Corky Normart interview


Transcript of Corky Normart interview


eng Corky Normart interview


eng Microsoft Word document, 15 pages


eng Normart, Ara F. "Corky"
eng Larson, Donald G.


eng Corky Normart Papers


eng Fresno, California


eng 5/17/2016


eng Copyright has been transferred to Fresno State


eng SCMS_nrmt_00001

extracted text

>> Don Larson: Alright. My name is Don Larson and I'm interviewing Ara F.
Normart, Corky Normart, a local artist, watercolorist, designer, a man
who has, in my book, done one of the finest accomplishments out of this
community in designing and supervising the construction of the interior
of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It's a
monumental achievement and we're going to talk about that today, and so
Corky, tell us about yourself and how you got to Fresno. Well, I know how
you got to Fresno. How your family got to Fresno.
>> Corky Normart: I was born in Fresno.
>> Don Larson: Yes.
>> Corky Normart: My family came to Fresno and the first relative was my
grandfather's uncle, who came here in 1874 and had four brothers, my
great-grandfather being one of them, and convinced his four brothers in
the old country to come here. He ended up going back to Philadelphia,
where he settled and he -- he was a Quaker. That's -- that's what drew
him here, were the Friends, and he ended up marrying a Quaker and raised
his family in Philadelphia, but the other four all settled here for a
time, and I think my great-grandfather was the only one who stayed and
who's relatives stayed here permanently -- my grandfather and my father
and the rest of the family. So really, you know, from 1874, then they -my great-grandfather got here in -- in 1889 and we've been here ever
>> Don Larson: And what did your family do here in the Central Valley?
>> Corky Normart: My grandfather had a cyclery and then went into
sporting goods and then got into taxidermy and then started the fur
store, and that was here for over a hundred years, and -- and that was
>> Don Larson: Normart's Furs.
>> Corky Normart: Normart's Furs. That's right.
>> Don Larson: Yeah. A very well-known institution in this community.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah. I think you say Normart's and people still say,
"Oh, furs," yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah, it's automatic.
>> Corky Normart: But they ->> Don Larson: What year were you born in Fresno?
>> Corky Normart: 1930.
>> Don Larson: 1930. And you went to school here?
>> Corky Normart: That's right. Heaton, Alexander Hamilton, Fresno High,
Fresno City College and Fresno State.

>> Don Larson: Right in sequence.
>> Corky Normart: Right down the line.
>> Don Larson: I think my wife was in those classes also.
>> Corky Normart: That's right. We were in high school and college
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: I think maybe grammar school, too.
>> Don Larson: Where did you go to grammar school?
>> Corky Normart: Heaton.
>> Don Larson: No, she went to John Muir.
>> Corky Normart: No. Okay.
>> Don Larson: Yeah. You met at Hamilton Junior High?
>> Corky Normart: Hamilton.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And then ->> Don Larson: Yeah. That's a long history in the community. After you
graduated from Fresno State, what did you do, what did you pursue?
>> Corky Normart: Well, I -- I was interested in -- in getting into
advertising and went to San Francisco and worked there for a while, and
actually I worked at Roos Brothers in their print shop and went to the
Academy of Advertising Art for a short time while I was there, but
couldn't -- my portfolio wasn't adequate for the -- the agencies in -- in
San Francisco, so I came back here and just fortunately was there at the
time when TV was starting, and I got on the art staff of the television
station. I think they were just two weeks' old, been on the air two
weeks, and that really started it, and then the Bee converted it into a
general art room, and I was the only one with TV experience at that time.
There were no other stations in the valley. So that worked out well, and
then took an art directorship in Denver at the ABC channel there before
coming back here and starting up with Channel 12, which is now Channel
30, as art director. So I kind of saw the development of television here
throughout the valley and just luckily happened to go into the -- the Bee
at that time to see a friend and -- and -- but the art -- the -- the art
director from Sacramento and got on and worked 'til 11:30 that night, and
I got hired on the spot, so.
>> Don Larson: Wow.

>> Corky Normart: Those were fun days.
>> Don Larson: Tell me, when did you start developing a folio -- folio of
artwork and -- and painting and all of those kinds of things that are
part of your background?
>> Corky Normart: Well, I -- I was an art major, fine arts major, in -in college, so that really -- and I was painting before that. Darwin
Musselman was my high school art teacher, and he was very encouraging,
and then Jane Gail and the rest of the staff at -- at Fresno State, so I
was painting pretty much all along. I don't know when it started being
worthwhile keeping anything I did, but I -- 'cause I've done a number of
-- a lot of painting over the years.
>> Don Larson: Primarily in oils?
>> Corky Normart: No, watercolors.
>> Don Larson: Watercolors?
>> Corky Normart: Mainly watercolors, even though I've done oils and ->> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: -- acrylics and I'm doing some sculpture and just
across the board. I'm doing a lot of glass for Dalle de Verre Glass, so I
-- I've not stayed with any one medium.
>> Don Larson: The thing that's nice is you've done great in all of those
areas. I mean I -- I've seen and -- and I'm familiar with the various
techniques you've used, and they're all good. I really enjoy them.
>> Corky Normart: Well, it -- it -- it's -- it's enjoyable. I think I -I -- I -- I get tired of doing one thing only. Well, I think basically
design is design, and I don't care what you're using, what paints or
carvings or building or clay or whatever. The design is still the most
important part of it, so. It's -- it just happens.
>> Don Larson: Somewhere along the line, you acquired a family or
developed a family. Tell us about it.
>> Corky Normart: Developed?
>> Don Larson: A family.
>> Corky Normart: A family?
>> Don Larson: Yeah. You got married. You had children.
>> Corky Normart: Got married, had children.
>> Don Larson: Okay.

>> Corky Normart: And -- and my -- both of my children are -- are -- are
good -- good artists. My son does stuff once or twice a year and I can't
believe some of the things he turns out without really having studied or
gotten into it on a full-time basis.
>> Don Larson: Right, right.
>> Corky Normart: So that's -- that kind of just carried along.
>> Don Larson: Alright. Well, you went into advertising also, then.
>> Corky Normart: Yes, after the -- the television, Fresno Bee and
television stations -- I -- I -- because I was doing promotion in -- in
college. I was promoting dances and various events, things like that, so
the advertising was kind of a natural transition. Then the -- I -- I
think I -- I can't remember how many years that was. That was a long
time. Thirty or forty years later.
>> Don Larson: But all the while, you were doing ->> Corky Normart: Painting all the time, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Okay.
>> Corky Normart: With -- Rollin Pickford and Gay McCline were my two
painting gurus and we -- we'd go out. There were some weeks we'd go out
Saturday and Sunday, do three paintings each both days. I mean it -- we
were really turning paintings out. I can't do that anymore, but the
outdoor, the plein air, it's just too difficult for me. I can go out and
do some quick sketching and I'll come back in the studio and paint. It -it's -- it's just a little more comfortable.
>> Don Larson: But the three of you painted pretty regularly on weekends.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah, weekends and then, you know, we'd -- we'd -I'm sure we both -- I'd paint nights at home during the week, so, you
yeah, Rollin and Gay, after I got married and the family came along, then
that cut into my time availability a little bit, and -- but Rollin and
Gay painted forever, you know.
>> Don Larson: Yeah. Yeah, they -- they turned out a huge body of work.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Alright. The project we're interested in is, of course,
the dome of the -- of the Church ->> Corky Normart: Right.
>> Don Larson: -- of the Holy Sepulchre. Give us a little bit of the
background on the dome itself and the problems they had over the years in
trying to get anything done.

>> Corky Normart: Well, the -- the -- the dome -- the Holy Sepulchre was
actually the -- the target, the end -- the end of the line for the -- the
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: That's what the Christian world was always going to -to save, and it was under the control of the Turks for 400 years, and the
biggest problem that they had, and the biggest problem that the English
and the British had when they were in control, was the -- is the -- the - the fights between the Christians about who had the authority to do
whatever they had to do in the Holy Sepulchre, so that's when the -- the
Turks finally put the status quo in. That was in the 1850s, I believe,
that -- and that's when they named the -- the Greeks, the Armenians and
the Latins as owners of the church, each group having a certain area. The
dome was owned jointly. Other places, other parts of the church are owned
individually, and that's still a problem. I mean if you -- one group
sweeps the floor over an invisible line that is not their property, they
could -- they've had fistfights between the priests on the floor of the
church, so it's just -- and it's always been like that. That was really
Torkom Manoogian, who was the patriarch, the Armenian patriarch. It's
said that this was a turning point for all Christendom to -- to -- to
agree to have this done because they couldn't agree before the -- the -for 40 years. When the dome was damaged during the War of Independence,
they had to fix it. It had to be repaired. They did that, and in fact,
the engineer and the architect who were on that project were -- I -- I
recruited for our project, too, but they finished it and could never
agree on a design. They'd have meetings, they'd have submissions of
different art approaches, and it was -- nothing was accepted based on
ethnic or religious affiliations, so it just sat there for, what, 40
years, covered up with ugly scaffolding and a temporary roof -- floor,
actually -- that -- and that's when Brother Donald Mansir, who was vice
president of the pontifical mission in Jerusalem -- he worked -- lived
there for, I think, six or seven years, knew all the -- the custodians,
knew them well, worked with them on various projects, and they all
admitted to him that they would like to do -- he asked them. He says,
"How is this beautiful place, one that's -- that's important for the
Christian world covered." We can't. It's terrible inside. It was just run
down. He says, "Well, if you can get somebody to do it, we'd like to get
something done," so that's -- he put it together. He got the financing,
he contacted me, and I'd known -- Brother Donald was the principal at San
Joaquin Memorial. That's how I met him, through my family. My -- my
nieces and nephews all went there. And so he called me from New York and
said, "Can you come to New York, no come to Jerusalem in two weeks?" and
I asked him why. I had no idea that we even knew where Christ had been
crucified and -- and buried, and I assumed he wanted me to do some glass,
Dalle de Verre, because that's what I had done until I got there and saw
what -- what the project was, and I was as surprised as anybody, and
that's how it started.
>> Don Larson: Yes. Was it a bit overwhelming?

>> Corky Normart: Well, the first person I asked about it was Gay. "Gay,
what do you do? This is -- it's -- it's [inaudible]." People thought I
was an architect, but -[Speaking Simultaneously]
I had to explain, I’m not an architect. I'm an artist, I'm a designer,
and then -- then he sent me to another friend, Ed Darden, who's an
architect in town. Ed said, "I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole,"
knowing how humungous it was. I mean it was a -- it was a tough project,
but for some reason, it didn't bother me, and I just -- I -- I was kind
of certainly thrilled to get it, but no, I was never too -- too worried
about doing it. I did, what, 42 different designs on my own before I came
back to number 38, I think, and I said that was the one that I -- I
really wanted and that's when I then refined and developed and that's
what I presented, and that's the one they accepted.
>> Don Larson: What was the process of designing for this dome? What was
it for you?
>> Corky Normart: First thing I did, again, watercolors. That's what I'm
comfortable with, so I did three very quick, loose watercolor sketches
knowing it was round, it was a dome, it had the cupola in the middle, and
I did three little sketches. Didn't keep them. Threw them out. They
weren't that -- they weren't that, you know, precise. They were just
little idea thumbnails, and that's how I started. My -- my feeling was
Christ was entombed there and He rose again on the third day and I
envisioned Him rising up somehow through the cupola and out, so that was
the -- the focal point. Everything had to center on that, certainly. I
had all kinds of ideas that I played around with. Some were impossible.
Some they wouldn't accept, I knew, but that's just the design process.
You start working on it and something finally hits.
>> Don Larson: You -- you started with three little thumbnail watercolors
->> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: -- that you unfortunately threw away because it would have
been part of the process and ->> Corky Normart: I'm not sure you would recognize them with the finished
-- with the finished product, anyway.
>> Don Larson: It -- it's -- it's a process that just -- you're taking
part in.
>> Corky Normart: Yes. You go through it.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: You do it with a painting.
>> Don Larson: Yes.

>> Corky Normart: And then you go out in the field and you -- I do, at
least. I do a little either thumbnail or you do a quick watercolor,
almost shorthand.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And it gives you the basics of the -- the composition,
really, and then you go from there.
>> Don Larson: And you did this with the dome?
>> Corky Normart: Yes.
>> Don Larson: What kind of materials did you envision using in it?
>> Corky Normart: Well, I -- my -- my first thought, the -- the -- the -dome and -- I was going to, I think, create a sky, and I sent the word
back to New York. Brother Donald was then stationed in New York, and they
reviewed that and they said, "Well, the sky -- you can't possibly do the
sky as beautiful as God has created it, so we can't use the blue, we
can't use the sky," and then I used purple and red, I think, and -- and
they said, "No, no, no, no. This -- that's -- that's the agony. This is
the resurrection. The -- the red is the blood. That wouldn't be good," so
the -- the -- I ended up with having only the choice of what, gold, gold
and -- and white and very few colors, so that's when I really got onto
the dimensional aspects of it, because I -- I had no chance to use color
to get depth and feel, so I figured the -- the shadows created by the
light coming in through the cupola would -- would give me what I wanted,
and so it's basically gold, 23-karat gold. And -- and white and then the
dome itself, I wanted to paint it in a luminescent paint like you see on
cars today. In fact, I got a hold of the company that manufactures that - that paint because I wanted it to glow -- dark at the bottom, light as
it went up and that's where some of the problems in the whole project
started as far as I was concerned because they -- they didn't use the
right material. Instead of spraying it, as I knew they should have, to
make it really radiate and glow, they hand painted it, and it just -that wasn't -- it didn't work for me that way, but it's done.
>> Don Larson: That would have given kind of a flat appearance to it
where you wanted it kind of glowing up there.
>> Corky Normart: I wanted it to glow, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah. Yeah. And then you chose to use a combination of
rays. What brought that to mind?
>> Corky Normart: The -- the -- which one?
>> Don Larson: A combination of rays were used on that -- that surface.
>> Corky Normart: Well, it was the 12 rays -- the -- the -- representing
the apostle --

>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And -- and divided into three.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And then -- then the -- the stars, because it was sky,
and the sky -- the stars are actually a heavy foam manufactured in
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: I had them done here, and those are affixed to the wall
and painted and gilded. They're -- and -- and one of the things there,
there are 126 of them. I didn't plan that, but there were also 126
followers at the -- the -- stop. That was ->> Don Larson: The 126 followers?
>> Corky Normart: At the festival of -- Anyway, there was -- there was ->> Don Larson: Right, 126 stars.
>> Corky Normart: 126 stars and 126 followers. Absolutely accidental, not
planned. That's the way it turned out.
>> Don Larson: Well, it's -- it's always interesting. Sometimes accidents
are planned elsewhere, other places.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah. Well, it -- it came together. What kind of lighting
did you use?
>> Corky Normart: I used -- the light was coming in from the cupola
sunlight, but I -- I wanted more than that and I wanted the rays around
the -- the top, so I used -- I'm blanking, Don.
>> Don Larson: It's okay.
>> Corky Normart: I used fiber -- fiber optics, and that -- that's a
double dome on -- on -- the dome is double. It gets very tight at the -the top and I didn't want to have anything electrical up there, so the
fiber optics were channeled up from down below, and -- radiate around the
-- the -- on the cupola.
>> Don Larson: But the -- the -- that sort of background, where the -the rays set against the wall -- against the ceiling.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah, the main rays are against -- that's right, built
onto the ceiling.
>> Don Larson: Right. Right. What material did you use for the rays?

>> Corky Normart: The rays are -- are plaster and glass. They were
manufactured in England and there was a company I'd seen in -- in Des
Moines that was ready to go and do the job. They had done some work and
I'd seen their stuff, and the day they were supposed to be there, they
called me from Jerusalem. They said where are the people for the -- for
the rays. They should be there. The person in charge that was supposed to
go was afraid to go -- because of the unrest in Jerusalem and didn't show
up, didn't say anything, didn't show up, just didn't do it. So
fortunately, John Jaques, the architect from -- from London, knew of a
firm in England who did, I think, a much better job than the people in
Des Moines did, so they built them.
>> Don Larson: Did the people from Des Moines ever give any kind of
>> Corky Normart: Never. Never. I -- I called them and gave them a little
of rather strong advice and -- but it -- it was un -- it was -- I
couldn't believe it. This was a profitable job, I'm sure. Just was
nervous, afraid to go and just didn't go.
>> Don Larson: Well, you know, I can understand them being afraid and not
going, but they have to let you know in advance.
>> Corky Normart: They have to let you know they're not going, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah, you can't just not show up.
>> Corky Normart: Never did. Never heard a word.
>> Don Larson: That's amazing.
>> Corky Normart: So ->> Don Larson: Well, tell me about the company in England and what they - you said they did a much better job. Tell me about it.
>> Corky Normart: Well, I mean they just did an excellent job. They ->> Don Larson: What materials did they use?
>> Corky Normart: Same thing -- glass and -- and resin.
>> Don Larson: That gave a somewhat luminescence ->> Corky Normart: No, then -- no, no, that was just plain white.
>> Don Larson: Oh, okay.
>> Corky Normart: And then the Gilder's Studio, Michael Kramer from
Olney, Maryland, who has done major jobs -- well, he did the -- the gold
background wall at United Nations that you see. He did that. He did the
Armenian Church steeple in New York. He's done work all over the world. A
nice guy, became good friends and I visited him a couple of times, and he
had a crew there that -- that did -- did the gilding.

>> Don Larson: And it had to be done in place?
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, they had to -- all the parts were in place, and
then they had to gild them by hand and ->> Don Larson: That's a process.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, what a job.
>> Don Larson: And how many feet are they in the air?
>> Corky Normart: Well, they were -- they were up -- the floor was in.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: We put a new floor in at the base of the dome, but they
were up, you know, 20, 30, 40 feet in the air, I guess on their backs.
>> Don Larson: Michelangelo style.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Well, you have to face it in order to give application to
the gold.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Is it the kind where they roll it out and press it in?
>> Corky Normart: No, it was little -- little small squares that they ->> Don Larson: Small squares, yeah.
>> Corky Normart: They put the adhesive, the glue, on and then apply the
-- the gold.
>> Don Larson: Yeah, and it's 23 karat gold?
>> Corky Normart: 23 karat gold.
>> Don Larson: That's almost as pure as it gets.
>> Corky Normart: That's right.
>> Don Larson: It probably wasn't a real cheap project.
>> Corky Normart: No, it wasn't. It was not.
>> Don Larson: So whatever gold is an ounce.

>> Corky Normart: I think it was $23,000 worth of gold alone, just the
>> Don Larson: Wow.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah. It was -- it was a lot. I went to Florida,
actually, where one of his crew was there, and we decided how we were
going to -- we milled the sides of those main rays. I didn't want them
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And I wanted texture, and I don't see it there, but
yeah, there's texture on -- on the -- the three angles, and so we
experimented with that in -- in Florida, where -- where the crew was, and
that's how that worked out.
>> Don Larson: This was truly an international project, wasn't it?
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Wow.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: You have obviously American people who helped you.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: You have a British -- a British company that's involved.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: There must be -- who did the construction in Jerusalem?
>> Corky Normart: The engineer was from Nazareth, [inaudible], a
wonderful person who passed away recently. Yeah, it was -- there were
people from everywhere.
>> Don Larson: Now the -- the three groups that control the church, you
said, were the -- the Armenians had a third control?
>> Corky Normart: The -- the Greeks, the Armenians and the Latins.
>> Don Larson: Okay, and ->> Corky Normart: And the Greeks have control of the -- 65%, and then I
think the Armenians and then the Latins. I think the -- my -- it's been
explained to me that the Turks, when they put the status quo in and gave
ownership to these very -- these three groups were afraid of Rome because
of their power and size and all that, so they gave it to the Latins,
Franciscans, so all the Catholic celebrations and activities there are
through -- through the Franciscans.

>> Don Larson: I see.
>> Corky Normart: It -- it's -- it's complex. I mean it's -- the status
quo -- I'm not sure we didn't violate the status quo when the project
went in. You know, you just don't know. It's -- it's -- and it's still
not -- you know, that was a great chance to -- to do something. Somebody
told me it was the first time in over 200 years they had agreed on
anything, any discretionary matter, and just recently, within the past
month, there was an article in the New York Times -- I don't know if you
saw it -- about restoring the -- the aedicule over the -- over the tomb,
which was falling down in 1930. The British just came in and it was going
to collapse, so the British didn't ask anybody. They just came in and put
up steel girders, and that's what you'll see in the pictures of -- of it,
that -- it's not attractive at all, but that's how they hold it together.
Well, they're now -- they've agreed to take it apart and rebuild it so it
will be sturdy enough to hold together in case there's an earthquake.
>> Don Larson: How is that going that affect your dome?
>> Corky Normart: The -- the -- the article, and I wrote the person who
wrote it a letter explaining this, she claimed it was the first
restoration or first agreement they'd had since the 1950s, and I
corrected her. I said no, you -- the dome was under restoration and that
was in the 1990s, so this certainly isn't the -- the first one.
>> Don Larson: She hadn't done her research.
>> Corky Normart: She hadn't -- had not done her research.
>> Don Larson: No. Well -- well, this ->> Corky Normart: She's not answered me, of course.
>> Don Larson: Okay. Will what they're doing to the building now affect
your dome?
>> Corky Normart: No.
>> Don Larson: It won't?
>> Corky Normart: No. No, it's -- it's -- but they had to agree, again.
That was one of the pieces of the -- one of the properties there that was
jointly owned. I know the -- the metropolitan Timothy, who was really in
charge for the Greeks because the custodian was very ill and couldn't get
around Theodorus, but -- but Timothy, a young -- nice young guy, and we'd
go out and have dinner, lunch, whatever with him. He was charged with
determining who owned what. He says there's some stones, large stones, he
says, that are owned jointly by all three communities. He says, "How do I
figure that? Do I take an angle from one corner to another corner and an
angle in this part, or do I take the two ends, and who gets the middle?"
and he says it's -- it's impossible, and -- and -- and they -- they argue
about that and they -- it's --

>> Don Larson: It's like going back to the Middle Ages. How many angels
can dance on the head of a pin?
>> Corky Normart: It's unbelievable. It is absolutely unbelievable, and
that's when -- that -- that's the problem, that I was so disappointed. I
went back when -- about two years ago, with my grandkids and my son, and
decided that I never want to go back again because they still haven't
done a thing. They haven't changed the lighting. Bulbs are burned out. I
talked to the -- the -- communicated with the Armenian bishop who's in
charge, represents them, and he says, "You can't expect anything to get
done quickly. It just takes time," and -- and of course nothing has been
done. We knew that there's a lot of smoke, candles, especially on that
Holy Saturday before Easter, thousands of candles. The smoke is
unbelievable if you go inside, and we knew that that will corrode, that
will harm, the gold, and so that double wall has four air conditioning
units, air filters in it, each one with three different levels of
filters, coarse, middle and fine. They have to be changed, and it blows
an air stream across the face of the gold. That was the solution, and
those haven't been changed. The lights are not on all the time. I don't
know if they ever go on, but the switch is down there by the door and
that's the Muslim family who opens and closes the door is in charge of
that, but they've been told not to turn them on during the day. Whether
they're burnt out or whether there's no power or not enough power, I
don't know, but things like that, and they -- it's right back where it
was. I mean it will -- it will deteriorate, and Michael Kramer, the
gilder, he says if they don't, you know, keep the smoke and pollution off
of that gold, it will corrode, turn black, and it's done. There's -- you
can't go back and clean it. It's over, so.
>> Don Larson: You just replace it.
>> Corky Normart: Well, do you want to spend another two million dollars?
It'll be another four million by then, but you know, that was a two and a
quarter million-dollar project, I think, is what it added up, so you
couldn't do it. I mean you'd have to rebuild the floor over the -- it -it -- it's -- it's sad that they -- they don't accept this, and I know
they understand it, but they don't -- they just will not agree. That's
the real sad part of the whole thing.
>> Don Larson: In a sense, the -- the construction and execution of your
project is sort of a microcosm of the problems in the Middle East.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: You can't get along.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah, they're -- I -- and I think it's -- one of
the Franciscans who tour -- gave us a tour the last time that I was
there, the last time, from La Jolla, a native of La Jolla, and he -- we
were talking to him, my kids and my grandkids and my son and I were
talking to him, and he said -- about that problem, and he said it's -it's unbelievable. He said, "This is our room. We have a room up on this
-- you know, on the -- on the edge of the church or in the church." He
says, "If we have a water leak and it's running down to the next floor,

that belongs to somebody else, so we can't just have the plumbers come
and fix that. They've got to get permission from the other group, and
then on and on and on and on and on." And it just -- it -- it's -- it's
what they've always done and ->> Don Larson: Wow.
>> Corky Normart: -- they're never going to change. Yeah, I've got a map
somewhere, showing in the 1700s or 1800s, that John Jaques gave me from a
friend of his in -- in London, a map -- who had a map, a chart, of I
think there were 17 different ownerships in that whole complex before the
status quo, and that had to be a problem, you know. It just -- who owns
what, who gets to do what. It's just -- it's a sad situation.
>> Don Larson: And when you get egos involved ->> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: -- and oftentimes leadership involves ego, and then you ->> Corky Normart: Oh, absolutely.
>> Don Larson: Then you've got three very -- It seems that it would be
three groups that would unite, but they seem to be separate all the time.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah. No, that -- it's -- it's. I think that so much of
what they do there is based only on the Holy Sepulchre. Well, the
Armenians, that's where they -- the priests go to school, so they have
that, but I know there was one elderly Greek priest, and everybody
respected him, but they didn't let him in on the presentation, and so
they asked me could I put the display up again for him to come see after
the presentation, which I was glad to do, but the problem was all he did
was sat there and watched what was going on in the Holy Sepulchre, and it
-- because he had submitted designs that had never been accepted. They
were -- I saw them. They were -- it's a good thing they weren't accepted.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: But yeah, it's -- it's ego. He -- he was going to, you
know, do whatever he had to do to ->> Don Larson: He wanted what he wanted and he didn't want anybody else
getting it.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah, I guess.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: I -- I don't know.
>> Don Larson: That's unfortunate because you think in a -- in a place as
significant as that is ->> Corky Normart: Yeah.

>> Don Larson: -- to Christendom ->> Corky Normart: It should be exactly the opposite.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: If the Christian -- the Christian approach would be,
should be the exact opposite, and -- and these people, they -- I don't
know. It's just -- it's mind-boggling, and that's why I -- I really don't
care. I'll never go back and see it again. I've had my fill.
>> Don Larson: Well, you -- you were in on the creation, you were in on
the execution, and if they don't take care of it, you can't do anything
about it.
>> Corky Normart: Can't do anything about it, no.
>> Don Larson: What a tragedy that something that -- well, first of all,
the amount of money involved was significant.
>> Corky Normart: Well, it -- but that's -- that was in -- one individual
did that.
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: So I imagine they can find another individual to ->> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: -- to redo it. It's -- it's a shame, but I've -- well,
I think some day it will happen. It -- it's ->> Don Larson: Yeah, well, it'll -- if -- if they continue to desecrate
it the way they are ->> Corky Normart: Ignoring the problems, yeah.
>> Don Larson: -- and ignoring the problems, it will end up being in need
of restoration again.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah. Yeah.
>> Don Larson: And then -- and then -- they would -- if we don't take
care of these things, they -- they deteriorate.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: Well, I know the engineers, Stuart Goodchild from
London, who was on that original project when they restored it the first
-- repaired it from the -- the fire and the -- the shelling the first
time. A shell hit it and that's where the fire started. He said -- and

they wrapped everything in steel. He says if that whole building came
down in an earthquake, the dome would remain intact.
>> Don Larson: Wow.
>> Corky Normart: It would be still a dome shape. But I also heard that
there's someone in -- in England, some architect in England, who is
concerned about the -- the stones at the top of the drum, right below the
>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: He says they're -- you know, they're ancient, they're
old, they're loose. He says if we an earthquake, they can have real, real
>> Don Larson: Right, and there's every possibility of a major
>> Corky Normart: Always, there.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: I mean ->> Don Larson: Well, there's a possibility everywhere, but there is a
record of earthquakes in that area.
>> Corky Normart: Oh, yeah.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: Sure.
>> Don Larson: Yeah.
>> Corky Normart: So that's ->> Don Larson: That's all part of what you have to deal with.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: Well, looking back over the years, would you -- would you
consider this one of the major projects that you've done or worked on in
your experience as an artist?
>> Corky Normart: Everything else is downhill.
>> Don Larson: You started at the top with the dome.
>> Corky Normart: I had -- I had -- no, there's -- what else could you
do? I mean this is the -- the most significant spot in the Christian

>> Don Larson: Right.
>> Corky Normart: And -- and to have a hand in that was very satisfying,
but no, I couldn't do anything bigger or better than that.
>> Don Larson: Well, it's a -- you know, it's really neat that you've
done it and -- and I -- I've always been very impressed with it and the
fact that it came out as beautifully as it did and as successful as it
has been, and I think it's a -- certainly a credit to what your abilities
and talents are, and it's a -- and it -- it -- it's a -- it's, in a
sense, a kind of gift that you've given all of us in what you have done,
and I would hope that they will take care of it so that people in a few
generations can enjoy it.
>> Corky Normart: Hope that ->> Don Larson: Anything you'd like to add for us?
>> Corky Normart: No, that's -- that's -- that's it. I mean that -- that
was -- it's done and it sounds like it -- it didn't come out exactly the
way I planned, but that wasn't -- there's nothing I can do about it. It's
-- and I've got a painting that I've got in the studio that I'm working
on, and that's my immediate concern right now, so.
>> Don Larson: But it is amazing to think that, well hundreds of years
have gone by and things have not been done, and then all of a sudden, at
this moment in time, it falls together ->> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: -- and you were the -- the right person at the right place
at the right time, and -- and with the right contacts and -- or -- or the
people who were trying to do something had you as a contact who could
execute this.
>> Corky Normart: Yeah, Brother Donald, Donald Mansir, Christian brother,
was really -- it's his project. He -- he was -- he put it together. He
made it happen. I was ->> Don Larson: But they say nothing happens in Fresno. [Laughter] It's
>> Corky Normart: Yeah.
>> Don Larson: And I think this is one of those significant
accomplishments that this community can look at and say what a great
thing to have been a part of that through you and the work that you did.
>> Corky Normart: Well, thank you very much.
>> Don Larson: Thank you.

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