CREEDE— City of Creede crews installed two large sculptures recently, one in Basham Park and the other at the Visitors Center.
The sculptures were donated by artist T Black; he calls them Moon Faces.
T’s given name is Michael L. Pitre. In T’s South Louisiana Cajun culture, when a youngster is close to a grownup, for example to his Uncle Black, he will be called Petite Black, meaning Little Black. The Petite is shortened to T, thus T Black.
T came to Creede in 1976, after serving in the Naval Reserve. He worked for Homestake Mine as a supply hauler and later as a motorman for a heading crew. He went back and forth to south Louisiana, working on shrimp boats. That’s where he started woodcarving, keeping himself busy while the nets were scooping up shrimp.
Jenny Inge, owner of Rare Things in Creede, noticed T’s artistic bent, and she suggested T move to stone. Ken Wiley, organizer of the Days of ’92 miner competitions, gave T some huge rhyolite boulders used in jack-leg drilling contests. Jenny showed T how to use diamond blades on skill saws and angle grinders and to keep water flowing over the piece as it is worked. T took off artistically, eventually producing the two huge Moon Faces.
T says he is “happy with my art in town so that’s what I’m remembered for instead of what people think of me because of my wild and drinking past.” T says he’s “been sober for 26 years now, striving for peace.” And it is peace T feels when he watches children playing, climbing over his Moon Faces.