William “Bubba” Flint, a free-lance artist and painter, has been eating barbecue most of his life and drawing cartoons for the Dallas Cowboys’ Star Magazine for 30 years.
Barbecue and the Cowboys. That alone makes him one of the more interesting people I’ve known and worked with. He’s also an expert on baseball — all levels from youth to pro — and music. I’m tempted to call him a Renaissance Man, but he doesn’t cook. Oh, well, everyone has holes in their expertise, I guess.
Flint, who lives in Mesquite and drew the big cartoon (above) for us, is the subject of this installment of The Posse Interview, a regular feature that focuses on photographers, artists and other interesting people with connections to smoked meat, even if they only eat it.
Bubba and I worked together for a few years at the short-lived Arlington Morning News. He graduated from SMU with an MFA, concentration in painting, and has been drawing editorial cartoons for 35 years. Believe me, that’s a tough specialty within a very tough racket, the struggling newspaper business.
Currently, his cartoons are published in The Dallas Morning News, White Rock Lake Weekly, Katy Trail Weekly, Park Cities People, Preston Hollow People and Amusement Today. He does a comic strip — "Lane Laughter" — in the Bowling News. He has illustrated six children books and his paintings are shown in various galleries around Dallas.
He played baseball at Eastfield Community College in Mesquite for Oscar Blair, batting third and roaming centerfield in a lineup that won 30 games in both 1981 and 1982. The schedule included some D-1 schools, such as Dallas Baptist and UT Arlington.
As he recalls, his cumulative batting average was .340 and the highlight was a three-homer game his sophomore year. “I saved the paper clippings somewhere,” he says.
To break the ice on the interview, I asked Bubba what barbecue and the Cowboys have in common?
“Neither has won a Super Bowl in the last 20 years!” he said.
He also supplied a list of his favorites:
-- Author - Kerouac
-- Baseball team - Oakland A's
-- Cartoon - Ren & Stimpy
-- Movie - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
-- Album - Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"
-- Publisher - GJ
That last citation is a reference to me. Thanks, Bubba. The AMN didn’t last long but it was so much fun.
The Posse Interview
O.K. The real serious stuff first. Since you've done so much work for the Cowboys organization over the years, how will the team do this year?
The Cowboys are finally living up to the hype. This season will be a 12-4 team and NFC finals. They go on to play the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
Might as well get baseball out the way, too. I love watching Joey Gallo. He gets his money's worth on every swing. But can we really consider a player who hits .200, even if he does get 50 homers and loves BBQ, a truly great talent?
If Gallo were on a team where he hit in the seven hole, then you can live with the low average and strike outs. But for this Ranger team, he's a bad fit. They need better all-around numbers. It seems that pitchers are figuring him out pretty quick. He seems to be a bit like Chris Davis in that he may need a change of scenery to succeed.
When I commissioned you to do the cartoon for the Posse, I didn't give you any guidance. You produced a bad-ass BBQ Hombre, which I love. Is that how you really see the Posse? Does the Hombre have a name?
The name Posse for a group of BBQ fanatics is so cool, it works on so many levels. The hombre I designed for you guys has a little mean streak in him with a side of crazy. His name is "Lean Mean Gene"!
How much BBQ do you eat now and what are your favorite joints?
I eat BBQ at least once a week, my go to spot is Mesquite BBQ, a legend in this town, they have been around for quite some time, been going there since I was a kid.
On your Facebook page, you call yourself a "Modern day beatnik!” Is that true?
Modern Day Beatnik: someone who loves the arts, who participates in the arts, one who doesn't value material possessions and believes in getting the most out of life! Read, listen to music and enjoy the outdoors!
You are a huge music fan. I remember a conversation we had a long time ago, but not that far away, about Cold Play, My Morning Jacket , Vampire Weekend and the Oxford comma, both the song and the punctuation. What are you listening to now?
I love music! I have over 1,000 CDs and albums. I love live music! When I work, I am always listening to music. Right now I've been listening to Will Johnson (Austin resident), he has solo material, leads a few bands (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), he is also a painter. He paints old baseball players and tells their story on the canvas. My favorite musician is Robyn Hitchcock (Englishman who resides in Nashville), eccentric folk artist, been listening to him since the ’80's. There are some great bands out there, you just have to find them. Wilco, Dawes, Blind Pilot, Ray LaMontague, Amos Lee…
The newspaper business has been dying for a long time. Along with it, the great tradition of editorial cartoonists. Yet, you've been able to make a good career in that art form, and it is art. How?
Great question. Persistence, passion, re-inventing myself, all good answers. But really it is more about changing with the times. More small community newspapers who want ultra local cartoons, that has been my success story. I used to say that I was an editorial cartoonist, now I just say that I'm an artist who happens to do editorial cartoons and other things. To me, a character drawn for a gang of BBQ fanatics is just as rewarding as drawing a cartoon about politicians!