Valero Energy

Valero Energy lobby images created working with photographer Jimmy Zintgraph's pictograph images of South Texas.

In 1952, while hunting west of Del Rio, Texas, Jim found pictographs painted by prehistoric people on the canyon walls along the Pecos River.  This chance discovery excited his curiosity and he undertook a personal mission to catalogue on film the artistic heritage of these unknown people.

His passionate conservation efforts have created another distinctive photographic body of work: over 10,000 negatives of ancient pictographs and petroglyphs.  Two books (Ancient Texans: Rock Art and Lifeways Along the Lower Pecos, with Dr. Harry J. Shafer; and Pecos River Rock Art with Dr. Solveig A. Turpin), a permanent exhibit, Ancient Texans: People of the Lower Pecos, at the Witte Museum; and, in 2002, a CD-ROM, Lower Pecos Rock Art, came out of his tireless work.

"His work lives on at the Witte," said Marcie McDermott, President and CEO of the Witte Museum, speaking of Jim's photographs in the exhibit, Ancient Texans.  "He really transformed hundreds of thousands of school children's comprehension of the lives of the people of the Lower Pecos with his photographs."

More than anything else, Jim enjoyed taking people to remote and hidden rock art sites and seeing their reactions to the ancient, evocative artwork that he found so compelling and enigmatic.  His awe never waned and he said of his treks to see pictographs that they were some of the best days of his life.

Still curious, still trying to understand, he revisited four sites last month (February 2006) in the company of friends.

The images produced by Alternative INK for the Valero Energy lobby are now part of the Witte  Museum collection.