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Oral history interview with Val Laigo, 1989 July 12

Online Media

Catalog Data

Laigo, Val M., 1930-1992  Search this
Lau, Alan Chong  Search this
Katayama, Mits  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente  Search this
Horiuchi, Paul  Search this
Jones, Quincy  Search this
Washington, James Winston  Search this
Rivera, Diego  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Voorhees, Clark G. (Clark Greenwood)  Search this
Okada, Frank S. (Frank Sumio)  Search this
Dusanne, Zoe  Search this
Ritchie, Bill  Search this
Chong, Fay  Search this
Nordness, Lee  Search this
Tamayo, Rufino  Search this
Callahan, Kenneth L.  Search this
Bennett, Doug  Search this
Picasso, Pablo  Search this
University of Washington  Search this
Seattle University  Search this
Charles and Emma Frye Art Museum  Search this
Foster/White Gallery  Search this
Mexico City College  Search this
Sound recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Washington (State)
Physical Description:
Transcript: 42 p.
General Note:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 48 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Val Laigo conducted 1989 July 12, by Alan Lau and Kazuko Nakane, for the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian American Project, in Laigo's home, Seattle, Wash.
Laigo speaks of learning how to paint at age eleven with watercolors; growing up with a heart condition known as Eisenmenger's Complex; teaching at Highline High School and creating a wolverine as the school's mascot; the inclusion of his life story in a Filipino oral history project; singing for an orchestra called the Gentlemen of Rhythm, at the Filipino Catholic Youth Activities events and other venues; Doug Bennett as an influence in composition and design; being a student at Seattle University and joining Art Equity in approximately 1951; remembering his painting, "Madonna" being shown at the Seattle Art Museum; his first show at the People's Furniture Store and later with Fay Chong at the Hathaway House; Zoe Dusanne became his agent; his introduction to the MacPaint software program and his first piece of computer art; his desire to study Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, David Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo and becoming at student at Mexico City College; his life in Mexico with the woman who would become his wife; the strong influence of Nick Damascus on his painting; how his palette changed to brighter colors after living in Mexico; his health crisis there that lead him to abandon his work towards a master's degree and return to Seattle in 1959; having to start over from the beginning at the University of Washington; Tommy Kwazume hiring him at Boing as an artist in 1960; Lee Nordness and the RCA Victor album cover; his negative experience with Margaret Reed while showing at the Panaca Gallery; his exhibit at the Frye Art Museum in 1969 and criticism by Clark Voorhees; his Mexican experience having influenced his vigor and scale; the Lost Generation series; his comment about Picasso not being able to paint; encouragement from his family to pursue art training; the murder of his father in 1936; his mother's success as a new painter; and his work, "Dilemma of the Atom" featured on the cover of an RCA Victor record album. Laigo also recalls Perry Acker, Foster White Gallery, David Mendoza, Fred Mendoza, Tom Tooley, Ray Sadirius, Quincy Jones, Oscar Holden's Orchestra, Fred Cordova, Mits Katayama, Rudy Bundis, Kal Chin, Paul Horiuchi, James Washington, Dick Kirsten, Frank Okada, John Matsudaira, Walter Froelich, Bill Ritchie, John Counts, Don Fenton, Kenneth Callahan, Fred Run, Barry Ferrell, Ken Harms, Andrew Chin, Ben Dar, Ruth Mora, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Val Laigo, 1989 July 12. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the transcription of this interview provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Women's Committee.
Biography Note:
Val Laigo (1930-1992) was a painter from Seattle, Wash. Born in Naguilian, La Union, in the Phillipines. His family moved to the United States in 1931 and to Seattle in 1941. Laigo's full name Valeriano Emerenciano Montante Laigo.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Computer art  Search this
Painters  Search this
Muralists  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Record number:
Asian American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art