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First [I went to] Colorado A&M, which is Colorado State in Fort Collins. I was on my way to Montana to become a smoke jumper—and I stopped to go to college. Anyway, I enrolled in forestry because I thought that was related. During those days you didn’t take tests to go to college. I just showed up at college and said, “I want to go to school.” The GI bill would pay for it and they were happy to get the money. A friend of mine there said, “I’m going to Los Angeles to become an art student,” and I said, “That really sounds good—I’ll go with you.” And that’s where I became an artist. I went to the Art Center school in Los Angeles and enrolled there, but it was such an advanced school I thought I was in the wrong place. Then I went to Pasadena City College and decided I’d better come back and get the basic training, so I came back to Texas in 1948 and went to Baylor University for two years in art. Jim Love and Roy Fridge were there at the same time, both of them in theater, and I knew who they were, but we weren’t friends at that time.

I was a painting major at Baylor and I stayed for two years, then the Korean War came along and I volunteered for the second time to go to Korea because I hadn’t gotten it out of my system. I was in that late group of people that had been primed to go to war for four years. I got in the war—in fact we were going to jump on the mainland of Japan—and I was in San Francisco waiting to go when the atomic bomb was dropped. So I went to Korea and got it out of my system. That’s when I came back in ’51 to go to the University of Oklahoma, and met my wife. She was an art major, too. Then we came to Houston in 1953.

My brother lived in town, and Houston was a big city. An artist has to have a city to survive in. Houston wasn’t even a million people at the time and the art community was very small. You knew everyone and it was very nice in Houston at that time. My life was a series of coincidences.

A style unfolds

I had determined in graduate school to find out who I was, and I tried everything that I knew belonged to someone else: a form, a color…all these I rejected. Then I realized, of course, that there are symbols and signs and certain things that have a deep history, and so I accepted certain shapes and forms later. I worked in wood and metal and paint and everything in those days. But I was very fortunate in the galleries that I was in that they used everything no matter how strange it was, you know. And I would work for six months in wood, then I would switch into welding and at the same time Jim Love was going to junkyards, I went to junkyards. We talked about that: where the best junkyards were.

When I first started as a painter, undergraduate, I was unhappy with the surface. I wanted to go below the surface thing, so I was punching a hole in the canvas and trying to build out. So I invented something like a liquid metal which would build up on the surface. And then about that time epoxies were invented that would hold, actually hold sheet metal onto a surface.

I started with board. And I could glue it and it would stay. [I started] with junkyards and with industrial-type things. I could glue metal to [the board]with epoxy…putting metal, found pieces of metal, to a wooden surface and that started the whole thing. Then I became allergic after about ten years, and I started getting a rash every time I worked in the studio, so I had to change. Then I got more sophisticated, [buying] new metal—sheet metal—that I cut, grinding and polishing it. I’ve always like rocks, too—natural rocks. So I picked up rocks for years, then I started being able to cut rocks and polish them, adding colors and various textures and things. So it just evolved over the years.

New approaches

To tell you the truth, the art scene has changed so much that I don’t understand a lot of the things that are going on now. And so many things are going digital, too. There are actually more good artists right now, today, than there were. Things that were done in the 50s that were shown in the Houston Museum [of Fine Arts] couldn’t even get in now because the quality is not there. There are some wonderful artists in every place. I love Julia Speed in Austin, her paintings—and then Roller Wilson’s a fantastic artist. It would be hard to say, you know, I have a feeling that so much is going digital now—the emphasis is on digital things and I know so very little about [that]. I started getting some of the programs—three-dimensional things on the computer—and I’m trying to learn this. I’m going back and forth in the studio, saying, “I’m going to do this,” or “I’m going to build watercolors which I know I can do.” And I’ll do those things. I’ll use the skills that I have and try to do what I want to do. And of course, I’ve used that philosophy all through my career, trying to develop something that is me.

Charles Pebworth was interviewed on June 12, 2006. You can listen to the interview here .

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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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