In Memory

This memorial was published in the Solares Hill Weekly on October 1986:

Van Eno died on the 14th of September 1986, at home, of an AIDs-related malady; with him were his mother and several of his closest friends who had supported him so diligently through the course of his treatments and hospitalizations. Van Eno was a proud man and he wanted the truth to be known in the hope that it would eventually help others.

He was born in West Palm Beach the 29th of September, 1947 at St. Mary’s. His father was in the service, and both he and his wife, Betty, were from Wisconsin and Van was destined to be raised in various and different worlds. When he was three, the family found themselves in Newfoundland and it was there that his younger brother Michael was born. There were few resources of amusements for the children and their mother too to telling Van stories which she illustrated. At three, he started drawing on Canadian rag-paper tablets with colored pencils and crayons and he literally never stopped. Betty Eno was perplexed as to why his figures all had enlarged feet and huge legs until someone pointed out to her that it was simply a child’s perspective of what he actually sees. They were then stationed in London, where Van started school. He was naturally attracted to the theatre along with the drawing and painting which overlapped with the crafts that he took up in Cub Scouts, and which obliged his mother to become a full-time Cub-mother twice over because brother Michael was just three years behind. Van’s teacher reported that he was dreamy and overly imaginative.

There was a year and a half in Massachusetts and then Long Island. He gave up the Scouts at 16, having achieved status as a Life Scout, and settled down to art studies, receiving a gold medal from the Wommack High School, the interior of which was decorated with maturing Van Eno’s.

After three years of the School of Visual Arts in New York, an 8 to 5 working school, he went to work for an ad agency in the early 70′s. His work was selected for Gimbel’s Christmas catalog – in particular, that season’s logo. He did layouts for many top firms, Abercrombie and Fitch included.

The Enos returned to Ft Lauderdale in 1971, where Van eventually joined them and began to work for a Miami ad agency for whom he created, among other things, the Cricket Club logo. Mr. Eno, Sr. died in 1983. Betty Eno feels that Van subconsciously captured certain of his father’s attributes in his portraits of Old King Cole from his Fairy Tale series.

Van Eno moved to Key West ten years ago to paint and here he was taken into Richard Heymann’s Gingerbread Gallery, where he received much encouragement. He painted exclusively with Windsor-Newton gouaches and brushes and his work was profoundly detailed. He started painting in the style of ancient Flemish tapestries, eventually applying this to Biblical themes and all the major Greco-Roman myths. His surfaces are brilliant and the detail explicit and clear. Three Flemish ladies in elegant period dress have lacquered fingernails and one is drinking a can of Pabst. If the surfaces vibrate, the point of view is sardonic always, although he sometimes ventures into farce. He “poked fun” but was capable of deep emotion as when the cast of “Godspell” turned their Van Eno _______ inside-out on staged and they were suddenly in mourning in black and blue with white doves soaring upwards. He did a series of Tarot cards and quite a lot of erotic art which sold very well. He won the 1985 Fantasy Fest contest and his design became the logo that year.

His life was lived with a small coterie of friends that did not change from year to year. He was an intensely private person who hated to think that he might be the object of gossip. He was an ardent collector and grower of orchids. He loved sailing and once sailed here from Connecticut. He could invariably be found the day before and the day after an opening sailing in the Gulf. He was also a gourmet cook and he delighted in cooking on special occasions, birthdays, Christmas for his family and friends. In effect, his family and friends were one and the same. Betty Eno gave up her job when her son summoned her to his side. She had four lucid days with him. The role of the Hospice in the last week of Van Eno’s life was indispensible and Betty Eno feels immeasureable gratitude for their superbly human services.

Van Eno was cremated and his ashes will be scattered on the Gulf. A memorial service will be announced at a later date for family and friends.

This is the pdf of the article: vaneno-memoriam-1986