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Art Interview: Scott Erickson + Houston

Blue Bayou Festival: A celebration along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, photo courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Blue Bayou Festival: A celebration along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, photo courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

This week, painter (and traveller) Scott Erickson takes us on an art tour of Houston, Texas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and where over 7 million people each year visit the city’s bustling museum district.
What should we know before we go to Houston?

Houston is a huge city. Most of it… let’s be honest… is a suburban sprawl nightmare. It’s huge! And it’s everything the Arcade Fire is talking about in their latest album [The Suburbs]. But the inner-loop (inside 610) is a very ethnically and internationally diverse place with beautiful parks, great restaurants, eclectic neighborhoods and some good eats. It’s not a bike friendly town, Houstonians love their cars and it’s a spread out city so if you’re going to get around you’ll need a ride.
Montrose area is the artsy/gay hub of the city and by far has the best stuff.
This is crazy, but outside of New York, Houston has the most theatre seats and gallery space of any other US city.
Houston has the most amazing tex-mex. it’s on a whole new level.
Oh… and it’s hot here. Summer is hell. The rest of the year is warm and pleasant.

What are you currently working on and what institutions you are working with?

I’m currently doing an artist in residency at Ecclesia Church. I think I’m the only person who has this job in the nation so I consider it a unique opportunity, unique enough to move from Seattle to spend a couple years seeing what could be done. The way I describe what I’m doing is I’m here to create a visual culture. In everything we do as a community, we are creating something visual – whether it’s film, photo, 2-d art, sculpture – depicting the stories, ideas, and spiritual journeys we experience as a community. My addition to our services is I create a piece of art every service (we have 4 services so i make 4 paintings on a sunday). Then throughout the week I work on different art projects, meet and collaborate with different artists in our community, and am just generally around and involved in the life of this community.
Currently i’m working on two art shows, multiple video projects, two books, homeless artist gallery space, mentoring 6 artists, and an art car for the Art Car Parade.
I’ve made some connections as well with a group of Catholics doing some great new innovative work here in the city and I paint at their gatherings. We were even written up in the paper.

Art Car Parade: The nation's oldest and largest parade dedicated to vehicular art

Art Car Parade: The nation's oldest and largest parade dedicated to vehicular art

Are there any yearly Houston art events should put on our calendar?

Art Car Parade
Art Crawl
Bayou City Arts Festival

Who are some of your favorite local artists?

James Sham, Fletcher Stafford

Is there a “Houston style?” Or is there an arts community/scene vibe in the city?

Houston style – very industrial. A lot of very heavy things… metals, recycled objects are big here. It’s a gritty city – huge massive sprawl with people all over the world living in this sweat box. It makes for an interesting mix. It’s also an oil town so there is a lot of money. You can sell art here for a lot if you get in the right circles.
The arts community scene is smaller and hard to know how to get into… but when you get into it it’s a great and very vibrant community.

Museum of Fine Arts: The Light Inside

Museum of Fine Arts: The Light Inside

What is your favorite place to see art and where should we go to eat around there?

Diverse Works Gallery is awesome. Food around there is the St. Arnolds Brewery or the Last Concert Cafe (which is amazing…. diner dive mexican with a vegan menu)
Museum of Fine Art – they have an amazing collection. Food around there – Black Lab Pub, Kam’s, Dirks Coffee
Box 13 Gallery – Sparks Burger Stand is unbelievable. An experience all its’ own
Winter Street StudiosBeaver’s – amazing! Catalina Coffee.

What’s your perfect day out in Houston?

When it’s not hot and humid. I’m from seattle so the summer heat here is pounding!
A perfect day would be visiting Cafe Brasil (my favorite coffee shop) for some good espresso.
Going on a walk around Memorial Park.
Grabbing lunch at Tiny Boxwoods.
Hearing live music at Discovery Green Park.
Crawfish boil at friends house at night.

Discovery Green

Discovery Green

Any other musts to see and do in Houston?

  • NASA
  • Houston Rodeo – so awesome on so many levels
  • Gay Parade
  • Galveston – just a 45 minute drive and worth it. It’s an odd place


Besides Houston of course, what is your favorite city to travel to for art and why?

Portland, Oregon has an amazing art scene. Seattle got too expensive and most of the artists moved to Portland. There is an artwalk almost every week, it’s such a great place.
MFAH: The Museum of Fine Arts
1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX‎ – (713) 639-7300‎

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Box 13 Gallery
6700 Harrisburg Boulevard, Houston, TX 77011-4432 – (713) 923-5356

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Winter Street Studios
2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX‎ – (713) 862-0082‎

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2310 Decatur St, Houston, TX‎ – (713) 864-2328‎

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Catalina Coffee
2201 Washington Ave, Houston, Texas‎ – (713) 861-8448‎

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Tiny Boxwoods
3614 West Alabama Street, Houston, TX‎ – (713) 622-4224‎

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2704 Navigation Boulevard, Houston, TX 77003 – (713) 228-1175

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Chuy’s Comida Deluxe
2706 Westheimer Road, Houston – (713) 524-1700

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