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A public art project I have been working on is nearly complete and the exhibit opens Saturday, as part of PrintHouston 2019. PrintHouston is a biannual citywide celebration of printmaking arts with about 20 participating galleries and venues. The piece I am showing is a woodcut relief print that will be installed on the facade of the Mystic Lyon Art Space in Houston’s Fifth Ward.  I am super excited about it!

I began this project by sketching on location in Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward. Homes, businesses, churches and the old DeLuxe Theater were some of the places I drew as inspiration, all situated on Lyons Avenue.

Followers on Instagram have seen a lot of these drawings- I’ve not neglected the blog intentionally!  I used these drawings to create the imagery in my woodcut print.  The Fifth Ward is known to some fondly as “The Nickel”, so I named the piece “Nickel Views”.

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“Nickel Views”, relief print on wood, 7′ x 4′

The printing of this piece and its manner of display are both unusual.  First it is printed on wood where traditionally a woodcut is printed onto paper.  I used very thin marine plywood so it is flexible, yet sturdy enough to be outside.  Second it has been cut into 4 pieces and will be displayed woven through the window bars on the front of the art space, visible from the street.

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“Nickel Views”, cut and varnish day.

I chose to print on wood and to install in this way to echo the boarded up buildings in the neighborhood.  Much of the Fifth Ward is economically depressed and to me the boarded up buildings are symbols of abandonment and decay.  Yet there is also life, vibrancy, art, culture,  and civic pride in the Fifth Ward.  Fascinating history.  People striving to revitalize a community.   I hope the work I have created shows this.  #NickelProud

So!  Saturday.  5-7pm at Mystic Lyon.  5017 Lyons St, Houston.  Inside I will be showing the drawings I made of the neighborhood.  AND there will be artwork from fellow printmaker Kelly Moran.  Oh, and there will be beer.  Saint Arnold Brewery is literally right down the street and they have generously donated beverages.  “Nickel Views” will be on display May 4th- July 20th.

 

Lyons Ave

Ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

A view down Lyons Ave, Houston, on a grey and drizzly day last week.  I had to bail on this drawing twice because of rain.  I started on a Friday and intended to do everything with black and grey markers because the day was so dreary. Only got as far as the marquee and the seriously leaning power pole before things got too wet.  
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Ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

I sketched this abandoned shop in Houston’s Fifth Ward last week.  The morning was grey and dreary which influenced my color choices a great deal.  The teal of the sign and trim was what grabbed my attention and made me choose this spot to sketch.  It threatened to rain but I only caught a few drops.

This part of Houston is going through a major transition.  2 brand new townhomes are next door to this building.

 

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