Eric Edward Bush, a lifelong resident of Jackson, died April 30 at home of a heart attack. He was 59. His family provided the following.
Eric was born and raised in Jackson. When he was very young he began reading comics and drawing well-known comic book superheroes alongside his own original crusading characters. His favorite television programs were “Lost in Space” and “Star Trek.”
As an adult Eric wrote and illustrated his own comic books, recently finishing a comic book series that he had been working on for years. His extensive collection of comic books includes many now sought after by collectors. As an avid reader he spent the past decade at Teton County Library reading, writing and doing research on a wide range of subjects. He was also a self-taught film buff who loved science fiction and horror movies.
When Eric was just 14 years old his yearbook advisor and peers asked him to provide artwork for Jackson Junior High School’s 1972 astrology-themed yearbook. Eric drew original versions of the 12 astrological signs. His renditions of Aries, Taurus, Gemini and the other nine astrological signs were used to divide the 12 months of school events and activities. Eric also drew portraits of three honored faculty members and the yearbook’s student editor, Pat Varley.
At the time this “Rendezvous” yearbook’s theme represented the dawning of “The Age of Aquarius” and perfectly suited Eric’s nature. He wished for “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding. No more falsehoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions, mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberation” (lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni from the musical “Hair”).
Over time Eric matured as an artist and a young man. He developed a radio-quality voice and sang baritone in the high school choir. He also competed on the debate team while working as a cook at Kentucky Fried Chicken and then as a movie projectionist at the Teton Theatre.
After graduating from high school in 1976 Eric attended the Denver Institute of the Arts. He then transferred to the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Returning to Jackson, Eric worked at several businesses. His favorite was Sirk Shirts on Town Square, where he helped manage operations and designed original silk-screened T-shirts.
Besides science fiction and comic book art Eric created many fantasy-based works using acrylic paint and intricately cut paper formed into 3-D art. His portfolio includes portraits of himself, his three sisters and his father, who also passed away relatively young of a heart attack. At his mother’s urging Eric submitted several paintings to the yearly Arts in the Parks competition. His submissions reflected his own unique version of Wyoming’s wildlife, landscapes and people.
In 1988 Eric’s art was accepted as part of the “New Faces II” exhibit at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper. For that exhibit he described his artistic desires and philosophy: “Having been born and raised in Wyoming, but having been trained in the modern commercial style, I find that, for me, painting can become an exercise in schizophrenia. On top of that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the state, and beauty has its tyrannical side. Consider the endless number of sweeping vistas of the Teton Range, the glut of paintings of grizzlies, profusions of pioneers, trappers, etc.
“Still, I will have to admit that finding the one person in one thousand can be quite gratifying — the one person who thinks for him or herself, no matter what the prevailing market says they should have on their walls. I attempt to speak to the independent heart of the people through my paintings and to view my home from a different perspective. I mean, if we keep thinking of ourselves, strictly, as the ‘Last of the Old West,’ then what are we ever going to be first in?”
The real story of Eric’s life and accomplishments is best told through his art, so his family will host “A Celebration of Eric Bush’s Life and Art” on Saturday, July 22, in the conference room of the Antler Inn on West Pearl Avenue and Cache Street in Jackson. The location was generously donated by Clarene Law.
The art show open house with light refreshments will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Eric’s life sketch will be read at 2 p.m., and friends and family will be invited to share their memories of Eric at that time. “Star Trek” and Comic-Con casual attire are welcome.
Close family, friends and neighbors knew Eric to be an intelligent, deep-thinking man with a gentle soul. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Guy and Daisy Bush and Lester and Melba May, as well as his father, Guy Louis “Louie” Bush. He is survived by his mother, Clara Louise May Bush, of Jackson, and his three sisters: Sarah Jo Bush Lloyd, of Orem, Utah; Laura Lou Bush, of Mesa, Arizona; and Anna Mary Bush, of Jackson.
The family invites donations in his name to Teton County Library, where Eric had found a place of peace, safety and refuge.