09/29/16 11:00am

Dalia Rihani Heights Homes Illustrations

Recognize any of the images above? They’re each depictions of actual houses in the Heights area (yes, even that really skinny one in the top right corner) as drawn by local designer Dalia Rihani, who tells Swamplot she’s long been fascinated by her neighborhood’s architectural landscape. Rihani started out planning to draw 1 home per week as an outside-of-the-9-to-5 creative outlet — but says she’s found herself doing it much more frequently than that, and has since been taking commissions to illustrate specific houses as requests started to pour in. She’s also been turning the graphics into post cards that she’s sent to some of the home’s owners, as a reader showed Swamplot:


Sketchy Activities
07/29/16 12:30pm

THE ART GUYS SAY BYE, BUY, FOR NOW art-guys-byeRecently dissolved arboreal polygamist duo The Art Guys is holding what it’s labeling a Final Sale through August 15 on its website, which currently declares that The Art Guys are not artists. Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, whose antics under the name have included navigating Houston in various configurations, encouraging visitors to explore a Garden Oaks median strip, and conducting the sounds of the Ship Channel, spoke with Molly Glenzter — who writes this week that the pair still has other plans and ideas, but won’t be executing them under the Art Guys guise.  The pair mention the possibility of creating a virtual drawing of Houston by sending people walking around town with a special path-tracing smart-phone app: “It’s so poetic,” Galbreth tells Glenzter, but the company that makes the app hasn’t shown interest in sponsoring the project. And their imagined sculpture of a randomly-chosen Houstonian hasn’t gotten funding yet, either — “Our culture is just at low tide right now,” Galbreth says. [Houston Chronicle, The Art Guys; previously on Swamplot] Image: theartguys.com

06/10/16 11:00am

Spirit of the Confederacy Statue, 1000 Bagby St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

Spirit of the Confederacy Statue, 1000 Bagby St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002Chronicle reporter Gabrielle Banks snaps a fresh photo of the Spirit of the Confederacy, the well-labeled century-old statue standing around by the lake on the west side of Sam Houston Park (near the split of Allen Pkwy. into Lamar and Walker streets downtown).  The statue’s placement was funded in 1908 by Houston’s still-active Robert E. Lee chapter of the national United Daughters of the Confederacy and is inscribed to “all heroes of the South who fought for the principles of states rights.” Despite the statue’s unambiguous Confederate sympathies and nearness to City Hall, the bronze statue has largely flown beneath the radar of the past year’s scrutiny of Houston school and street names.


Sam Houston Park
03/01/16 11:30am

Art Guys Situation #4, Wheatley St. at Pinemont Dr., Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, Houston, 77091

Here’s the southernmost end of the newest work from the Art Guys: the designation of an existing ‘designated natural area’ in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest as part of their series of situation sculptures. The grassy median strip along Wheatley St. between Pinemont Dr. and Tidwell Rd. is evidently one of the no-mow zones labeled by the city’s parks and recreation department that spurred complaints in 2011, when area residents alleged that newly planted trees had blocked sight lines and created hazardous driving conditions.  According to the city’s website, the zones are carefully placed to “help promote the natural regeneration of the urban forest.

As for techniques employed by the artists: per their other pieces in the series, the duo appears to have left the area alone. They have, however, provided GPS coordinates and a Google map to help visitors avoid losing their way.


Adventures on Wheatley St.
02/29/16 3:00pm

Mural at former Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston Heights

The recently dumped Heights Finance Station post office at Yale and 11th streets was treated to a makeover this month, as demolition looms on the horizon. If all goes as planned, the building will eventually be brushed aside to make way for the younger-and-likely-prettier Heights Central Station mixed-use shopping center headed for the site; until then, it’s playing canvas for some Houston graffiti artists, including Wiley Robertson (one of the usual suspects behind giant love notes spotted around town).

A reader sends a fresh batch of lunchtime snapshots of the mural, which seems to have been wrapped up in the last few days:


Love Is In The Aerosol
02/01/16 5:00pm

Trumpet Flower Painting Event, Market Square, Downtown, Houston, 77002

Preston St. was closed down Saturday afternoon between Travis and Milam, as hundreds of people showed up to Market Square to paint the reclaimed strips of wood that will compose Patrick Renner’s upcoming Trumpet Flower installation.  The sculpture is designed to loom 60 feet above the space between One City Centre and its parking garage downtown (off Main St. Square and Fannin, between Lamar and McKinney).

Renner, of far-more-horizontal Funnel Tunnel fame, is slated to install the towering cone by the end of March, as part of the Art Blocks project planned to jazz up Main Street Square leading up to the 2017 Superbowl.  The tip of the structure will stretch down from the top of the garage and flare out into a furnished canopy shelter at street level. A tiny model of the installation was on display at a side table during the painting free-for-all:


Sprouting Downtown
07/16/15 4:00pm

THE PARTS OF TOWN WHERE THOSE STREETCORNER MINI MURALS ARE POPPING UP Mini Mural by 2:12, Stella Link at Latma Dr., Woodside, HoustonIf you’re wondering where you can find more of those painted-over traffic signal control boxes —- like the one pictured here, which just appeared at the corner of Stella Link and Latma Dr. in Woodside — there’s a . . . website for that. UP Art Studio, the mural project’s instigators, has pics up of more than 2 dozen of the altered streetcorner cabinets colorfully transformed by artists so far, as well as an interactive map for scouting them out. The project is restricted (so far, at least) to the southwest part of town inside the Beltway. In all, 14 artists have been commissioned to reimagine 31 metal boxes. [UP Art Studio] Photo: 2:12

06/08/15 1:15pm

AN ART CRITIC TOURS TEXAS A&M Roughneck Statue at Texas A&M University, College Station, TexasOn a recent visit to College Station, Rice and UT Grad Rainey Knudson tries to get past Texas A&M’s fortress chic: “So yes: to this outsider anyway, the A&M campus feels unattractive, humorless and a little silly. They have more bronze statues than you can shake a stick at, there are overbearing messages of social conservatism everywhere, and if you’re interested in good art, you’re out of luck, at least in the public spaces. These people couldn’t paint bigger targets on themselves for ridicule if they tried, right? And yet: the president of the school famously leaves the door to his house on campus unlocked. Students and faculty will tell you not to lock your car, that you could leave a computer lying somewhere on campus and it would still be there when you get back. And it would. That’s the flip side to all the sanctimoniousness at A&M: there really is a palpable, profoundly likeable sense of honor at the place (and I’m not just saying that because it’s one of their six core values that’s repeated all over campus.)” [Glasstire] Photo: Rainey Knudson

05/07/15 4:15pm

Mural by Wiley Robertson, 3301 Cline St., Fifth Ward, Houston

A couple of brick walls adjacent to the Lower Fifth Ward home of online retailer Spectrum Audio are now graced with a mural meant to pay tribute to an earlier Upper Fifth Ward audio enterprise. Peacock Records, founded in 1949 by Don Robey, captured recordings by Big Mama Thornton, James Booker, Little Richard, and other jazz and gospel artists at its studio at 2809 Erastus St. — now the home of Charity Baptist Church. A couple miles to the southwest at 3301 Cline St., artist Wiley Robertson painted a version of the record label’s Peacock logo — adjacent to another of his signature “Love” murals:


Sounds of the Fifth
05/06/15 10:00am

EXPLORING TEXAS’S INTRASTATE ART HIGHWAY SYSTEM Road Outside Marfa, Texas“In recent months, I’ve watched work from artists in just about every region of Texas make its way to other regions in Texas. It happens constantly. Celia Eberle (Ennis) to Beaumont; Camp Bosworth (Marfa) to Albany; Margarita Cabrera (El Paso) to Dallas; Ludwig Schwarz (Dallas) to Houston; Gregory Ruppe (Dallas) to San Antonio; Hills Snyder (San Antonio) to Lubbock, Danielle Georgiou (Dallas) to Marfa, Rick Lowe (Houston) to Dallas. You get the picture. The state, despite its size, enjoys a remarkably active farm-to-market road system for current working artists. This is unique in the U.S. In Texas, a town needs only one of the following to make art pop up there: 1) a university, 2) a few sharp galleries, 3) an accredited museum, 4) an artist residency, 5) a rich, well-traveled, collecting family who start a non-profit or private exhibition space. Texas is bent on importing art from outside of the state, yes, but that intractable ‘Texan’ identity (whatever it means to each region) also drives ongoing interest in homegrown talent. And given the state’s 27 million people, there’s some talent to swish around.” — Christina Rees, after shouting “Jesus Christ! Texas is so freaking big!” on a road trip to Marfa. [Glasstire] Photo: Christina Rees

04/27/15 1:00pm

SAVING HOUSTON’S UNZONED ARTISTIC SPIRIT Open House at Inversion by Havel Ruck Projects, Montrose Blvd., Montrose, HoustonGlasstire’s Bill Davenport has a suggestion: “Its famous lack of zoning is one of the few things Houston offers artists that other cities can’t. It’s been a defining feature of the city, and one of its main attractions for artists for decades. But this isn’t happening anymore. Prosperity has put teeth into Houston code enforcement, whose numerous inspectors now patrol the streets, ready to red-tag any unconventional building activity. It’s vital that we preserve a loophole for artistic expression on an architectural scale. What once was an opportunity created naturally by low property prices and underfunded city government must now be maintained purposefully if Houston’s unique character as a city of artistic entrepreneurship is to continue. As part of the new cultural plan, Houston city council should create an ordinance making an exception to the building codes for artistic projects. Of course, there will need to be safeguards against abuse. No one wants to see sleazy builders putting up unsafe, substandard structures. I propose that the city create an alternative path to compliance for creative projects in art and architecture, in which building officials will approve structures on a case-by-case basis, by assessing them on their merits, rather than on whether they conform to the rigid conventions of the International Building Code. Imagine the effect! If you are an artist or architect in San Antonio or Sri Lanka with a great, crazy idea, and you heard that, in Houston, projects like yours were welcomed as part of the city’s freewheeling culture, where would you go?” [Glasstire] Photo of Inversion by Havel Ruck Projects: The Decay of Lying

03/04/15 1:00pm

Jewelry Piece from Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Houston Jewelry and Metalwork, Central Art Gallery, Houston Community College, 3517 Austin St., Midtown, Houston

Jewelry Piece from Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Houston Jewelry and Metalwork, Central Art Gallery, Houston Community College, 3517 Austin St., Midtown, HoustonAre you one of those sensitive types who’s always on the lookout for the jewels in the Houston landscape? It can be tough going, right? Try seeking out the jewelry in the Houston landscape instead, and your job just got much easier: Over at HCC’s Central Art Gallery on the corner of Austin and Holman, a group of 17 local artists just opened a show called “Mapped: A Survey of Contemporary Houston Jewelry and Metalwork.” And if the preview images are any guide, the works in the show demonstrate a real appreciation for some very Houston-y stuff. The fencelike brooch at top by Masumi Kataoka is made of copper, enamel, stainless steel, glue, and some sort of animal intestine. Below it is a “neckpiece” by Edward Lane McCartney, forged from bits of in-town teardowns. Caitie Sellers shaped the under-construction piece o’ Downtown below from sterling silver and copper:


Bayou City Jewelry
02/09/15 11:45am

AND NOW, AN INCREASINGLY ABSTRACT VIEW OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AT THE ROTHKO CHAPEL Alberto Sosa’s latest animated video interview of a starting-level employee in the Houston art world features visitor services and volunteer coordinator Yma Luis — and thousands of drawings. [Glasstire] Video: Alberto Sosa

01/29/15 1:15pm

Former Home of Flower Man Cleveland Turner, 2305 Francis St., Third Ward, Houston

Where else but Houston will you ever come across a day-long urban celebration that brings together demolition, visionary art, inventive gardening, a stirring memorial, water infiltration, and toxic mold? These core elements of the city’s essential funkytown identity and more will be highlighted in the Third Ward on February 7, when Project Row Houses, the owner of the last of 3 homes the late Cleveland Turner serially transformed into environments festooned with yard art and brightly painted junk, ceremonially rips apart the rotting property at 2305 Francis St. on account of they discovered a month or 2 ago that it (along with many of the works stuffed inside) was contaminated “beyond any chance of salvation” with varying dark hues of dangerous and smelly mold spores.


It’s a Houston Thing
12/19/14 11:30am


Clarification, 12/22: Jon Deal of Deal Properties writes: “Just wanted to clarify that Studio Red is not specifically working on the silo project, rather they are studying a master plan of approximately 35 contiguous acres owned by Frank Liu, Steve Gibson and myself of which The Silos are part. Jason Logan and Matt Johnson of LOJO architects is working on the facade.”

Under the sign of the merry Mahatma, workers are sweeping out what stray grains of rice may linger within the 38 silos at the old Riviana Foods complex at 1520 Sawyer, which last contained the cereal crop in 2008.

They are prepping for its new purpose as the Silos on Sawyer, a 79,000 sq.-ft. art space and the latest addition to the Deal Company’s pre-existing Spring Street Studios, Winter Street Studios and Silver Steet Studios complex in the heart of the State of Texas-recognized Washington Avenue Arts District.

Reader Noah Brenner ventures inside, camera in hand:


A total of 55 workspaces are now available for lease, along with 20,000 sq.-ft. set aside for flexible buildouts such as restaurants, galleries or retail.


Granaries To Galleries