thumbnail of Swank in The Arts; 121; Octavio Medellin, sculptor
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
says a salads ft oh yeah
blank it's over thirty years since i wrote a story for the dallas morning news about a mexican american sculptor who is making plastic casts from north american aviation during world war two later i did the story when his would figure behind win duck tuck awarded the allied arts exhibition at the dallas museum of fine art's it seems that i have always known not pabulum at the years may pass between our visits but he was here working teaching and making art he got other words newspaper notice was pleasant talented students delighted and inspired him that these were the passing picnics in the real stream of his life his work and stone clay and madeline word in class two others who know i have you're making the car with me this evening janet kuttner is the art critic for the dallas morning news and roy williams a young sculptor is making student so that you may know mating i want you see a film that we
did early in the series made possible by mr lizza south of medicine the menace foundation based in his jaunty marcussen and an anonymous foundation them the been about eleven years old when i first start carving and so are you going to sell wherever they are growing abroad or reviving lost their health care nurse christine christine christine lagarde or meaningless morning mexico the son of a mining man who worked in the mountains the family came to san antonio when he was a small boy know his formal education had to stop after the death of his father the carving the kind of casting call that would be his true vocation soon begin and never start
his career crewe and pretentiously but steadily his sculpture was exhibited in the east included books on american artists and there is a repository of his working papers university syracuse sometimes he saw his subjects realistically sometimes family in the abstract he is equally at home in many media sculpture play those plans major commission for the city of taoist is soon to join the body of his work most of which is to be seen in north texas inside and outside of churches and synagogues schools offices and homes maintain here in nineteen thirty eight to work and teach first to north texas state university and then at the dallas museum of fine arts and for some time now in his own studio and skilled at the oak cliff creative arts center
when i teach my students you know people it comes the prize is the first thing that i mentioned to them did acknowledge of material is is they are and you must know it and if you go they ain't size of it you know if i know what you would do with that meeting is not only the medium bit counts you also if you do i don't do it then you having a fight because the army going to take into these forces that the rest of faith and now i think let it through the airline also offer you have to come up into here see you see this is deviating from a muppet from the aviation you have in mind if you elevate this then you have the harmony of a long four you never get at the of this weeklong see the spot to bring it up and you know and
then you know a long form and that gives you that feeling of a long going to want to go in there the pacific and nixon declared by hand or else i don't want to neglect is not until you learn how to mix play then you learn to do build play and then you learn to do other things because when you do play you learn form and space and you didn't get the conscience of all that in sculpture many pieces many forms scene a design is very cool very hard and difficult not yet struck few have enough you have to believe that when you're dealing with a call for a sort of a lot of heat for someone says that nothing there for them against default
was it and it wasn't going anywhere and i'm not a professional teacher because i never had a degree an academic think your future for your mating had been married for more than forty years and live still in the house not long ago because it's three car garage to become his studio their three children are grown and gone from
home now but they were babies in nineteen thirty eight when the whole family travel to yucatan to live for three months among the indians in the ruins of cheney side even in nineteen forty seven when the drawings he made there were published in book form by the dallas museum of fine arts the world at large was generally unaware of the full importance of their earliest american culture but the effect on marrying of the first direct connection with his pre colombian heritage it was tremendously powerful hitchens law was a great impact to me when you first landed there the first night i went at midnight and the opera and the top of the mountain of the ruling one that highest ruling which is a temple quick would come and they look to me like they were made out of silver with it some shop in the moon shining on them was beautiful so it i decided i would spar
during day designs there were they are copying them i didn't do them except in scale i just drew them with black and white drawings but pencil and it took me most because the first day they can look at the carvings you don't see what was there only sees a clock in a row shame on the rock but then when the song moves around it then you begin to see the designs of the carvings that was the second thing i demanded start to move into to see what he could do for my work is as a sculptor and i started to study the carvings and trying to get back into it vague did what was behind him why the big man behind each hieroglyphic inscription was there with steel i believe in the
modern world is a sculptor and i keep that heritage that i can't deny the fact that there's they're behind me not neither do i want a copy of it i don't want to be any retailer of them might yell what they all mac or the top opec or any of them but it would be a d give me every age understanding of designing because that's what i was after trying to reduce its kuhn to me that taught me by many just simply making those drawings that i did that skilling had its effect on the entire city in another way in nineteen fifty two jerry bowers been director of the dallas museum of fine art bought these four objects from an acquaintance of making and so began a collection of pre colombian art that would be expanded by further purchase and generous gifts
to become one of the most distinguished in the country it just to me seems like it with nature that drove me into it because the league and the mountains for many years the information is all right the gao the minute thirty minute that i used is going to go on through the rocks to find there's beauty and color i wore clothing you know i have respect for each want the same as he will play it he has never lost that openness comedian and to change auto workers to express determines his design and his material not even the commission for the new dallas at all significant and gratifying as it is
altars that direct and intuitive approach when i was asked about this project that important project it out went to the site the new city hall and course i was very impressed by it i had to be a prince ii designed to steal more of the project of the civil war and then i started to play or feel the space together with the impression that was made the architectural made me so that became into one thing which was the sign that i developed say and is has sunk to do with the lid and bury of dollars the growth the growing embracing which is the metro blacks you might say that when he says well i have what i call this thing the metroplex
ibm's bargain by using lawyers and khamenei you're liars and then i start to forget her because if you made the study of the plaster you have to develop it into the final word we just they lay and this is the first challenge that you have the second challenge is to do the enlarging of them not so you actually take this levin says she fled and you begin to be at home inside and outside
but i feel i come renewed something a mutiny say there is something that i've been expected at all singing no i'm not going to be satisfied i do that this he says because the city will lease was commissioned for the lobby space on which it was planned also to record names of members that passed city council is when many teens concept proved too large to accommodate those lists he was offered space elsewhere in the building but many felt that his work was designed for that wall and he said no janet there dallas
sculptors who have had more exposure and coverage with an attorney i'm eighteen and there are others who have had less on balance what you think it means to the city to have such a man living and working here i think maybe more than anything else it lends a sense of stability to the community and to the art community in particular but always there's so much more alive than just the bustle of our terms and an artist named reflects that in no way that anybody who works that something else can ride out any way mean that an artist like a condo has not spent his life working very hard honestly years but there's a sense of inspiration from someone who works on art it does lend a dimension to life that we'll have in the business community for example do you think that that's because we think of art as something outside everyday activity or because we put some serve special aura around it well i don't know that i think we did put a false special
r and r week we go with the current times and we accept whatever the fed is but that kind of special are is not the stable kind and taught me that you're giving your life to art in a different kind of thing it really is almost gone i think the spiritual kind of experience in many ways it deserves a special aura i don't think we put it there i think someone has to feel it to make art but right where the white is the curve you touch your life and beyond your teacher student relationship work this is hard to see this you know who had to put a thing like derek own it i think it's overactive things that you do is not want to say for instance when he's telling you something to do to close a loan work for this has been a funny and you know to
undoing isn't good advice about though st paul is saying we need to quit how does he teach how did you learn from him well both marked it it makes it and really makes it easy and that is he's so jolly you know in his teaching that when the tears the pain so to do things he couldn't count song little long wait and that really makes it it is just easier to learn from such as disease you did india india distraught caught do the tonys too indian those price of the loaf of going to find this avoiding in the state you better do this right in the us that do this will be right he doesn't tell you what to do in a sense of what can they
build it in that would do that you know in the usual i use the leaves you wide openness was that feels he cannot forgive me an idea by the same thing that you know sailors do this particular that he don't which to topping that in business and i think what should be reassuring own ideas i wonder sometimes not tap your his head a considerable amount of exposure i mean he is an artist who's known three widely over the country but he is not the kind of man who is aggressive in his own exposure how much do you think this has to do with an artists' career with the success is is what we had a we define his career is his career his life or is it his public except it's wood what i'm saying is that we define success well i don't think
i've i think i know a fair number of artists and i don't think that they define success the real artist's by either in monetary success are social success are public awareness of what they're doing so much as a sense of satisfaction with what they've done with a certain period of time of their lives so maybe work placing falls values on it maybe and maybe one of the strongest thing someone like rock audio represents is the ability of a man to devote his life to art regardless a recognition at the times when he received recognition and continuing during the sort of lean years when there was less recognition certainly he's watched a lot of passing as are trends go his way go by hand and not given way to changing his own style changing his own pattern of lynne cheney's own convictions
about what he's doing so to me i think maybe that's one thing that i have that a true or is callender community is this kind of feeling that yes society changes and we should be aware of that and sensitive to it we don't necessarily value someone on the basis of what happens today takes a longer period of time before you can devote your life to something maybe it takes periods in decades are to be analyzed not periods of six months which is i think more the current trend that way at the wavelengths are getting shorter all the time i think that he doesn't need to look for old special type of recognition definitely not think he really gets most of his satisfaction out of safe as we do the piece in and he says that you know he contends that come out exactly like i wanted to i think one thing that it's a
little disillusioned about being an artist and doubts is that it does take so long to be valued at five there's there's so many artists are in their forties early fifties really have already devoted their part of their lives to be an artist in dallas and i think they would probably look at as talking hand and question how much does the community value my being there i'm not sure that that you have to be almost an elder statesman tight like our time you before you get proper this is to be a recognition here well what's going to i start to say what's going to change that and i'm not sure that's a that's a fair question but what changes do there have to be is it's a matter of more schooling is this a matter of a home broader public understanding that seems to me to have been true a song is almost as long as i can remember well i think one thing that happens here is that
artists are are grouped as a special entity and not really they they're not brought into the general society decided i think maybe is to allow communities they're separated and for example very often and invited to a party at which local artists of here as guests because there's a visiting our history that a tan is the guest of honor but no one would think to invite one of these arias over to dinner just to have a conversation i don't know whether people are intimidated by harrison feel as though they don't know what the top of that or whether they feel as though their social inferior is an end not an actor and i can't say that people have an idea about art is that most us it's all there they're not right on their land with you know the regular people you know if you know artists you can't you will hear on the left a instead but one
one particular thing that i think the community who have the boxes that time and the images all the vote today a particular painter sculptor and the community more lists at raised him because of their art as though they don't really get out in the experiment because they won't spend that energy weren't getting in doing it i will lose that way i know four or five that i could name on one hand of people who hit a level and then say well there there's no there's nothing more for me hearing in new york and they go to the coast to get here we are it seems to me as though those people move on for several reasons one reason is they may have reached the point in their careers where they really do not get proper exposure and downs there's not a very good gallery situation and there's not a particularly lively
situation and showing young art are growing artists in any situation here so there is a reason we won the un certain point on some say that that they become too comfortable living here that it's too easy you know that that that they need to struggle a big city is adding the competition more people more artists beginnings maybe being more uncomfortable physically uncomfortable to really urban coyote fight that you have in europe say you're in chicago or our los angels whatever where you where god you just don't settle in and finish your work day at five o'clock in the afternoon have a beer in i talk to friends i wonder how we ever are going to now we will know from people like you we will know from a few other people the whole areas where artists like the cameo who is of mexican american heritage but who regards himself
as an absolute singular i'm actually is his nationality is an artist he is the most single one of the single minded people but i have ever known in terms of apaches community relates to him i suppose where extraordinarily been blessed and having ham and a few others made me not so feel like it there's one of these various says he doesn't separate part in the things that if you apart says the law and oxygen that's seyi legg mason had one of his thick glasses as the swan he teaches than that visit me and my creative juices you know i try not to be particularly when i thought oh what have upset
over actor as he he have talking more this in a hot to always now works that way the true believer next more true believers thank you janet for coming thank you write for being here this is manning's head of christ cast in bronze sal says in but the
wrong and thank you for joining us to talk about this singular man i'll be back next week good night for sally sally in and they
Swank in The Arts
Episode Number
Octavio Medellin, sculptor
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
KERA (Dallas, Texas)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-8d81106dbc5).
Episode Description
The sculptor Octavio Medellin is profiled through interviews and those who know him.
Series Description
Fine Arts themed news magazine program.
Series Description
“Swank in the Arts” was KERA’s weekly in-depth arts television program.
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Fine Arts
fine Arts; Sculptor, Octavio Medellin
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Director: Parr, Dan
Executive Producer: Howard, Brice
Host: Swank, Patsy
Interviewee: Medellin, Octavio
Interviewee: Kutner, Janet
Interviewee: Williams, Roy
Producer: Swank, Patsy
Producing Organization: KERA
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: cpb-aacip-0c3d8edddd0 (Filename)
Format: 2 inch videotape: Quadruplex
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Swank in The Arts; 121; Octavio Medellin, sculptor,” 1978-08-16, KERA, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2022,
MLA: “Swank in The Arts; 121; Octavio Medellin, sculptor.” 1978-08-16. KERA, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Swank in The Arts; 121; Octavio Medellin, sculptor. Boston, MA: KERA, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from