Archive for August, 2009

Carol Flueckiger Travels to Worcester, MA
(First in a series on summer faculty research)

Flueckiger Pages From History

Carol Flueckiger, Associate Professor in Art, was awarded a Creative Artist Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, a research library in Worcester, Massachusetts,  which houses collections from colonial times through the civil war and reconstruction. Her task was to gather imagery with the intent to blueprint vintage graphics and historic handwriting into paintings.

Flueckiger focused on handwritten letters from the first wave of feminism as it was born out of the abolitionist movement- Frederic Douglas and Harriet Beecher Stowe and more.  Her finds included vintage paper dolls like Eva and Topsy from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, dairies, and drawings of the era. Many of these papers were made from rags which were made of cotton. She, then investigated cotton which took her, of course, to Texas which caused her to explore vintage maps and her investigations just went on.

For her art, she used a process of cyanotype to blueprint historic imagery into oversize paintings. As she collected and digitized for her art, she found that this period of time was ripe with information and advice on how things should be done  and thought about from tobacco to religion to marriage and divorce. She found one article that even brought up ladies’ underwear entitled, “Corsets versus Brain.”


New Kilns Are A Welcome Sight for Ceramic Students and Faculty

img_12181New Gel kilns have been installed on the kiln yard-without mishap, too! Ceramics Associate Professors Juan Granados was relieved the walls were still standing. Associate Professor Von Venhuizen  and  he will start the year off with new equipment and a new facility since the move into the 3D Art Annex.  Granados and Venhuizen offer thanks to our Dean Carol Edwards and SoA Interim Director, Tina Fuentes, for the kilns.

Remembering a Mentor by Alan Colvin

Alan Colvin on Frank Cheatham a speech read at the Dallas Society of Visual Communications honoring Cheatham

The first time I saw Frank, he was introducing his mentor and friend, Louis Danziger, to a group of students in a lecture room at Texas Tech University. Frank was gracious and softspoken in his introduction, and clearly had the respect of this legendary designer. It was a couple of years later when Mr. Danziger returned to conduct a work session with our Design Communications class when we heard him tell stories of Frank’s skills as one of the finest students that Art Center ever had.

Frank Cheatham grew up on a South Texas ranch, but moved to Los Angeles to attend Art Center in the late fifties. In LA he met his wife, Jane, a student at Chouinard School of Art (a talented illustrator, artist and teacher in her own right). Frank and Jane made a great team. They were both great teachers, and generously offered opinions, advice and stories, as their home was almost always open to students outside of class.

One story Jane told was about how, in their school days, Frank had these beautiful western shirts from Texas that he would sell to an LA clothing store to get cash so he could buy supplies for art school. That story says a lot about what you should know about Frank-that he was passionate about making art and not interested in wrapping himself in superficial veneer. Frank was transparent-sincere and honest.

Frank had a great deal of success in Los Angeles in the sixties as a designer at the packaging and identity firm of Porter and Goodman. His brilliance was recongnized there and the firm soon changed its name to Porter, Goodman and Cheatham. During the LA years, Frank produced a lot of great work for big, visible brands. The work was strategically smart, highly creative and award winning-a balance not easily achieved in this business.

Alan Colvin, Partner in Cue, Brand Design Company (4th in Series on Communication Design Alumni)

“He made design a profession and a creative pursuit,” explains Alan Colvin, BFA in Design alancolvin-smallerCommunication 1982, while discussing his most influential professor and mentor, Frank Cheatham (SoA Professor of Art, Emeritus, 1973-1998 – now deceased).

Colvin is a partner in the prestigious Cue, a Brand Design Company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reminiscing about his days at Tech and how that time and those educators have impacted his business today brings up an outstanding pair of professors, Jane Cheatham, Associate Professor of Art, Emeritus, 1973-1998 – now deceased, and Professor Cheatham.

Colvin remembers a time when he had come to a crossroads in his college career. He had chosen to study architecture but he felt drawn to some design classes he had taken in his architectural degree plan. He talked to Mrs. Cheatham who had taught the design class and some of his other professors about his dilemma. She suggested Colvin talk to her husband, Frank- which he did.

Professor Cheatham suggested the young student attend a lecture by Louis Danziger, a renowned graphic designer of a half-century, and then, attend one of Cheatham’s classes. Colvin’s decision was made in favor of design communication, and Frank Cheatham became his first teacher and mentor.

“He was really a smart guy. What he was able to do was communicate. He just seemed to know how people would respond to imagery and design…He was charming, sometimes intimidating, but he was an effective teacher and able to gain your trust,” remembers Colvin. “It wasn’t uncommon for Cheatham to open his home to students to discuss their work. He had the personal power to motivate people.”

As a child growing up in Oklahoma and then, Dallas, Colvin was drawn to vintage signs, packaging and typography, and watching how his grandfather, a carpenter, and his mother, a seamstress, crafted things.

Founding Chair of Art Department Dies

Dr. Bill Lockhart, founding Chair of the Texas Tech Art Department in 1967, died on August 8, 2009 at the age of 83.


Terry Morrow and Tina Fuentes with Dr. Bill Lockhart photographed in 2007 during the 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Lockhart celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the School of Art in 2007 as the special guest of honor at the celebration where he was recognized for his singular legacy to the School of Art.  Dr. Lockhart, former Chair of the Applied Arts program, was primarily responsible for the formation of the new Department and served as Chairperson for nine years, from 1967 until 1976.

By the early 1970s, Lockhart was ready to expand the Art Department’s activities to the TTU Junction Center.  Lockhart Recruited students from all over the country to live and hone their artistic skills among Texas’ most appealing landscapes at Junction.  Within a few years word spread of the growing success at the campus in Junction which helped recruit artists to study in the Texas Tech System.

Ken Dixon, professor emeritus of art and former professor in Junction, recalls Lockhart’s curious fascination with kites.  “Lockhart along with Betty Street, created the international kite symposium,” Dixon said adding that some of Lockhart’s kites were as big as a car.  “Lockhart brought people from all over the  world who took an interest in kites.  People from India, Japan, Australia and all of the USA, would come to Junction to design and fly their kites.”  Lockhart became an international ambassador for the TTU School of Art as a kite enthusiast, but will be remembered for building the School of Art from the ground up.  Forty-two years later, Lockhart’s influence still draws a significant amount of attention to the program.