The Digital Journalist
Selected photos from Michael O'Brien's The Face of Texas.
© Michael O'Brien

Michael O'BrienWatch a video clip of Michael O'Brien discussing Ran Horn.
(Quicktime required)

Ran Horn/VAN HORN - Randell Horn hasn't lopped off his ear, but otherwise the 47-year-old artist is living up to his image as the Van Gogh of Van Horn. Horn owns "Van Gogh in Van Horn," an art gallery and used bookstore, where he sells his own Van Gogh imitations and gives the occasional art lesson--for a mere $5.

"I want to redo all of Vincent's paintings and maybe come up with an original idea," says Horn, who paints all day, eschewing both phone and computer, "then, if there is a beyond, have a good laugh with Mr. Van Gogh."

Horn--a former Baptist preacher, prison guard and mail carrier--was born in "flat, dry, dusty Odessa," where his father worked in the rich Permian Basin oil fields while his mother raised him and his seven sisters. He left Texas and worked as a preacher in frigid Duluth, Minnesota, for several years before moving back. He chose Van Horn, where he could be "Ran Horn of Van Horn" and support his family as an artist--more or less.

"I will mow lawns and sweep parking lots to make sure bills are paid," he says. "I'm trying to be like Vincent, Leo Tolstoy and Jesus, who identified with the poor. Ephesians 4:28 sums it up quite nicely : '(We) must work doing something useful with our own hands, that we may have something to share with those in need.'"

Horn is pictured just off Main Street in Van Horn with his Chihuahua Lilly, named after Lillian Gish, the silent film star.