100 Creatives 2014: Sandria Hu, Visual Artist and Professor of Art, Inspired by Archaeological Digs

Archeological Dress #4, a collograph print
Archeological Dress #4, a collograph print
Photo courtesy of Sandria Hu

When she visited Slovakia in 1986 as a Fulbright Scholar, Sandria Hu wasn't planning on visiting any archaeological dig sites. But when she was invited by local archaeologists, what she encountered was awe-inspiring.

Hu's eerie and breathtaking current exhibition, called "Archeological Dress," consists of 20 collograph printed children's' dresses lowered into a batch of gel medium and pressed flat to dry. Once they harden, she scours each dress with a toothbrush, similar to the process of unearthing an artifact from a dig site.

She knew she wanted to be an artist when she was attending elementary school in San Francisco, but as she's gotten more serious about it, the experience of creation has transformed into something beyond pleasure for Hu, something that sounds surreal in description.

"It's very agonizing. I don't have fun when I do my artwork, I really don't...I find it very stressful, I find it very agonizing, and I think it's only because I'm still searching. And sometimes when you're looking for something, you're not really at ease. You're not really happy. Because you don't know what it is you're looking for. I'm always searching for that next thing. I find it very intense, I find it really absorbed."

100 Creatives 2014: Sandria Hu, Visual Artist and Professor of Art, Inspired by Archaeological Digs
Photo courtesy of Sandria Hu

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What She Does: "I'm currently a professor of art at the University of Houston at Clear Lake and I've been here since 1975. And all of the work that I've been doing since I was in school is primarily painting, drawing, and printmaking. And printmaking is a big part of my artwork because I travel quite a bit. I can't transport paintings and drawing since they're too big."

What Inspires Her: A six-time Fulbright Scholar, Hu's travel around the world has allowed her opportunity to witness archaeological digs that inspire her. Her first dig was in Gerulata, an ancient Roman military camp near present day Bratislava, where she witnessed the excavation of a young girl's tomb.

"I saw this tomb of a little girl whose body they dug up , and I was looking at this little girl and around her were her little toys. And I said 'oh my God, I can't believe I'm standing here watching all of this. I can't believe this is happening,' and it was just wonderful."

Hu's students also inspire her. "I try to give as much as I can to some of my students who are willing to accept it and willing to take advantage of it. And I see kids come back to say 'I want more. I want you to give me more.' And I give them more until they move on. And I see my students moving on, I see them doing really well.

I think it's probably all tied in, teaching and art. I don't know how it ties in but it does somehow, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it."

 

This July, Hu organized a skateboard art workshop at UHCL inspired by her trips to Mexico.
This July, Hu organized a skateboard art workshop at UHCL inspired by her trips to Mexico.
Photo courtesy of Sandria Hu

If Not This, Then What: In her "free" time, Hu does skateboard art (pictured to the left), inspired by her work with a University of Veracruz student. She will be organizing a big skateboard art workshop at UHCL this coming year.

She also has a sort of second job that she doesn't get paid for at all: "I am the Director of the UHCL International Art Consortium. The purpose of my consortium is to collaborate with universities from Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine. I've worked with their universities for an international exchange of art. I exchange exhibitions with all of them. It's a rotation that I organized.

It makes me feel good when I see an artist from Serbia in Mexico with me. It makes me feel good when I see artists from Slovakia come to Houston, and seeing them get excited about what goes on here."

If Not Here, Then Where: "I'm happy here. I mean, people are good here. I haven't found a place yet where I have to be there to live, you know. I mean I love Belgium, I love the food. So you know, I do like food wherever I go. In Serbia, in the Czech Republic, in Slovakia, in Ukraine. I mean they're wonderful places to go, they have wonderful food, but I'm happy here. I was born and raised in San Francisco, but I would rather stay here. I moved in 1975. I've never wanted to leave."

What's Next: "What's next for me is my Fulbright trip to Mexico in October. I'm looking for something totally new and different because it's a totally different location, it's a totally different look, the historical content will be totally different. I don't know if I'll be able to take anything back, so I have to figure it all out when I stand there and look at all the work and look at all the information that I collect. Everything I did in Eastern Europe was on the digs, and that was all Attila the Hun, the Roman camp sites. Mexico is totally different."

 

100 Creatives 2014: Sandria Hu, Visual Artist and Professor of Art, Inspired by Archaeological Digs
Photo courtesy of Sandria Hu

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, Photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer


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