From 1999 to 2009, Dolphin Paper occupied one of the largest store fronts in the Murphy Arts Center - an important business in a building that is now a linchpin of the Fountain Square Cultural District. Though Dolphin Papers was founded in 1980, it occupied a few different locations before coming to the area - and Ed Funk joined the Dolphin team in 1984 and purchased the business in 1996. The store moved to Franklin, IN in 2009, but remained a valuable resource - just one that was a bit of a drive away. A large part of its value was Ed Funk himself.
Ed Funk, who born in 1953 and passed away recently, was more than just a source of supplies for local artists. He was enthusiastic about art, knowledgeable about techniques and supportive of emerging talents. In honor of his impact, we have gathered remembrances. Please feel free to leave your own reflections in the comments below.
Justin Cooper, Artist
Ed Funk encouraged the will to create with conviction. No second guessing - in his view, freedom and space are yours for the taking if you go without fear of the unknown.
Matthew Eickhoff, Artist and Former Dolphin Paper Employee
Ed was a very generous artist and business owner. It didn't matter if he knew you for 5 years or 5 minutes, you would walk away with a story, a painting, or some random art supply he had laying around. He was extremely knowledgeable on everything in the arts, from rare artist biographies to techniques he used in photography, lithography, painting, drawing, woodblocks, collage and watercolor. Ed was a voracious reader, consuming several novels and other sci-fi literature in just a week.
Kipp Normand, Artist
My earliest memory of Ed Funk is from a little more than 10 years ago when I worked as an architectural reviewer for the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. At that time Ed and Phil Campbell owned the Murphy Building in Fountain Square, which is a protected historic district. I met with Ed to talk about his plans for the building and to check on his progress with the storefront that eventually became Dolphin Paper. After he opened his store I went to see him frequently because I had started to think about making collages and experimenting with mixed media. Ed knew my background was in history and that I had no training in art. He never asked why I wanted to try this new thing. In his own matter of fact way he simply gave me advice on materials to use and artists to study as if it was all no big deal and that every human should have some sort of creative outlet. I have always appreciated that way of his - like he might answer the question "Why do you make art?" by saying "Why wouldn't you?"
Wug Laku, Artist, former owner of wUG LAKU'S STUDIO & gARAGE
Ed was a great guy, a talented and thoughtful artist, and offered me and countless others continual encouragement throughout our careers. One of the originals at the Faris building, and, along with Phil Campbell, the founder of the Murphy Building, he was instrumental to our community. When he first became involved with Dolphin Papers, they were located at the Circle City Industrial Complex, and Ed and Dolphin's good vibes stayed after they left. It was a big reason why I moved there in 2007. I do remember when I first started out, having no schooling, I didn't know anyone in the art community. Needing paper, of course I ended up at Dolphin. Ed told me who I should meet, whose work I should check out, what galleries to visit. Then he invited me to visit him at his studio in the Faris building. I went, and he started pulling his work out of his flat file drawers, and it just blew me away. The prints, the drawings (the drawings!), the paintings. It opened my Hoosier school painter eyes to the possibilities, and I never looked back.
Michelle Pemberton, Photojournalist with The Indianapolis Star
As a student at Herron, Ed and Dolphin Papers were a wonderful resource for advice about anything and everything [related to] art in Indianapolis. His work with the Murphy building helped to lay the groundwork and to build First Fridays in to the vibrant scene it has become today. An as a member of the arts community here in the city I will always be grateful.