Faculty & Staff

Art professor remembered for intensity, dedication

After losing one of their longest-serving professors last month, students and colleagues in UH’s School of Art continue to remember David Hickman.

Students remember Hickman, who taught at UH for over 40 years, for his undivided passion to color as an artist, patron and enthusiast.

“He loved the color purple. He loved color in general,” photography junior Gloria Cervantes said. “He was the most passionate teacher I have ever had, and I’m sorry to hear that future generations will never be able to experience the love and appreciation of art that Professor Hickman taught to his students, especially me.”

Hickman began teaching at UH in 1969. Since that time, his dedication to his students was evident.

In 1975, he helped lead the way in developing the Master of Fine Arts program for the University’s fine art students.

In addition to the impact he has made on the University, Hickman has supported countless local arts organizations and boards.

He served as president of the Houston Society of Illustrators. He also acted as an examiner for the International Baccalaureate Programs in Texas, and was elected to the Board of Directors of Artist Bookworks Houston.

Hickman also curated exhibitions and juried various shows.

“No matter what he did or how busy he was, he always made time for his students,” Cervantes said.

His love for painting has been exhibited in solo and group shows, and can be found in various collections, including Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts,

The Houston Art League and Houston Area Exhibition are among the many institutions that have awarded him for his work.

Hickman is survived not only by his family, but also by his works of art, and the passion that he inspired in his students, fellow faculty members and family.


  • david,
    truly loved teaching, and students. they were all different and he love it so. painting, color, and life!
    he was devoted to the university and staff. he was always there for anyone who needed him.
    i have never met and will never, meet a man like David. a man of honesty, caring and love for his fellow man. everyone loved him. he love art, color, students, his wife and family. most gentle and kind and full of love. oh, i can not for get he loved the sunset. light is color!
    I will forever love him. he was my heart and soul.
    gizelle hickman – wife

    • Gizelle… Is it possible that he was the same David Hickman who painted “The Creation of Mickey” mural for the Blackhawk in Chicago?

      • Yes. David painted “The Creation of Mickey” mural many years ago when he was teaching at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, where he also did his MFA work.

        I just found this question and am answering it because I was married to David when this work was done. Also, I am the only one of his three wives who is still alive. I am a writer and graphic artist, living and working in Texas.

        Anita Hickman

        • Anita,
          Would you be interested in a telephone conversation about this piece? Before the story is lost… I’d really like to document your memories of the events surrounding this art.
          Dave Mason

        • Anita, I am not sure if you will get this message after so many years but: I was a painting student of his at Northern, in Dekalb, and also modeled for him. It was a large painting with me wearing a wild 1970s print outfit in purples and orange. I’m wondering if the painting still exists somewhere? I would be interested in buying it….

  • He was my color teacher in 1986. I Now teach color theory myself . Thinking of him very often ever since.

    Matt Evald Johnson, artist

  • Such a fantastic teacher and mentor. Took his watercolor then his color theory class because I learned so much from him. I’m shattered by his passing. He was truly one of a kind.

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