was dying to get out. Between him, and Charles Queen, they would lay down the foundation for which I could build my own dreams and turn them into the reality that they are now. I suppose one could say that had I never met Ted and Charlie, I doubt I would have ever written and recorded one song, much less the 23 songs I have written thus far in my own life, and be able to share on my Youtube Channel. Nor would I have ever written and published my books. This also means that there would have never been a Carroll Bryant Blog which ironically, I am now fortunate to write about the man who was the inspiration for it all. This is what I call karma coming back home to roost. This is the magic of Ted Fickisen the man.

 Imagine my surprise when one fine day, not so long ago, I asked him if he would like to do an interview for my blog, and he said yes. I was very excited. To make things more interesting, he welcomed a video interview. Now, I have never done a video interview before so I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out. Even more frightful, my video camera had seen its last days so in order to pull this off, I had to rely on my trusty laptop. But Ted, he is a pro at giving interviews. He has had many interviews with the media. I was counting on his experience to get me through this new and uncharted territory. Over all, I think it turned out well. So, on December 5th, 2013, he and I got together, meeting at his home away from home, The Pump House Art Gallery and conducted an interview. An interview that I broken down into three parts. Today you get to see Part One. Tomorrow, Part Two, and the next day we end with Part Three which is a tour of the Pump House Gallery itself.

Also in Part Two, I will be posting pictures of some of Ted's work. I think you will enjoy it. Through it all, you will come to know, and learn about this amazingly talented artist as well as amazing man, and the art gallery that his foresight, vision, and his long time efforts has produced for the community he loves, and the rest of the world to enjoy. A legacy that could only have been given to one man, and one man only, and that man was Ted William Fickisen.

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