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Remembering Richard Hyslin

Remembering Richard Hyslin
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Goat in Brambles” by Richard Hyslin (photo courtesy Nancy Moyer)

Goat in Brambles” by Richard Hyslin (photo courtesy Nancy Moyer)

Richard Hyslin, aged 77, died May 9, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. Raised in Portland Oregon, Richard initially earned a BA degree in Chemistry at Oregon State University, and then pursued his true passion for ceramics and sculpture, earning his MA at the University of New Mexico. He accepted a teaching position in 1968 at Pan American College, now The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

During his 47 years at Pan American, he established and developed the ceramics program and facilities and later, during the UT-Pan American era, he oversaw the sculpture program and development of new facilities.

Serving as Chair of the Art Department for 13 years he was critical in the overall excellence of the department. He was a recognized artist who exhibited his ceramics and sculpture nationally and internationally, including the creation of a 50 ft. Virgin of Guadalupe statue in Windsor, Ohio, and more recently a steel work accepted at Grounds for Sculpture, headquarters for the International Sculpture Center.

He was preceded in death by his parents Catherine and Thor Hyslin. He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 44 years, sons Lee Hyslin, Zachary Hyslin, daughter Kirstin Somsen, son-in-law Herman Somsen and beloved grandson Dylan Somsen.

A celebration of his life was held May 14, 2016 at Grace Presbyterian Church.

Perhaps his most lasting and important contribution has been as a teacher. He has served as instructor, mentor and friend to generations of artists in the Rio Grande Valley. He will be missed.

Hyslin in the studio (photo courtesy Brian Wedgworth)

Hyslin in the studio (photo courtesy Brian Wedgworth)

“Looking back, it seems like Richard Hyslin and I sailed through the last three decades of the 20th century together as colleagues with the best jobs ever – memorable students and the space to create whatever art we wanted. Richard arrived at Pan American College in the late 60s, a year before I got there, and had already established the ceramics area complete with two large gas kilns. At this time, the college served 5,000 students in Edinburg, a rural town with a population of 17,000. We started out sharing an office, and then later shared the department as Chairs at both Pan American University and UT-Pan American.”

Hyslin working in the studio. Photo courtesy Eloy Rodriguez

Hyslin working in the studio. Photo courtesy Eloy Rodriguez

Study of a Boulder by Richard Hyslin. Photo courtesy Nancy Moyer

Study of a Boulder by Richard Hyslin. Photo courtesy Nancy Moyer

“During all that time we never experienced any major conflicts; if there was a studio course that suddenly needed an instructor, Hyslin was the guy. His painting class was amazing, and I still fondly remember our clandestine team-taught life drawing class before it was approved by the administration. Philip Field accompanied us with that one. When his interest shifted, Richard developed the sculpture area. His artistic excellence was always unwavering.  Did I mention that he was a recognized artist on the national level in both ceramics and sculpture? His was a precious era that will never be replaced.” – Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art, UTRGV

 

Richard Hyslin with former student and friend, artist Brian Wedgworth, at an exhibit of their work at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Tamaulipas, Matamoros, México. Photo courtesy Brian Wedgworth

Richard Hyslin with former student and friend, artist Brian Wedgworth, at an exhibit of their work at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Tamaulipas, Matamoros, México. Photo courtesy Brian Wedgworth

Doc,
It’s hard to imagine a world without you; so many things left to do. But I am so very thankful for our friendship. You left an incredible mark in this world by the works you created and the people whose lives you touched. I am very grateful to have been a part of it and will cherish the time spent working by your side. You were a true teacher, allowing your students to find their way, all while providing a nurturing environment to hone their craft. I will keep the forge in my heart running, that you lit so many years ago, and continue the journey.

Brian Wedgworth, artist

“Quetlacoche 1-3” by Richard Hyslin. Photo courtesy Nancy Moyer

“Quetlacoche 1-3” by Richard Hyslin. Photo courtesy Nancy Moyer

 

4 Responses to Remembering Richard Hyslin

  1. Anna Varela June 8, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    I loved the ceramic classes I attended with professor Hyslin during my undergraduate. I thought I created junk pieces, wait i did create junk pieces! A coke bottle done in raku, many casitas, little monsters and vases .. i thought they were the most uglyiest pieces i ever made. I still have some of those pieces. He said to me, “participate in a juried exhibit.” I said,” no i dont like my pieces.” He said, at least submit this one here.” In what i thought was my ugyliest casita i ever made. It won first place. He believed in me when i was skeptical. He saw the beauty in the sublime in my ceramic pieces. I didnt pursue scupture, but i appreciated his friendship and knowledge. I will dearly miss him.

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  2. Randall B. Schmidt, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University June 9, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Richard and I were grad students together at The University of New Mexico where we shared a studio. He was a true friend and I knew him to be a dedicated artist and fine man. We both started our teaching careers in 1968 and kept in touch over the years. Many years later I was pleased to have my son, Jeremy Y. Schmidt, get to know and work with Richard when he was working on his MFA at Texas Pan American. As a teacher, artist, and compassionate human being Richard was admired by all that had the pleasure to have known him.

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  3. Leila June 11, 2016 at 1:31 am

    A really beautiful soul. I am honored to have met him and his fantastic wife and worked with this kind hearted man. I am grateful to have been his friend. I am sure he now has the most fantastic art studio with all the great ones in heaven. Every time I hear thunder and I see lightning I think of Richard working his art for all of us to see. We love you and you live on in our hearts and minds.

    Reply
  4. Esli Galvan August 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Always supportive, creative, encouraging, and an everlasting interesting conversation are some of the great things that our professor had for us in class. The class was always filled with an aura of peace and an optimism of moving forward with the pieces being created and constructed. We could talk for hours about cars especially his favorites, Studebaker and Packard. You will be greatly missed

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