BassWestUSA - Spring, 2012, Page 73

tigious art institutions in the nation. What was it like going there in the Sixties?

arMStroNG: Funny how things work out. I was all set to go to the University of Tennessee on a football scholarship, then I messed up my knee and ended up at Ringling instead. Artists are a bunch of free thinkers to begin with, so you can imagine what that place was like back in the Age of Aquarius! I’d always rebelled against what most people refer to as “normalcy,” so I fit right in. However, the hippie lifestyle, which was in full bloom at the time, never capti- vated me. I never burned my draft card, went to a “be-

in” or carried antiwar signs at a protest rally in college. I figured doing anything like that would make me part of the crowd, and I never wanted to be part of any crowd, regardless of what side they were on. A few years ago, my wife and I revisited the college, and one of my old instructors remembered me -- not for my illustration prowess, but for the time I stole a flamingo from a nearby tourist attraction and let it loose in the girls’ locker room. Hey, it’s good to be remembered for something!

wirth: How did your art career take shape after college?

arMStroNG: I went to work as an illustrator for Hallmark Cards. Their offices are in Kansas City, which was a cold, miserable hellhole to a kid from Florida.

Spring 2012