Artopia Masterminds

MasterMinds 2012 Revisited: Alex "Pr!mo" Luster on Film Festivals & Nominations For 2013 Are Open

The trouble with being a creative person is that sometimes things like work, life and other responsibilities get in the way. And when your creative processes take a long time, by the time people start paying attention to your work, you're already focused on the next project. Just as the film he directed, Stick 'Em Up!, is starting to get recognition from international film festivals, Alex "Pr!mo" Luster is ready to move on to his next project, a mini documentary for the Houston Arts Alliance on Texas sculptor David Adickes.

In January, when Luster was named a 2012 Houston Press MasterMind, he told our writer Steve Jansen that he was already brainstorming his next full-length feature, leaning towards a non-documentary project. Luster had become well-known locally as a connoisseur of street art thanks to his documentary on Houston wheat paste artists, Stick 'Em Up!, and the cover story we did on his life, "Up From The Underground". The documentary was produced by street artist Gonzo 247 and written by Tony Reyes.

Since the award, which comes with a $2,000 no-strings-attached prize, Luster has had several screenings of the doc -- the film has been accepted to, and won awards at, a couple of festivals; and Luster has received a grant for the Adickes documentary from the Houston Arts Alliance. He plans to have a 20-minute work on the sculptor in progress for screening in February.

Stick 'Em Up! won Best Feature Documentary at the Gulf Coast Film and Video Festival a few months ago. It has screened at festivals in Canada and Mexico. There were seven screenings over the summer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and a special free screening organized by Houston City Council Member Stephen C. Costello at Sundance Studios.

Luster said the exposure has been "awesome."

"We had a different kind of audience at each screening. I can't even put into words how great the attention has been. It's just awesome to get that kind of recognition. The cash is a bonus, but it's just about getting your name and work out there."

And about that cash?

"The money came into great use for Stick 'Em Up!. People had been waiting so long, we used it to distribute the DVD. We didn't want to wait any longer."

Since then, Luster has kept busy with his day job, at a local TV station, as well as the Adickes doc. And then there's the busy home life. His wife is currently expecting a third child, due in March. His grade school-aged kids, a daughter and son, have already nicknamed the baby boy: "Monster Truck."

Nominations are now open for the fifth annual MasterMind Award competition honoring the best in Houston arts. We're looking for artistic types who are changing our creative and cultural landscape in the Houston area.

A committee of Press representatives will evaluate the potential honorees in each field, and then pick winners. Three winners will each receive a check for $2,000 along with a plaque at a special ceremony that is part of the Press's annual Artopia Party celebrated at the Winter Street Studios on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

Deadline for nominations: By 5 p.m. Friday, December 7, 2012. To nominate someone, e-mail [email protected] or send your nominations to MasterMinds Nominations, Houston Press, 1621 Milam St., Houston, TX 77002.

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey