In my original body of work “Harvey Heroes” the installation. I paid specific attention to selecting images for inspiration from all ethnic backgrounds. During the Hurricane Harvey flood rescue, racial, political gender and religious tensions were washed away. They were not part of the conversation, we were one people. That was the silver lining of Hurricane Harvey, that was what raised our Texas spirit above the flood line. Seeing people of all backgrounds helping each other made me proud to be from Houston. In the installation piece the process I use to get the abstract fluidity marks, dilutes the diversity of skin tones. I feel this process addresses skin tones as Harvey did. The work is very abstract and does not show the details that might define a particular ethnic background, again the spirit of Harvey.
The exhibition opening was pushed back 30 days, with the extra time I decided to add a few LIVEstock pieces. There were not a lot of images from Harvey of livestock rescues on social media so I created a few of my own.
I regretted I had not made a buffalo calf rescue piece. Saving the buffalo is my thing. Not long after making the decision to make a buffalo rescue piece I saw an image posted on Instagram of a black cowboy wearing a white hat. Immediately I thought how cool it would be to have a black cowboy rescue a buffalo calf. A white hat would separate a darker skin tone from my murky floodwater background, plus my new 44” X 30” paper and plate would help show more skin tone characteristics than the 22” X 30” pieces that compose the installation.. When I told Curtis what I was planning he, immediately, reminded me of the Buffalo Soldiers. He suggested I visit the Buffalo Museum to make sure it would be acceptable during today’s sensitive times to reference Buffalo Soldiers. The people at the museum were very busy so I did not bother them. I did consulted with one of my friends, artist Romeo Robinson; he liked the idea.
This piece has multiple layers of meaning. It brings attention to the importance of tending to animals in rural environments when floods occur. It brings attention to saving the buffalo from extinction and it addresses regenerative agriculture. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the brave men who served our country in the military; the Buffalo Soldiers. They were given the name Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans, because the Buffalo Soldiers were as tough, fierce and brown as the American buffalo. They were admirable Americans. They deserve accommodations. While at the buffalo Soldier Museum I learned that the US government has never given the Buffalo Soldiers any accommodations for their service. They fought in the Civil War and WWI, This piece celebrates heroes on a multiple of levels.
The piece below, the African-American cowboy is rescuing a buffalo calf. The white cowboy hat and white shirt separate the black skin on his face from the chaotic weather in the background.
I made one monotype and two ghost monotypes. See below.
I hope you like them.
by Sabine Casparie
It took me awhile to get a copy of the 2019 ArtHouston magazine. I could not be more grateful to Sabine Casparie for including me in her article.
This past Wednesday, executives from HP were having a conference in Houston. They finished off their event with a visit to our exhibit, 51.88” Art of Resilience. Geraldina, and I were available to talk about the work.
I know corporations love to find projects to partner up with, so I reached out to Jeff Schultz with HoustonResponds to get an update on what type of help is still needed. I was able to pass the information on to HP. HoustonResponds is the organization that I donated the use of my Harvey drawings to for a publication used to get volunteers to help with the recovery.
I have pasted below the information that Jeff shared with me.
If you know any corporations looking for a good project, please have them contact HoustonResponds.
Here’s a link that may be as effective as anything to answer your question:https://www.houstonresponds.org/farfromfinished. We launched the “Far from Finished” campaign to raise awareness about the unmet need. The 90 second videos have been especially effective in communicating that as they put a face to the numbers.
There are still tens of thousands of Houstonians who are displaced or living in damage or gutted homes, many of whom do not have the resources to recover.
I would say that what most of these people need is a community around them that cares and is willing to walk through the recovery process with them, as well provide resources to rebuild their homes.
That’s part of what we do, and our strategy is to accomplish it through building coalitions of local churches that partner with any and all local organizations (faith-based and non-faith-based) involved in Harvey recovery.
How people can help, including corporations:
- Funds/resources: We depend largely on grants to fund repair, but those funds are beginning to run out. We are beginning to cultivate relationships with corporations to continue to fund the work, and HP might be an example of that.
- Volunteer: Our economic proposition is that substituting volunteer for professional labor and eliminating the profit margin can get homes repaired more quickly and economically, and sometimes with higher quality. We would love for corporations like HP to consider send volunteers to help with rebuild projects.
Turning challenging circumstances into opportunities.
The human ability to start over.
understanding the hardship and struggles of another people.
Resilience and having a dream and perusing that dream.
Molding and changing a dream until we reach our dreams.
dedication and passion
a connection to the earth
compassion that drives us
courage to carve your own path
hope for a better life through hard work
In the fall of 2018 I started this piece to add to my Heritage series of sculptures. As a teen, I shaped hats in my father's western wear store and I began to understand that old hats are reflections of their owners, that they keep a bit of the spirit of the person who wore them. When I start a piece I am often thinking about a specific individual and a challenge they're facing. While working on this piece I had a conversation with a friend about his career. This friend is very very passionate about his profession and has an admirable work ethic. His work situation has been frustrating for several years. There was not a way he could remedy the situation. In the end he turned challenging circumstances into a new opportunity. He took the leap and carved a new path.
Initially, when I broke the piece out of the shell I was disappointed that there were so many spots that did not pour. The texture is exactly what I wanted, well worn and full of passion and character.
A little frustrated but keeping an open mind, I set it on my utility room counter. I like to set pieces I am working on there so I can glance at them quickly as I go about my household tasks. This allows me to think and rethink my next step with the piece.
I walked by it and glanced over quickly and it hit me, those patches that did not pour could resemble the new path that my friend carved. Is it possible this piece took on bit of the spirit of my friend and his circumstances?
The next step with this piece is to do the metal chasing. Once the metal work is done I need to make a decision regarding the cool spots. Do I want to patch the cool spots or leave it as is.
I will have to ponder that.
It is still sitting in my utility room. I do love the shadows. ????????????
He is one big pig, the beloved family pet that had to be hoisted upstairs to save him from drowning in the flood waters of Harvey. The idea of saving a pig was inspired by a YouTube video posted by a young family in Conroe, Texas. I hope you see in the figure not only the strength it takes to lift up a frightened squirming pig but also the determination that the figure has not to let the family’s favorite pet parish. The pig twist and turns while straining his back legs straight out trying to reach the ground.
photo by Nash Baker
66” X 42” 60”
Steel, stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, wire mesh, screen and cloth, and baling wire.
the next pig post - why a pig?
Why a pig? We humans have a lot in common with pigs. We're both omnivorous mammals that gain weight easily and are susceptible to the flu. We share 98% of the same DNA.
Pigs are somewhat domestic (if you don’t believe me, check out @esterthewonderpig on Instagram). In addition they are on rural, commercial, and regenerative hog farms. They are incredibly smart and very clean animals.
2019 is the year of the pig. Pigs symbolize prosperity, wealth and abundance. Having a fattened up pig brings good luck. The Pig is thought to bring luck to farmers as it brings in a good crop.
The pig is very powerful and brings all good things. They are a very laid back animal they do not readily attack or anger.
They have been known to overindulge and can weigh an average of around 700 lbs. They are also often adored characters in nursery rhymes, children’s stories and tv shows as well as a variety of sitcoms. Miss Piggy, Porky Pig, Piglet, Timon and Pumbaa, Petunia Pig, The three little pigs, This little piggy went to the Market, Old Major, and Babe. I could go on and on.
A pig checks a lot of boxes that I feel a lot of people can relate to.
From a personal stand point, my brothers had a couple of pigs on our farm in Dell City. I was very young and can barely remember them. I do remember something about my oldest brother’s, Bob Travis Jr.’s, pig drowning. I am not sure how. It was not a flood because Dell City is in the middle of the desert. When we were teenagers and living in the city, my brother, Dean Travis, was riding his motorcycle in the desert checking his beehives and found a piglet lost in the desert. The piglet had gotten his head stuck in a paint can. I can still remember Dean pulling into the driveway on his motorcycle with the poor squealing piglet tucked under his arm with its head still stuck in the can. He lived in our backyard that summer.
In the early 2000s, we lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is a nice size Vietnamese population in New Orleans and a fair amount of Vietnamese pot bellied pigs. A family that went to my children’s school had a miniature Vietnamese pot bellied pig. The mom used to walk him to school on a leash when she picked her kids up at 2:45. My daughter, Sage, did everything in her power to convince me to buy her one. We already had two dogs, 2 birds, several frogs, turtles, fish and snakes. She finally quit asking when we learned they could not bend their knees to climb steps. Our home was on a small uptown lot with lots and lots of stairs. The pig would have to stay outside and we would want it to be part of our family.
If anyone has a great pig family pet, urban or rural, please share stories and pictures. I would love to hear and see them.
Most importantly I hope this piece can bring a little good luck and good fortune to the people who are still suffering the wrath of Harvey.
Please join us.
Happiness is finding your favorite goat Chica before the flood.
This piece was not inspired by a social media posting. I do feel it is a story worth telling.
Many thanks to my beloved niece Josette Travis for inspiring this piece. Thank you so much for helping me with this and being such a great Mom to all the kids. (Does anybody get that joke- all the kids).
Below are images of Josette and some of Josette and Eric’s kids.
Josette feeding one of Chicas babies
Josette and Chica modeling a goat rescue for me. Photo by Eric travis.
4- kids - Danika and Emma feeding 2 baby goats
Josette 😍 and kid
The Billy goat and my grand niece Danika . I love his beard.
I ran out of plaster so I decided to try hydro stone. It dries much harder than plaster. It takes longer to thicken and longer to set. It goes from liquid to stone hard very fast. There is little time to work with it.
I mainly use it to paint onto the lath and wire where where I wanted it to be see through.
It dries really hard- stone hard.
In February, my brother, Dean Travis turned 65. In November, Linda Razloznik, my sister-in-law, wanted to purchase “You Make Me Stronger” for him for his birthday. Unfortunately, it was already sold. Linda and their kids, daughters, son in-law, and grandchildren wanted a gift to demonstrate to him their appreciation for his wisdom, support, and advice. He has been a source of strength in our family since I can remember. Linda commissioned the below piece as a testament to their gratitude. I was particularly pleased to be able to take part in such a special gift as he has also been a great big brother. He first stepped up when I was 3 years old. I had decided to run away and live with the chickens on our farm. I headed out through the cotton field barefoot. I did not get far when the undersides of my feet were completely covered in west Texas cockaburs. He carried me home. A year later, swimming in a friend’s pool, he pulled me out of the swimming pool by my ponytail when my life preserver came off. I was not too appreciative at the time, I boy punched him for saving me. Four years older than I was, he always included my in treehouse building, fox hole digging, or just swimming in the horse trough pretending it was a submarine. In my early twenties, when going through a divorce, I sometimes needed his advice in the middle of the night. He always answered. Linda was right; “You make us stronger”. I hope it was a Happy birthday - bro
Day 1 and 2
Breaking the shell off and placing off and cutting off the sprues that do not work as stems.
With several tears in my shoulder the will have to take this to legacy get all off the Shell off. I would love to do it my self but it is not worth shoulder surgery.
Photographer Nash Baker getting the lighting just right before we take the piece of the pedestal.
I am fortunate to have a piece from my “The Road” series accepted in this year’s exhibition.
Just west of the Menil on Alabama @waterercolor society.
Each piece is sewn onto the sculpture with a piece of wire in at least three places. It is slow meticulous work. It is a meditation. I have to really slow down and look very carefully for the best places to connect each piece to the sculpture. The wires used to attach the pieces can not look functional. The connections have to be hidden. My goal is to keep the water light and moving. Harvey was all about the water.