Ghost stories, cowboy folklore, larger-than-life fables of the frontier-these tales were whispered to me on hot, starry Texas nights (like the one in my artwork, above) when I was a reclusive, imaginative young boy playing with my Star Wars figurines and watching Kroft Superstars on TV. The superstitious English and Irishmen that settled the plains and were the ancestors of myself and those around me in the little suburban burrough of Arlington, Texas, along with the storytelling traditions of the Mexicans and Mexican-American Chicanos around me here, helped tp instill in me a love for the supernatural, fantastic, and uncanny. Around any corner the spirits of cowboys and Indians roamed, Conquistadors and missionaries galloped across the rugged prairies of my invention, and, as surely as my boyhood dreams muster them, phantom pirates, wicked vampires, weird aliens, and angry Sasquatches lurked in wait for me a little beyond every stand of oak trees.
My ancestors were a hardy lot-frontiersman, cowboy folksingers, Southern planters, railroad engineers, school teachers-with the Americana and European fairy tales, as well as African and Native American folk tales, often making me dread the ubiquitious "shadow man in the closet" around bedtime. Injun Joe would most certainly "get" me if I dared to go outside after dark.