Artopia Masterminds

Hot Ticket: Artopia 2016, With Smokin' Hot Fashion, Bass-Thumping Music and Über-Creative Art [UPDATED]

Editor's Note: The Silos will no longer be part of our event Saturday night due to City of Houston regulations. 

No need to jet off to Cannes or Hollywood for the latest red carpet event. The hottest ticket in town is at Houston Press Artopia® 2016, our annual celebration of smokin' hot fashion, bass-thumping music and a sneak peak at some über-creative artists doing work right here in Houston.

The event kicks off at 8 p.m., and this year the party has expanded to the mysterious, surreal world of "SITE HOUSTON" at the Silos on Sawyer next door. Throughout the Winter Street Studios, check out our curated collection of art from local artists.

J. Todd Allison is known for the futuristic, scientific and fantastic worlds he creates on canvas, often in tremendous spurts of productive creativity. His work is witty, sometimes dark and always riveting.

Egyptian photographer Fikry Botros photographs people and objects during his travels to places like Israel, France, Peru, India, Argentina and Egypt. His portfolio covers nature, thematic images, street photography and scenes from Texas.

There will be blood, especially when discussing Reece Carnley's art. He uses both human and pig blood to create abstract works – sometimes between glass and illuminated by a light box or preserved in resin to form a table. It's both creepy and awesome, and he promises that the blood is “responsibly harvested.”

Italian-born Houston artist Fabio D'Aroma has been working on a series of paintings – think Leonardo da Vinci meets Blackhawk Leather – which eventually will be morphed together into a 300-character frieze. It's an epic undertaking, and the body of work feels like history in the making.

Diane Fraser's abstract oils and collages incorporate basic elements – grids, iconography and architecture – to create detailed compositions that border on representational. Her color palette ranges from cool to colorful, with an undercurrent of joy and serenity.

Nicole Gavin is known for her brightly colored nudes – they're bold and in-your-face, but also quite compelling. We're also digging her pop art and surrealist paintings, and hope to see a mix of all three subjects at Artopia.

Death and taxes may be a certainty for most, but some will live on when their cremains become part of Wayne Gilbert's art. He takes unclaimed cremated human remains, mixes them with a clear gel and paints his images. For first-time viewers, it's amazing to see the variety of colors that result from this uncommon medium.

“Uncle” Charlie Hardwick makes the coolest graphic-designed posters around, featuring bands like The Who, Wilco, Radiohead and Willie Nelson. He's a big fan of sugar skulls, alien gangsters or demented circus clowns. In Art of Modern Rock, largely considered the bible of rock art, he is featured in more sections than any other artist.

Versatile artist Jim Hudek is known for his abstract color photography and mixed-media cityscapes and abstractions. His figurative work incorporates collage with pop art and iconic figures, with the sultry sensuality of Marilyn Monroe as a recurring theme.

David Huffman finds the beauty in reclaimed wood and adds his own creativity to improve on nature's work. He nestles pieces of contrasting wood together, or uses heart cut-outs for interest and drama. In other pieces, he has experimented with clear and tinted resin to create a sleek and glossy high-impact finish.

Since moving to Houston in 1999, Char Koho has become involved in Houston’s local art scene. Using acrylic and oil, she incorporates a specially developed texture into her paintings. Her brain waves gradually slow down when she is creating a painting, and she uses that dream mode to release her imagination on the canvas.

Katherine Mason's art evokes strength and confidence. Whether rendered in oil, acrylic, charcoal, pastel or graphite, her glimpses of the human form are edgy and powerful. Her gift is in the often overlooked details, such as the sparkle of an earring or the sleek line of headphones.

We named artist Shelbi-Nicole as one of our “100 Creatives” in 2014, and we think her “Signature S Collection” really rocks. Think surreal, Picasso-esque, bug-eyed faces against complicated backdrops with a focus on big teeth and eyelashes.

Hugo Perez draws his inspiration from history, people, music, films, technology and the people he meets in day-to-day life. He experiments with tactile experiences and is fascinated by the complexity of human connections, especially when so many are obsessed with material possessions or fame.

Visual artist Kelyne Reis was born in Brazil and lived in Germany for 20 years before coming to Houston; her work is heavily influenced by the German “Bauhaus” movement and the bright colors of pop art. Her newest body of work, “Digital Embracing,” deals with metamorphosis and transformation.

We named Jermaine Rogers “Best Concert Poster Artist” in 2014. For more than 20 years, he has created striking and distinctive rock-and-roll-related graphics. He has a strange fondness for floppy-eared rabbits with demonic eyes, and you'll see them – as well as other woodland creatures – pop up in his work from time to time.

Photographer Sergio Garcia Rill specializes in nightscapes that evoke a mysterious, otherworldly feel. He has a gift for capturing the constellations in the night sky – twinkling, streaking through space or raining down on earth.

Nicole Sinclair's slogan is “Creating art just for you,” and the mixed-media artwork, acrylics and abstract woodworks she makes under the name Nickiz Creationiz bring smiles to the faces of those she has touched.

Recent works by Anita Varadaraju include acrylic and latex on square canvases, with geometric shapes intersected by a zipper, revealing a second pattern “underneath.” Houston Greenscape, her flower petal design for CITYCENTRE's “The Mural Project” last year, was named second-place winner.

Chell Vassallo's “Terroir: The Taste of a Place” exhibit in 2015 transported viewers into the lives of Brazilian coffee plantation workers, and more recent works illustrate childhood memories and literature using charcoal, oil and linellism.

Christopher Woolridge, who is otherwise known as “A Hippie Named Gage,” first became interested in painting when we watched Banksy's movie Exit Through the Gift Shop. In the almost three years that he's been painting, he has experimented with a variety of mediums, but keeps returning to acrylics.

The event is also your chance to view photography from our very own Houston Press paparazzi — Violeta Alvarez, Max Burkhalter, Chuck Cook, Troy Fields, Jack Gorman, Ashli Hill, Francisco Montes, Jeff Myers, Yuri Pena, Michael Starghill, Marco Torres and J. Tovar. Some of their coolest images will be on display near the runway stage.

No night would be complete without the bass-thumping sounds from local bands like Catch Fever, Say Girl Say, Gio Chamba and DJ CeePlus Bad Knives.

On the fashion stage, check out the latest from Mod Chic, Chester Roberts, Pardon My Fash-Uhn and Samo Dinero, with modeling by Neal Hamil Agency talent, runway styling by Zahzi Events, and hair and make-up by The Look Salon.

At 8:50 p.m., be sure to join us for the eighth annual presentation of the MasterMind® Awards, where we recognize the accomplishments of three artists or organizations, and hand over a $2,000 no-strings-attached grant to fund their passions.

There's plenty to see and do – and lots to drink – plus samplings from some of our favorite restaurants: BB's Café, Cajun Shop, Cumbia Coffee, dgn Factory, Eculent Harvest Organic Grille, KUU, Pollo Tropical and The Tipsy Dessert Bar.

It's not over till it's over. Join us afterwards for the exclusive after party at Clé Day/Night Club, 2301 Main, from 11 p.m. until closing.

8-11 p.m. Saturday, January 30. Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter. For information, visit $55-$100. 

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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney