Biography of James Hetherington
Weimar, TX. 1962
I was born in 1962 in Weimar, TX and briefly lived in High Hill, TX then we moved near Weimar south of the railroad tracks on a small ranch. That’s where my imagination was born.
After a brief stay in Weimar we moved to a dairy farm near La Grange, TX. We lived in a two story pre war house that was enclosed by a screened in porch. The back had a large area that was used for a vegetable garden bordered by fruit trees.
As a boy I witnessed that man in unison with nature could create rich productive fields that served both well. Before the age of five I remember the pastures of the dairy farm and the grazing lands from the cattle ranches. The dairy farm was mostly rocky soil that didn’t grow much. The land with manure, rain and time became productive grassland suitable for Jersey cows.
Both of my birth parents influenced my life and life’s work, through my father’s example I learned that the extra effort exerted lead to a long lasting result and birth mother’s frugality taught me to invent, salvage and make do with what was available. As a result my play time was spent assembling toys from objects that I could find in the woods. By the time I was 17 I worked the Austin Chalk oil field with the oil drillers, witnessing firsthand how oil spills damage the land and wildlife, watching drilling rigs engulfed in flames that were caused by the roughnecks, manning the oil derricks, unguarded approach toward accomplishing their tasks.
After moving to San Antonio I continued my education studying my new found love for art and its practice. In time I met Ricardo Sanchez, I observed and admired his wit with words. He spoke romantically of the Chicano movement and of all that were involved. I asked him why he chose to mentor me, he said that I held a gift of honesty through my work. Soon afterwards he introduced me to M.S. Hetherington a linguist that spoke 12 languages, little did I know that she would teach and introduce me to the world of words and stories. Through her example I discovered an impassioned fervor for self-expression. With this experienced I found a self-worth that alleviated much of my self-doubt. Regardless I still maintained a hunger for knowledge and new experiences.
Ricardo suggested my traveling to California to learn muralism. Both Ray Patlan and Eduardo Pineda taught me how to paint murals and also acquainted me with murals by the masters that exist in California. This experience cemented my thought that the Chicano movement in the Late 60’s enabled the awareness of people that identified as Hispanic, Latin American and Mexican American… My growing up during the Chicano renaissance in a farming community fighting my own demons while reading about the various movements by other minorities and witnessing racism against anyone that didn’t fit the mold of rural America. After moving to San Antonio and feeling out of place while pursuing my passions. This experience has only convinced me that while celebrating our uniqueness and cultural backgrounds we are all a crucial ingredient in the melting pot that is America.
My traveling to Europe visiting museums, notable buildings and learning about public art sealed my approach. That it is possible that everything contributes to my creative vocabulary. This lexis meticulously shaped begets a context that defines the work. Coupled with my economy of preserving resources through inventiveness. Has fashioned a multifaceted approach of creativity that responds to fairness for man, nature, flora and fauna jointly by conservation of resources through reuse that bespeaks of the recognition that we have much to offer and countless to protect.
Upon returning from California in 1991 I painted a couple of murals in San Antonio, I went into seclusion exploring painting and transforming it into sculpture by the mid 90’s. In 2001 I exhibited “Bliss” at BlueStar, 2004 I received a public commission for the John Igo Library. The San Antonio Museum of Art having my sculpture, is an experience that fueled my need to begin working toward having a larger studio. Presently I am creating much larger sculptures that are to traveling to other states.
My experiences has made me want to emphasize all that is good should be both celebrated and protected.
Steel Art Studio by James Hetherington
121 Pierce Ave
San Antonio, TX 78208
cell (210) 331-7517