I’ve had a secret crush on Max Elbo (please don’t tell his wife, Selena) ever since I saw a pointillism pen and ink he had done of my not-so secret crush John Lennon.
Max is a creative genius and I’ve been fortunate to formally photograph him, twice.
Max was part of the 2004 series where I photographed 75 Eureka Springs artists, most in their studio environments. Arriving at Max’s home for the first time I was not sure what to expect.
Max was in his bedroom sitting in his big comfy chair, with everything important close at hand – his guitar, pens, paper, computer, pipe and Selena, who arrived during the shoot with a big smile and a cup of tea.
The second photo-shoot was for the Eureka Springs School of the Arts benefit calendar featuring local artists wearing only an apron (the women) or a baseball cap (the men) emblazoned with the ESSA logo. Each artist was being photographed in a sponsoring local restaurant and I met Max downstairs at Mud Street Café, again not knowing what to expect.
A large wooden bar is the centerpiece of the restaurant and once it was cleared I timidly asked Max to don his cap, get naked and climb aboard the bar. Sitting him upright with legs crossed, I place a large strawberry shortcake in his lap and snapped the photo.
It was an awkward moment for both of us, but Max smiled through it all, and I think eventually forgave me.
This Sunday, May 1, starting at 4 p.m. is a benefit fundraiser and celebration for Max Elbo upstairs in the Basin Park Ballroom.
How appropriate we kick off the May Festival of the Arts in celebration of this gifted local treasure.
Above photo – Max Elbo from the 2004 Eureka Springs Artist Series
Below photo – Max Elbo from the 2007 ESSA calendar shoot.