Introduction by Charles Guittard (BA ’64):
What follows is the final part of a two-part interview of senior Baylor art student Grace Daniel done by Randy Fiedler. (“RF” and “GD” denote Randy Fiedler and Grace Daniel, respectively). Part I of the interview addressed the origin of the project, which involved Grace’s creation of 15 illustrations for the poem “A Ph.D.’s Reverie” that I wrote about my grandfather, longtime Baylor history professor Frank Guittard, as well as a look into my collaboration with this talented young artist. Part II of the interview, which follows, addresses how Grace became an artist from her childhood on, her years at Baylor in the art department, and her aspirations for the future.
RF: Grace, I’m curious where your talent and passion for art comes from. Did one or both of your parents inspire you?
GD: That’s a good question. My mother definitely inspired me. I have always been the crazy art kid in a family of 13 adopted kids — I was the youngest of the first eight, there were five younger than me. Growing up I tried everything — sewing, building dollhouses, making comic books. I wanted to do everything. My favorite comic I made was a thank you to one of my mom’s patients who did a drawing for me. I did an entire 10-page comic for them. My mom and I also worked together on a dollhouse when I was little. We painted it yellow to look like our old house in Salado, because we had just moved to Kansas City.
RF: Your mother was obviously an important influence on you and your passion for art.
GD: I had a lot of love and support from all of the people around me, but my mom was always my biggest supporter for any project I attempted. When I was little, she let me drag her potted plants around and set them up as models for still lifes I wanted to create. She has always reminded me that I can reach for the stars.
RF: Can you tell me a little more about your large family?
GD: I was the youngest of my parents’ first eight children. When the older ones went off to college, that left me as the only kid at home for a while. But then my parents, who had learned a lot about managing a household with a lot of children, started doing foster care and one day I came home and was instantly the oldest of six, my parents having adopted five more.
RF: Where do you see yourself using your artistic talents after graduation?
GD: That’s a really hard question to answer, since I’m still learning about making art and also learning about the world we live in. I still want to make art with things I come in contact with in my life, from furniture to gallery art. I would also like to work more with mixed media and installation art.
RF: Just what are mixed media art and installation art?
GD: Mixed media art is an art piece using several different media to accomplish the final result. Installation art is three-dimensional art designed for a specific space.
RF: One final question — what have your years at Baylor and in the art department meant to you?
GD: My work at Baylor has been important in refining the talent I have. It has also opened my eyes to a world of art that is more complex than I could have ever imagined. Now it’s up to me to find my place within that world.
POSTSCRIPT: Grace Daniel’s 15 illustrations for Charles Guittard’s poem, “A Ph.D.’s Reverie,” will be featured again in the second edition of the book, which will be titled “A Ph.D.’s Reverie: The Letters.” The second edition will also include 250 letters of the Guittard family between 1923 and 1930, which were exchanged while Frank Guittard was in residence at Stanford University. Charles says that after the second edition is completed, he will return to his lifelong project, an account of Frank Guittard’s life and times.