CrypticRock.com: You grew up around the art with your father being an avid art collector.
It is obvious his love for art left a lasting impression on you as you are in interior designer, you
are an art dealer,and you are an art historian now. What did he teach you about art and what
were some of the key aspects that drew him to a particular piece?
– He loved drawings very much, because he felt they were a glimpse into
an artist’s process and into their souls, that was something he really loved. He loved
the stories behind pieces of art. The main thing for him was that seeing art gave him
faith in humanity. It gave him faith that we would overcome all the qualities in human
nature that he made horror movies about and still give voice and create from a place
of something other than class, financial interest, and doing something simply for
making a buck. For him art gave him faith that the planet would survive; art
saved his life. Talking about art to people; he lectured on the visual arts every year,
60 cities in 65 days for 30 years, that is the second most popular lecturer in America after
Eleanor Roosevelt. That really affected and changed people. I grew up feeling his passion for art.
I learned how to see from both of my parents; my mother was a designer, and my dad the art
collector and historian. For me it was his infectious love of it. His belief that art collectors are
only caretakers, so there was this sense of history involved. He felt we do not own art, we care
take art, it survives long past us. He was also a wonderful storyteller, and sometimes he would
just hook me with the stories.
“Vincent Price considered the arts as a fundamental part of education,”
ELAC is one of the very few community colleges in the U.S. with a major art collection.
In fact, Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) has had a presence on this campus for more than
fifty years. In 1951, Vincent Price—noted actor, collector and one of Los Angeles’s great
champions of the arts—made his first visit to ELAC. Together with his wife Mary Grant,
Vincent Price was a frequent visitor here, a speaker at graduation ceremonies and a classroom
guest who eagerly engaged with our students and faculty. As he got to know ELAC, Mr. Price
noticed a lack of opportunity for students on this campus–and in East LA in general–to have
first-hand experiences with art. The Prices took the initiative to remedy this shortcoming and
donated 90 pieces from their personal collection in 1957 to establish the first “teaching art
collection” housed at a community college. In recognition of this extravagant gift, ELAC
renamed the art gallery in the Prices’ honor.
Over the past 50 years, the collection has grown to more than 9,000 objects, and more than
100 shows have been mounted here. The range is impressive and eclectic, much like the
Prices’ own collecting interest in world art; African, Mesoamerican, Native American
and European artworks have all been exhibited here.