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Camille Billops

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Information about Camille Billops

Profile image of Camille Billops

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Fine Artist
Archivist
Film Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/12/1933
Birth Location:
Los Angeles, California

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Fine Artist
Archivist
Film Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/12/1933
Birth Location:
Los Angeles
See how Camille Billops is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Artist and filmmaker Camille Billops was born on August 12, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. Billops’ career has consisted of printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and filmmaking. She obtained her B.A. degree from California State University as well as her M.F.A. degree from City College of New York in 1975. Her primary medium is sculpture, and her works are in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Museum of Drawers, Bern, Switzerland. Billops has exhibited in one-woman and group exhibitions worldwide including: Gallerie Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer Gallery, and El Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia. She was a long time friend and colleague of master printmaker Robert Blackburn, whom she assisted in establishing the first printmaking workshop in Asilah, Morocco in 1978.

In 1975, with her husband, Black theatre historian James Hatch, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection. This impressive African American archive is a collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references. Billops also collaborated with James Van Der Zee and poet Owen Dodson in the publication of The Harlem Book of the Dead. In 1982, Billops began her filmmaking career with Suzanne, Suzanne. She followed this promising beginning by directing five more films, including Finding Christa in 1991, which is a highly autobiographical work that garnered the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Finding Christa has also been aired as part of the Public Broadcasting Station’s P.O.V. television series. Her other film credits include Older Women and Love in 1987, The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks in 1994, Take Your Bags in 1998, and A String of Pearls in 2002. Billops produced all of her films with her husband and their film company, Mom and Pop Productions. They have also co-published Artist and Influence, an annual, in 1981 as an extensive journal of the African Americans in the visual, performing and literary arts community.

Billops and her husband residde in New York City, where they both served as archivists of the Hatch-Billops Collection.

Billops passed away on June 1, 2019.

See how Camille Billops is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Camille Billops' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Camille Billops lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Camille describes her mother's enslaved ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about preserving her mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls researching her mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her father and her maternal family's relocation to Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about her father's occupation as a Pullman porter
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her father's travels as a Pullman porter
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls her father's dark skin complexion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her parents' photographs and her family's early deaths
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls living in Los Angeles as World War II began
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Camille Billops describes her childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Camille Billops describes her parents' relationship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls moving to the Westside of Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Camille Billops remembers skating to her favorite music as a teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls her mother remarrying after her father's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls her disillusionment with Catholicism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes her views on religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Camille Billops recalls becoming interested in art during her college career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Camille Billops describes her stepfather and stepsister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Camille Billops recalls her career after giving her daughter up for adoption
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her theater experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls her experiences as a theater costume designer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls working as a visual artist in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Camille Billops remembers actor Vin Diesel
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her experiences teaching art in elementary schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about popular African American artists
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Camille Billops talks about the black art aesthetic
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Camille Billops talks about feminism and her African American history journal
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the relationship of black and white female artists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Camille Billops talks about interracial relationships
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls how rising New York rent costs affected artists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls protesting the lack of diversity at the Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about African American artist co-ops' rental properties
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Camille Billops recalls African American artists' lack of interest in co-ops
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Camille Billops recalls directing plays with her husband, James V. Hatch
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Camille Billops remembers holding poetry readings at her artist co-op
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Camille Billops describes her artist co-op and establishing her archive
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes the early stages of the archive
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Camille Billops describes her short films about drug abuse and violence
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Camille Billops talks about her short documentary, 'Older Women and Love'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Camille Billops describes her relationship with her daughter, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Camille Billops shares her views on racism, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Camille Billops describes her short film, 'Take Your Bags'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Camille Billops describes her favorite filmmakers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Camille Billops recalls working on 'The Harlem Book of the Dead' by James Van Der Zee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Camille Billops recalls teaching at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Camille Billops talks about painter Richard Bruce Nugent
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Camille Billops talks about George C. Wolfe's play 'The Colored Museum'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Camille Billops describes her favorite artists
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Camille Billops recalls the artists featured in her archive
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Camille Billops describes how she would like to be remembered