Clint Hamilton was born in Abilene, Texas in 1928. During Clint’s formative years, he studied art at McMurry University while still in high school. Upon graduation from Abilene High School in 1947, he moved to Dallas where he designed and created window displays for Sanger Brothers department store and studied figure drawing at SMU. His stay in Dallas was to be a short one because the lure of the Big Apple was too much to resist. In 1951, Clint moved to New York City to pursue a career as a free-lance artist.
Clint Hamilton was discovered by Gene Moore, Tiffany & Co.’s famous window designer, which led to a successful career as a commercial artist and window dresser. The windows that Clint created for Bonwit Teller and Tiffany & Co.’s became famous for the inclusion of art work by struggling artist. Many of these artists could not obtain gallery representation and were seeking a public space for their art. Clint’s own art appeared in his display windows and he arranged for his friend and fellow struggling artist, Andy Warhol to have his first exhibit in one of Hamilton’s window designs for Bonwit Teller. It is believed that the exposure from the window displays were what helped launch Warhol’s career. Warhol, Hamilton and Nathan Gluck later exhibited their work as a group show at the avant-garde Loft Gallery in New York City.
In the 1967, after several successful years in New York, Clint Hamilton came home to Abilene. His love for art and design continued and he dressed windows for Neiman Marcus in Dallas and created unique window displays for Grissoms department store in downtown Abilene. He quickly became the undisputed Archduke of Art for the City of Abilene and the surrounding area. He was instrumental in the creation and sustainability of art venues in Abilene and in creating the Artists League of Texas.
The Artists League of Texas (ALOT) was a group of local artists who created their own gallery space in downtown Abilene. After realizing the work a gallery needed, the group formed a non-profit to maintain the space and artwork. The Center for Contemporary Arts was created in 1989 to care for the League’s gallery. Clint wanted a place in Abilene where everyone could create and experience art. Working with aspiring artists of all ages, abilities and backgrounds was an extension of his philosophy that art making is an inclusive process. The Center still holds true to Clint’s vision even after his passing in 2001. The Center is free to the public, it is home to several local artists’ studios and it offers classes and workshops for everyone.
The Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is pleased to present an exhibit by Center Member Artists, “Clint Hamilton: Gone But Not Forgotten”. Center Signature Artist Members will present works of art paying tribute to Clint Hamilton based on concepts of “Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead”. Two and three dimensional artwork will engage our visitors while imparting the essence of Clint Hamilton.
This exciting exhibition will be available for viewing In the Jane Breed Gallery October, November and December.
By: Darla Harmon, Executive Director of the Center & Elizabeth McVey