My curiosity about the mysterious artist of three bizarre comic book covers published in the waning months of 1952, evolved into an obsessive search for his identity. My quest resulted in two articles (which can be read here and here) and the satisfaction that a long-overlooked artist was finally receiving his due.
Proof that the world is indeed flat, the wondrous reach of the Internet allowed relatives, friends and admirers of Ekgren to contact me, filling in details, sharing photos of world-traveler William. It became obvious that there was far more to the man than the coincidental meeting at a Greenwich Village sidewalk art show that led to his minor, accidental "career" as a comic book cover artist.
Not long after the publication of my second Ekgren post, I received the first of many emails from Erika Olsson. Erika is William's great-niece, and more importantly, a film-maker.
"I am doing some research about my family, Erika wrote in her first email, "Ever since I was a kid I heard a lots of stories about William, his painting and his sometimes crazy life."
As my articles had provided details about a part of William's life that she had never known, Erika had a request.
"The reason why I write to you, is that I have been filming William for almost a year now. It looks like it will be a documentary about him..."
The first incarnation of this project was a 6-minute short entitled, KORTET (The Card). The focus of this particular work was the ongoing bickering of William and his nonagenarian sister, Greta.
"This probably sounds a little bit strange", Erika continued, "but I would love to have people from all around the world that know/knew him, love him, hate him or just knows about his former work. Like small interviews. My question to you is, if you want to be part of this?"
Despite my natural shyness, I have agreed to Ekika's request. At this point, she is trying to arrange financing for a trip to the U.S. that would include a visit and interview with me. In the meantime, she has established a Facebook page carrying the name "Larry's World", which is the name of her production company. If you click on that link, you will find among her postings, information about her film and recent photos of the incomparable William.
Erika has kindly shared a very recent photo with me, one that makes me smile. In it, Ekgren is seen reading a copy of Craig Yoe's ARF FORUM, and presumably, the first print appearance of the article I wrote about him.
When you drop a pebble into the ocean, it's amazing how far the ripples can spread.