| Artopia |

Next Look at Artists Scheduled for Houston Press Artopia 2017

Dark Night Begins (detail), by Camargo Valentino, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.
Dark Night Begins (detail), by Camargo Valentino, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.
Photo courtesy of Camargo Valentino
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We're excited to announce the next wave of artists selected to participate in the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®, a celebration of culture, fashion, music, food and especially art. We announced the first wave of artists on December 12; click here to read the names of the first dozen artists.

Erika Auer's abstracts are bold, powerful and full of symbolism and imagery. She says that she creates her large, dramatic and commanding pieces with an eye toward opening a window into the mind of a person, and especially for those who have grown up with mental illness. She also simply wants to provide a visually stimulating experience, and we think she's succeeded.

Untitled (Anglerfish), by Erika Auer, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.EXPAND
Untitled (Anglerfish), by Erika Auer, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.
Photo courtesy of Erika Auer

We spotted Bijan Azimi-Bolourian's "hand" sketches at a recent networking event, and were blown away by his technique. Crossed hands become a bird with feathers, fingertips touch to form the base of the Eiffel Tower, and, in a statement on the darker side of humanity, a pointed hand morphs into a gun.

Imhotep Blot stays busy building furniture and studying industrial design, but he also has been actively working on a series of self-portraits. These paintings are dark and moody, incorporating symbolism and shapes with a touch of abstraction. Blot says he channels his emotions into his work, offering a snapshot of how he felt at the time the pieces were created.

Houston-based artist and curator Jenn Corletto (a.k.a. Blue One Thirty) started out as a graffiti artist, but soon gravitated toward tattoo and pinup illustrated art. She's heavily influenced by the modern pop surrealist movement and her current work combines previous techniques with 3-D layers and textiles.

The first thing a viewer notices about Louis Gleason's "Wallpaper Series" drawings is the scale. Using charcoal, he sketches monochromatic works onto oversized bonded paper, then seals them with acrylic and affixes them to wooden panels. He describes his technique as "a sketchbook on a grand scale." Finding himself attracted to old billboards and faded circus posters, Gleason brings that feeling to his figurative and semi-narrative studies of the human condition, rendering his characters as acrobats, clowns and ring masters.

Houston art scene insiders should remember the rules-breaking Rubber Group, circa 1996-2004. Founded by Bill Hailey, Ramzy Telley and Wayne Gilbert, these Bohemians once held an exhibition with a live bullfight and a human piñata. We have previously announced that Gilbert is showing at Artopia, and now Hailey has joined the lineup. He says that he's currently at work on a series of overripe tropical fantasies (which we find quite sensual in a Picasso-esque sort of way), as well as "Anti-Fascist Fleur de mals" and "post-election Clusterfux."

Originally from Mexico, Catalina Mercado now stays active teaching art classes and spending time with her family. She's inspired by pattern, culture, color and line, and describes her paintings as a "busy stillness with serene subjects and colors that create intimacy." Whether it's an acrylic of camping by the Guadalupe River or a study of a pine cone against a Mexican blanket, her technique of using rapid brushstrokes and intricate details to animate images results in a refined and unexpected subtlety.

Returning Artopia artist 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.

We're excited to welcome back artist Kelyne Reis, who was born in Brazil and lived in Germany for 20 years before moving to Houston in 2009. She is influenced by the German Bauhaus movement, as well as by Pop Art, and plays with bold colors, graphic shapes and flat/clean surfaces to tell her simple, yet unmistakably sophisticated, stories.

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.

Garner State Park (panoramic), by Sergio Garcia Rill, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.EXPAND
Garner State Park (panoramic), by Sergio Garcia Rill, one of the artists slated to exhibit work at the 9th Annual Houston Press Artopia®.
Photo courtesy of Sergio Garcia Rill

With a nod to politics and pop culture, Camargo Valentino describes his work as a "mash-up of classical oil figure painting with pop culture iconography." Be it Bernie Sanders, Batman or Big Bird, Valentino's heroes offer fascinating character studies of fantasy, emotion and grandiosity.

Second-time Artopia artist Chell Vassallo is a self-taught representational artist focused on narrative and social archetypes. In the past, she has lived in Rio de Janeiro, El Salvador and Abu Dhabi, and she brings that worldview to her illustrations. She considers her works tributes to life, and invites the viewer to see the world with "eyes of compassion and genuine curiosity."

Our photographers and videographers work hard all year, capturing the cool people at hip events, documenting inclement weather or other tragedies, and telling Houston's stories through photo and video. We honor their creativity each year by inviting the Houston Press contributors to show their images at Artopia. It's always a surprise to see their work, as it can include other circles of influence. We'll be telling you more about their work in the weeks ahead.

Houston Press Artopia is set for 8 to 11 p.m. January 28, 2017, at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street. To purchase tickets, visit our ticket portal here.

General admission tickets range from $45 to $60. Jumper Maybach VIP admission tickets range from $75 to $100 and include complimentary valet, access to the Jumper Maybach VIP lounge with seating and private bar, a catered spread, and an up-close look at Maybach's colorful art.

For more information, visit HoustonPressArtopia.com.

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