A Little Bit of Everything at the Houston Fine Art Fair

Buttons. Pipes. Slices of foam noodles typically used for swimming. Bottle caps. Glitter. Keyboard pieces. Plastic cords. Colored Light. Candy Wrappers. String. Paint Chips. Inflated Steel. Eyeglasses. Concrete. No, all of the above are not items found at a local junkyard - they were just some of the elements that joined the ranks of oil pastels, watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencils to compose the artwork at the 2012 Houston Fine Art Fair.

There was a little bit of everything at the fair, now in its second year of bringing international artists together in one space --for one weekend -- for the viewing pleasure of countless art lovers in the Bayou City. By "a little bit of everything", I'm not just talking about the list of eccentric art mediums represented at the fair, I'm also referring to the crowds and the art itself.

The crowds ranged from wild little toddlers running around excitedly, pointing left and right at the cool art that they liked; to raggedy-looking hipsters; to 30-50-something year-old art aficionados; to serious art collectors - you know, the kind that break out their checkbook to write a $25,000 check to buy the next piece of their art collection, as if they were simply dishing out money for a popsicle. All of these and more could be found standing face-to-face, thinking, analyzing, and enjoying the thousands of pieces to be seen.

Here's a visual tour of some of the most prominent art, in their respective categories, which I made up: Up Close and Afar, Questionable, Inspired by Famous Art, and Best of Show. Click on the next page to start the tour. Up Close and Afar

There were a lot of these pieces at the show this this year (maybe too many) - the kind that look like something very simple when seen up close, but transform into a big picture when looked at from afar. Questionable

It took me a little while to realize what that was a picture of. In case you're wondering, it is skin. And String. And glue. And nothing else - I think.

Two horse heads covered in sparkles, intertwined. Um. I kind of don't want to talk about it.

Am I the only one that finds this futuristic alien, that looks like it came from straight out of a movie, a bit creepy? Inspired by Famous Art

Okay, so the artists that created these pieces did not tell me that they were inspired by famous art work. Actually, I did not have the pleasure of speaking with these talented artists. But, when I saw these pieces, I immediately made a connection to works by other famous artists. Like the one above, don't tell me that big blue dot with thick black lines around it doesn't scream Joan Miró.

This connection may be a little far fetched, but this piece totally reminded me of Roy Lichtenstein. Clearly, this is not Pop Art like Lichtenstein's but don't the colors and the big blue dots and the wide black lines make you think of his art?

Any Salvador Dalí fans in the house? I feel that the colors and the different elements - the camel, the woman, the wind, the juxtaposition of different things take from Dalí's style. Best of Show

In a fair as large-scale as the Houston Fine Art Fair, it's hard to find the best. Plus, what does "the best" mean? Art is so subjective, what I consider to be the best may not be what another art fanatic or critic considers to be the best. Nonetheless, a certain commotion could be felt in the air with the pieces in this section. Meaning - I wasn't alone in thinking they were spectacular. One of the many things that made the above pieces by Alex Cao awesome was the fact that when looked at with a magnifying glass, viewers could see that the large prints were a mosaic of tiny photos. The Marilyn Monroe piece, for instance, was actually a bajillion tiny Mona Lisa's.

This is made of paint and wire. Layers and layers and layers of paint hung on thins pieces of wire. Pretty amazing what a lot of free time will do, right?

There's something about graffiti that has a hard-core feel to it. Laura Ortiz Vega's artwork was fantastic because she replaces that "hard-core" feel with a feminine touch via stitching the graffiti, rather than spray painting it on a wall.

Foam and plastic cords are ugly. Yet, in the hands of Andea, these two boring materials turned into a colorful masterpiece that didn't fail to stop every person in their tracks to take a look.

William Cannings "Quilt" made of inflated steel and chameleon automotive paint attracted many that seemed to want to touch the piece - as it had a helium-balloon like look that made it seem impossible for it to be made of steel.

One of the most simple and classic pieces at the fair enchanted many passer-byers. I don't blame them; I admit to staring at this gorgeous painting for a long while, too.

Did I hit the nail on the head in all of my made-up categories? Or do you beg to differ? Which were your favorites at the 2012 Houston Fine Art Fair? Share with me in the comments section.

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