Devin Leonardi: A Memorial

Updates: I’m thrilled to announce Devin’s first solo museum exhibition, “Devin Leonardi: Figure at Dusk” will be opening at SECCA: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art on June 25! Hope to see everyone there and I’ll post new info as I receive it – please feel free to email adduciartservices@gmail.com with any news. -Abra

Our dear friend, Devin Leonardi, took his life on July 13, 2014. He took a part of all our hearts with him.

Because Devin’s death was sudden and unexpected, we’ve created this site as a way to quickly update Devin’s many friends with information regarding his upcoming memorials, as well as offer the chance to share memories of Devin.

This site is very much a work-in-progress. We thank you for your patience in this time of deepest sorrow.

A memorial for Devin took place in Montana on August 1, 2014 with a second “Going Away” party in Chicago on September 6, 2014. Information is posted on our Updates page as details become available.

More to come…

Devin at Holter Lake in Montana

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24 thoughts on “Devin Leonardi: A Memorial

  1. The saddest thing about this is that you were such a good person. There was nit a single moment when I did not see you smile… I still remember your performance in “The Subject was Roses”… I never congratulated you… I should have, you were amazing… I wish I could have gotten to know you better friend… I’ll never know why you left us so son but I hope you have found peace.

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  2. Hello, Ali Ann here, Devin and I went to high-school together. Does any one know if anyone is driving in from Chicago? Who may have room for a stowaway? Or anyone who wants to come and could split the driving w/ me? (773 551-3040 seeing as time is of the essence)

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  3. Our condolences to Devin’s family in this difficult time of sorrow and pain.
    As a mother of Ana and Alejandro Romero we remember him like it was yesterday at Franflin school and when I dropp ed my son to play with him and today we feel your lost with deep pain and crying for this young man.
    The Romero’s family .

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  4. I remember you being transferred in to my third grade class (Ms. Geraci) like it was yesterday! I loved your name as a child it sounds so I remember you being transferred in to my third grade class (Ms. Geraci) like it was yesterday! I loved your name as a child it sounded so illustrious!! Even today it does!!! You were always so high energy, talented and cool! The last time I saw you at Chicago Academy for the Arts in 97 you came in for the hug lol we talked for a little bit, Still high energy and still very sweet! I am sorry this life didn’t bring you peace!! RIP Devin #FFAC #Classof1995

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  5. I don’t know Devin but I happened to read his obit in the paper and felt intrigued to learn more about this talented, handsome young man who chose to take his own life and I wonder why he did it, as I am sure his friends and family wonder the same. His artwork is amazing. I found more of his work by doing an Internet search. I hope Devin knows that he continues to influence people and entertain them with his art.

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  6. Devin was a very special person. I knew him when he was at Franklin Fine Arts, such a beautiful talented person. My family thoughts and prays go out to the Leonardi family. I will always remember his smile. Much Love Kurt, Sheila, Emily, Kurt and Max Thomsen

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  7. I bought the first art work Devin sold, while still in high school. It hangs over my fireplace, giving us great pleasure. I’m so sorry to hear of his death, and, even more, of the pain that surely preceded it. Much light to all of his loved ones.
    Lynne Derus, Atlanta, Georgia

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  8. I once saw devin leonardi hop over an automobile. Not lengthwise, but still, I mean. . . . On another remarkable occasion, in order to prove his brute strength, he choked a rhinoceros to death, And in order to prove his compassion, he revived it.

    I promise you that devin would want me to make this exact post.

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  9. Devin,

    Your melancholy water colors cover the walls of my study in Florida. I always saw you as optimistic and gifted with a joy of life. A true standout. The son I would like to have had.
    You worked for me in my shop on 18th Street and the river. The work I gave you was tedious and bleak but you performed it well. You were earning money for school. When we were slow I told you you must paint. My only prohibition is that you paint scenes from the neighborhood. The obvious scene I desired was the beautiful Asian park on the river that was the view from our windows. You painted everything except that. On one of your excursions you found a cave under the river overpass. It was a camp occupied by a gang of homeless derelicts and madmen. When They discovered you painting their cave they pored out like Dickensonian rats and chased you away. You came back to the shop breathless and shaken. I laughingly thought ‘maybe now you’ll paint the park’.
    You never questioned why a schizophrenic homeless guy was sleeping in the shop. When he collapsed you took him to the cook county hospital and cared for him while I was vacationing in Mexico. What Heart!
    I’m living in Paris now with my French wife, Sophie. She loves your work and has wanted to meet you. We return to Florida in December. I have sadness at the thought of returning to my study. You live kindly in my memory.

    John Stulgate
    Paris, France

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  10. Just heard the very sad news. Definitely remember Devin from Franklin….and his amazing talent. So sorry to hear this news. Sending our love and deep condolences.
    Bob, Jan, Katy and Stephanie Jones

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  11. Thank you so much to everyone for commenting! A quick note: I’ve never used WordPress before creating this site, hence the comments being held for moderation. I *think* I’ve set them to automatically approve, but will keep checking to work out any kinks.
    -Abra

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I only met Devin one time, up at Buck’s T-4 in Big Sky, when Joan Leik introduced us. I was taken by his piercing blue eyes and spot-on observations. He seemed like a kind soul and from the beautiful obituary that Annie wrote, he was. I have been deeply troubled by his sudden death and saddened that we lost such a neat man, by his choice. My heart goes out to Annie, Joan and all of both their families. Brad Griffin

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  13. I met and worked with Devin circa October 2004 and together with other artist, writers, actors, fire-eaters, transvestites and an assortment of misfits, freaks and “creatives” (…they called us “V.A.s” but we knew who we were!), we re-opened the Museum of Modern Art and made Manhattan “…MODERN AGAIN…”; I’m now quoting the multi-zillion-dollar advertising campaign @ the time. – This happened early on in our tenure there and is the best moment I recall: a visitor approached the information desk and asked to see the “MonaLisa”!!!! I won’t write here what we both thought; it wouldn’t be polite, (even though we felt justified thinking it). We looked @each other and knew it was going to be “downhill” from then on; the SixFlags-Tour-Bus-Crowd had finally discovered (our beloved, now expanded to the hilt) “M.o.M.A.”; & the world as we knew it had ceased to exist – My dear D. LEONARDI, I always loved, envied, and wanted to have a LAST NAME like yours.

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  14. Heard this tragic news today. So sorry that we didn’t know that Devin was suffering. So sorry that we didn’t tell Devin as clearly and as astutely as he communicated so many things how very truthful, humane and full he was.

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  15. My dear cousin, I will always regret never knowing you better. All of these kind words and love on this page shows how much you were loved…I continue to think about you and all that you’ve accomplished, all very, very much to be proud of. Xoxo I will never forget our times in Chicago with you and Colleen although Nikki and I were very young! I know you are shining still. ♥️♥️

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  16. Just today I was driving down a road in North Barrington, Illinois. I passed a man slowly walking along the side of the road. He appeared to have the weight of the world upon his shoulders. A half mile further I decided to turn around and see if he was okay or needed help. He said he had a new crisis in his life. I gave him my business card that identifies me as an artist and author; YurArt.com. He told me his name was Wayne Leonardi. A few hours later he telephoned me and poured out the woes he was currently dealing with. Then he told me he was the father of the late Devin Leonardi who was an artist who had been living in Montana. He encouraged me to look Devin up on the Internet. The reason for Devin ending his life escapes me. But God knows our hearts and every one of our thoughts and actions. If He didn’t He would not be God. Devon’s artwork is truly spectacular and everyone’s tribute to him is well deserved. Our Creator God certainly gave Devon artistic skills to express beauty and emotion by which he shared with the viewing public. As artists we enter the supernatural world of creativity and when truthfully and rightly known, works of art such as Devon produced communicates great beauty and emotion with significant impact. I am pleased with today’s God planned appointment to encounter the man who remains the proud father of Devin and the legacy of art he created.

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    • The day’s carry the living along; it’s disconcerting to discover how everything went along without [our friend Devin Leonardi]. The sun came up and went down; the roses, the wild flowers & weeds grew and bloomed; the yellow and the brown birds sang; the stars wheeled overhead exactly as they had before; day in, night out… ~ Juliet Waldron, author of “Mozart’s Wife”; I’m paraphrasing her, of course; I’m no poet, just a painter. I paint in obscurity.
      We all, I have no doubt, remember Devin with fond memories. Yes.

      H.A. Rodriguez-Mora
      NYNY 10Aug2015

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      • Hiram, Thank you for your very thoughtful, nice response.
        Your name is a biblical name. I am first a metallurgical engineer so I have respect for the name Hiram; 1st Kings 7:14 & 7:23. Another Hiram appears in 2nd Samuel 5:11 and 1st Kings 5:1. All men skilled like you but noted in the Bible’s historical record..

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      • Thanks Donn it took me a few years in grade school to get used to my first name I grew up in San Juan in Spanish the letter H when @ the beginning of words is silent but the nuns @ my parochial school who came from Dubling would insist on calling me
        “High Ram” which is correct a correct pronunciation when one first sees the name on paper I do like the history of the name/word some say it’s ancient Hebrew for “bother” other sources say it is Phoenician and of course
        as you mentioned there was King[s]Hiram I &Hiram II & one of the two gave King David the cedar columns for the Temple of Solomon or some such having said all that, there’s a possibility I might have all the names and the architecture all wrong. Thanks; you made me think!

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      • Hiram, I appreciated your response. To add a fact to your challenge to think, the Hebrew name/word Hiram means “my brother is exalted.” I am not the smart guy here. My resource is the book ‘Who’s who in the Bible by Comay &Brownrigg, Bonanza 1980 Edition. I find it interesting that my chance encounter with Devin;s father connected us. I chose a Bible verse to be my life verse; 1st John 5:13. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” There are six different Greek words for the word “know.” Apostle John used the word ‘ginosko’ which means to know by experience. That had an eternal impact on my life and soul. So he used to know by experience which is superior to knowing only factually, intellectually, mentally, by intuition or inductively. So knowing by faith I have eternal life was a true gift from God. So many people want this gift but do not really seek it. To the one really seeking I give them the following Bible verse as instruction about how to go about it: Hebrews 11:6 in the New Testament. Blessings to you.

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      • Donn ~ I really enjoy our “exchanges of thought”; stay in touch?!? I’ve always had pen pals, in our case keyboard pals, ever since grade school… thinking “outloud”.

        •harodriguezmora@yahoo.com•

        …if you want; say hello once-in-a-blue…, make me think; thanks! Devin🎨Leonardo whose last nave I always envied, will always puzzle me. I would like so much to see a whole suite of his paintings & drawings, especially the ‘late’ work and stare and stare and stare, in silence; pretend I understand… Granted, it’s a harsh world, sometimes; had I not joy seven days a year, never in a row…

        Best regards, Hiram A.

        >

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      • CORRECTION (to my last e-mail to DONN): “…his last NAME”, not last ‘nave’

        […hate typos!] .. .H

        >

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