Dynamic Duo

Tomorrow, artist Stephen Lapthisophon, featured in the current Concentrations 56 exhibition at the DMA, will join his lifelong friend actor John Judd for a conversation about the creative process. Get to know these best friends before Thursday’s event:

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

Do you involve each other in your creative processes?
SL: John and I speak frequently now about our influences, the creative process and the various ways that we feel our work reflects the time in which we live. There is no direct integration of his work in mine—rather, it is an implied dialogue—constant, permanent and generous.
JJ: It’s impossible to estimate the degree to which Stephen influences my work. My relationship with Stephen is almost like one of family in that even though we’ve ended up pursuing different avenues in the arts, and are no longer collaborators, we shared formative creative experiences, and we were almost constant companions for many years. Stephen is always in there somewhere.

What is one piece/work of art of the other’s that you most enjoy or inspires you?
SL: I have seen him perform many times but perhaps my favorite piece I have seen him in is Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow, where he played Laurence Olivier.
JJ: I can see his hand in this simple small piece [below] as indelibly as I do in his current work. It represents something essentially Stephen—a quality that remains and has always been present in his best work.

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood,

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood, courtesy of the artist, photo: John Judd

How has your friendship evolved over 40 years?
SL: I met John Judd walking into my first art class as an undergraduate at UT Austin in 1974. We have known each other and trusted each other’s work since then.
JJ: From our first conversation there has existed an unspoken agreement—that we will confront this world as allies. We are like-minded and determined to take what we were given and make more of it. To leave some marks behind. We have lived our lives in very close proximity and miles apart, we have at times collaborated and pursued separate endeavors, we’ve had individual triumphs and defeats, have even exceeded each other’s expectations, but we have always been able to pick up a phone or sit down together and resume the conversation.

For more insight, stories and discussion, join us tomorrow night, December 5, at 7.30 p.m.!
Liz Menz is the manager of adult programming at the DMA


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