What he does: Rodney Waters uses a lot of the right or "creative" side of his brain. The Texan contemporary classical pianist has performed in major venues such as Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Japan's Asahi Recital Hall and New York's Weill Recital Hall and Carnegie Hall. Along with his musical talent, Waters applies that same creativity to his lesser known talent, photography. In doing so, Waters has award-winning images that were created for the AIDS Foundation Houston organization.
Why he likes it: "I do love photography, but at heart I'm a musician," says Waters. His musical interest goes beyond classical music. He feels that connecting his art to a social cause or to education allows him to remember that art is an important communication channel.
"If the art becomes an end instead of a means, then I feel it becomes too narcissistic and uncommunicative because it's not put into the perspective of a larger world view," says Waters. He considers his professional photography work with displaced refugees later resettled by Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and HIV-positive individuals for AIDS Foundation Houston highly rewarding. "Photography has always been a hobby, but [it] has become more and more a part of my everyday life for the past 15 years," says Waters. "Photography has become a wonderful tool with which to explore the world."
What inspires him: "The people that inspire [me] the most are those who have learned to be open and compassionate no matter what they do," says Waters. His friend Randall Watson and his poem, Shekinah (Ezekiel's Chariot), inspired Waters to do his latest photograph collage titled The Necessary Work of Transformation. Waters describes the collage in his artist statement as depicting "the difficult process of psychological healing and the necessity of coming to terms with the past in order to move forward." This new piece is nothing like Waters's previous work because he steps away from doing portraits of people dealing with personal issues and focuses on an environmental issue people create.
What's next: Waters is working on a series of national radio broadcasts for the non-profit Diva World, which provides outreach programs and scholarships to young musicians. "We're busy putting together some fascinating salon programs which combine music, thought and conversation around a variety of topics for next season," he says. His short-term plan involves playing contemporary music by American composer John Corigliano, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and a Bob Dylan song at the next Diva World concert on April 29.
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