Above : The couple ’ s DIY outdoor shower comes with sweeping views of Nine Point Mesa . Right : An example of Rob ’ s earlier work . ( Courtesy Photo )
Continued from page 10 . a recluse is a bit of an understatement — Tulisha was often mistaken as the artist herself since Rob rarely went to his own shows . As a social butterfly and a natural networker , Tulisha built a clientele for his work . She became art manager of Robert Dampier Studio , arranging shows and working with collectors . Because of her success in building him up through word of mouth , there was no need for a permanent gallery to house his work .
That kind of mobility would make transitioning the studio to Terlingua easier .
Tish had grown up visiting the Big Bend on camping trips with her parents and it long remained one of her favorite places . She told Rob about Big Bend many times over their almost 20 years together , but it wasn ’ t until three years ago that Rob would finally experience it firsthand .
After rebuilding their Galveston studio twice due to coastal flooding , the couple began to consider other options . They put their Victorian house on the market , and as soon as it sold they made a celebratory trip to Big Bend . Rob was just as enchanted as Tish with the wide-open spaces and dramatic landscapes . On that visit , Rob ’ s first , they found a 15- acre property for sale and bought it outright .
It took a couple of years to untether their lives from the Texas coast and prepare for the move , but they finally became full-time Terlingua residents at the beginning of 2020 . Starting with a couple of shipping containers plopped onto their property , the two set to work creating a captivating off-grid studio and home space .
Rob ’ s knack for fabricating trompe l ' oeils in his art was put to work in personalizing their container home . The interior walls were fitted with stained wood from scavenged pallets to resemble antique board and batten siding , like the inside of a late 1800s saloon .
It ’ s important for the couple to incorporate as many scavenged , recycled , and natural items into the design as possible , bearing an undeniable resemblance to Rob ’ s art aesthetic .
Rob is drawn to the assemblage lifestyle as much as he is to assemblage art . “ You ’ re not having to rely on new materials or an art
Detail from “ The Hardened Hand ” ( 2021 ) 12.5 ” H x 6.5 ” W x 4 ” D , Mixed Media / Assemblage .
supply store . There ’ s no end to junk ,” he said .
There ’ s an inherent history in found objects . “ It ’ s a great way to create a narrative ; to put thoughts and intentions into careful arrangements . Everything has a story — pieces of wood , bottle caps have their own life that gave them character . It ’ s hard to get that quality in painting . The age and character are real ( in found objects ),” he continued .
Entering the dimly-lit interior of the Dampier ’ s Terlingua abode provides a stark contrast to the bright , harsh desert surroundings outside , a slightly disorienting yet fitting introduction to the surreal assemblages adorning the space .
A row of vintage wooden brick molds is
12 Cenizo Fall 2021