“When I was 12, I began studying under Silvio Scionti, and he taught me how to make music come alive,” said John Sutton Shelton in an interview in 2003. Shelton was a child prodigy at the piano. During his senior year at Sherman High School, Shelton won a music contest that earned him a chance to play with the Houston Symphony.
Blues guitarist Kirby Kelley was down to his last guitar, a custom-made Paul Reed Smith. “Think about it,” said Kelly’s friend at the North Dallas Guitar Center when the musician laid the instrument, which was worth enough to help his family out of a deep financial hole, on the counter and said he wanted to sell it. “Think it over.”
Over the past two years, his work has grown in both subject and technique. Real changes began to take place last spring when Dunlap decided to go back to the source of his sculpture work—found objects. “I broke loose and created a body of work that was a total departure from what I had been producing,” he said. “I sort of went back to where I started and used mostly found objects. Those works were good for me; I felt that I needed a change.”
Hartjen engaged in building a new body of work during late 2008. Her portfolio grew to include more of the small hand-altered photographic prints she had been experimenting with, as well as a variety of layered digital photography techniques. Her new interpretations of urban sprawl and decay took center stage at Houston’s Bearing and James Gallery during December.
“As our area becomes more suburbanized, I think it is important to present the natural history and heritage of our region so that we can stay connected with it. Artists have a unique opportunity to share and document that narrative for others. Art allows me the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and explore my experiences and memories gained there in a new way.”
The third annual Texoma Living! Art Issue introduces our readers to a group of local artists whom, if you haven’t heard about already, you soon will. At least, that’s the consensus of our panel of experts, who selected them all as talents to watch.
“I want to look at a photo and have it transport me instantly to the moment I snapped the picture, so I can relive it over and over.”
“I grew up with a fascination for collecting toys. When you look around, you find a lot of toy objects. I got to thinking about them as alive, and they were animate and they could talk and tell stories. I began to paint collections of them as toyscapes and gave them unworldly backgrounds.”
“I like to make things that people can touch,” said Jerry Tate. “I get in trouble at museums and have to keep my hands in my pockets.” Tate is a sculptor, and not your regular Michelangelo, either. He creates things unusual out of things most common. When finished, his craftsmanship and ingenuity produce conversation as well as art.
“It’s more than just a person sitting there. It’s a personality. I like to paint beyond what you’re seeing visually and to perceive an inner quality. Painting figures to me is just like painting anything else. It’s part of nature. It’s full of life. People are full of life, and they tell a story in the way they talk, the way they sit, what they look like, and I love to paint the story.”