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Interview with Annie Moore, conducted by Sarah C. Reynolds.

Childhood dreams

I knew I was an artist from a small child. Daydream and night…go to sleep creating, get up in the morning and draw in the sand with a brush or a rake and paint the windows when they were wet or frosted in the wintertime. So I knew I was an artist from the beginning. I came to school to Texas Southern after graduating from high school, knowing that I wanted to be an artist. But I came with some trepidation and fear because I came from a small town (Beckville, in East Texas) and a small school, and here I found myself among graduates from larger high schools who had studied art already.

Mama played guitar too!

By Annie Moore. Pastel on board. Courtesy of the artist.

New in town

I came [to Texas Southern University] in 1956. And I found myself having to do a lot of catch-up at the same time trying to maintain myself. This is one of the things you’re taught. So coming from a small town—whatever you do—you go off to the big city but maintain yourself. I came here and found myself during the middle of the struggle…of the civil rights movement…so I found a niche for myself to paint and to draw and not get caught up into some things those others were. But I did not really find myself having anything that I really wanted to speak and say. This was formulated much, much later.

What I remember is just being so amazed. I said, “My—I am a part of Houston now. This is where my roots are.” We were not allowed off campus (I lived in the dormitory as a freshman) except in groups. We’d go downtown and go shopping—window shopping, really—and just looking around in groups. I’d just look up at the tall buildings. I guess they could tell we were new, and probably from the country. So mine was a learning experience for me, more or less about life and my position and where I stand, rather than the promotion of my art at the time.

I would say I was a good all-around student, and I had a whole lot of encouragement. I even received a scholarship, and it was for my being a good all-around student. My art grades were good, but I held me back. [Dr. John Biggers] helped me with the scholarship. You know we considered him somewhat like our father—and his wife, she was the same way. [If]she found out any of us [was] in trouble with finances or anything, she’d let him know it. And he called me into his office and said, “Miss McClennan, it’s a good thing you were a good student. You got a guardian angel.” So he told me about a scholarship, and this was after I had to take a break and go home because my father was ill. So I came back and he had a scholarship for me.

Portrait of Annie and Willie Moore from 2003 TSU Museum exhibition. Photograph by Maya Imani Watson.

Roots and threads

I would say I’ve been an educator. I’m very concerned about communication between generations, and I know that I am of a generation even in art that is passing away, and I feel that I must leave some of what influenced me to explain to those today who might not realize it, what and who they are. So I like to bring out a bit of our past, a bit of our history into it, and especially women—because I was so influenced towards education by my mother. She said, “I didn’t get it, but I want every one of you to go [to school],” and that’s the way the women were in East Texas where I grew up. The men were very supportive. They worked hard. They cut logs. They did pulp wood. Whatever it took to send us to school. So I see the need to communicate to [the next generation]that we know they have a struggle today, too, but I want you to know that you are because we were. And we were because they were.

My mother died at about 96 years old. I still remember her words and she was still encouraging me. You must walk—but you must crawl before you walk. And she was always encouraging, so I feel this way about my artwork even though I’m just really being productive much later. But the ideal [that] is instilled is don’t stop—you just get up and walk again.

The power of story

A lot of [my art] is based on folk tale, folklore coming from my particular area. I grew up in East Texas where there was a great fear of bears and other things that roamed the woods because we lived in a somewhat wild area. So there were many folk tales. There was always this fish you couldn’t catch. He was so wily…so smart that he could outsmart everybody around. Nobody could catch him. I want [stories like these]to bridge the gap of communication with the younger people. I want them to know what it was like when we grew up. I want them to know that we had our moments of excitement and these things were really new and just as thrilling to us as their video games might be to them. But I want it to be a teaching experience and I hope that I have not written out the fun part, because I like to explain things that they have a disconnect with today.

A hole in art

There’s one very important thing that I’d like to leave for artists coming along today because I do respect them so very much. And a lot of their work I’m just in love with, but I went through what we call “a hole in art.” There for each one of us, for each generation, is a hole we must go through. This is a term that we learned in school, especially from Dr. Biggers. He says we’re all being led deeper into the labyrinth of our minds. We must not be afraid to seek the answer for this pull and this struggle for our mind’s attention. Fear and trepidation in the realm of uncertainty for an artist can be a very scary thing—and it could be a very dangerous thing, but it must not be. We must not be afraid to explore. Others feel the same way, but have not the expression given to the artist. So don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.

Annie Moore was interviewed on June 14, 2006. Listen to the interview here .

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Houston reflections: art in the city, 1950s, 60s and 70s. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10526/1.2
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