<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

A quiet catalyst

Jim Harithas came in the early 70s. He came in and said, “No—you guys are good, too. You guys are doing quality work here. There’s great work being done and you should step up to the plate and do it.” He was a tremendous catalyst. Particularly for myself, and then Surls and John Alexander. He made sure people saw the work and was always there hanging out with us and supportive. He was a great man. Whatever his faults were, God bless him, he did it.

He was such a great influence on all the arts in Houston, and he had his friends coming in. He’d bring in Norman Bluhm and younger artists. I was never a member of his posse; I was standoffish, too aloof for that. But these were great influences that he brought in.

Transitions

Bob Camblin and I were sharing a studio together off of Montrose near Richmond. We had a studio together, then Joe Tate [my replacement at Rice] showed up and he had a part of the studio. Then we rented a big place down the street from St. Thomas on Sul Ross, and we took it over as a collaborative studio. We were hanging out there and conversing and talking constantly. We taught ourselves. Camblin actually taught me how to paint. He taught me the rules by watching him, and he and Joe and I worked together on projects and ideas and shows at St. Thomas, and whatever happened there.

Of course, our marriages broke up within a few years and I had to leave that group for survival. So I moved out into my own studio—I rented the bottom floor of a building and eventually in the next couple of years while I was getting a divorce I had the whole building. It was there I began to do my myths, my story-making, about my life. I said to myself I wasn’t going to do art anymore, I was simply going to tell stories in the most dramatic or outrageous way. Then I started just letting it go on canvas, and I had a lot of anguish to deal with at that time that all came out on these very large canvases.

A woman [from the Whitney Museum] named Heidi Solomon showed up in Houston and somehow she had heard about me either through Fredericka Hunter or Jim Harithas. She came to the studio and saw the works I was doing, then she took the word back to the Whitney. That’s when the Whitney chose me to be in the 1974 Biennial. I remember the day I heard about it…it was very exciting and I had nobody to tell. I had lost my wife and I had left Camblin and Tate, and I couldn’t tell them. I was just like, “I’m in the Whitney. Whoa.” Now, the Whitney is a career-maker. It wasn’t the big deal then that it is now. I know the Whitney showed up at my door about the year I was getting a divorce, the lowest period. Harithas showed up. All of this showed up.

Rice Art Department, 1955. Left to right: Sandy Haven, David Parsons, Katherine Brown, John O'Neill, Early Staley, and James H. Chillman, Jr. Courtesy of The Menil Collection.

Advice to the next generation

If you have to do [art], if you absolutely have to do it—do it. But my idea is that you shouldn’t get involved in it because you will only be discouraged constantly. I’ve been teaching more or less 40 years. I did have a ten-year span of time when I wasn’t teaching full-time, but I’ve been back at it now for 15 years at a community college. For anybody who is an art major, 99.9% will not go on past school, either undergraduate or graduate school, because you can’t make a living at it. I say artists should be discouraged at all costs because the consequences are that you will end up at 50 [without]anything to fall back on. Of all the students I have had, I only know of four or five or six that are still practicing artists.

I was told to be a success in this you have to be very good, but you also have to be very lucky and very crafty. You have to know how to work the crowd. You have to go out and hustle your work. So if you’re not a good hustler, if you’re not a people person [who can] sell what you do, it’s not going to happen. But if there’s a spark in you that demands that you pick up a brush, if that’s you, stay in it. Do it. I do this to amuse myself. If it doesn’t amuse me, I ain’t going to do it. I’ll amuse myself so long with this, and then I’ll do something else.

I remember when I was in graduate school in Arkansas I was up there in my studio, painting away, and I knew there were four or five other graduate students, but they weren’t in there with me painting. So about the second week of school I walked over and there they were, in the faculty lounge having coffee. They were hanging out. What am I doing? I’m painting pictures. Crazy. I’m so tickled to death to be here just to be able to paint a picture…and they were over there having coffee.

So I never did like to schmooze or hang out. I’d rather be in the studio painting because that’s who I am. Consequently, here I am.

Earl Staley was interviewed on October 6, 2006. You can listen to the interview here .

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
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.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
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
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
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
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





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
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Houston reflections: art in the city, 1950s, 60s and 70s' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask