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Odessa Tea Room
1983. Mixed media. 165x114x56 cm.
After a little notoriety from winning the Art League of Houston's annual "Contemporary Views of Houston Award" in 1983; for the "Boom Town Cruiser"; I was offered an opportunity to do a commission for Michael J. Kline, a banker who operated out of Houston, and Odessa, Texas. Mr. Kline was an active collector of art and it was a great opportunity to make some money and be in a prestigious private collection.

At some point Mr. Kline informed me that he wanted the piece to be something of a realistic sentinel or vicarious security guard. He had considered Dwain Hansen for commission. But Mr. Hansen was getting six figured prices for his work at that time and that was out of Mr. Kline's price range. The figure was to be installed in Mr. Kline's Houston home in the River Oaks area. He was gone from home quite a bit. The site was the living room, which had plate glass windows on either side, could be clearly scrutinized or "cased" from the home's front drive or the back yard garden.

My concept sketch and ultimate sculpture was an oil field worker. A "rough neck", of the type you commonly see in West Texas were my client's bank was located. I had the realistic fiber glass figure leaning on the bar in the living room.

To enhance the 6'6" intimidating "rough neck's" authentic quality I gave him two amputated fingers on his 'cigar' hand. The stubs were holding the stub of a cigar! Oil workers often loose fingers, and worse, in their sometimes hazardous profession and it was no exaggeration on my part to include this detail. However, Mr. Kline's sensitive side was aroused and he insisted that I reinstate the ornery "rough neck's" digits or,,,,?

I was principled for a about three days! Then I remembered the final payment for this basically commercial job was to be paid at the end of the installation. Having already spent the remaining payment in abstention I chose the practical approach.

Michael Kline never recovered from the shock of the lost pinkies.
"Odessa Tea Room"
was eventually banished to a multi car garage at Kline's sizable ranch in the Texas Hill Country!


My name is Frank,
My art is rank!

Some would say it stank!

But, I am Frank,
And art is my plank.

Political swirl about my world
Is all a twirl of critical hurl?

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