My friend and mentor, Sterling Houston, died on the 8th of November and I’m just now posting about it because I’ve been at a loss for what to say. So here a few things about Sterling and what he meant to me.
At the end of 1993 when I still worked in a grocery store and I declared to the world that I was an artist, Sterling was the first to give me a job – a part in his 1994 show, “Isis In Nubia.” All told, I worked on 9 of Sterling’s shows over the years. Most of the time I developed ever more elaborate video projections for him. A couple of weeks ago I found two clips that I originally posted on my website (hosted on my AOL account) back in 1997. This first one is from “Santo Negro” done in 1995 and the second one is from “The Alien Show”
which we did in 1997. It was during this time between 1995 and 2000 that I went from creating abstract “video paintings” to really wanting and learning to tell stories.
Another thing that I got to do with Sterling (and Steve Bailey) was make a short film with the kids at Frederick Douglass Elementary school. Sterling had gone there as a kid and Jump-Start was doing an after school program there. We had a script and music that Sterling wrote, costumes that Kim Corbin made and we took the kids on location all over town. Again, this was huge for me. It cemented my love of teaching.
Telling stories with video and teaching. These are what I live and breath every day. Sterling was and is a big part of that. Thank you Sterl.
P.S. Here’s the slide show from the memorial service with some music from the day and some recorded last year during The Living Graves. I tried to record SkudR’s singing but I was crying too hard.