(Part of our ongoing series profiling 100 Houston-area artists. No rankings; no order. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for another edition.)
What she does: Installation artist Teresa O'Connor brings her passion for art and bringing artists together into her shop Hello-Lucky.
Featuring sweatshop-free, handmade local goods created by nearly 20 Houston artists, Hello-Lucky has intrigued customers for three years. The products aren't "cutsey" crafts; they have a certain edge about them, most always eco-friendly, and often made with recycled goods. But O'Connor says, "They're not here to be confrontational, galleries are there for that." O'Connor, who has a BFA in painting and a MFA in sculpture from the University of Houston, has shown her work at Lawndale Art Center, Deborah Colton Gallery, and Schopf Gallery among others. When she decided she didn't want to make things she thought would necessarily be marketable, her art moved in the direction of grant-based installation. For the time being she's put most of her installation work on the backburner, focusing instead on running Hello-Lucky, a place she says, "needs a mother."
Why she likes it: Born and raised in Houston, O'Connor proudly boasts, "Houston is embracing of so many different types of ideas and backgrounds; the people here are exceptional." She extends this ideal to her shop, focusing primarily on the theme of community. O'Connor has noticed that a growing number of people are concerned with how products are made and the ethical issues behind them. "People come here specifically because they search on the web: 'local, homemade, sweatshop-free,'" she says. In turn, O'Connor finds that many people want to meet the artists in their studios and support them.
What inspires her: As an independent business owner, O'Connor is quick to champion the cause of mom and pop stores. She says, "My economic stimulus plan is to shop local." With O'Connor it's all about bringing people from the Houston community together, and she feels by doing so everyone will reap the rewards.
What's next: O'Connor plans to organize monthly craft markets in the Davis Hardware and Framing parking lot across the street from Hello-Lucky. O'Connor also wants to bring fashion and art demonstrations complete with live DJs and dancing to Houston. "I love the tie between music, art, sound, and fashion touching on all the senses so no one will feel excluded from the event," she says.
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