We're excited to announce the final wave of artists selected to participate in the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®, a celebration of culture, fashion, music, food and especially art. We announced the other participating artists on December 12 and January 2.
We see a return of "blood artist" Reece Carnley, who uses both human and pig blood to create abstract works. One of his pieces last year was four feet by seven feet; for that piece, titled Frank the bunny, Carnley preserved pig blood in resin on glass and illuminated it from behind with an electric light box. We can't wait to see what he's showing this year but, no worries, he promises that the blood used in these creepy-awesome works is "responsibly harvested."
Our photographers and videographers work hard all year, capturing the cool people at hip events, documenting tragedies or inclement weather, and telling Houston's stories through photo and video. We honor their creativity by inviting the Houston Press contributors to show their images at Artopia.
She's got the eye for finding that perfect moment at music concerts, which is one of the reasons we gave Violeta Alvarez high marks for "Best Concert Photos" three years in a row (2014, 2015, 2016) in our annual round-ups. She also took home the win in 2014 when we named her one of the top ten best music photographers for the year. Come see her amazing photography at this year's Artopia.
For the Texans opener this fall, we sent Kendrick Asibor out to cover the bands for the Houston Press. He also didn't flinch when we asked him to video the meat cutting challenge in Sugar Land and Typhoon Texas's WinterFest on Christmas eve. We'll get to see another side of his talents at Artopia, where he'll be exhibiting music photography. True story: In 2014 he found himself in a photo pit at Austin City Limits Music Festival. OutKast, who hadn't performed as a group in almost a decade, was about to take the stage. Asibor selected 30 of those images of André Benjamin and placed them in custom, laser-cut and engraved frames.
Jackson Gorman III is a Houston-based photographer and native Texan. He has a love for both music and photography, and enjoys the technical challenges that come with documenting concerts and sports, with the unpredictable nature of lighting and weather and the anything-can-happen aspect of live entertainment. He has traveled to several foreign counties and says he "relishes unscripted adventures." While he's still deciding what's in and what's out for Artopia, Gorman is leaning toward large-scale color sports and concert photography.
Birth and lifestyle photographer Ashli Hill, through her company Isadora Photography, has been documenting births since 2013. While her range includes graduation, boudoir and commercial shots, it's all about the babies when it comes to her Artopia exhibit. Hill says she'll be displaying medium-scale photographs from recent births; they've been printed on fine art paper, mounted and framed. The collection also will include a few editorial shots and one abstract portrait.
Francisco Montes is one of our go-to guys when it comes to concert photography. He snapped Steven Tyler, Counting Crows, Rob Thomas and Willie Nelson. Proving that he's not a one-trick pony, he stepped up to the plate when we asked him to photograph the beautiful people and food at Tacolandia and the amazing lanterns at Magical Winter Lights. Montes will be showcasing the Houston music scene (crowd shots and portraits) with both large and small-scale photos. He's also going to exhibit some of his amazing event photos from around the city. He promises, "It should be eye-popping!"
Since graduating from the Art Institute of Houston in 2014, Yuri Peña has been busy working as a freelance photographer, as well as on personal projects in photojournalism. She says her work is often described as "raw," and hopes to "reveal the beautiful side of people that others misconstrue." For Artopia, we'll get a look at medium-scale composites and digital illustrations based on love, or hate, or love and hate, as well as a couple of black and white images that are not composites.
It's all about the balance for active photographer Doogie Roux. He's a regular in the Houston cycling community, which is a good thing, since he's also a big connoisseur of fine food joints in and around the Gulf Coast region. He dabbles in both writing and photography, always with the goal of perpetuating positivity, and loves the diversity and the "amazing culture of love and acceptance" that can be found in Houston. At Artopia, he'll be displaying vintage-styled portraits and scenes of cycling, placed in a mix of old frames. He says he "wanted to create a similar vibe you'd get if you were at an older relative's home. They often have these great, old photos framed and it's a mix of different frames and sizes. None of it matches, but no one cares because they're precious moments and feelings."
Entertainment and editorial photographer Marco Torres has documented Houston's rich music, art and taco scene since 2004. He grew up on Houston's north side and later attended Jones Senior High in the South Park district. This was at the peak of the DJ Screw era, solidifying his love for Houston rap. Regular gigs for him are Aces of Taste (an interactive dinner series featuring some of our city's best chefs) and the Lone Star gustatory tome Tacos of Texas, which came out last fall. For Artopia, Torres will be showing large-format cityscapes of our colorful city.
Portrait guru and, hands down, our tallest contributing photographer, Bryan Williams tells us he'll be displaying a quartet of classic nudes, printed in 30-inch squares. He says they're tastefully done, showing the beauty of the human form, though they might not be appropriate for the kiddie set.
Anissa Yarbrough had to face the darker side of life when she lost her father to suicide in 2014. She found a way to work through that pain and has embarked on a healing series titled "I Wish You Could Have Stayed." She found a way to tell her story, and also allow other grieving families to tell their stories, through a series of open letters to the deceased. Perhaps somebody contemplating suicide will read these letters and realize the effect his death would have on his loved ones. She's also showing black and white images from her "Nature" series that, when paired with their mirror images, resemble faces.
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As a child, Ben Earl Workman suffered bullying, teasing and taunts. Through art, and his new clown persona Jumper Maybach, he found the path to art, universal love and acceptance. There's even a new film about his struggles and triumph, titled The Jumper Maybach Story, named Best LGBTQ Film at last year's NiFF Houston International Film Festival. He's been busy working in his studio, which he nicknamed the "Tent," and his collectors and followers are lovingly referred to as his "troupe." Those purchasing VIP tickets will be able to view his large-scale, colorful abstracts in the Jumper Maybach VIP lounge at Artopia.
Houston Press Artopia is set for 8 to 11 p.m. January 28, 2017, at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street. To purchase tickets, visit our ticket portal. General admission tickets range from $45 to $60. Jumper Maybach VIP admission tickets range from $75 to $100 and include complimentary valet, access to the Jumper Maybach VIP lounge with seating and private bar, a catered spread, and an up-close look at Maybach's colorful art.
For more information, visit HoustonPressArtopia.com.