May 30, 2009

Munster's House Houston

Munster's House 1 by Finijo

While out and about, Marilyn and I spotted the turret of this house from across the freeway. We decided to try to find the house and see what caught our attention from such a distance.
Munster's House 2 by Finijo

What we found surprised us. There is a house in a regular neighborhood that reminded us at once of the Munster's house and also of the Winchester Mansion. It has an almost abandoned feel from certain angles and but the lawn is well manicured and the home appears to be lived in.
Munster's House 3 by Finijo
It looks like this house is in the process of what will likely be never-ending renovations, and I can't help but wonder if the owner is an architectural visionary or possibly driven by some fear of what will happen if they stop building on to this home.
Munster's House 4 by Finijo
If you are ever on the feeder of 288 going towards the Medical Center and happen to glance across the freeway (away from Midtown), you may catch a glimpse of what must be one of the strangest houses in Houston. If anyone reading this post knows more about the house, let me know - I am really curious.

May 23, 2009

Jesse Lott and Javier de Villota

After breakfast this morning, David and I decided to check out the exhibit at The Station Museum, two one-man exhibitions, including: Jesse Lott and Javier de Villota. Both artists reside in Houston, but de Villota is from Spain. We got lucky, because the exhibit was extended by a week or so, and we managed to see it, just before it closed.

Jesse Lott: detail of wire sculpture - photo by Finijo

This piece is truly magnificent. She is a little more than life-sized, Amazonian in stature. Using the copper wire for her hair was inspired and she looks as though flames are bursting forth from her head. She gives the impression of being some kind of a warrior goddess ready to either comfort you in her outstretched arms or call forth forces at her will to vanquish the unworthy in her presence.

Jesse Lott: Dragonfly photo by Finijo

I found myself drawn to this delicate dragonfly made from wire and other media. It has a lyric quality, and it seemed almost out of place amidst the gruesome components of the exhibition that I was about to encounter as I walked through the museum.
Jesse Lott: wire sculpture - photo by Finijo
I love this sculpture, it reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are in 3-D. He is monstrous, but also whimsical. I am going to have to make a point to seek out Jesse Lott's exhibitions in the Houston area, and hopefully in other cities, as well. I really enjoyed his work and the fact that he uses found objects and he recycles discarded material in his work.
Javier de Villota: De-Humanization Echo photo by Finijo
At 12 X24 feet this acrylic and mixed media mural takes up the entire wall where it resides. The lighting and scale make it difficult to photograph the work in its entirety, but each piece within this mural makes a statement against man's inhumanity and references ever thing from Darfur and the Killing Fields to 9-11 and the Holocaust. The work is on a grand scale to try and encompass subject matter that is epic.
Javier de Villota: Detail of body on gurney - photo by Finijo
This detail is one of the most stomach turning things I have ever photographed. It is the depiction of the desimated corpse of a man who was killed in the massacre in the market in Sarejevo in 1994. As repulsive as this image is, the artist, Javier de Villota, is using a super realism to show the horror and inhumanity of murder. I had to remind myself that it would be impossible for him to make the scene disgusting enough to give museum visitors a true glimpse into the nightmare of what really happened that day. While I don't want this piece in my home, I applaud de Villota for his unflinching vision.
Javier de Villota: El Mercado de la Muerto photo by Finijo
Instead of showing the tableau in its entirety, I have pulled detail from this piece. The work is very graphic and I think it is difficult to take the whole scene in. I found that I was as drawn to this work as I was repulsed by the violence of it.

The Station Museum decided to reconstruct the extraordinary tableau, El Mercado
de la Muerte, representing the artist’s reaction to the slaughter of civilians
in Sarajevo during the l994 war. Its message about the horror of war is a
universal. This acclaimed work was exhibited in Madrid in 1994. It is a three
dimensional painting in the tradition of Goya’s Disaster’s of War, but it is
more than an expressionist recreation of a tragic event. The exploded,
brilliantly painted corpses are anonymous and serve as a reference to every
bloody event caused by explosive devices, such as, military bombardment or
roadside bombs.

May 21, 2009

Southeast Houston Street Art

Mama Fayes Wink - photo by Finijo

A recent visit to Southeast Houston with one of my clients allowed me the opportunity to explore the area. I found that it was a very industrial part of Houston with quite a few bars and truck stops. This bit of art on the side of a bar caught my attention, so I wanted to share it. It looks like a graffiti artist was commissioned by the bar owner to do this work. I wish it was signed, so I could give credit where it is due.
Hallabaloos - photo by Finijo
This is the western themed mural on the front of the saloon/bar Hallabaloos in Southeast Houston. This Tejano bar has been around for many years - in fact, they list themselves as the longest lasting Tejano bar in Houston. According to their website, they are undergoing a remodel. I'd like to see what the inside of the place looks like. I'm not a huge fan of western art, but I think they did a pretty cool job on the front of what would have otherwise been a nondescript, metal building.

May 19, 2009

Sky Photos

Blind by Sky

I went on a second photo shoot with Sky downtown and she took some amazing shots. I have asked her to post some of her work on line, because I think she's incredibly talented.
High Fashion Cyborg by Sky
Because she has not posted her work, I decided I would devote a blog entry to showing some of what I think is her best work. The first two photos are from a series she took of the Macy's mannequins on Main Street in downtown Houston.
Amoebic Egg by Sky
This is one of several odd sculptures that are downtown. We could not agree on what they represented, but I think Sky captured this one from an excellent angle.
Urban Mask by Sky
This is a shot of a fire hose hook up outside of a building. Sky took several shots, but this one is my favorite, because it reminds me of a gas mask.
Reflective Structure by Sky
This is a shot of the Esperson building reflected off of the building across the street at dusk. I think the image is a little spectral in its slightly distorted shape in blue and black hues.
No Right on Red by Sky
I liked the angle of this shot. She managed to get in the sign, the light (green) and a construction light hanging on the scaffolding over the sidewalk. I added titles to the photos, but Sky may have other titles in mind when she decides to share her talent with the world.

May 17, 2009

Erick Gonzalez - New Mural

Erick's Flaco by Finijo

When Sky and I took the train from Midtown for a photo shoot yesterday, I spotted an artist creating a vibrant mural on Main Street and we promptly hopped off the train to check it out.
Erick Paints 2 by Finijo

We were lucky enough to meet a young artist, Erick Gonzalez, who was hard at work creating a new Main Street mural. He was about halfway done when we met him and he was gracious enough to allow us to take some photos of his work and of him at work.
Erick Paints by Finijo
His mural was commissioned by Glen Larner, the owner of the building it is on (an also the building that houses The Continental Club). It depicts musicians through history, from blues and rock to urban pop. He is juxtaposing nationally known musical artists with Houston's own musicians and singers.
Erick's Hendrix by Finijo
I am excited about this mural, not just because it is beautifully executed, but also because it is covering the boarded up windows on a derelict building. I wish every building and empty billboard in Houston would provide the space to artists around Houston, so they could get their work out and cover up the blight of the city. I posted a few more pics from this shoot on my DA page: here.

Sky Shoot 2

Sky and I went downtown for another photo shoot today. We started again at Wheeler Station and took the train down Main Street. On the way we saw a street artist creating, religious zealots ranting, and the people of Houston in transit.

This fountain is on Main Street. It actually hits the train as it drives through on either side of the reflecting pool. I think it's pretty unique. I am also guessing that most people in Houston don't know it exists, because this small stretch of Main Street is blocked at either end of the fountain. I will post more of our shoot in future posts. We had a great time and even wore ourselves out photographing everything we could find on Main Street. We will try to get to more of the city on our next outing.

May 15, 2009

Bodhi Has No Work Ethic!

Do you ever find when you are working at home that there are interruptions that are so distracting that you just can't get past them? I had been trying to answer an e-mail for about thirty minutes, but Bodhi was not going to have it. I took him off the desk, but he just jumped back on. Finally, I decided to film his act of sabotage. When I told him I was trying to work, he sat up and looked at me over the computer screen for a moment. I refused to make eye contact and that finally prompted him to leave me alone. What an attention whore.

May 13, 2009

Art Destroyed

Anonymous Street Art by Finijo

I often drive through Houston and stop to photograph the art I see along the way. I know that much of what I see that appeals to me is part of an underground movement, and that the artists are not getting permission to share their work with the public in the way they have chosen. I don't care, because the art springing up all over Houston makes the city more habitable to me. It covers some walls, sidewalks and boarded up windows and it makes people talk and think. I think it makes Houston better for being there.
Eyesore Art by Finijo
If the artists were going home to home and covering residential areas with their art, I would be able to side with the homeowner. In these cases, they are either placing their work on derelict buildings, public sidewalks and light posts, or boarded up windows. I think the art is an improvement and I think the City of Houston should start a program that would allow them to spread their art, maybe even have a volunteer program for building owners who would like artists to "tag" their structure. I suppose in the end, government sanctioned art would lose it's edge and be subject to another form of censorship, but it might also allow some of these artists to sign their work without fear and build a career out of their unique skills. Think Shepard Fairey.
Eyesore Art Gone by Finijo
Yesterday I found that a piece I photographed a few weeks ago was destroyed. I'm sure it was in the name of legality, but when I look at the way it was covered and see how truly ugly it is now, I can't help but think it was punitive. Perhaps a way to punish the anonymous artist by destroying his work with something that resembles censorship. The artists work was redacted and in its place is a blank space. The artist in me cannot help but hope that the anonymous artist whose work was blotted out, will use that fresh white paint as a canvas and repaint what was destroyed.

May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's Day Cookies by Finijo

Mom got Marilyn and I cookies for Mother's Day. Not just any cookies, but cookies made by her friend, Lauri A. Garlington. Lauri owns Border to Border Cookies, and her tag line is "Be young, have fun, eat a cookie!" The cookies are as tasty as they are pretty, so don't expect them to last very long. Thanks Mom! The cookies were great!

To check out more of her work, go to her website, here or call her at (832) 379-0520 for more information.

May 4, 2009

On Set

My friend, Humberto, invited me to the set of the short film he is making to enter into a film festival. He teaches a class, Acting for Film, so he has a cast of actors at his disposal. He gets to make a film, and they get something for their portfolio by the end of the class. It was cool to be in that atmosphere - it's been a long time since I have been near a camera or on a set. I'm not sure if I have the bug again, but I do see a video camera purchase in my future...