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Best Artist Houston 2005 - Jason Villegas

Jason Villegas is the Iron Chef of local artists. Put that man in a room with some random materials, and you can bet he'll walk out with something interesting in his hand. For his "Beast Taxidermy" show at Commerce Street Artists Warehouse, he used cardboard, felt and tape to create a surreal menagerie of animals, including a giant humpback whale and little birdies mounted on the wall like mammals. And his pieces at the last two installments of the "Buffalo Bayou ArtPark Xmas Tree Show" slouched below those of the other artists, but in a good way: Villegas removed the spines of fake trees, creating a lumpy mass of Christmas cheer. And that's just the beginning of this guy's output over the last few years. Now Villegas is on his way to Rutgers to get his master's degree. Let's just hope he comes back.
Readers' choice: Slim Thug
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