Robert Dale Anderson
The tall, lanky man called Bazooka is gone. Robert Dale Anderson, a versatile artist and longtime teacher in the University of Texas Department of Art and Art History, passed away suddenly at his home on Sunday, May 31. He was 60. The Glendale, Calif., native who has lived in Austin since 1988 was known for his elaborate drawings and paintings of otherworldly landscapes loaded with so much artistic energy that even their weirdly shaped, oddly fleshy rocks and boulders vibrate with life. In his 20 years on the UT faculty, though, he also became a mentor and friend to many, many students. He could be challenging – having them draw from strange still-life arrangements, for example, all while blasting their ears with Throbbing Gristle – but his generosity was legendary: making drawings for graduate students during their oral exams and supporting student work in exhibitions on and off campus. With a shock of white hair topping a 6-foot-5-inch frame, Anderson was not an easy figure to miss, whether in the art building or in the water, taking one of his regular swims at Gregory Gym or Barton Springs. But even more memorable may have been his crooked smile and easy laughter arising from a deeply playful spirit. Bob Anderson was a man intensely engaged in life and in art. His passing is a major loss for his students, his colleagues, his friends, and this community.