Chinn, John 2001-04-18

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General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: John Chinn

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: April 18, 2001


Interviewer: Leslie Dutton

Length: 00:46:20


Background, Grew up in Colorado City, Parents moved to Colorado City when Chinn was 4, Father was a doctor, Chinn did Karate for about 4 or 5 years, Chinn lived in Colorado until he left for college at 18, Went to A&I for a year, Moved to Tech to take art, Received a degree in 1976, Dropped out of graduate school in the 70s, Married in 1972 divorced in 1986, One son aged 23, Ex Wife died in 2001, Angela and Chinn have been together since 1992, About Chinn’s name, Chinn is not of any Asian decent, The name is a Welch or Scottish name, Traced family back to Texas up until 1850 George Chin who was a Texas Ranger in Uvalde, Uvalde is where Chinn’s family is from, Family from Uvalde was originally from Tennessee, Received a phone call and was informed that a Chyn got off a boat in Virginia in 17th century and migrated form there, Various different spellings and similar names like Shinn, A Chinn teaches music at Texas Tech, Name makes him more interested in Oriental things, Early Influences, There wasn’t a lot of artistic ability in Chinn’s family, Always liked to draw, Always in trouble for drawing in school, Rocket ships, airplanes, tanks, Realistic drawing, In the 60s he got into the psychedelic art, Abstract drawing in college, Tried to get a degree in advertising art, 1971 almost flunked out of advertising art, Started clay work and studio work, Never disciplined in art until he was much older, Two artists that influenced him the most at tech, Steve Reynolds, Ceramics teacher, Free, happy, crazy, anarchic spirit, Rebellious, Tweaked people intellectually, Funky art, When his father died he made a serious of sculptural art that were like open doors, Big dum dums with ties, Ceramic piece with ties, Creative, Hugh Gibbons, Got Chinn back into 2-D work, Strong Willed, Goofy personality, Ideas that got your imagination going, Studio Art, Black and white, Low humor, Deliberately stupid art, Current Works, Very tamed, Regionalism, Landscape, Pictures, George bush throwing up at the last supper, Coffee break: Jesus at the foot of the cross having a cup of coffee, “It was his job; he was just giving him a break”, Got a guard fired. She kept scream blasphemy, Show at City Place, His art has been thrown out of a few shows, Dallas morning news objected to anything showing nudity, Gave them the power to object to any art in the show, Censorship, Local art group took on Dick Army in 1991, Art Show, Nacogdoches, New York juror chose a portrait of a man making obscene gestures, Secular Saints, Won $500 dollar critics choice award, How Chinn comes up with ideas, Entertains himself, Raised strict Catholic, With Catholicism sin is something you think, Thought crime, Did things that he thought were absurd, To create a paradox or to offend, Religious art, Reading, Victor Frankel’s Mans search for meaning, Niche, Yungs’ Symbols, Clay works, Taught Cecily how to throw clay, Loved the hippie feel of clay, Liked making sculptural pots, Stuck pieces together to make bigger pieces, Liked larger objects, Liked throwing on the wheel, Very physical act, Decorations, Raku (firing process), Pottery Center, Was started by James, Started in 1979, Chinn went back to doing clay

Access Information

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Transcript: Transcript available in reading room

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