Vietnam vet to speak noon, Thursday, May 1
Charles D. Jones, author of Chopper Blues, will speak at noon, Thursday, May 1, in the Murphy-Payne Community Room at Panola College. As Regents Professor of Art, Jones is the director and master printer of LaNana Creek Press at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, and has taught printmaking since 1971. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Sam Houston State University, a Masters of Arts from New Mexico Highlands University, and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Americas. He will discuss the background for and creation of his best-selling book,Chopper Blues. The apex of a unique evolution, the book grows from the script of a mixed-media introduction performed live for a body of woodcuts, drawings and paintings first exhibited in East Texas at the Tyler Museum of Art and last honored at the Marine Corps Museum in San Diego, Calif.
Jones, who is a musician, painter, printer, sculptor and maturing poet, drew his inspiration from the three years he served in the Marine Corps, almost all of it as Platoon Commander, Company C (“Suicide Charley”), 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, this enlistment culminating in his ’65-’66 Vietnam duty tour and his combat decoration, the Silver Star.
These poems and prose were originally written to accompany the “Vietnam Suite,” 40 large multimedia works on paper and an accompanying performance piece entitled “Chopper Blues.” However, this limited print edition has been expanded to include drawings from Jones’ sketchbook from his time in country, Vietnam, 1965—1966, as well as images from the “Vietnam Suite” and woodcuts from a recent publication, The Bear Went Over the Mountain, co-written with a Vietnamese artist from Hanoi, Dinh Viet Luc. In conjunction with this month’s lecture, “Vietnam Suite” and other select works will be on display in the Faye Allison Gallery of the M.P. Baker Library.
Also included in this spectacular collection are never before published photographs of Jones’s tour in Vietnam, photographs of villages and schools that vanished immediately after the camera’s flash. Finally, included in this limited printing is a CD of the performance piece, featuring a reading of the poems and songs from the book with original and traditional music performed by the artist and friends. Stephen F. Austin University Press will make copies of the publication available for purchase and signing by Jones following the presentation.