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Iconic Conroe artist Clapham dies at 63
By Anna Waugh
Sunday,
January 15, 2012
The Courier

 

Artist Mark Clapham died in his Conroe home Thursday at the age of 63. A popular sculptor, painter and muralist, Clapham had been battling cancer.
 

He was the mastermind behind the 70-foot “The Montgomery County Walkway Through Time” mural in downtown Conroe.
 


Staff photo by Eric S. Swist
Cars pass under the 70-foot mural
"The Montgomery County Walkway Through Time" on Texas 105 East in downtown Conroe. The artist behind the work, Mark Clapham, died in his Conroe home Thursday at the age of 63.
 

Clapham’s daughter, Holly Clapham-Rosenow, said her father was born in California but grew up in Odessa. After graduating from the University of Houston, Clapham moved to Conroe, and he considered it his his hometown, she said.
 

“When I think about my father, I think about the wonderfully talented artist he was,” she said. “He loved his art.”
 

Completing more than 80 bronze sculptures throughout his life, along with paintings that spanned landscapes to portraits and held an influence of his Chickasaw heritage from his mother’s lineage, Clapham-Rosenow said her father’s talent will be missed dearly.

Receiving countless awards and honors over decades of creating artwork from a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to being selected by the National Academy of Arts for a national museum tour, she said his accomplishments meant little to him compared to his work.
 

“He never kept track of all the awards,” she said. “He was so humble when it came to the awards he was given. It was always just about his art.”
 

Lois Blackburne knew Clapham for more than two decades, meeting him through his mother, Wanda, who was an internationally known china painter.
 

“There was a lot of talent in that family,” she said.
 

Blackburne and Clapham became friends in the art world, working on “The Montgomery County Walkway Through Time” mural with three other people that was completed in 2000.
 

“He was the mastermind behind it,” she said about the mural. “He designed it and spent a year on the drawing.”
 

Clapham’s talents inspired many in the Montgomery County area, creating a great loss among the art community with his passing, she said.
 

“He’s been a local talent that a lot of artists in town looked up to because he was just a wonderful artist,” Blackburne said.
 

While his daughter will remember a father that loved his heritage, his alma mater, his Conroe community and his art, she hopes everyone else remembers him through his work he spent a lifetime creating.
 

“He was a sculptor, a painter and a muralist. It’s pretty rare to have that much talent. He could pretty much do anything,” she said. “I hope that when people see the mural, they realize the true love that this man had for his hometown and know that he truly was a special artist. He’ll missed by a lot of people.”

 

More information

Public visitation is today from 5-8 p.m. at Cashner Funeral Home, located at 801 Teas Road in Conroe. Funeral services will be held on Monday at 3 p.m. in the Cashner Colonial Chapel. Interment will follow in Garden Park Cemetery. To leave written messages and condolences for the family, visit www.cashnerconroe.com

 

 

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