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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

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 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
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
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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