Artist/curator Libbie J. Masterson loves index cards. "I'm a big fan of index cards; I have two of them in my lap right now," she laughs. Given all the different things Masterson does in the course of a week, keeping her to-do lists (yes, lists, plural) is important.
Masterson was originally involved with the Houston Center for Photography as an artist. Then she was working on an organizing committee and had an idea for a show focusing on magical realism. "They said, 'That's a great idea, we want you to do it.' So I became a guest curator and exhibitions coordinator, and now I'm curator." She came to the job in an unusual way -- that is, without the academic training most would expect of a curator, but Masterson has an unusual set of skills that made her a good fit for HCP. "Basically, I use my expertise in creating a better installation environment." For the show currently at HCP, "Soldier, At Ease," Masterson worked to maximize the center's space in a way that allowed for an in-depth look at work by three different artists, including one that used video. Masterson and her co-workers had to change the exhibition area from a standard art gallery space to a space that was suitable for video projection. Given that HCP has a long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that let in floods of light, darkening the gallery was a difficult task.
She also continues her work as a multimedia artist (she's represented locally by Catherine Couturier Gallery), jewelry designer and set designer.
What she does: "When people ask me what I do, I say I'm an artist and a curator. Then if they really want to know more than that, I go on to say I'm a part-time jewelry designer and set designer. A lot of people say, 'I don't know how you can be a photographer and curate at the same time.' It's very hard for me to separate what I do for HCP and what I do for myself. It's not any different. To me, they overlap and the process is the same. At HCP I take someone else's prints and I conceive of a room where someone can experience that work. When I'm working on my own pieces, I'm doing the same exact thing."
Why she likes it: "I feel very lucky that I get to do all of these things because it makes for a very rich life. I love all of the people that I get to meet all along the way. I really love working with all these great artists, photographers and curators. It's wonderful."
What inspires her: Masterson cites the environment as her main inspiration. Man-made environments influence her as well as nature.
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If not this, then what: "I just can't imagine not doing what I do. I've always been an artist. I've always enjoyed creating, everything from creating an installation to creating a set design. Really, that's a hard question. If I had to, I guess I might want to be a chef. Or I would compose music."
If not here, then where: "I really love Houston, but if I had to pick another place, it would be a tie between Norway and the south of France. They're both just beautiful places that I respond to in almost an emotional way." The last time Masterson visited Norway was about a year and a half ago; she was in France on a viewing trip just earlier this week.
What's next: "I'm working on a set design for The Memory Stone for HGOco, and a sculpture for Hermann Park (see above). I'm also working on a group show for HCP, called 'Unusual Garden.' Oh, and I'm redoing the glass studio for my jewelry business." See, lots of to-do lists.
More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Leighza Walker, theater owner, actress, writer, theatrical everywoman Macy Perrone, costume designer Elsa Briggs, Painter, jewelry maker Baldemar Rodriguez, film director/producer and actor Linarejos Moreno, photographer Heather Rainwater, artist, jewelry maker Detria Ward, actress and entrepreneur Justin Cronin, book author Mark Ivy, actor Lauren Luna, painter and shoe designer Sarah Cortez, writer Kent Dorn, drawer, painter, artist Lillian Warren, painter Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer Tom Stell, actor, writer, director Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician Matthew Detrick, classical musician Travis Ammons, filmmaker Florence Garvey, actress Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist JoDee Engle, dancer David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor Jessica Janes, actress and musician Dennis Draper, actor and director Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist Adriana Soto, jewelry designer Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof Patrick Turk, visual artist Elizabeth Keel, playwright Bob Martin, designer Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer Jeremy Wells, painter George Brock, theater teacher Radu Runcanu, painter Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker Philip Hayes, actor Patrick Palmer, painter Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer John Tyson, actor Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music Laura Burlton, photographer David Peck, fashion designer Rebecca Udden, theater director Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer Paul Fredric, author John Sparagana, photographer Damon Smith, musician and visual artist Geoff Winningham, photographer Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor Katya Horner, photographer Johnathan Felton, artist Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer Carol Simmons, hair stylist Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet Greg Carter, director Kenn McLaughlin, theater director Justin Whitney, musician Antone Pham, tattoo artist Susie Silbert, crafts Lauralee Capelo, hair designer Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director J.J. Johnston, theater director Mary Margaret Hansen, artist Richard Tallent, photographer Viswa Subbaraman, opera director Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist Sonja Roesch, gallery owner Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor Sandy Ewen, musician Camella Clements, puppeteer Wade Wilson, gallery owner Magid Salmi, photographer Carl Williams, playwright