Remembering an Organic Pioneer

Artist Lee Littlefield

Catherine D. Anspon
July 15, 2013

Fifteen years before Konstantin Dimopoulos’ The Blue Trees sprouted along Allen Parkway and Waugh, one of our own pioneers, Lee Littlefield, had his way with native trees and began inserting brightly painted arbols into the urban landscape. They were first done as a rogue act — the first Littlefield Pop-Up lasted a mere 10 days — but later the sculptor sought permission from the Texas Department of Transportation. Now in official capacity, he can be seen in the ultimate museum for the people: along the Katy Freeway, just west of the 610 overpass, where thousands of motorists have a 60-miles-per-hour encounter with a Littlefield sculpture executed in his trademark safety yellow, with the addition of touches of tangerine. Besides his studio practice, this stalwart talent — who passed away far too soon last month — taught for more than 20 years at Edison Middle School. He, along with wife Liza, formed a very cool and environmentally aware art couple. I will always treasure our time together last December at Blue Star in San Antonio, during Liza’s show for her avian painted wall works, as well as my visits to their home at Itchy Acres and their exhibitions throughout the years at Poissant Gallery, which represents Lee’s work posthumously (info 713.294.0627; Whenever I pass that buoyant yellow tree along 1-10, I long for a permanent Littlefield tribute to this Houston original who was very much ahead of his time.