The development of my work doesn’t fit into a chartable course. How does an artist go from representation to abstract, then back to the recognizable and then to abstract again unless of course you’re following a circular path? As a child I could draw very well. It was like “my ticket out”. It landed me a scholarship at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston when I was thirteen where I was first exposed to great art.

Later I studied art at Sam Houston State University, academically trained in life drawing and the methods of painting, ceramics and printmaking, casting bronze and welding steel, but by time I’d reached graduate school at The University of Houston my work was abstract. There was a visiting artist program that allowed me to meet Willem de Kooning, Red Grooms, Ellen Lanyon, Ron Gorchov and so many others. They influenced my work and encouraged me to come to New York.

In 1978 I finished my MFA and started migrating back and forth to NYC, connecting with the artist I’d meet and the excitement of living in the city. I managed to find a loft to work in and by 1988 I had my first solo show in SoHo. Around then I moved to Bridgehampton, NY, a long 90 miles from NYC but a short bicycle ride to the beach. My work began to change again, unconventionally from abstract painting, where I’d come from in the 70’s and early 80’s, to more representational as I discovered where I moved to, a landscape surrounded by ocean.

Today I’m still drawing on ideas I was working on 25 years ago but working in new ways. Over the years I’ve gained many friends, supporters, collectors of my art and thousands of “fans”. I’m living the artist’s dream, still thankful every day for that innate ability to draw as a way of conceptualizing and developing ideas.


Terry Elkins