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Charles Criner was born and raised in Athens, Texas on November 27, 1945. In 1964 he attended Texas Southern University and studied art under the guidance of the renowned late artist, Dr. John Biggers. While in college Charles supported himself by working as a sign painter, graphic artist, and billboard illustrator. After graduating in 1968 with a BA in Art Education, he worked for NASA, producing drawings for Apollo 11. Two years later he worked as the advertising art director at the Houston Post that was interrupted for a two-year stint in the Army. He returned to the Houston Post after his service until the Post folded. He started his own business and was lured away to create advertising art for the Houston Chronicle.
Criner is noted for his cartoons including the Johnny Jones series created while in the Army and later adapted for The Houston Post, The Job Crowd, The Dogs and a few others. He also collaborated with his longtime friend, newspaper columnist and sportswriter William Henry Hygh on the Johnny Jones cartoon carried in The Houston Post with Hygh providing the narrative for Criner's art. Mr. Criner's art, ads, and cartoons have been featured in Ebony Magazine, Houston Business Journal, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and in advertising for the Houston Oilers. His works are owned by museums and individual collections throughout the US. He currently teaches at Houston Community College and is the Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Printing History in Houston.