November 26, 2010

Meet the 2010 HCCC Volunteer of the Year: Jack Zilker.

Jack Zilker is a local photographer who has been working and photographing the work of Houston artists for over 60 years.  He has volunteered for over nine years to photograph our exhibition galleries, our building, objects for sale in Asher Gallery, and various other projects.  His photographs provide an extremely valuable record of our exhibition history, illustrate our gallery spaces to new artists, and are used for promotional purposes.  We are forever grateful to volunteers like Jack, who not only take time out of their day to volunteer but also donate services that save HCCC thousands of dollars. We asked Jack to sit down and share a little bit about his history in photography and time at HCCC.

Julie Farr, HCCC Executive Director, and Jack Zilker with his award.
What made you want to be a photographer?
I sold my first photograph at 15, and that was almost two centuries ago. I thought it was the most wonderful experience and it was more fun than saving empty Coke bottles and selling them back to the stores for 2 cents a piece.

How long have you been a photographer in Houston?
I was born and raised in Houston. When I was in junior high, my parents were building a home in a newer part of Houston. One day, I was walking around with my camera, taking pictures of these houses under construction, when a contractor stopped and asked me to sell him the photographs. I realized that, with all the development in this neighborhood, I could take pictures and then put a notice on the house about the pictures for sale. I turned my parents’ bathroom into a darkroom, and that’s how I started my photography in Houston.

What is a favorite memory from volunteering at HCCC?
I’m not sure which exhibition this event was related to, and I suppose it might be a self-serving answer, but I remember a juror’s advice during an opening. The juror was taking everyone on a walk through the gallery before the event was to start. While in the exhibit, explaining his choices, he stopped to tell the audience about a recent visit to some nearby galleries. He proceeded to tell them about how he saw some work in the galleries that had been submitted for the show, but that he did not select it. He explained how, had he seen good photographs of those works, he would have selected the pieces for the exhibit. I applauded his advice, because artists who don’t have good photographs really do themselves an injustice, and this juror did a great job of explaining why photographs are necessary.

November 18, 2010

A Volunteer's Perspective

If you visit HCCC during an opening event, it is likely that one of our dedicated volunteers is serving your drink. HCCC volunteer, Barry Harnamji, takes time out of his daily schedule to volunteer at our special events and openings and has been doing so since early 2009. Barry is one of many volunteers who help nonprofits like HCCC keep everything running. This year, we’re combining our Asher Holiday Soiree and our Volunteer Appreciation Party in one event! Please join us for this festive reception tonight (Thursday, November 18), from 5:30-8:00 p.m. Below, Barry shares his experiences as a volunteer.

HCCC volunteer, Barry Harnamji,
waits for the party to begin. Martini Madness!
September 16, 2010. Photo by Kim Coffman.

Becoming a volunteer at HCCC arose from a very personal endeavor.  As a result, my exposure to the artwork at HCCC completely changed my perception of craft.  Directly discussing artwork with some of the artists-in-residence gave me an even greater insight into the complexity of effort that goes into much of the art they produce and the high quality of work HCCC demands.  

Volunteering at HCCC has been a two-fold experience for me.  I have the opportunity to view amazing new and upcoming works of art, which I may not have known about.  Additionally, volunteering as a gallery attendant or at one the various programs such as Hands-On Houston, exhibition openings or external arts functions, such as Bayou City Arts Festival, MFAH, and other venues, gives me the opportunity to be a part of the Houston arts community and share the art of craft. 

November 13, 2010

Introducing Our New Artists-in-Residence: Clark Kellogg

A native of Houston, TX, Clark Kellogg has been interested in woodworking and furniture making since he was 14, when he and his father started building small projects in the family garage. He received his BA from the University of Virginia. He is formally trained as a furniture maker, graduating from both the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship's Nine-Month Comprehensive program and the College of the Redwoods esteemed Fine Woodworking Program.

Clark with his piece, Garden Bench,
for which he received  an
award-of-merit in Craft Texas 2010.

I've known about the residencies at HCCC since the organization was founded in 2001, because I've visited the center all these years. I wanted to apply for a few years, but I wasn't settled in Houston. I was traveling back and forth between home and school. Also, I didn't have enough work until recently for a complete application. Once I knew I was going to be in Houston for a few years, and had a larger body of work, I applied.

Part of the plan for my residency is to use it as an opportunity to promote myself and my work in the Houston community. I want to interact with visitors, be part of educating them about what fine furniture can be and how much work goes in to making custom furniture. While in my residency, I hope to balance making some larger furniture pieces with smaller work focused on letter carving. Letter carving is a new area for me and it's exciting to explore and see where this new skill will will take me.

Hemlock Wall Cabinet,
by Clark Kellogg, photo by David Welter.

Music Box, by Clark Kellogg, photo courtesy the artist
Little Squam (detail image), 
by Clark Kellogg, photo courtesy the artist.
 You can find our more about our current artists-in-residence on our website.

November 5, 2010

Introducing Our New Artists-in-Residence: Kristi Rae Wilson

Kristi Rae Wilson is a mixed media artist who has returned to her hometown of Houston after being away for seven years. She received her BFA from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX before earning her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kristi in her studio at HCCC.

I found out about the residency at HCCC when I was in undergrad at Stephen F. Austin University. I didn't feel I was prepared for it at the time, but I stored away the information for later. When I graduated with my MFA, I sought out residencies in the USA and Europe. HCCC was the first to contact me and after accepting the position, I was excited to return back to Houston.

During my residency, I hope to continue researching fabrics and allow this research to influence my jewelry skills. I want to allow this relationship between fabric and jewelry to happen organically. In the end, I hope for two different outcomes. The first outcome being a high end production line of jewelry and the second developing large scale exhibition pieces.

Tea Infuser Earrings,
by Kristi Rae Wilson, 

photo by Motoko Furuhashi.

Detachment of the Bed Sheet,
still from 2 minute looped video
by Kristi Rae Wilson,
photo courtesy the artist.

Remnants Collar,
by Kristi Rae Wilson,
photo by
Motoko Furuhashi.

You can find more about our current artists-in-residence on our website.