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100 Creatives: Alex "PR!MO" Luster

Alex "Pr!mo" Luster posts up in front of a work in progress by artist Daniel "Weah" Anguilu at the corner of Main and Tuam.
Alex "Pr!mo" Luster posts up in front of a work in progress by artist Daniel "Weah" Anguilu at the corner of Main and Tuam.
Photo by Christopher Patronella Jr.

What He Does: Founder of the production company Shoot, Edit, Sleep, Alex "Pr!mo" Luster is a documentary filmmaker, four-time Emmy award-winning television producer/editor and the creator/director of a number of short films and projects in digital media.

Luster's reach touches everything from subculture, musicians and artists, to scenes of life in the shadows of Houston's streets.

"Houston has an untold story," Luster says. "Houston is an untold story, and I want to tell it."

His most recent work, Stick 'Em Up!, is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the world of wheat pasting in Houston and a day in the life of an underground street artist.

Starting out in the newsrooms of Telemundo 48 as a teenager, Luster moved on to KTRK-ABC 13 and then to KRIV-FOX 26 and KTXH-my20 as a creative services editor, winning the international Promax Silver Muse Award in 2001 for his work on the Simpsons A.E.W. promotion that aired on FOX 26.

What Inspires Him: Luster reached a turning point in his career while working for FOX 26 when he decided to film artist GONZO247's collaboration on a mural of Barack Obama at his Houston campaign headquarters in 2008.

Shooting the whole painting as a time lapse, Luster began to realize the potential of capturing a piece of history, he says. In it, he discovered his potential for interviewing and for creating documentary films, developing his own distinctive style in a piece for FOX 26.

"Everyone has a story, and my goal is to find those untold ones, to give people a voice, but to give all of us something different to look at instead of the mindless structure of movies that come out...what I'm trying to do is trying to break that formula," he says.

Why He Likes It: Luster enjoys the process of filmmaking itself, exploring his creativity and trying new things every day to bring those untold stories to life.

Just keeping things honest and organic, he says, spending time with those guys and letting the action happen so the viewer feels as if they are there; if the pictures and the person can tell their own story, that's what's real. That's what's lasting.

"Editing is where I have fun because I'm able to challenge myself to bring all these things together to tell a story in my own style...to give people a window into unique individuals' lives," he says.

If Not This, Then What: At the age of 21, Luster says, he contemplated quitting television altogether and moving on to something else, and asks himself every day where he would be now if he did.

"I don't know," he says. "But that's the one thing with me. I'm still searching, I'm not done, 'Hey, I'm a documentary filmmaker and this is where I'm going to stay,' no...I really don't know where I'm going from here, I'm in it for the ride, and I'm enjoying every minute of it."

What's Next: Working to get a distribution deal for Stick 'Em Up!, one of Luster's goals is to premier the film worldwide, but another is focusing on getting back into mini-documentaries.

Luster is currently working with Culture Pilot on a project called HouArts to build a database of Houston arts videos. The aim, he says, is to document events and artists from the big to the small, going forward and backward -- showing the roots and the future of Houston arts -- from visual, performance and literary arts to the culinary world; the project is challenging local filmmakers to go out and capture the culture of Houston.

"What it will do in the end is help promote Houston's rich art scene, but also give those artists, including those documenting it, an outlet for their work...the music of local musicians, the video by local filmmakers, the photography by local photographers, and the artists and venues we document, all local -- it's an effort to build a community and bring Houston arts full circle," Luster says.

What bothers Luster is when he hears other artists say that "Houston sucks," because there's no support.

Well, there is -- it's like a buddy system -- if you want support you've got to go out and give it, Luster says, and if you don't love where you live, leave.

"My way of showing that I'm proud of where I live is going out and documenting the culture and showing off what I'm around everyday, building those relationships and showing the rest of the world that hey, this person is doing something and they happen to be coming out of Houston."

More Creatives (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Chris Nguyen, designer Sophia Vassilakidis, animator Sandra Lord, tour guide Scarlett St. Vitus, model Wayne Stevens, actor Bill Davenport, sculpture and found art Julie Zarate, painter Margo Toombs, actor and writer Shelby Hohl, graphic designer Timothy Dorsey, writer and illustrator Lucas Gorham, musician Tracy Manford Carlson, photographer Lauren Rottet, architect and designer John Robertson, visual artist John Adelman, visual artist Chandos Dodson, interior designer Cliff Franks, painter Kim Hartz, photographer Katy Heinlein, visual artist Robert Shimko, dramaturg Galina Kurlat, photographer Wayne Slaten, filmmaker Jane Weiner, dancer and choreographer El Franco Lee II, visual artist Chris McKay, photographer Jason Ransom, visual artist Mr. SINched, fashion desiger "Uncle" Charlie Hardwick, poster designer Avital Stolar, playwright and educator Katherine Houston, visual artist Christopher Olivier, visual artist Dennis Lee Harper, sculptor David A. Brown, photographer Rachel Harmeyer, visual artist Kia Neill, installation artist Stacy Davidson, filmmaker Jennifer Wood, choreographer GONZO247 Kevin DeVil, filmmaker Kerry Beyer, photographer and filmmaker Robert Ellis, musician Davie Graves, musician and visual artist Robert Hodge, multimedia Mary Magsamen, photo and video artist John Harvey, theater Bret Harmeyer, visual artist Joel Orr, puppet master Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist Jeremy Choate, lighting designer Chuck Ivy, visual artist Tra'Slaughter, visual artist Jen Chen - visual art, designer Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter


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