Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jon Livingston

When I attended Indian Hills Community College in the boring, scummy town of Ottumwa, IA, I met a guy named Jon Livingston. He made weird art, listened to good music, and drove a very cool "electric puke green" VW Scirocco. We became instant friends and hung around a lot during the year that I lasted in that shit hole of a town. A few times a year, I'd google his name and see if I could find him on the internet. Well, I just did, and he's dead. That's sad. I found him on the Ottumwa HS class of '83 reunion site's in memorian page, which has his senior picture.

"I like Bloody Marys, because you get food."
    —Jon Livingston, in the bar in the bottom floor of a downtown hotel in Ottumwa, IA, circa 1984

I found some of Jon's stuff. This is why I never throw shit away, much to the consternation of Kim. He'd wrecked the green Scirocco and had this white one in a photo he sent with a letter. At some point, he lost his license and sold this one. He said he was making weird music with Mike Whitney from 149 Dead Marines.



I also found this hunk of paper that he'd doodled on—I think it was when he visited me in IC.



He was also the originator of Skin Lizard, the weird creature I spray painted on the side of the One Bullit Barney truck (Coco). His original drawing is still on the head of my old Remo practice pad.

15 comments:

Stu Ohara said...

This has got to be the Jon I knew in the early 90's in Colorado. we were roommates and hung out all the time. have some pictures, his jean jacket from high school, and some skate shirts. one of my favorites is a skate rags shirt he said his mom bought him. great guy and friend, miss him everyday.

Armpit Studios said...

Holy crap, your comment was a total surprise. I'm so glad to hear from another friend of Jon's. Would it be possible for you to scan/photograph a picture or two and send them my way (gmail account; armpitstudios)? I take it you don't know what happened to him?

makeupbyashleyluce said...

Ohhhh how I love this. I'm Jon's sister, Ashley. He is so terribly missed.

Darya Gemmel said...

That bar is called the TomTom Tap, and it's where Jon taught me to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Bloodys don't come with cherries, though, so we were drinking zombies. ��

Armpit Studios said...

Oh yeah, TomTom Tap. It's great to hear from both of you. It's great surprise when people comment about this out of nowhere. It's a nice way to keep my memory of him alive. I never see a bloody mary or a Scirocco without thinking of him.

Katy Stone said...

Oh man! I knew Jon in Ames at ISU when we went to art school together in the late 80's. We used to haunt the studio late nights. I left Ames in '92 and totally lost touch with him, he was a couple years ahead of me-- I can't remember, I think he left town before me. Another friend and I always wonder aloud what happened to him and I feel really sad knowing that he's gone.

Laurie Cinotto said...

I remember Jon Livingston with such fondness. He's was one of my favorite characters from my Iowa State days, and yes, as Katy mentioned in the previous comment, we've wondered about him many times over the years. It is sad knowing he's no longer on this planet. I always thought I might bump into him at some weird, random place one day. RIP, dear Jon. You were one of the good ones.

Armpit Studios said...

I'm glad to hear from you two. I just noticed something: I wonder why everyone discovers my post in October. Is it just me, or is this the time of year when people get most nostalgic and think about happy times in the past? Thoughts of being together with friends at school/college, Summer's over, etc.

Anonymous said...

I can still hear him justifying an early bloody mary, "hey man you get food with your alcohol, it's perfect". So glad you have this tribute to Jon, was hoping I would be able to find it again. Still find myself wanting to get hold of him whenever I'm working on an old vw. I just quit carrying my old santa cruz wallet. He was hanging with me before I caught the Amtrak to Pittsburgh and we stopped in a snowboard shop before a couple drinks. We argued over who was going to get to buy it and I won. He made sure I paid attention to the ottumwa stop and said I'd see O'Haras hardware and he grew up not far from there. Oh man I miss that guy. Stu.

makeupbyashleyluce said...

Awe, love that Stu. I can hear him say that about the Bloody Mary's. Funny. It's my favorite drink too. I should post some pics of Jon. Armpit Studios did I ever send you any?

Anonymous said...

Been going through some old boxes, I hope to find my Colorado pics. As soon as I find them I'll scan and send. Stu

Armpit Studios said...

I just looked through our older emails and don't see any photos. It'd be great to see some. I didn't have a camera at that point, so I have none.

makeupbyashleyluce said...

What is your email address? I'll send some now. :)

Armpit Studios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
makeupbyashleyluce said...

Sent! :)