Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bob Camblin

The Professor's friend Bob Camblin died Sunday morning December 3rd. He came to Houston to teach at Rice the year after ther Professor was hired. They became fast friends and shared studios for many years . The Professor learned how  to draw and paint  from Bob.
 Bob was a gregarious story teller.He could entertain for hours as can be seen in the above picture . Bob showed his paintings and drawings at the David Gallery and the Moody Gallery. Then he dropprd out. In the 80s he and his wife Nancy and moved to the Oregon coast and then to the New Orleans suburb of La Place. His friends in Houston never heard from him again
In the 60's and 70's Bob and The Professor shared a studio off Montrose which they called B and E Productions and organized shows such as the Tatoo Show at David gallery (before Tatoos were a fashion statement). The Professor was let go from Rice. The Menils moved to Rice,The Professor moved to St. Thomas to begin the studio Art Department with Jack Boynton and Pat Colville . Joe Tate was hired to replace The Professor. The chair at Rice John O'Neil had a wonderful capacity for hiring teachers with whom he could not get along. John was a disiplined painter and teacher and he hired The Professor and Bob and Joe who were the exact opposite. The Professor and Bob and Joe teamed up as the Holding Firm and rented a house a block south of Alabama behind what is now the Blue Bird Circle store  and proceeded to knock down walls and build a second story deck with a third story tower and then a enclosing wall...all without a permit.
Collaborative drawings and paintings were  weekly lessons then collaborative shows at The U. of St. Thomas. Joe Tate's Backyard and The Camping Show were outstanding examples. Ideas...painting, drawing and  objects devoured us. The Professor has  home movies  on a DVD of many these events .The Professor thanks the Bascilian Fathers of St. Thomas for their endulgance. He was chair at ST. Thomas but Bob and Joe  became ever more divorced from teaching and were always in conflict at Rice...finally leaving teaching.  The Professor hired Joe at St. Thomas and within a year had to let him go and in 1974 the Holding Firm broke up. The Professor moved to his own studio on Peveto and then after his divorce to a house on Hickory and had no contact with them. Joe moved back to California  and Bob moved to a small studio in Waugh Drive. Bob was now divorced and several meaningful romances left him broken hearted.The Professor connected again and we began our friendship on a  less intense level. His small place was a treasure tableau of the curious and outragous that he had collected or traded was as entering a wizard's den. The Professor knows of no photos recording that space.There Bob produced wondrous work and entertained those who came by. Bob owned a Mr. Peanut costume/shell in which he often portrayed himself; signing many works Mr. Peanut and finally Anonymous..Then he stopped...selling or giving all the  treasure away. He met Nancy and they move to Oregon and then to Louisiana and we saw him no more. He did come back for a quick visit a to see Joe (who had returned) before he died. Bob was uncomfortable back in Houston and with his old friends who wanted to Know...and slippery as Bob was he quickly disappeared. We never heard from him except via proxies and we know nothing of his life or work. Recently his supporters in Houston tried to organize a show of his work at a Houston Museum to no avail. After his stroke there was a show of his work at a frame shop to gather funds for his and Nancy's support. There must be treasures in his estate.
It has been so many years that we have missed his presense. He is forever with The Professor as a friend and teacher.