Rachel Gonzales - 100 Days of Contour Drawings

About Rachel Gonzales:

Rachel Gonzales is a creative, free-spirit who resides in Montrose. Educated and experienced in both architecture and fine art, she cultivates her artistic gifting with spirituality and a profound appreciation of the ephemerality of life, human connection, and play. (Bonus trivia: she is also the artist of the banner image on this blog site.

What is the story behind your art?

I recall sitting in class as my art teacher told us to draw a live figure without looking on our paper, without lifting our pen.  This was called blind contour drawing.  She then asked us to do it again and glance at our paper intermittently, pausing our pens while doing so, still without lifting them off the paper. This was called partially blind contour drawing. Ever since then, I naturally picked up this drawing exercise as a great way to train my eye to slow down and see values as shapes without fretting over how it turned out in the end.  I had always felt at ease with this technique, but I had not picked it up again until several years later while traveling alone in Italy.  I was wandering around Venice by myself in the fall of 2014 and stumbled upon an artist named Anton. We chatted for hours, he made me a bowl of gnocchi, and I grabbed a stick of his charcoal and created a contour drawing of him while sitting at his small wooden dinner table. In exchange of my contour drawing of him, he drew me a montage of various architectural forms in Venice. It turns out that we had both studied architecture, but he didn't work as an architect and dived straight into art upon graduating.  I found it funny that he was so far removed from the field that he was not even aware of the Architectural Venice Biennale going on at the time. It is strange writing this now as I have just left my full time architecture career to become a full time artist. 

From left to right: my drawing of Anton in charcoal, Anton's drawing of Venetian elements in charcoal , my drawing of Lily in ink

From left to right: my drawing of Anton in charcoal, Anton's drawing of Venetian elements in charcoal , my drawing of Lily in ink

Fast forward to last year, I picked up a book at Whole Foods called The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion written and illustrated by Elle Luna who launched the ever-growing #100dayproject in which people commit to making something for 100 days.  This artistic movement inspired me to embark on #100daysofcontours this year because I figured that drawing contours of people would be a good creative practice of making something each day without having to set up with several materials such as canvas, paint, brushes, an easel, water, and rags as I usually do with my acrylic paintings.  All I would need is subject matter, a pen, and paper. 

I also had been wanting to teach a blind and partial blind contour drawing workshop at the Women's Home and had been randomly drawing my friends at the time...I was naturally called to do it! Above is an image of my friend Lily at Agora one night.  After posting this image on social media, several people liked it. I continued to do 3 more drawings of friends by request and then continued to receive more requests.  The requests were starting to overwhelm me, and I realized that what really inspired me to draw someone was a genuine human connection with the person, and I could no longer draw anyone for the sake of fulfilling a request. I had to be more intentional with my subject matter.  I was creating a visual journal of human connections. If I happened to draw a friend or family member, it was because I sensed a human connection with that person on that particular day. Below are a few examples of family members and friends I have drawn.

All of these are partial blind contours in which I never lift my pen off the paper and glance at the paper once in awhile, but not drawing or moving my hand or pen while glancing.

Danielle, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Danielle, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

I drew Danielle after connecting with her at a weekly community group. We had been checking up on each other every Sunday. I would ask her about her family life, and she would ask about my 12-week spiritual creative practice called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron that I was implementing at the time.

Rhodora, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Rhodorapen on paper, 11 x 14 in

The second one is a drawing of an old nursing school photograph of my mom Rhodora.  I find that we take each other for granted at times, and I wanted to show gratitude for her that day.  She is a beautiful and compassionate person who doesn't draw much attention to herself.  Drawing her was a way of being present to all that she is in my life right now with an air of nostalgia about how she was as a young nursing student in the Philippines.

Sam, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Sampen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Sam is a beloved friend of mine who I met while working at Swirl yogurt in Rice Village.  I was studying architecture at Rice, and he was a dedicated violist at University of Houston. I had visited some family in Massachusetts for my birthday this past May, and Sam greeted me in Boston South Station when I snapped this photo of him. He has always been an inspiration to me as a musical artist, following his heart and making his dreams happen.

Brent, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Brentpen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Brent is a friend I met at a Crystal Castles show in Houston. He studied architecture as well and ended up working in NYC.  We met up in Chelsea Market, grabbed some sushi, and ate together on the High Line. After our meal, I snapped this brooding image of him as he was checking out a stranger at a coffeeshop.

Abby and Jordan, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Abby and Jordanpen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Abby and my uncle Jordan recently got married in Columbus, Ohio, and I found this lovely image of them during the reception.  I had brought my pen and paper with me, and I gave them this contour drawing of the photo as a wedding gift.

Dan, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Danpen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Lastly, Dan is fellow artist and designer friend of mine who has always been supportive of my dreams to pursue art as a full time career.  He worked at an architecture firm across the street from my office downtown, and we would have lunch breaks every now and then.  This lunch was memorable in particular because of the conversations we shared about unrequited love, true love, and the beautiful drama that may unfold. He has always been an encouraging friend, and I sincerely hope for fruitful relationships to grow in both of our lives.

Judy, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Judy, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

The most exciting connections that I have made while creating this project are with perfect strangers.  I volunteered to be a RAMP (Rice Architectural Mentorship Program) mentor for architecture students at Rice, and a woman named Judy graciously hosted the RAMP meet and greet event in the comfort of her own art-filled home.  She is on the board for several of Houston's public art projects, loves to give back to support the arts and outreach programs, and has a warm energy about her.  I had spoken with her about art and this contour drawing project of mine, and she let me photograph her to be a part of it!  After I emailed her two contour drawings,  she commissioned one to be executed with minimal line work to be printed on her own notepads.  I was thrilled.  She also wanted to compensate me for the original drawing.  I spent my following nights after work filling an entire sketchbook with one drawing after another until I finally achieved this one version with very few lines.  When I delivered it to her in person, she encouraged me to follow my passion for making art, create an online site for my work, and then she said that one day I would be doing this full time.  I will never forget that moment. 

Mr. Masala Wala, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Mr. Masala Walapen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Mr. Masala Wala is the owner of an Indian restaurant in NYC.  My favorite dish was the bhangara baingan, a savory peanut flavored eggplant dish.  It was so delicious I had to eat there again before I returned to Houston.  He had a gentle smile, and always spoke with his guests from table to table.  He asked for me to review him on Yelp after snapping a photo with him, so now I intend to post this image of him on Yelp with a glowing review.

Lissane, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Lissanepen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Lissane is a sweet roommate of the friend I was staying with on the upper east side. She is from Germany and was a very kind host.  I was happy to know that my friend Rocio had found a perfect match as a roommate in the diverse city of NYC. We all enjoyed eating at Masala Wala as well.

Laura, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Laurapen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Laura was a barista at Empire Cafe. She had surprised me with heaps of butter cookies that day.  I told her about my #100daysofcontours project, and she gladly accepted my request for her to be a part of it.  She mentioned being an artist as well.  I haven't seen her at Empire in a while and wonder about where she is at now. 

Dana, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Danapen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Dana and Fabian are both representatives for interior architectural products.  Dana randomly called me up one day, introduced herself, took me out to lunch at Ibiza the following week, and I snapped a photo of her.  We connected over quirky eyewear, yoga, massage therapy, college essays, career transitions, and carpet design. 

Fabian, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Fabianpen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Fabian had attended a Product Runway private auction event that I painted at.  As I was painting a piece to be auctioned in support of the event, he asked me about creating something special for his wife's birthday.  When he started working with me on a project weeks later, he brought a lot of cool tile designs because he knew I was artsy.  Unfortunately, I had to return them because they were "too artsy."  He always made me laugh in the office.  When I told him about my contour drawings, he commissioned a portrait of himself and another one of his family! I'm so glad he was happy with it, and I am grateful for his support.

The last and most meaningful group of people whom I have drawn are angels.  Sometimes I have a human connection with someone who has passed away after hearing about their death, mourning their death, missing them terribly, or fondly remembering them years after they have passed.  I drew Prince and Paul and Jo after shortly learning about their deaths, I drew Vivian and Christina while mourning over their deaths, and I drew my dad while missing him and fondly remembering him as someone who valued me so much.

Prince, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Princepen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Prince was a creative spirit who wrote his own story as he was living it.

Paul and Jo, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Paul and Jopen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Paul was the principal in charge of my architecture firm's worship and education studio.  He had health problems, and his wife Jo had passed away last December due to health problems as well.  I made several prints of this contour drawing of them for coworkers and framed four of them, one for each of their children. 

Vivian, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Vivianpen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Vivian Guan was a dear friend of mine whose possibility to give back to the world was cut short after a tragic metro rail accident on July 22, 2013.  She inspires me to live awake.  Her greatest fear in life was being too comfortable, and she would exclaim, "I want to live life shamelessly, mischievously, and infectiously awake!"

Christina Grimmie, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Christina Grimmie, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Christina Grimmie is another beautiful young soul who was gunned down by a stranger while signing autographs after her concert in Orlando.  Her death alongside several others in Orlando after the Pulse nightclub shooting and alligator attack in Disney World was emotionally traumatic for me because it triggered the loss of Vivian almost exactly 3 years ago. 

Christina Grimmie and Vivian shared several traits such as their strong spirituality, unwavering faith,  desire to help and connect with others, acts of service, goofy personality, amazing talent, and continuous pursuit of living into their fullest expression.  They did what they loved and loved what they did.  The Pulse nightclub shooting highlighted the fact that there is deep suffering and evil in this world and animosity toward others who are perceived as different, and the loss of a toddler's life to alligator attack was a tragic reminder that accidents beyond anyone's control may happen without any bad intentions whatsoever.  A young soul happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I mourned and could not sleep for several nights.  I watched Christina's YouTube videos over and over again, and realized that she touched the hearts of several people all over the world, reading comment after comment.  It made me present to the fact that we are living and breathing moments of pure expression here. 

Dad and I, pen on paper, 11 x 14 in

Dad and Ipen on paper, 11 x 14 in

What we do matters.  It will be remembered by those who make a human connection with us.  I am writing my own personal history of human connections through this project for others to discover.  I am recording a memory of a person, human interaction, and intentionally remembering each one.  When I am done with 100 people, I will scan each image into a book and write about how I happened to draw each person.  #100daysofcontours will be my own visual journal of human connections.

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

The most influential book I have read is The Little Prince, because it is a nod to everyone's inner child and explains how ties are made when the prince meets the fox and remembers his rose.  It is a story about the heart and is a reminder that every day is a gift in spite of sadness. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is not so much a book, but a tool to unlock one's spiritual creative energy. I highly recommend it for creatively blocked artists. For me, it is the holy grail of creativity and self-love. I speak more about it on my friend Nicole's artyogaplay blog: 

https://artyogaplay.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/featured-artyogaplay-artist-student-rachel-gonzales/

CONTACT RACHEL:

My website: http://www.miniboum.com

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mini_boum/

Email: [email protected]

Lanecia Rouse Tinsley

"Kiumbe." 6/100 | Paper and book binding on art board

"Kiumbe." 6/100 | Paper and book binding on art board

"The Eye" | Encaustic wax abstract painting on rice paper

"The Eye" | Encaustic wax abstract painting on rice paper

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Lanecia A. Rouse Tinsley, and I'm a creative based in Houston, TX. My work includes photography, abstract painting, teaching, writing & speaking.  

Studio D at Hardy & Nance Streets Studios is where my creativity often blooms. Most days you will find me there sipping on a cup of coffee with music playing as I create work that reflects what life has revealed to me about healing, freedom, and beauty found in everyday experiences. I make art to record stories, make feelings visible, make visible the unknowns and stretch one's ability to see beauty in all of life--especially the places where our eyes may struggle the most to see. Photography, encaustic wax and acrylics are my mediums of choice.  

Life has taught me that we all have creative potential and the need to encounter beauty.  As an artist, I believe my call is to create opportunities for people to encounter beauty through the work of my hands and the spaces I cultivate for them to tap into their creativity.  

One of the ways I do this is by offering monthly art making workshops in my studio space. I create space for art to happen and watch creativity flow through the unique hands of each participant. There is something incredibly life-giving about hosting people around my art table, guiding and empowering them to make are they can truly delight in. These moments are sacred for me. They fuel my own work and constantly stretch my own ability to see. 

Recently, after back to back tragedies hit the national scene (the murders at Pulse Night Club, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the officers of the Dallas PD), I offered a free Art & Prayer workshop in my studio for people to engage in creative introspection through the art making process. I decided to invite others into a process that was helping me healing and journey through the various signs within that were too deep for words. The night was powerful and I left knowing this too is very much apart of what it means for me to be an artist in Houston. 

My goal for this fall is to start a Kickstarter to raise enough money to offer free Art & Prayer workshops to the community in my studio throughout the year. The Art & Prayer workshop I design is one of the ways I'm called to participate in creating a more just, good and beautiful world for all people.  It is a space for good art, community and healing to happen, where all are welcomed and given room to be breathe deeply.  Art making slows us down and enables us to breathe. 

I am incredibly thankful for the privilege to do this work in Houston and hope to continue to add to its beauty. 

"then the day came when exhaling was not an option." 5/100 | Paper, oil paint and encaustic wax medium on art board

"then the day came
when exhaling
was not an option." 5/100 | Paper, oil paint and encaustic wax medium on art board

What is the story behind this piece?

This piece is one of my #100DayProject mixed media collage pieces. I began the journey on August 1, as a way to challenge myself as an artist and commit to showing up to my work daily as I transitioned back to studio life after a weeks on the road teaching workshops. Each day I sit with a collection of images, poetry/writings and and my journal, and then allow the conversation between all of these elements enter into conversation with each other. 

This piece was inspired by the pieces before, which all began with a journal reflection on the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, my story of growing up as a African-American heterosexual woman in the USA and the various other stories of being African-American and a woman in the USA.

For me this piece speaks of becoming, strength and freedom. I've found that most of the first collages I've done seem to be emerging from a chrysalis state.

"First Day of Spring: Part 1" | Original print mounted on cradled wood panel

"First Day of Spring: Part 1" | Original print mounted on cradled wood panel

What is the most influential book you have read?

Since childhood reading has been apart of my life's rhythm. I tend to believe each book I've read has influenced and shaped me in some way. Possibly the most influential book I've read besides the Bible for me, in this season of life is the book Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Art making, because it will not let me give up on fighting to be the artist I know I am. I carry it in my bag daily. 

I also feast on OnBeing podcasts pretty regularly and the conversations often carry over into my studio work. Krista Tippet is brilliant!

"Joy & Sorrow" | Acrylic, ink & Polaroid

"Joy & Sorrow" | Acrylic, ink & Polaroid

Contact Information

LAR Art Studio: I studio out of Hardy & Nance Streets Studios, Studio D

LAR Art Studios Workshops: http://www.larartphotography.com/workshops1.html

Website: www.larartphotography.com (link to Sign Up for my newsletter is on the Home Page)

Email: [email protected]

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @larartstudio

I also sell selected photography prints with Society6 my shop is: https://society6.com/larart

I sell art out of my studio and on my website. You can contact me via my website for a studio visit, or visit the 3rd Saturday of every month starting Saturday, September 17, for Open Studios at Hardy & Nance Streets Studios to view & purchase work. 

"Through" | Encaustic, paper, wax photo transfer on art board

"Through" | Encaustic, paper, wax photo transfer on art board

Pastor Ashley Dellagiacoma - Baker at Kindred Church

Tell us about yourself!

I grew up in Houston, rolling down the hill at Miller Outdoor Theater and cheering on the Astros, although I've spent the last few years on the family farm in Round Top with my husband, Mark, and our daughter, Marley.  I was baptized into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a baby and was always active in the life of the church.  I remember taking on the task of raising money for a Polish orphanage when I was in grade school, sitting in our Pastor's office for in-depth conversations, and putting Sunday School teachers through hell.  I talked about becoming a pastor,  but as I got older I knew I wanted to be a mover and shaker just maybe not in the church.  I graduated from Texas Lutheran University with a degree in Business, and eventually got my Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary’s Distributed Learning program.  I had become disenchanted with the bureaucracy of the church, its general apathy in the face of injustice, and the rote faith that seemed hollow.  But ultimately I fell in love with God's people and our traditions of faith and ritual, our stories of chaos, mystery, and redemption. My journey has included work in Nonprofit Development, Youth Ministry, Mission Development, Media and Design.  I was so excited to be called as the Restart Pastor with KINDRED because of the wide open space for creativity, especially in such an eclectic and vibrant neighborhood.  We took a church that was almost 100 years old and dying (Grace Lutheran), gave it a proper burial, and made way for the new life of resurrection in KINDRED.  Everything in the life of the church came back to ground zero to start over fresh. I wasn't sure I'd ever get to serve a church where I could just be myself without biting my tongue or putting on a facade, but Montrose is where I got my first tattoo and to be here is to be home. This is my first call as Pastor and I'm looking forward to following her passion for creativity and justice in her first call.

What is the story behind baking bread? 

KINDRED is Houston's only Dinner Church.  In the historic sanctuary, under the light of stained glass windows, we built tables and brought in chairs.  The old pews are now bench seats to a sacred meal that blends traditional liturgy with lively conversation.  It's church, but over dinner.  We gather on Sunday evenings and break bread together because that is what Jesus did, that is what humanity has been doing for eons, and because the table is a place where we can begin to recognize the face of God in someone we thought was a stranger.  Every week we have fresh bread with our meal and we've learned that this community is home to several talented bakers.  We're always learning more about our neighbors, their passions and gifts.  What's happening is the cultivation of an ecosystem where one thing feeds the next, which feeds the next, which goes back to the first.  It's how we make the most of what God has given us.  One of our neighbors in that ecosystem is the Central City Co-op (http://www.centralcityco-op.com/) which is the oldest organic co-op in town and makes its home right here in our fellowship hall every Wednesday.  The old stage was converted to cold storage and fresh local foods fill the space each week.  We began to shop from them to get our ingredients for Dinner Church, but noticed there wasn't any bread for sale.  We were just getting our feet on the ground, so we weren't sure what to do with that yet, but tucked the observation away in our minds for the Holy Spirit to work on.  Meanwhile, I met another Mission Developer on the east coast, Zach Kerzee of Simple Church (http://www.simpleumc.org), who started a dinner church that was also a bakery.  It was one of those cosmic moments when we both knew we had found a kindred spirit who shared our hopes for the church and knew the realties of giving those hopes shape and form.  Zach gave me a starter recipe and coached me through the first few batches (and let's be honest, I still have him on speed dial).  

One Sunday, as an act of worship, our community mixed together 12 bowls of dough to create our Organic Country Loaf.  As we mixed, we prayed in the ancient way of ora et labora, prayer and work.  Like monasteries of old, there is a rhythm and spirituality to our life together. like Sarah measuring out flour for Abraham's angel guests, there is something both primal and sacred in the process.  We sold most of the loaves at the Co-Op, but saved a few to give away to neighbors who recently had a baby, folks who were hungry on the street, and public servants who go under-appreciated.  The next week we sold out entirely.  Who can resist the smell of fresh bread as we bake it up on Wednesday mornings?  Still, we are committed to setting aside the first loaves to give away to others in the community. So now Dinner Church sources ingredients from the Co-Op, leftovers are given to those who need them, we contribute to the Co-Op with our bread, and the monies made go back into the ministry of the church. All the while, people are brought together in simple ways that cultivate profound connection.  And that's where God is revealed - in relationships, in the in's and out's of the everyday, in this diverse city we call home.

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

There have been several pivotal books that helped shape me - Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christian" was the book of my youth that named the struggles I was having with a stagnant institutional church; Lauren Winner's "Girl Meets God" and "Mudhouse Sabbath" articulated similar struggles and reclaimed ancient spirituality, ritual and mystery for me.  Andy Root's "Promise of Despair" provided this wrenching and liberating theology of the cross that doesn't shy away from the deep dark guts of life.  Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz's "En La Lucha" introduced me to wider understandings of God through mujerista and liberation theology.  Heidi Neumark's "Breathing Space" gave voice to the challenge and beauty of being an urban pastor who enters fully into the death and resurrection of her neighborhood while also raising young children.  I could relate to her story so vividly and was inspired in so many simple ways. Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and poets like Hafiz and Rumi taught me that the Gospel, the good news of light overcoming darkness, is fraught with beauty and can be found in so many unexpected places.  It's not just the books in the religious section (although, I obviously hang out in that section a lot). There are so many more, from Harry Potter to Malcolm Gladwell that are so embedded in my world that I almost don't even recognize when their lessons come out in everyday life.

Contact Information: 

To pre-order bread: http://www.centralcityco-op.com/store/p73/Kindred_Country_Loaf.html

https://www.facebook.com/kindredmontrose

www.kindredmontrose.org

Allison Fox - Painter

The Morningstar, 2016. Acrylic paint and plexiglass block on wooden panel, 24” x 12". $299.

The Morningstar, 2016. Acrylic paint and plexiglass block on wooden panel, 24” x 12". $299.

The Loss, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10 inches. $399.

The Loss, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10 inches. $399.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

As I’ve grown in my walk with God, I’ve felt increasingly driven to use my art as a reflection of my relationship with Him, considering that He is the one that gifted me with my passion for creativity. I have drawn for as long as I can remember, and began painting at a young age. Both oil and acrylic paints remain my favorite media to this day. As of late, I gravitate to depicting the human form as well as abstract work. We are made in the image of God, and I like to create art that reminds the viewer of our origin in Him. My journey into motherhood has also informed my relationship with God and therefore finds its way into my artwork.

I am a Houston-area native, and graduated from Houston Baptist University with a double major in art and accounting. My coworkers are surprised to find out I am an artist, as my day-to-day career is in the financial world of international tax. I’ve found that my art has improved my problem solving skills that can be applied to business, and business experience has improved my administrative and managerial skills that help me to lead as Assistant Director of the local arts organization, IMAGO (imagohouston.org).

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND "The Loss"?

In 2014, I lost two close family members. In response to that loss, I leaned heavily on Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Loss is something we all encounter at some point in our lives, but it is never easily endured. We can find our comfort in reliance on the Lord as he reveals the blessings bestowed upon us even in those times of loss. The dark tendrils and crossing lines are the sadness and depression that can result from the loss which seems to separate us from God. However, if we continually seek him and rely on him for comfort, He reaches out toward us. The three faint circles are symbolic of the Trinity, and color is used in the piece to represent those blessings that are quietly revealed as the Lord helps us through our grief. 

WHAT IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK YOU HAVE EVER READ?

I don’t know if I’d qualify them as the most influential I’ve ever read, but a few recent books I’ve read that have encouraged additional reflection are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and When Breath Becomes Air by  Dr. Paul Kalanithi. Both have inspired introspection but in different ways.

TO see MORE AND CONTACT Allison:

www.foxfiregalleries.com

[email protected]

https://www.facebook.com/foxfiregalleries/

Prints can be purchased via the Fine Art America plugin on my website. Originals can be purchased by emailing me directly.

Zach Pollard - Singer/Songwriter of Zesty Z and the GoteeZ

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

My name is Zach Pollard, and with the occasional help of a few friends, I release music under the moniker Zesty Z and the GoteeZ.  I grew up in rural Georgia, where the major hobbies were hunting, fishing, and sports!  My first exposure to music was predominately through my family and also attendance in a Southern Baptist church where we would mainly sing hymns.  Thankfully, I began learning classical piano in late elementary school and continued till I went off to college.  After I went to the University of Georgia, I began learning to improvise on the piano through jazz improv classes, and also taught myself to play guitar.  I had also begun writing songs and either jamming with or backing up my friends on piano.  My first solo show was in Branson, Missouri of all places at a Starbucks where I played a lot of originals along with a few covers by musicians like Tom Petty, Sting, and Outkast.  Around this time is when I acquired the moniker Zesty Z and the GoteeZ, because I was hugely in to Steely Dan, and so my friend told me I should call myself Zesty Zach, from there it evolved.  I moved to Houston in 2010 to work with Mission Year, a non-profit organization serving in low-income communities.  Throughout the next few years, I really grew in my identity as a musician and songwriter, and also discovered a call to pursue a music therapy degree.  

All of the above is to describe some of where I came from and the process of discovering my own love of songwriting, singing, playing, recording, and sharing the gift of music.  To tell you the truth, I deeply love the gift of music and am glad that I can share it with others!  I currently still work full time with Mission Year, and go to school full time at Sam Houston State (commuting from Houston), have a wife and two young children!  So to be honest, I don't really play a lot of gigs, tour, or record at a real studio.  I write a lot of songs about my life, my family, and issues that are important to me.  I record them in a spare bedroom, that is my studio/office space and then I share them with whoever wants to listen.  While I think there is a place for creating something flawless and beautiful, I also think that true beauty shouldn't always need pitch correction, a million takes, or for everything to be perfect.  In some ways, Zesty Z and the GoteeZ isn't so much a professional band as it is my own personal musical journal/journey!  With that being said, I invite you to enter in, listen, and hopefully hear something that is meaningful to you!

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG?

I wrote this song a day or so after the Charleston church shooting in June 2015.  This song to me speaks of the deep seated racial hatred that still exists in our country along with the paradox that I often find myself in as a white male from rural Georgia (right across the Savannah from South Carolina).  While I love the South, and love Georgia, and love my hometown and its people, I also have learned a lot from living elsewhere.  I've learned about racism, privilege, the need for justice and equality, and the need for a love that cares for and values all people.  So in a sense, while I still exist in a few different worlds, I have decided to grow in standing for love and justice in all of those places.  This song is a mere reflection and outworking of my own process.

WHAT IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK YOU HAVE EVER READ?

To be honest, it is a little difficult to name the most influential book in my life, and this is not because I read too much!  Over the years, I have found myself mostly drawn to fantasy books.  I came to the conclusion that I greatly enjoy fantasy books because they creatively address hugely important concepts of love, hate, journey, revenge, and forgiveness.  I sometimes wonder if these books actually present a more realistic and inspiring picture of our actual lives than does non-fiction.  Regardless, if you want to read amazingly creative fantasy check out anything by Brandon Sanderson, particularly "The Way of Kings".  This guy is ridiculously creative!

TO LISTEN MORE AND CONTACT ZACH:

[email protected]

Cell: 706-836-1063

I am recording several EPs that will be released in the next few months. You can buy, stream, or download music for free here:

You can also check out the following for updates:

https://zestyzandthegoteez.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Zesty-Z-and-the-GoteeZ-103379134396/

https://www.reverbnation.com/zestyzandthegoteez

Hector Guerra - Digital Illustrator

Hector Guerra, Light of Redemption, 2015. Digital illustration, 16 x 24 in. $125 

Hector Guerra, Light of Redemption, 2015. Digital illustration, 16 x 24 in. $125 

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

Drawing is something I have always done - Hot Wheels were my first subjects.

Self-taught, I wanted my art to be as natural a process as possible. I was influenced by the colorful stained glass windows of the churches I attended as a child and later in life by comic books as a teen. Bright, colorful, and vividly graphic is the on-going theme of my work. Most of my art, in the past, was created using colored pencils and black paint pens. I have recently been transitioning into transforming my hand drawings into computer-generated digital art. I discovered as a born again Christian that art is the gift God has given me. Uniquely different than traditional Christian art, I hope that my style will reach others that may otherwise have not taken notice. 

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THIS PIECE?

I created this piece during the darkest time of my life - a divorce of 31 years. I had to dig down deep and lean on God like never before. The art displays feelings I was having with loneliness, isolation, and cold darkness.

The bright light of Chris is ever redeeming. Life without Christ is like life at the bottomof the ocean. Darkness is all around you, and you are at the ercy of the currents with no direction. The pressure of the ocean's water weigh in on you, and you are smothered in the cold darkness. Hopeless and alone is the constant. Through Christ we rise to the top, feeling the warmth of his light. Our lungs are filled with the fresh air and we are comforted by His eternal love. No longer alone, we are redeemed! 

WHAT IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK YOU HAVE EVER READ?

I love reading and there are so many great books. I guess the first one that comes to mind is "The Art of Racing in the Rain" (Garth Stein), then "A Complicated Kindness" (Miriam Toews),  and "The Kite Runner" (Khaled Hosseini). 

CONTACT: 

www.hautedogart.com

www.pixelmyfancy.com

[email protected]

Tel: 713-391-7702

Chad Kimball - Shoe Craftsman

These are the Premiere Oxfords in light brown, available in all sizes, priced at $395 each. Our first product, and still the best seller.

These are the Premiere Oxfords in light brown, available in all sizes, priced at $395 each. Our first product, and still the best seller.

The Lady Boot in grey. Our first women's boot, $425.

The Lady Boot in grey. Our first women's boot, $425.

Detail of the Lady Boot in grey.

Detail of the Lady Boot in grey.

Tell us about yourself!

I am a long time artist, wood, and leather worker. I have spent my life learning several crafts out of personal interest. I have recently launched, along with my wife, Danielle, our band of handcrafted footwear, an almost lost art form that i have the utmost respect for. And one that I did not expect to be as challenging and as fulfilling to me, both mechanically and artistically. I truly love making footwear by hand. We have a fundamental focus on quality, functionality, and comfort in our footwear, coupled with artistic, aesthetic design. 

What is the story behind your work?

The Premiere Oxford was created out of my desire to make a shoe by hand that works The Premiere Oxford was created out of my desire to make a shoe by hand that works well in causal and formal wear at a price that isn't out of the reach of ordinary working folks. I spent a year designing and re-designing it. I went through several books and learned many new techniques in order to to keep the labor at a minimum without sacrificing quality, which would translate into savings for clients. Not only is the design unique, yet classic, the construction techniques are as well.

The Lady Boot was a long time in the making. I wanted something unique, yet would still fit into the Standard Handmade style. What we have is a unique, oxford style ankle boot, in which ladies can pick their hand-stitching color. 

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

I would have to say "Shop Class as Soulcraft, " by Matthew B. Crawford, but honorable mention belongs to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," by Robert M. Pirsig, and anything by Hemingway.

Contact Chad:

standardhandmade.com
instagram.com/standardhandmade

[email protected]

Gabriel Prusmack - Graffiti artist

Gabriel Prusmack, Endless Youth, 2014. Aerosol on wood and metal, 72 x 60 in. $3650. 

Gabriel Prusmack, Endless Youth, 2014. Aerosol on wood and metal, 72 x 60 in. $3650. 

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

I am a Christian graffiti artist who studied on the streets of Galveston and Houston with aerosol cans and utilize what the streets have to offer. The passion I use in my work explains a variety of experiences, values in life, and the meaning of a love life in Christ. 

What is the story behind this piece?

My work is a self-portrait displaying layers in my life that are past, present, and future. Sometimes we have tunnel vision of what we should really be doing in life and God always reminds us to take the little things in life for value. Like a puzzle, you cannot have the masterpiece until all the details or pieces are put together right. This is what God has shown me and within it there are values to appreciate the process. 

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

Most influential book other than the Bible, definitely "Growing Up Spiritually" by Kenneth E. Haggen.

Contact: 

www.gabrielprusmack.com

www.society6.com/gabesophia

www.blogspot.com/prusmack87

Instagram: @gapsmack87

Snapchat: prusmack87

Tel: (409) 939-8050

 

MIchael Vollmer - Spontaneous Worship Watercolor Painter

Michael Vollmer, Pentacost, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 in. $150 (Painted live at One River Vineyard Church).

Michael Vollmer, Pentacost, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 in. $150 (Painted live at One River Vineyard Church).

Michael Vollmer, Hearts United, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 24 x 18 in. $150. (Painted live at Canvas Church)

Michael Vollmer, Hearts United, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 24 x 18 in. $150. (Painted live at Canvas Church)

Michael Vollmer, Abstract Landscape, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 28 x 24 in (framed). $150. 

Michael Vollmer, Abstract Landscape, 2016. Watercolor on paper, 28 x 24 in (framed). $150. 

Tell us about yourself!

I began painting watercolors in 1984. As I continued with it over the years, I remembered why I had such a passion to explore art. As a young teenager, upon visiting a gallery/studio, the owner spoke a blessing and imparted the gift of creativity upon my brother and me. 

What is the most influential book you have ever read?

Unlocking the heart of the Artist by Matt Tommey

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 713-550-3304