We’ve Lost One of Our Own
Sadly, at a testing facility whose tag line is “Nothing is Real,” we were recently faced with a brutal moment of reality. John Weir – a.k.a. Johnny Franchise – a.k.a. the Acid Squid (Swellco & Swellco 11283d) - unexpectedly passed away late Wednesday night. He left behind a beautiful daughter, a grieving girlfriend and a whole lot of friends and family in mourning.
John was one of the very first staff members to sign on with Swellco & Swellco’s Philadelphia-based subsidiary and was one of the most valued members of the Video Circus. I considered The Squid an integral part of the project and a dear confidant. He regularly appeared in the test videos, photo shoots, wrote for the blog and photographed events for the company. He was slated to be one of the hosts for the full-length Video Circus Talk Show Dance Party scheduled to film in late October. He was supposed to be one of the staff members interviewed for our recent Philadelphia City Paper cover story but was unable to make the interview due to time conflicts with his job. Losing the Squid is a major loss for the company and those who knew him.
Creativity oozed out of John’s pores. He was an accomplished piercer and body modifier. He was an established DJ. He was a natural born photographer and writer. He also had one of the sharpest wits I have ever encountered. I personally found myself always a little jealous of John. He was one of those rare people that always made things seem easy. His taste in art, his taste in clothes, his amazingly entertaining Tweets (motherfucker was obsessed with Tweeting and it drove me nuts), his blog entry choices and aesthetics, the way he decorated his bathroom, his video collection, his choices in music, everything- was ALWAYS spot-on. I found myself constantly influenced by him. The rat bastard made me want to drink Budwieser.
John loved appearing in the skit-oriented videos (the stranger, the better for him). But I began favoring the “staff meeting” clips the most. I found him so entertaining… just he and I sitting down in his kitchen, drinking beer and talking made for the best material. For hours, after the the tape ran out, we would continue our banter and joke with each other. I loved and looked forward to those shoots the most.
We were faced with a choice regarding John’s untimely passing. Sitting in our blog que is a photo shoot entry that was waiting for him to write. Two video clips featuring him are still un-edited as well as a dozen written entries. At first it felt too strange to continue to post words or to posthumously feature video of someone no longer here. But John was a creative talent that was really just starting to shine. We feel his work deserves to be seen, the now limited insights from him known. We will continue to feature the work we have of John’s as well as feature some of his own personal photography. It’s just too good to be forgotten.
We are going to suspend blog entries on the site for a few days while we mourn his passing. In the meantime we are going to share some great portraits of him and what i think is his best video clip with Swellco & Swellco.
Also check out his site to get some insight into this brilliant man.
The Acid Squid Photo Journal