What She Does: Pebbles. Lampshades. Naps. Emily Sloan will pretty much work with anything.
The sculptor and performance artist has left her mark on a number of fleeting but still lasting moments on Houston's cultural landscape in recent years (her Funeral Party for the Living at 14 Pews early last year, where participants read their own premature eulogies, is one such event). Or there's her more long-lasting pieces, such as her Burning House on Highway 59 in Polk County, the Sabine Street Bridge Lamp at Buffalo Bayou Art Park, and To Whom It May Concern, her pebble-text installation on a private lot next to the Lawndale Art Center.
"When it comes to mediums, I am wide open," said Sloan. "I often find myself seeking materials or methods to respond to an idea; however, I also love experimenting and trying out things that are new to me."
Sloan's works are so wholly different from one project to the next, you may not realize they're by the same artist, if it weren't for her sly humor and playful creativity. Take, for instance, NAP (Napping Affects Performance) -- an installation at Art League Houston in 2010 that featured bedtime stories, lullabies and cots where visitors could, if so inspired, take naps. Oh, and she's the founding reverend of the Southern Naptist Convention.
Though her work's all over Houston, Sloan may be most associated with 14 Pews, where she was the space's artist-in-residence last year, and performed her Southern Naptist Convention, Fit to Be Tied, an interactive examination of marriage, and Funeral Party for the Living. Art League is another home. Her light installation, ShadeCloud, a series of lampshades hung outside of the space from the trees, is currently up. She also placed third in the venue's annual juried show, Gambol, last month, where her teal-and-white-striped wooden sculptures were a favorite of curator Mary McCleary.
Why She Likes It: As her varied résumé can attest to, Sloan is in an enviable position of doing what she darn well pleases. Which is why, in a self-perpetuating kind of way, she likes what she does.
"My time is pretty much spent doing what I want and exploring things that interest me," said Sloan.
What Inspires Her: In a word, momentum is what gets Sloan's creative juices flowing. That, and the life-long education that comes with doing entirely different works.
"A love of learning and one thing leading to another keeps me steeped in inspiration," said Sloan.
If Not This, Then What: If Sloan was denied wood to make a sculpture, or a space within which to perform a Southern Baptist Convention, she'd still find a way to do it. She simply can't see herself doing anything other than making art.
"I'd be doing the same things, just calling them something else," she said.
If Not Here, Then Where: Though Houston can sometimes feel surprisingly empty (Downtown on the weekends, anyone?), Sloan would want to seek ultimate privacy if she lived somewhere other than here.
"I'd like to live in an isolated spot in the country, where I could walk around naked outside in privacy," she said.
What's Next: Sloan's is one of those names that always pop up in the Houston arts scene -- she's never one to sit still for longer than you can say "100 Creatives." Indeed, fresh off the heels of her residency at 14 Pews, she's been offered an artist-in-residence position at Darke Gallery. She's also working on some plans for her own Salon des Refusés.
You also can currently find her work at Art League, with ShadeCloud up until February 24, as well as her piece The Kenmore, on view at Goldesberry Gallery until March 10 as part of Edward Lane McCartney's exhibition, Shift. And you can also see Sloan in the flesh as she participates in the Lone Star Performance Explosion, a live art festival held from March 8 to 10 at multiple locations in the city.
So what can you expect from this unpredictable artist during the festival?
"I'm sworn to secrecy," said Sloan, "but I can say I'm thrilled to be a part of it and looking forward to working alongside the other participating artists."
More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.