Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Bookstore

Best Bookstore

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

Arts & Culture: San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and its history stretches long before the people behind the American or Texas Revolutions... By Mark Reagan 10/15/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney interviews James Cobb

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

James Cobb “with ants” (left) and a very uncomfortable Gary Sweeney

I can never get enough of James Cobb’s artwork. He’s yet another local artist whose work is extremely smart, complex and underappreciated. At a stage in his life where many artists are happy to coast along, James continues to explore and expand his work, and his recent experiments with printmaking from files are drop-dead gorgeous. His work is that rare and refreshing combination of intelligence and craftsmanship.

I’m not a big believer in cosmic coincidences, but while interviewing James, I was struck by some eerie parallels in our lives (cue The Twilight Zone music): We both grew up drawing Big Daddy Roth and Murph the Surf cartoons. We were both heavily involved in the Mail Art movement of the ’70s. His brother is a surfing buddy of my best friend from college. I was in Eugene, Ore., the summer he moved there. In the first exhibit I was in with him, at the old Wong Spot, we both showed paintings featuring tattoo images.

I caught up with him at his home studio.

Most of the artists I’ve interviewed set a course toward a career in art at an early age, then focused on a calculated path towards that goal. You seem to have sort of drifted into an art career rather late in life. How’d that happen?

Yes, drifted. Although I loved to draw, and did so constantly growing up, I had no real awareness of art beyond the likes of Big Daddy Roth, Murph the Surf and the rock posters of the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms. It was the rock poster art I aspired to create—work that cobbled together music, general weirdness and deviance, with some social commentary. A heady mix.

I was introduced to a much broader overview of art, history, practice and possibilities through my wife, Rhoda, who I met as Rhoda Mappo in Eugene, Ore., in the late ’70s. She was an active artist who, at the time, was deeply immersed in Mail Art. I leapt right into it and spent much of the next decade networking, collaborating, exhibiting and eventually world-traveling to meet a number of fellow Mail Artists. I eventually entered into an art “career” as an experiment, basically, to see if there was any potential for a compromise-free marriage between my drive to work visually and income generation.

Were there one or two decisions you made that completely changed the course of your life? 

Floating along seemed just fine. Remember, you and I came of age in a time of substantial economic security. I didn’t have much fear of unemployment—didn’t have much fear, period. I think there have been a few decisions that changed the course of my life. Going to technical school and studying drafting and then working as a draftsman was an important skill set and experience for me. Involving myself in a very iconoclastic aspect of the art world, Mail Art, was a major turning point. Another decision that proved important was moving  to Texas. I began my art “career” experiment here in San Antonio without any clue that Texas was one of the better places to be conducting that experiment. Though the art scene in Texas seemed straighter, the gallery scene was where it was at. With a number of large cities and a decent collector base, Texas was a happy accident for me.

The Arts Issue
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus