Over the past four or five years, I have been able to visit Houston numerous times for various reasons. This city has charmed me more and more with each visit. Yet after each visit, when I share stories of the pleasure, hospitality, and generosity that I have come to associate with this city, I am often sadly reminded of how it remains stereotyped as an oil-rich cowboy town, rather than a city with one of the most ebullient art scenes in the nation or the first of its size to elect an openly gay mayor.
Throughout these visits, I have met a handful of extremely talented and fascinating young painters. I have come to know some of these artists quite intimately and have shared many memorable conversations and experiences with each of them. They share a camaraderie unlike many I've witnessed otherwise. I continue to check in with them and see how they're doing and what they're up to, always excited to hear wild stories or see images of new works or works in progress. I truly am proud and fortunate to call these quizzical schmucks my friends.
So anyways, I thought it might be interesting, or at least entertaining, to assign each of them a day of the week (all within one week, Monday-Friday) to chronicle their actions and interactions, what they accomplish or don't accomplish: "A Work Week In Houston." Addendum: "An Artist's Work Week In Houston." The following is what I received.
Keith J. Varadi
Monday, November 11, 2013
woke up and took a shower. it’s been a few days. made coffee and went to work. my key card wouldn’t let me in the building, so i went home. spent some time playing http://geoguessr.com/. it’s a fun game. i ate two egg and arugula tacos. went to the bank and deposited a check. tried to go to the post office but it’s veterans day and all the mailboxes were full. went to the art supply store and decided i couldn’t afford the resin i wanted to buy. went to target and bought some toilet paper and lube. saw two homeless guys hug each other. went to home depot and bought some glue, latex house paint, and a bio-degradable plastic tarp. came home and researched fiberglass ponds. an out-of-breath fat man told me the one i wanted was $340. more than i want to pay, but lane is splitting it with me so i guess it’s ok. put the fish (for dinner) out to thaw. started building big eyeballs for mine and lane’s crying eyeball fountain. went to the store to buy cigarettes. smoked one. poured a glass of whisky because it’s after 5. thought about how fat lane is. cooked dinner. this consisted of crab-stuffed flounder with a side of curried mustard greens and roasted beets. very nutritious. worked on the eyeballs a little more. texted my buddy a.j. to find out what resin he recommends using. i did not masturbate today. i’m going to go with a different resin from what a.j. recommended for now. whisky again. cigarette again. repeat. sleep.
|Cody posing in a tree|
|Cody wearing shorts|
|Katia and Seth|
|Landscape With Fence|
|Seth brushing Pearl's hair|
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Greetings fellow painters and art lovers! My name is Lane Hagood and I live in Houston, Texas. I am going to walk you through a day in my life. Lucky you!
That’s me in the morning time! To start off, I would like to mention that I have a job like most people, but decided to take the entire week off to fuck around and make some art. Usually, I would go to work for the infamous Mark Flood, assisting him in doing the devil’s work. I know some of you might rather see that, but I have some cool things happening in my life too, so I hope that’s good enough for the readers of Painter’s Bread.
I just walked to the shower. I will be cleansed and dressed in 30 minutes!
When I have an art-filled day, I usually spend an hour or two looking at the Internet, reading real books and simply just avoiding getting to work on my masterpieces. One ritual of mine is looking at missed connections on Craigslist. It has been my goal to someday become a missed connection. So far I’ve had no luck at all in this endeavor. Despite all of my efforts to give the ladies missed connection duck lips whenever I see them in public, nothing has come of it. Maybe tomorrow will be my lucky day?
I got this in the mail today.
This will be my second year to see the madness of the art fairs in Miami. This year, me and forty other people are making a film about the fairs with Mark Flood. It’s going to be fun.
These are books that I’ve been reading.
These are the books I’m looking at.
I then look at my studio and decide I should make some art. Although I’m feeling the vibe, I’m not quite ready to go all the way in! So I leave my home/studio.
Since I work from home, I always have to leave to run an errand before I start to work. It’s impossible for me to wake up and start working. I have to leave or I start to go cabin cray cray! So I decide to go get some coffee.
I get home from my ’lil errand and look at my studio, move some stuff around, put on the new Danny Brown album, and get the party started. It’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but I usually dance around a bit before I start to paint or work. Nietzsche said that he could only believe in a god that danced, and I agree with him. So I cut a rug and then start working.
I end up making six drawings based off of my “Patterns That Connect” book. Honestly, I am not that into the drawings that I conjure up. But I do like two of them a lot. I’m in a drawing show here in Houston in January. I haven’t been all that sure what I want to include in it. But I kinda think I’m going to put a bunch of these drawings based off of ancient symbols in. They are really fun to make.
After I finish the sixth drawing, I get a call from David Shelton. He’s my dealer (art not drugs, man!) in Houston. He had an epiphany earlier in the day that he’d like to include three of my large airbrush paintings in his booth at the Miami Project fair. We discuss the details of making this happen since they’re currently in the show “Lame, Lewd and Depressed” in Austin. I am super excited to hear this news. We talk some more and he leaves feeling good about this. YES!
I then go to my friend Seth Alverson’s studio/apartment to work on a collaborative sculpture we decided to make. It’s an eyeball fountain. We started to sculpt the actual eyeballs the previous Sunday. The sculpture is still in the early stages. Neither of us are sculptors typically so the whole process is pretty foreign to us.
We are using resin to coat the eyeballs. We have never used resin before so this is a learning process for us both. Tonight we decide to mess around with pouring resin to try and figure out how this thing is going to work. I drink a beer and Seth drinks some whiskey.
This is what I look like after drinking a beer and a glass of whiskey. I’m sorry you have to see this.
We drink a glass of whiskey in the back of Seth’s car and tailgate while we wait for the resin to dry.
At this point my good friend Nick Meriwether comes over to help us discuss the logistics of the fountain. He has made some awesome sculptures with fountains. He helps us think through our idea. Then Seth’s wife, Katia, comes home from a long day pursuing her PhD in art history. We hang out and talk about the deep shit.
I make Seth watch a video of Lightnin’ Hopkins performing live. He’s a fellow Houstonite and I fucking love him.
We all go to eat some Tex Mex. Then we go to Home Depot so Nick can help us find a good pump to use in our sculpture and various other supplies for the fountain. Then we head back to Seth’s for another whiskey.
I drive home.
I come home and listen to this Leonard Cohen record. Recently I’ve become obsessed with the first side. I sprawl out on my floor and listen to it four times. Then I listen to some more records. I watch the Internet a bit and then I fall asleep.
This was my Tuesday. Life is good.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Teaching @ Houston Community College
9 am – Noon
Eye exam due to broken glasses
At the studio
Clean house and transfer rug from upstairs to downstairs
Make this thing
Glasses break again
Jonathan Ryan Storm
Thursday, November 15, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
It’s 7 am and I’m nursing a hangover. Thank you, Artpace. I’m in San Antonio for work this weekend, marking an atypical Friday because usually I’m waking up in my own bed, hung over. I start every morning the same way while traveling, with a phone call to my amazing girlfriend, Nancy Douthey, who also happens to be an amazing artist. Per usual, we recap the previous night and game plan the day ahead.
Off the phone, in and out of the shower; as I’m getting dressed, a dreadful feeling sets in while looking around at all the work (52 piece count) I’ll be installing today. A text message from David breaks the spell and now he’s parked out front in our cargo van. Chain-smoking cigs, David and I recap Artpace and all of his friends I met for the first time after hearing David tell me stories about them all year (I’ve been with DSG for 14 months).
Totally overwhelmed by all the names and faces and stories, I nod my head while plowing through a mini-bacon jalapeño quiche and some ridiculously flavor-packed raspberry turnover. Is there cardamom in this? What the fuck is that spice?! Coffee. Gulp. Gulp.
So Bakery Lorraine is one of the best bakeries in the country. Hands down. The bakers are a couple. They met while working for Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Napa Valley. Skillz. How they ended up in San Antonio is beyond me. I think David said one of them is from San Antonio? Anyhow, if you’re ever in SA…
Back at David’s house, setting up shop. Forgot to mention, David’s house is on the market now that he lives in HTX so we thought it would be a good idea to host a weekend pop-up at his house, kind of like an art fair, but with only one gallery. Intimate. But now, I’m working. Lots of time thinking over what goes where. Unexpected combinations. Low hangs. High hangs. 58” center just feels overrated when you’re hanging art in a 100-year-old house. David is out running errands and I’m spending way too much time hanging Cheryl Donegan’s work over a beautiful Eames couch. Raising it. Lowering it. Paranoid someone’s dirty scalp will touch it. All I can imagine is the Soul Glo couch, but on Cheryl’s paintings. Okay. A little higher. Done.
Cheryl Donegan paintings
David’s back with some sandwiches from Whole Foods: one is chicken salad; the other is roasted turkey with mango chutney. As usual, we split them. A lot of work gets done when we have lunch together. David tells me a story about his nosebleed on the freeway, and I get a little queasy imagining it. We finish lunch and David is able to help me unpack two Keith Mayerson paintings from their collared box before an artist shows up with their portfolio. David calls me into the back room where the work is lying on a bed and I am surprised to see good work. Let’s face it—my expectations are low. Arrogant, I know. I’ve since recalibrated…for the time being.
Feeling the pressure of the opening a few hours away, I keep hanging. Sylvia, our bartender, shows up, and she remembers my name. I was starting to get use to everyone I was meeting calling me Shawn. I think Sylvia is of Czech heritage. There’s a really prominent German and Czech community in central Tejas. Can we say KOLACHE? Can we say Czech-Mex? Anyhow, Sylvia is sweet and kind, and reminds me of all of my mother’s friends and their maroon-colored hair.
Work is up. I’m cleaned up. “Sylvia, pour me a glass of red!”
The night moves along as you can imagine most openings move along. Sales are made. People say stupid things. I meet more of David’s friends. The event ends at 8pm, but really, no one leaves until 9:30. Some friends from Houston are in town for a show around the corner at Unit B. Mark Ponder curated Debra Barrera into the show. Deb made a killer Neopolitan ice cream sculpture that melts into the pedestal. Concave Carrara marble is the secret. Mark and I end up talking about boxing for 15 minutes. I mentioned to someone earlier that I’m training now and they told me that Mark used to be a featherweight and I should ask him about it. He totally knows about “stress inoculation,” i.e. getting punched a lot and keeping your calm. We laugh over how often we have to defend boxing as a practice. Don’t get me started.
Debra Barrera’s sculpture
10 pm. David and I are starving, so we walk over to The Monterey with Deb and her partner, Jon. We split two bottles of wine and share a soft egg with pasilla corn bread, fried chili paste and hibiscus honey cauliflower, griddle house spam (my pick, but not so good), and two orders of spare ribs. Most importantly, our desert was two orders of the abuelita pot de crème, mezcal-banana mousse with a basil-chili cookie. San Antonio loves chili peppers.
Walk back to the house. Call Nancy up and we talk until I pass out on the phone.
Shane Tolbert, Untitled, Acrylic on Canvas, 19” x 16”, 2013
Shane Tolbert, Mother’s Day Flowers, Acrylic on Canvas, 15” x 11”, 2013
New Paintings In Studio
Contributing Editor Keith J. Varadi is an artist, curator and writer based in Los Angeles.