100 Creatives 2012: Wade Wilson

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What He Does: You might not know the term "concrete painting." It's a style that eliminates all representation and focuses solely on the color and form of the surface. (Think Joseph Marioni or Jill Moser.) It's also the style that captured the imagination of former art critic and art history professor Wade Wilson, prompting him to launch Wade Wilson Art gallery in the Montrose area. The gallery has done very well over the last six years; 15 of the original artists now have work in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Wilson says part of his role as gallery owner is to insure that collectors feel as if they are buying not only something they like, but something that has real meaning. "I want people to know they're buying art that's more than a footnote; this is art by someone who has work in museums, someone whose legacy will be lasting.

"They want to know what they're buying has lasting quality, otherwise they would just go to the Galleria and buy a poster," he laughs.

Why He Likes It: Besides being surrounded by beautiful art, Wilson is also surrounded by interesting people doing fascinating things. "I get to work with some of the most creative minds in the country," he says. "There's a magic that happens when it all comes together. Art can open your eyes to see the world in a broader, better way. There's nothing more exciting than that."

What Inspires Him: His commitment to the gallery got tested in 2011's failing economy. He thought about walking away and doing something else, but couldn't. "My heart would be empty without it. When you're young you can change careers and think nothing of it. But when you're older, you realize getting to do what you love isn't as easy as you might think."

If Not Here, Then Where: Wilson doesn't hesitate when he tells us if he had to leave Houston, he'd head to Santa Fe, where he already shares a house with his best friend and wife.

If Not This, Then What: He's done lots of different jobs during his work life, but the only one that might tempt Wilson away from the art world at this point is the ministry. In a way he already does that. "I worked for Habitat for Humanity for three years. Now I preach the gospel of Habitat every Sunday at three or four different churches, which is where they do their fundraising. I think there's something about knowing that you're going to leave the world better than when you started; even though you have to put your heart on the line, it's a pretty good feeling."

Wade Wilson Art is located at 4411 Montrose. For information, visit www.wadewilsonart.com or call 713-521-2977.

More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Magid Salmi, photographer

Carl Williams, playwright

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