Best Artist - 2007
Bill Davenport embraces his inner hobbyist when he makes art. He's built wonky wood sculptures that look like shop-class rejects. He's crocheted objects and needlepointed drawings. He's painted trompe l'oeil replicas of old paperbacks. In his recent work, he's made outsized sculptures from insulating foam board and joint compound that look like props from Shrek with half-timbered ceilings, dungeon doors and massive wagon wheels. Davenport's latest work explores kitschy domesticity with a giant cuckoo clock from foam board and a hefty rock fireplace made entirely from papier-mâché. Now Davenport and his quirky, witty work are up for the prestigious (and lucrative) Arthouse Texas Prize, which comes with $30,000. A goofball Renaissance man, Davenport's other activities include collecting macramé owls, writing a blog with posts from the journal he kept as a 12-year-old, and clever, lucid art writing for Glasstire and the Houston Chronicle. Davenport came from Massachusetts to Houston as a CORE Fellow in 1990 and stayed on; we're glad he did.