"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

The Extraordinary Art of Bodhi Wind

Buddha became the enlightened one, under a Bodhi tree.  

This is the name taken by native Pittsburgh artist who tragically passed much too soon, the day before Thanksgiving in 1991.  If you graduated from Perry High School, Pittsburgh Public Schools, class of 1968, you knew him as Charles Kuklis.  An incredibly talented artist, he was always sketching and drawing.

Recently there was an article by Joe Smydo in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about what to do with an artist’s work after they’ve died.

Bodhi Wind painted the murals for Robert Altman’s 1977 film 3 Women. (Click here to read about the movie and see a photo of Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duvall and one of the large murals painted by Bodhi Wind.) He designed clothing for Cher and his work was shown in Architectural Digest May 1978.  An archived article in the NY TimesApril 26, 1977  by Jennifer Dunning is online.

blog by Angeliska shows more photographs of Bodhi painting the murals for 3 Women.  We read on this blog that his mother, Jean Kuklis (also mentioned in the PPG article) would welcome speaking of her son and his art.

I had the good fortune to meet Mrs. Kuklis, her daughter and granddaughter, Monday afternoon and got to photograph some of Bodhi Wind’s artwork.  His mother generously shared his story and creative artwork and I wanted to share it with you.  I had the privilege of seeing pieces he created in high school, too.

She hopes her son’s art could be shown in a large space, a bank, hotel lobby or convention center. Some of the painted panels are big.

Many are painted on wood and  interestingly framed.

Readers who would like more information about the artworks should email Bodhi Wind’s family  Bodhi.Wind.Art(at)gmail.com.

Octagonal

detail from the Octagonal

detail from Octagonal

Grace Jones

Large mural

This is one panel of a series.  Very large.  It needs to be turned right side up.  I left a bit of his sister in the pic on the right so you get the idea of the scale.

Looks like Grace Jones

Bodhi Wind Painting

detail

Mural in Garage

24 responses

  1. There is some real synthesim going on in these pieces! Very interesting blend of perspectives and dimensions. And the colours are brilliant!

    Thanks for sharing this, really..

    April 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm

  2. Joyce

    Although Perry High School was the rival of my high school, David B. Oliver HS and I graduated one year before Bodhi, I do not recall hearing about or seeing any of his artwork at that time. Today you have opened my eyes to this wonderful artwork and artist. It is breathtakingly beautiful!

    April 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm

  3. Kristin

    Beautiful!

    April 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm

  4. fascinating, a very talented and exceptional young artist ….

    April 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

  5. Wow! That is some stunning artwork indeed Ruth. You are so blessed to haven seen it and captured it so well. Love the Octagonal. Great shots hon! :) *hugs*

    April 30, 2013 at 1:58 am

  6. Thank you, Ruth. I’d not heard of this artist and his work is beautiful! As nice as your photos are, it must be something to stand before his pieces in person. Wow!

    April 30, 2013 at 2:42 am

  7. They are glorious, Ruth! That first “lady” portrait really stuns. Thanks for sharing. :)

    April 30, 2013 at 3:06 am

  8. Sue Reinfeld

    Those colors are amazing. Thanks for bring him to our attention.

    April 30, 2013 at 6:53 am

  9. Vincie

    I attended elementary and high school with Bodhi Wind. We were childhood friends and spent much time together. I remember him well. He was clever, funny and immensely talented. I sat beside him in fourth grade and he was always sketching. His tragic death robbed the world of all the art he had yet to create. These pieces are magnificent!

    April 30, 2013 at 7:38 am

  10. you’ve composed a great tribute to Charles Kuklis – for eternity …

    April 30, 2013 at 8:46 am

  11. Ruthie, thanks so much for the post. It’s great to see more work from Bodhi after only being familiar with the Three Women murals. Seeing what you’ve posted leaves me wanting still more.

    April 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

  12. Great discovery for me. I thank you.

    April 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm

  13. Gorgeous stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    May 1, 2013 at 12:40 am

  14. Wonderful works of art. I have never heard of this artist. I am very glad you have spotlighted him on your blog. Looking forward to finding out more information about his art. Pittsburgh is the home of many talented individuals. Thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    May 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

  15. Paula Breen

    Love the artwork and I loved the story!

    May 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

  16. Those are very impressive pieces. I have a lot of respect for an artist who can successful work in incredibly large (or small) scale pieces. To navigate extremes well is a skill indeed.

    May 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

  17. Pingback: Film & TV: 3 Women « Lia in Brussels

    • I am so glad you found my links about Bodhi Wind today. Thanks for the pingback.

      September 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      • Vincie Pace

        Cool.

        September 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

  18. Michele

    I knew Bodhi. We met in college at BU and were part of a close group of friends. Later we lived in a commune in Berkeley, CA. We were back in touch for a few years right up until his death. He was a complicated and lovable and talented man. I miss him and often long to see his work again, so thank you for this article. He so deserves this tribute.

    November 6, 2013 at 12:03 am

  19. Raoul Trujillo

    Bodhi lived me for the year in NYC before his passing . Most of his paintings were stored in my apartment. His painting, “Drunk with the poison of the passion of six” inspired a dance I choreographed. I felt blessed to know him and to know his work so intimately. His art is profoundly spiritual and of another dimension entirely. Thanks for keeping his art out there…. Raoul

    November 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    • David Ferebee

      Hi Raoul, Do you know what became of Bodhi’s paintings?

      January 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

  20. David Ferebee

    I google Bodhi Wind and Geary Holst every now and then hoping to find their art so I was ecstatic to recently find this blog. I lived in LA in the 70s where I first met Geary and then Bodhi who at the time was living in a fixer upper in Highland Park. I bought the vacant lot next to Bodhi’s house on Poppy Peak Drive where I parked my Airstream Travel Trailer while making plans to build a geodesic dome home. I plugged into Bodhi’s house for electricity and spent a great deal of time watching Bodhi work on remodeling the house while working on promoting his career as artist. He also kept a small studio down the hill on Figueroa St where he would sometimes work on projects like his tee shirt line of hardware objects like nuts and bolts which he would package in black plastic garbage bags to deliver to boutiques in Beverly Hills and Melrose Ave. I also remember being fascinated with his process of etching his fantastic creatures on to large glass door panels for Robert Altman’s house. And I will never forget his large paintings that were perhaps 5 ft tall and 7 ft long that were just spectacular beyond words. When I first saw Avatar I could not help but think that their creators were heavily influenced by Bodhi’s work. The similarities are just to uncanny. I was drooling to have one but the $5K price tags were a little beyond my means at the time. I am lucky enough to have acquired a smaller piece he did which was an airbrushed portrait of Geary Holst and a sketch he did while he and Geary were visiting my partner and I in our dome home in Tucson, AZ. I gave up on my dream of a dome home in LA because of the difficulty of obtaining a building permit for such a non-conforming design. When I left LA in my Airstream it was also loaded with some of Geary’s mirrors and a parsons table he made that I traded for my Dodge Dart Convertible that had a push button transmission. When Geary told me of Bodhi’s passing he was unsure what became of Bodhi’s body of work, particularly the larger paintings. Does anyone know of what became of his fantastic art?

    January 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    • What you see on the blog was photographed at his mothers home in Pittsburgh.
      Glad you found the blog post about Bodhi today
      Ruth

      January 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

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