by Annette Palmer
(this article was originally featured in 365 Things To Do In Houston)
Whether it’s the robust brushstroke of oil on canvas or the gleaming glaze of a ceramic masterpiece, these artistic nuances captivate and mesmerize us, drawing us in to the essence of why we love art. It comes in countless forms, from the ancient, organic, and traditional, to the ever increasing experimental and intangible sorts that we are experiencing today; everything is relevant, and everything is art.
Art is lifestyle… How, what, and where we eat, our clothing and appearance, home décor, entertainment… It’s infinite, indulgent, and immersive, and what a privilege we allow ourselves to live in this manner!
Understanding the Artform & How Art Can Form Our Lives
The term “artform” is an interesting one. When it comes to the visual arts, “art” begins every time in a completely different form and the artist is the magician who transforms it into another. Tubes of paint and rolls of cloth become paintings. Clay, stone, wood, and metal transform into sculptural treasures. The charred wood of charcoal and pencil become drawings on paper. Discarded items become “found objects” and the artist repurposes and breathes new life into what would otherwise become landfill. Archway Gallery is home to 34 artists, each one working and creating with different forms of two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) art. Below you’ll find examples of how a few of Archway Gallery’s artists express themselves through various artforms.
Sculpture: Building Art from Mass in 3-D
Three-dimensional metal artists Jim Adams and Joe Haden create sculptures which respect our industrial heritage. While both artists give the metal a new purpose and life to be enjoyed in a new form, each artist approaches the upcycled artform from a different perspective. Adams uses the existing formations of heavy metal outmoded objects to create sculpture by configuring, coupling, and fusing found pieces. He reintroduces us to their shapes and forms, while making us view them as art instead of functional components of heavy industry.
Visual Art‘s Ever Evolving Landscape
The art world is ever changing and so are our tastes, as well as our choices in art and its many forms. Regular visits to galleries keep us inspired, questioning, and informed of what’s new. It’s exciting and it’s the future… Enjoy!
by John Slaby
(this article was originally featured in 365 Things To Do In Houston)
Many people find going to art galleries intimidating. There is a general feeling that one must be well-educated in art and have the ‘right’ opinions or be snubbed. This is understandable. But in truth, most galleries are welcoming spaces. They are not dissimilar to restaurants: you can find places where you may be berated for not using the right fork, but most are casual and inviting. I know this. I have been a member of the local art community and a collector for many years. When I first started out, I was intimidated and hesitant. But as I got to know the people of the community I began to feel more at ease.
Getting to Know the Artists Down the Street
If you are willing to venture out, you will find there’s art of great beauty and high craftsmanship created by your neighbors and available at local galleries, studios, and art fairs. These talented local artists are as diverse as our city. They range in all education levels. Some were educated at Houston’s fine art schools and may have advanced degrees. Some, like myself, are self-taught. All have been honing their skills through the years and following their own path of artistic development, growing, and influencing each other. Houston has a wide range of all art types, providing something for everyone. If you have not immersed yourself in this community, you’re missing out on some very fine art. Meeting these artists is a positive experience. Being fellow Houstonians, they are friendly and more than willing to share their motivations, techniques, and the history of their work. This really enhances the art experience—understanding the artists and their work makes the art more valuable. It attaches a story and a memory to the work, as well as deepens the emotional attachment.
Local Art Brings Local Connection & Reflection
Supporting local artists supports local businesses: you are helping our community. But local art transcends this purely transactional effect. Art is a deep reflection of who we are as a people and culture. These artists live and work in our community and are deeply influenced by it. The Houston experience shows up in the work itself: the good—like our modern architecture and beautiful parks—and the not so good—like our turbulent weather and traffic. Only a local artist can understand our home because it is their home, too. Only a local artist can truly speak for us.
Local Art Creates a Legacy
I have worked on my own art collection over the years, gathering works of my artist friends and colleagues. These pieces grace my home. I don’t expect them to increase in value; that’s not why I bought them. Instead, each time I look upon my collection I feel a surge of joy and satisfaction from having these beautiful works in my home, from my recollections of the artist, from my connection to the subject matter, and from knowing I have supported a core element of our city. That’s the best return on investment I could ask for.
But one of the most significant aspects of supporting local art is that this will become our legacy. The work that is produced here and makes its way into private and public collections will live on long after we and these artists have passed. This is how we will be remembered, just as we, looking at work produced centuries ago, can see into the lives of those distant generations. These simple actions, made by individuals, resulted in an enormous artistic gift to the future for all to enjoy. Now we have such an opportunity. The art is out there waiting for you.
by Blaine Davis
There were nine of us staying for September; I was the only man. The average age was about 22, with the group consisting mostly of young women who had just finished their education or were preparing to continue onto higher education. They were from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden; it was a good international group.
Since we had been told to bring our own supplies because the local grocery store had a “limited supply,” I had an extra suitcase filled with yarns. As it turned out, the store had enough wool yarn to fill a whole wall in the place. Iceland is a knitting culture. I went home with a lot more yarn than I’d brought. I also had brought a small loom to do samples on and I started with that, then moved on to a larger one. My weaving samples consisted of several smaller pieces and one large tapestry. It takes a long time to do a tapestry of any size, so I was spending more time on the loom, and there were a few late nights. In addition to my own weaving, I also ended up doing a little teaching.
It was nice in the morning to look out at the river and mountain in the distance, drink coffee and eat, then start weaving. I’d usually go for a walk in the afternoon, or go the town’s swimming complex, which had a heated pool and hot tubs of varying temperatures.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience, one that I’d like to do again; maybe somewhere else, or maybe just back to Iceland… sitting at the large upright loom, looking at the river and mountains. I came to the realization that what I had gotten myself into was something nice."
Robert L. Straight, a 3-D artist who combines materials such as wood, clay, wire, fused glass, and various other items, shares his thoughts on the long process of presenting a One Person Show. In addition to creating artwork for a show, the artist must also allow time to design materials for the marketing and public relations efforts needed to assist with making the show a success.
“Artists usually start planning and working on a show two or three years before the scheduled date of the exhibition. The first thing I do is decide on a theme, decide what kind of materials will be used, and how much time will it take to create specific ideas. If the creation of an idea takes a long time, what will the price be?
Pricing is always a problem. As an artist, you want to use the best materials possible. This is great in theory but when an artist buys first class materials, the expense of those materials must be passed on to the buyer; otherwise, the artist is losing money. As it is, artists often spend $1000+ on materials and marketing before the show even opens! So, while wanting to keep pricing in an affordable range, artists must also recover their expenses.
When creating work for a show, my goal is to complete 30 to 35 works of art. I feel that my clients like to see lots of new and different artwork, so I have fun making as many pieces as possible and hope that someone likes it as much as I do. My aim is to have someone look at my artwork every morning and know that it brings a little joy to that person’s daily routine. To an artist, this is the joy of making art!
I strongly feel that collecting artwork is a personal thing. When someone looks at their own art collection, it should be a joyous and happy experience. And this artist will love you for it.”
This is the poem Harold Joiner read at the opening of Colors of a Place, because it beautifully expresses his experience in developing the paintings for the exhibition.
A Painter’s Mixed Result
I grew up in New Mexico, not the cool part of the state where everything is built of adobe and where famous artists like O’Keeffe made history, but New Mexico nevertheless. Other parts of the extended family were in Santa Fe, so I got to spend plenty of time there as a kid. It was a time when the Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner cartoons were popular, and I was intrigued that the mesas we passed along the way really looked like the ones in the cartoons. They were flat as a board on top, and somewhat orange colored, just like the cartoon mesas.
Many of our family vacations were in the desert Southwest, at a time when vacations by car were popular. The interstate highway system was being built, the lesser highways were being upgraded to accommodate more traffic, and “modern” motels with extravagant neon signs were being built for the tourist throng. We visited numerous locations in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, but my favorite place was Santa Fe. I loved the high mountain air, the Hispanic and Indian cultural milieu, the smell of pinon, and the glorious autumn color display of the aspen trees.
Works in my current solo exhibition at Archway are the inventions of a guy revisiting the memories of a childhood. With the passing of my sister earlier this year, I’m the end of the line. She was the last one, besides me, who knew the family stories. She was there on those vacations in the enchanted land, and she teased me about the roadrunner. After college, she moved away too, but she also hung onto our shared memories of a treasured, colorful place.
– Harold Joiner, November 2021
by Joe Haden
Why my decision to be a sculptor is simple, I see things in 3D in my mind. As I design and fabricate, I don’t use many drawings much at all.
My proudest moments, in creating, are when a simple idea in my head blossoms into a fabulous detailed piece of art, and then again when I see my art in its new environment of an art collectors’ home.
The ability to express my delight in jurying an art exhibition during this extraordinary historical period is hard to put into words. Art is such an elemental part of the fabric of humankind that to have it disrupted in the lineal norm makes the opportunity to see work produced during this period curious and enlightening.
As I worked my way through the images, I was confronted with the same difficulty all jurors find themselves confronted with. How to select the work when your numbers are fixed. This year the work felt deep and personal. I felt the work reflected the depth of the artist’s perception of their lives during this isolated time. This said, I have always felt that all art is exceptional, some is just better than others. Of course, that’s because I like it.
So, if your piece wasn’t selected it doesn’t mean it wasn’t as significant as those selected, it just means I was limited and chose those that appealed to my aesthetics. Nothing more nothing less.
Thank you all for participating in the Archway juried exhibition and keep adding the element of creative humanity that is art.
Best, Wayne Gilbert
By Joe Hale Haden
My Art Car addictions began in the late 80’s, when I heard about a parade of ART on cars then a friend invited me to the Art Car Ball. After that, I didn’t hesitate to join in on the fun. My first Art Car Parade was a blast, and they even gave me a trophy for my efforts; I was hooked! For many years I entered the parade as a skater, then helped on group projects with other skaters, which lead to doing several cars together with the skaters, and eventually leading to doing my own Art Cars. There’s nothing like chopping up a car or cutting holes in it, and some years I helped with 6-7 Art Car projects. Working on an Art Car always lets my imagination run wild.
Driving an Art Car in the parade is like being shot out of a cannon for an hour and a half; what a great adrenaline rush! It also gave me a deadline for a huge project. Each year I had to do something new and completely different, so each year got harder and harder to be original, but my imagination has never let me down... even after 30 years. Driving an Art Car on a daily basis is a complete world of its own; everyone’s your friend. Panhandlers don’t ask me for money, instead, they want to talk to talk about the car. In an Art Car, I’ve never had concerns about being in neighborhoods where I might otherwise be worried. The best part is that you can instantly find your car in a big parking lot!
Through the years, winning not only 1st, but 1st & 2nd place Art Car in one year was one of my most amazing experiences! I have missed the parades scheduled for 2020 & 2021 but I’m hopeful for 2022, and I have a great idea and car waiting.
By Joe Hale Haden
The struggle between being an artist and an engineer is a dance of disciplines which I enjoy. Rules, rules, rules, and then... My art plays with breaking the rules; it can be a paradox and my sense of humor can usually be found in some manner when viewing the work. It takes knowing how to make a strong design then pushing it to defy the rules. My proudest moments in art would have to be when the ideas in my head play out and I can physically create or reproduce the idea successfully.
A few years ago, after injuring my leg and needing to learn to walk again, I had the time to hang out with my friend Mik Miano who taught me how to “cold bend” metal. This started a new journey for me and began my love for metal; it just felt right. I feel metal picked me, and it just took me a while to get on board.
Finding ideas for my artwork is simple: My imagination has full power of attorney when it comes to an endless supply of great and outlandish projects. I’m only limited by time and money usually, and that is why I love found objects. They are free and give me constant inspiration; by working with found objects, there aren’t many rules, so this allows me to break rules in a harmonious way. Some of my work has a lot of contradiction, but somehow it works out for a beautiful piece of art to emerge from that contradiction. I don’t have enough time on this planet to produce all of the ideas I have in my head, and I’m OK with that... It gives me the opportunity to keep coming back for more.