I've been joyfully engaged with art throughout my life. As a little boy I was mesmerized by new coloring books and crayons I'd receive for my birthdays. In my grade school years, I saved allowances to buy Walter T. Foster how-to-draw books: clowns, horses, animals, $1.25 each at the time. Through nuns' version of teaching art at Holy Trinity School in Westmont, Illinois, on Friday afternoons I made drawings exactingly copied from pages of coloring books, with no instruction, frustration, but eventually routine success. As a thirteen year-old I joined the Servites as a seminarian in Hillside, Illinois where I was inspired by Father Gregory O'Brien who encouraged me to write, and to Margaret Dagenais who engaged me in making of liturgical art.
During two years as a monk living in a monastery in Benburb, Ireland, I made collages of paper painted with gouache and drawn over with India ink. George Rouault was my favorite artist at the time. With the small allowance we received for semi-annual day trips to Dublin, I bought affordable little Penguin art books of modern masters and savored them. After two years I had a collection of about twenty that I eventually gave to my granddaughter Emma.
As a monk, I studied the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and others. I was especially influenced by the Existentialists. Although joyfully living a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and chanting Psalms throughout the day from early morning till late evening, I adopted a broader view of life, a desire for greater human intimacy, and I left the monastery. I still cherish that quiet way of being and now revere the wonderful mystery of the universe.
After Ireland, I finished a degree in art and philosophy at Webster College but happened to graduate during the buildup of the Vietnam War, to which I was opposed. A way to avoid the draft opened: Sister Gabriel Mary, art department chair, helped me get a high school teaching position. I taught Modernist art at an all-black inner-city school in St. Louis at the beginning of the Black Power movement. I embraced civil rights but was unaware of socially engaged artists of color that I now wish I had introduced to the students.
After about four years of high school work, I accepted a faculty position at The Ohio State University and while teaching pursued the study of photography, art, art criticism, and aesthetics, earning MA and Ph.D. degrees. I thrived in a forty-year career in the Department of Art Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Art. I retired from Ohio State in 2009 and then savored a final university position at the University of North Texas from 2009 to 2014. I later continued to write and make art in Florida with the loving encouragement of my wife Susan Michael Barrett. With her, we enjoy our nine grandchildren. I am now comfortably under the care of Hospice for leiomyosarcoma.
Bradenton, Florida 2023
UPDATE: Terry passed away on October 29, 2023. A wish he had was to continue to provide information about his books and to share free PDFs of his many articles.
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