Rodger Scott was born in Aspermont, Texas in 1936, the last of nine children in a family of farmers and ranchers who moved into town because they couldn’t survive working other people’s land. Rodger was a juvenile delinquent in junior high, and in high school was suspended or expelled six times in five semesters, but loved college and received a B.A. in foreign languages from Texas Tech at 20. He has an M.A. in English also from Texas Tech and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico.
Scott has been a teacher for 48 years in five states of the U.S. and in Japan, China and Colombia (as a Peace Corps volunteer). He served two years in the U.S. Army between the undeclared wars in Korea and Vietnam. He has held union posts for over 40 years and was president of American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 at San Francisco City College. Scott is co-chair of the Social and Economic Justice Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council and active in organizations like Justice for Mario Woods Coalition that are committed to stopping unjustified police killings, especially of young people of color, and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition. He supports struggles for racial justice, affordable and accessible higher education, and progressive unions with ties to community and human rights groups--unions that advocate for society and humanity, not just their members.
Scott describes himself as a photographer and videographer with more experience than talent or success. In theology and ideology, he prefers single-mindedness to certainty and acknowledges being more cautious than courageous. However, he has been arrested in East Germany, Mexico—and recently for civil disobedience in California. He was deported from Japan in 1969 after 57 days in Japanese Immigration detention centers for anti-Vietnam War activities and sailing on the Quaker yacht “Phoenix” from Nagasaki, Japan to the People’s Republic of China.
photo: Ray Ormandy
Scott admires the book title I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and he appreciates the wit and wisdom of A Texan’s Prayer: “God, help me to find the truth and save me from those who’ve found it.”
Artist's Statement and Biographical Information
Most of my adult life I have lived in cities, but I grew up in a sparsely-populated region of southern Utah. My father was a sheep herder and we led the traditional, nomadic life of herdsmen. Our summer range, at an elevation of 9,000 feet, overlooked the dramatic, vividly-colored, canyons of what is now Zion National Park, and from the time I was a small child until I left the area in 1965, I explored the region on foot and on horseback. By the time I became an adult, the drama, beauty and colossal scale of the terrain were deeply embedded in my consciousness. The geology and geography of my childhood home define my visual awareness and they are at the center of my impulses as a painter.
I was married for many years to Grover Lewis, a writer whom I met in 1972 at Rolling Stone Magazine, where we were both then working. In 1982 I became Studio Manager for the Santa Monica artist and collector, Tony Berlant, where I was exposed, for the first time, to the world of fine art. There, in addition to seeing museum-quality objects and works of art on a daily basis, I encountered the possibilities of self-expression through the visual arts. I painted my first ceramic plate there in 1991. Since that time my artistic vision has evolved from that of a self-taught visionary, naive painter, to the much more complex and fascinating world of abstraction, using primarily acrylic paints on wood and canvas surfaces.
My work has been exhibited in group shows at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, The Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA, Cartelle Gallery and Equator Books, in Venice, CA, and The Nancy Main Gallery in Ojai, CA, and I had a one-person show at the studio of the Los Angeles painter, Ed Moses. My paintings are in the collections of many Los Angeles artists and writers.
painting: Rae Lewis
photo: Rosemary Middleton