Remembering the Legacy of a Larger-Than-Life Artist, Sam Tchakalian

 When Sam Tchakalian — a longtime faculty member at the San Francisco Art Institute — died in 2004, a memorial gathering was held in Studio 13, his former classroom. “They had to open Studio 14 and the adjoining rooms to hold all the people who came,” remembers Stephen Faulk, a former student. “The crowd flowed out into the courtyard.” Such a turnout was a fitting tribute to a teacher who had also been magnetic in life. Scott Greene, who studied with Tchakalian four decades ago, puts it this way: “He was a force of nature, or a cannonball barreling down the halls, and always with an entourage following him everywhere.” Yari Ostovany, one of Sam’s students, remembers another teacher describing Sam as having “the mind of a philosopher and the mouth of a sailor.”