Bill Warde patrols the University Writing Center, but hes
much more than a member of the UNT
BILL WARDE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH,
DIRECTOR OF the University Writing Center and self-taught artist,
is a man of many words and countless visions. Its his job
to make words make sense.
his passion to see patterns of beauty in life. Its his hope
to help others explore new possibilities.
I do for a living is not my only focus in life, says Warde.
I live in the now and concentrate on every moment.
to helping students improve their writing skills, Warde patrols
the halls of UNTs writing center wearing a black-and-white
proclaims him as a member of UNTs Finest, Grammar Police,
but hes much more than that. Hes a Renaissance
man who wears many hats.
makes life worth living, he says. I dont just
meditate on life I live it through plays, music, art, literature,
his expertise is 18th-century English literature, Warde considers
himself more of a generalist, and he is a thoroughly modern man.
probably enjoy a Warhol more than a Rembrandt, though I can appreciate
Rembrandts beauty, he claims. I especially like
popular culture and contemporary art.
He is quite
prolific as a sculptor and was influenced by such artists as Robert
Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Calder.
he appreciates other artists work, Wardes own artworks
are a dominant feature in his home and office. They have appeared
in Texas Sculpture Association shows in Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving
Arts Council shows, and UNT and Denton art shows.
often a trademark of his art. For instance, he rebuilt a grocery
cart and added cushions to transform it into a stroller.
is what Ill have them push me around in when Im an old
vegetable, he says.
he likes to take things out of context and create new ways of looking
at the world.
In his world,
a television set doesnt need to receive transmissions to entertain.
To prove his point, he gutted a TV set and installed a picture of
Frank Zappa. He then flanked it with two stuffed dinosaurs. The
set does not have any commercials.
an early conservationist. He recycled and reused before the words
were even fashionable. He remembers as a child of the Great Depression
that he entertained himself in an unusual manner.
used to pull my wagon to the local city dump, he says. I
was fascinated by all the objects and started accumulating things
and transforming them into other wonderful things. For instance,
Warde created a shovel-bird, composed of a shovel, bicycle parts,
buttons and other metal parts.
objects as letters in a visual language.
speak to us if were willing to listen to them. They can have
many functions, he says.
new meanings for objects. For example, he has a silver horse in
his office that he made out of old surgical scissors.
that as we perceive objects, we put our mark on them. We create
a dialogue with an object by the way we use it. The object, in return,
enriches our lives.
the lean times during the Depression when his father had an almost
new car, parked it and never drove it again because of finances.
owns 10 vehicles, including a 1946 Chevy pickup, a rare 1989 Dodge
convertible pickup and a 1977 Chevy Impala art car he calls Braniffty.
saw a 1972 Braniff Airline travel poster, designed by Alexander
Calder, it inspired him to paint a car in the style of
nearly 25 years of thinking about the poster, I painted the Impala
to reflect Calders work, he says. Calder invented
the mobile hanging art form and was commissioned by Braniff Airlines
to paint their airplanes.
out the design on the car took two weeks from sunup to sundown each
day and left me exhausted, he says.
Braniffty, Warde used 500 yards of lining and masking tape and matched
1972 Braniff Airline poster colors by using a computer.
driven Braniffty numerous times in the Houston Art Car Parade, which
is produced by the Orange Show Foundation as a way to deliver the
message that art is an integral part of everyday life.
In his 35
years as a UNT English professor, Warde has influenced many alumni.
One of his
former students, Lisa Largen (92), says he challenged her
to be the best writer she could be.
walks with you and says, Lets not follow this planned
path. Lets go over here and make one of our own,
students are an important part of my religion, says Warde,
who also has ministerial credentials. Since we walk this path
but once, lets squeeze the most we can out of it.
wordsmith Warde, the artist Warde, the visionary
encourages himself and others to seek the path of endless possibilities.