This weekend saw the VIP kick-off of the second annual Houston Urban Experience Festival (or HUE, to its friends). The week-long extravaganza of urban art will feature over 100 artists from around the world, including Puerto Rico, Iran, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Spain, and promises to "transform Houston’s cityscape from concrete to color". Those of you who are familiar with Houston's urban art scene will also see some familiar looking work popping up by local artists such as Nicky Davis, Scott Tarbox, Dandee Warhol, and Anat Ronen in locations ranging from St. Arnold's Brewery to the Holiday Inn parking garage.
The event is being spearheaded by GONZO247, a local heavy hitter in the street art world, and the mastermind behind Aerosol Warfare, the Graffiti and Street Art Museum Texas, and the "Houston is Inspired" mural that is LITERALLY ALL OVER EVERYTHING.
I was lucky enough to attend the VIP opening shin-dig on Saturday night - it was all very mysterious, with the venue announcement being distributed day-of, ultimately leading guests 3 stories underground to view the aptly-named Wall of Fame II in the belly of a Holiday Inn parking garage downtown.
Bad news first: it was BOILING, as in I genuinely suggest going to see these murals in your bathing suit and not a long-sleeved woolen dress like this idiot here did.. However, the work certainly makes it worth the trip. Although my phone snaps unfortunately don't do it justice, this cavernous canvas is another great example of Houston artists transforming the traditional consumption of their work to make it a true experience. A few highlights for me included an intense portrait by Skeez181 (pictured), Alex Ramos' 3-story worm mural, and my personal favorite: "Hit 'Em With That Llama" (also pictured), by tgp_htx artist Bao Pham.
With just a few days of the festival to go, there is still SO much to see. There are daily tours in addition to four or five different events each day to suit everyone. Wednesday is the HUE Playground, where you can actually try your hand at some graffiti of your own, Thursday there is HUE Artist Vendors on Canal St., Friday is HUE Brew at St. Arnold's Brewery... But I don't know your life, so to be safe go and check out the calendar yourself here, and see what you fancy.
Stay tuned for more coverage of HUE events to come...
So, today I took a preview tour of the Sculpture Month Houston exhibit at the Silos at Sawyer Yards. If you haven't had the opportunity to see an exhibit at this space yet, now's your chance! The preview opened last night as part of Houston Art Fair, and the full opening, with additional pieces, will take place on October 15th (put it in your diary!).
A quick background of the Silos to set the scene.. Inside the old Success Rice factory, (which was built in the 50s and abandoned in the 70s), lies an approximately 9,000 sq ft "Honeycomb" area at the base of 83' rice silos. The space is spectacular, creepy, and completely turns the traditional white-washed gallery aesthetic on its head. The space is different, and therefore presents a challenge, even Sculpture Month Houston's founder Volker Eisele said that it "takes guts" to exhibit there - it's certainly not for the faint hearted.
This is the perfect setting for the series of quirky and thought-provoking installations that make up one part Houston Sculpture Month, As soon as you enter the exhibit (if you can call it an exhibit, it's really an all-around immersive experience/interactive/installation hybrid) the experience begins. You are greeted by Wei Hong's installation, served Mulberry tea and asked to pose for a photo. Your cup will later become part of the installation, and your photo will used in another animated art piece.
For me, there are a few real highlights. Ed Wilson's piece - suspended from the very top of the interior of the 83' silo it resides in - is the show-stealer. As it gently moves with the rotation of the earth you can forget about everything else and be totally mesmerized - I could watch it all day. Other highlights include Sharon Kopriva's addition - an unsettling collection of distorted human-like forms made from found objects and rope, suspended over a sculpted fire; Joe Mancuso's installation that casts spectacular shadows on the concrete floor of its silo; and the gorgeous work of Adela Andea (seriously, it's gorgeous).
To borrow from SMH's own website, Sculpture Month Houston is a citywide event that celebrates and showcases sculpture throughout Houston. The campaign is hosted in numerous galleries and venues throughout the city from October 15 through November 19, 2016. Houston last celebrated sculpture 16 years ago with Sculpture 2000. In presenting Sculpture Month Houston, organizers Volker Eisele, Sean Rudolph and Antarctica Black (directors and manager of Rudolph Blume Fine Art / ArtScan Gallery), alongside Tommy Gregory (artist and curator of the City of Houston’s Art Collection at the Houston Airport System), look to provide a current survey of the Houston sculpture scene.
While we're on the subject, this coming weekend is a total knock out for Houston's art scene. Just to name a few, you have Texas Contemporary at the George R. Brown Foundation Center, Houston Art Fair at Silver St. and the Fall Biannual opening at Sawyer Yards, so get your culture on this weekend kids!
What: RAW: Natural Born Artists Presents: BOLD
When: September 24th, 2015 - 7pm-11:30pm
Where: Studio Live: 6400 Richmond Ave, Houston
So, last night I went along to RAW Artists' BOLD event at Studio Live. For those of you who have yet to go to one of these nights, GO DO IT! A little background before we get to the good stuff: RAW is an international community made up of creative individuals across the globe. Their mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. RAW currently operates in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and, most recently, London.
This was my second time attending a RAW Houston event since moving to the city, and I certainly intend to make a habit of it. I first discovered the international phenomenon while looking for exhibitions that my partner Adam could enter his work into (yes, I'm one of those shamelessly pushy Dance Mom-types that enters him into everything because I am convinced that he is brilliant, which of course he is). Apart from being a great foot-in-the-door for first time exhibitors, it's a fab night out for anyone with even a passing interest in visual art, performance art, music, fashion, or local talent in all its forms. If you can get onboard with the extortionate drink prices and the occasional dodgy craft booth, then it's well worth the $10-$20 entry fee.
Just a few highlights from last night's Houston-based event BOLD included Katherine Mason, Graphic Designer Ramon Hernandez, and the incredible photography of Mabry Campbell. While Mabry is an internationally acclaimed artist (and rightly so!), both Katherine and Ramon are less well known, and artists like these are what RAW is all about. I was particularly attracted to the three artists in particular by their starkly different (and most importantly successful) approach to the theme: Mabry's stunning long exposure infrared photography; the striking abstract shapes of Ramon Hernandez; and the tongue in cheek pop art portraits by Katherine Mason.
The crafty stuff for me personally is a little eh, so I was happy to see that BOLD, unlike the last RAW event in the same venue GLIMPSE, was a little more visual art-centric - with an emphasis on bold (no shit Sherlock) graphic artists. As with any up-and-coming exhibition, there were some booths that were a definite swing and a miss, but who wants to focus on the negative? The best thing about this event in my opinion is the synergy between different forms of artistic expression. Sure it's a little self consciously "arty" in some ways, but in general I was excited to see this type of opportunity being both offered and wholeheartedly taken advantage of in my city. Hop along to RAW's next Houston event UPRISING in November or check out their website for events in your area,
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.