We had the good fortune of connecting with David Tripp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David , can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
Larry McMurtry, “Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen”. This book reminds us that we no longer live in an age of storytelling. It has been replaced by the information age. I acknowledge that as a child I grew up listening to my parents raised as tenant farmers sitting in living rooms sharing and laughing at stories from their upbringing. Now as a senior citizen, I realize that I have grown up in an information and data age that is bloodless and noneventful. Gossip and current events are a poor substitute for the personal stories and experiences I heard from my childhood. Now, as a watercolorist, I have decided to create a series titled Turvey’s Corner 63050, a town spun from stories from my own experience as well as stories shared by others and novels I have read throughout my life. Taking inspiration from the likes of Larry McMurtry, Garrison Keillor, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, Thornton Wilder, Sinclair Lewis and others, I am pulling together a collection of watercolors I’ve created illustrating small town life from the America of the 1950’s and spinning stories involving fictional characters to inhabit the paintings. Already I am experiencing an excellent response from Facebook and my blog and hope soon to expand into Instagram and Tumblr. Hank is my main character, and he is the cohesive force drawing together my watercolors of towns, landscapes, still lifes and Native American themes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe what makes me distinct is my passion for using ideas from literature, philosophy, art history and personal experience as a foundation for my watercolors and drawings. For over twenty years I have created watercolors featuring midwest and southwest America from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. My current project is a series titled Turvey’s Corner 63050 that features a town spun from my own imagination with a cast of characters and stories to undergird the paintings. My hope one day is to publish this in a book. Meanwhile, thanks to my blog and Facebook, I am sending out chapters of the evolving process. My undergraduate degree was in art, my Masters and Ph.D. in religion. All of these elements have combined to form the framework for my painting and writing. My inspiration comes from broad reading as well as art history. Having retired after three decades of teaching high school and university art, art history, English, humanities and religion, I now have time to pursue my passion without the constraints of a daily job. I have not had to worry about living off my art, since a teacher’s pension supports my lifestyle. I think the greatest lesson I have learned through decades of trial is to let art be my inspiration instead of my anxiety. I do not have to sell work to stay alive. And I do not have to be famous to be successful. Success is waking every day to the passion of ideas, and the only genuine conflict I experience is the inability to read a book and create a painting at the same time! I travel extensively across America, seeking subjects to paint, and when I am sedentary, I am inhabiting my Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas and living in the Redlands Hotel.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would begin the itinerary in the Bishop Arts District in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. This bohemian section is replete with fine dining as well as casual, and fabulous coffee shops. I always seek places for reading and great conversation. An excellent used book store is not far away. Traveling to Fort Worth, I say we could do no better than Sundance Square and dining at the Bird Cafe, sitting outdoors and enjoying the fountains and night life. Again, a wonderful setting for creative eros. Two hours south woud take us to Palestine, Texas. You cannot do better than the Redlands Hotel, not only because my Gallery at Redlands is inside, but also the fine boutique run by owner Jean Mollard. It would be hard to find dining better than what you see in the Queen Street Grille, across the lobby from my gallery. And the hotel also includes a beautiful bar, small and intimate and perfect for gatherings and conversation. The Redlands Hotel dates from 1917 and has twenty suites, all with kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, and the rates are comparable to what one pays for a Holiday Inn or Best Western. I myself live in one of the suites when I stay for extended work in my gallery downstairs. Palestine also has a fabulous pub, the Pint and Barrel in Old Town Palestine. Across the street is the Oxbow Bakery featuring the finest in homemade pies, and a coffee shop is also in the neighborhood. Crockett, Texas is thirty minutes down the highway. Wade Thomas, the owner of Stories from Texas is also the owner of our Gallery at Redlands. He never meets a stranger and his gallery is filled with just as many interesting stories from his mouth as you will find lining the walls of his establishment.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to The Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas and Stories from Texas in Crockett, Texas, thirty minutes down the highway. These two businesses put their heads together to create The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen Street, Palestine, and invited me to inhabit the space with my art work and written efforts. Together we hope to raise awareness and appreciation for creative activity, in the arts as well as other areas of business.