In my last post, I talked about David C. Driskell’s relationship with his mentor James A. Porter, who played a big role in Prof. Driskell’s life, both personally and professionally. While that post focused on Prof. Driskell’s role as a mentee, some of his students, colleagues, and artists remember him as a mentor.
One former student with whom Prof. Driskell maintained a relationship is Jefferson Pinder. Pinder received his MFA in Painting and Mixed Media from the Department of Art at the University of Maryland in 2003 From 1999-2003, Pinder was Prof. Driskell’s assistant and was also the first Fellowship Recipient in Art from the David C. Driskell Center in 2002-2003. Pinder was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2005-2011 and is currently an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Pinder is an active artist who has artwork at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Studio Museum of Harlem, High Museum of Art, and other galleries and museums.
In 1995, Pinder sent a postcard to Prof. Driskell from New Orleans telling him about his travels and how he had visited sites that were discussed in a class that Prof. Driskell taught.
Below is the postcard from Jefferson Pinder.
Later, in a Digital Video project that he created in 2009 entitled Lazarus, Pinder is wearing a suit previously owned by Prof. Driskell’s father which Prof. Driskell featured in his 1987 work I Have Always Been an Outsider. This is just an example of the ways in which Prof. Driskell’s impression as a mentor continued to influence his students. It is this effort to remember the faces, to correspond with former students, and to encourage others that makes Prof. Driskell such a unique and beloved man.
This past weekend, I was reminded of that when I participated in the symposium “American Art in Dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora” which was hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Prof. Driskell lectured about the influence that African culture and ideas have had on his art throughout his career. Seeing Prof. Driskell speak was a great experience. It reminded me how interesting and multifaceted his career has been and gave life to the records that we are preserving in the David C. Driskell Archive.
If you have any memories of Prof. David Driskell acting as a mentor or counselor we would love to hear from you. Please comment on this post with your own memories.
This post was written by Stephanie Maxwell, Archivist at the David C. Driskell Center Archives.