I’ve lived in Texas all my life and honestly I’ve never thought too much about it. I guess when you live in a state that still has the right to succeed from the union, tortilla chips created in the shape of Texas and is ultimately famous for the show Dallas and oil wells, you just learn to accept the things that go along with living here.
Living in Houston or Austin, is a world apart from living in a small town in Texas. I grew up in Houston the majority of my elementary life. We moved to Tarkington Prairie at the beginning of my 5th grade year. To say I hated it, would be a lie. Moving from the metropolis of Houston to a tiny spot in East Texas that doesn’t exist as a town, wasn’t that bad. I had a lot of time to learn about myself and experience many animals, reptiles and amphibians. We lived on 10 acres with a variety of barns, outbuildings and fenced plots. The best part of it was that the land behind ours was owned by Champion paper company. It wasn’t fenced and it was kept clear of brush. Huge pine trees wrapped around low water creeks was my playground.
Life is a little harder in the country. If the power goes out, you have no water, because you get water from the well that is electric. The other thing about the country, you experience life and death first hand. From watching a baby calf born to smashing a snake with a shovel, everyday reminds you that life is awesome and fragile at the same time.
What does all of this have to do with the art I’m creating now? I began working with things I was naturally drawn to and like all artists, pondering why these seemingly disparate objects belong together and make sense in your head as well as visually. Sometimes art starts with a memory, sometimes art brings back a memory. Either way, we understand ourselves a little better and it drives us to create.
Most of the new pieces came from my second home in Tarkington Prairie. Once ashamed of living there, I can now laugh at the crazy celebrations such as Dairy Day and anointing a Dairy Day Queen to lead the parade of pick-up trucks down the main street of Cleveland, Texas. I can relish the time I spent with cows, horses, pigs, chickens and ducks and the complete freedom I experienced while trekking through the woods behind our house.
Texas is my home and will always be my home. I live in Austin now and I adore it. I do miss seeing loose cows in the road, rabbits running across your path and the occasional jump from seeing a snake. I’ve just learned how to enjoy those memories and let them inspire me in a whole new way.
For those of you who are curious, here is Tarkington Prairie