San Antonio’s non-profit downtown art gallery, Artpace, has begun its spring season International Artists-in-Residence program. Three artist’s – one international, one national and one Texas-based—are invited to live in San Antonio and create their own original exhibit. Halfway through the residency, Artpace has invited spectators to observe and feel what the artists are feeling through their process of creation. The journey is just as beautiful as the end result—whatever that may be—for these three artists.

Robert Hodge is a Houston native and no stranger to creating, jokingly noting his extensive relationship with art dating back to the first grade when he won a blue ribbon rodeo award. Next, was the renowned High School of Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA).Then, Hodge attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. Hodges’ favorite area of history is the 1960’s revolutions and civil rights movements because he finds it’s aided contemporary movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement. There are posters sprawled across the area and books lining the table. Vinyl records of UGK, Solange, 2Pac and more rest in the corners. Hodge’s integration of music into his art has provided flair that sets him apart from other artists. He once believed in keeping his music and art separate until doing a record in November about Robert Johnson. Now, a work space full of funky Southern jams permeate the space.

His work station can be described with two simple words: beautiful and chaotic. Yet, he seems to know exactly where he has left the materials he needs. Hodge can’t keep still for too long. He must have his hands working, and cutting, and creating—stopping only for a few minutes to speak about his vision. Hodge is creating an exhibit full of color (his number one criteria for finding the perfect poster). He wants observers to really feel what is happening, not just see it.

Kate Newby’s table of raw and random materials. Photo by John Villarreal

Kate Newby hails from Auckland, New Zealand. Even though she has been living in New York for the past five years, her eclectic accent is here to stay. Newby’s particular assigned space has a soothing sentiment to it, and you can’t help but feel that Newby has made this space her own, as she has cracked the cast-iron windows open and set up shop for the next month or so. Newby only creates work on sight, letting the area in which she has visited influenced her creation. Newby’s area is neat and refined, yet it feels industrial with raw materials—coffee grounds, broken rocks and clay neatly arranged on the table.

Newby has created a series of experimental glass pieces. Her electrically fired collection of glass-made ladybugs have even begun to attract real ones.

Newby depicts a bird sitting in trees, Grecian ruins and more. Through the inspirations of the mundane and natural she transposes a supernatural work.

Halfway through her residency, she has already opened her space up and decided to venture into new projects. The finished project will take us out of the gallery, and into a lived environment; an environment where the observer can feel just as at home as Newby feels. Her fresh perspective is sure to inspire.

Nicholas Frank, a Milwaukee native, aims to impart a message with his exhibit. Propaganda posters litter the ground with double entendres. His piece is a rebellion against conventional language, boundaries and norms.

Franks strives to magnify the relationship of the performer and the artist, so he has made a point to intimately converse with almost every one of his observers. He believes that the audience and the performer are equal counterparts. The performer may set out to impose one message, but the audience may interpret one that is completely different. Frank is creating a set of conditions so the audience and the performer will share a meaning.

After the 2016 presidential election, division within our country are even more evident. His end goal is to have a 32 foot chain through the middle of his exhibit. The glass boundary is transparent and fragile. Posing the question “Is it there or do we just perceive it to be there?” Once into his exhibit space, people will be forced to choose one side of the glass chain versus another.

This piece is sure to show the wonder of Frank, just as it will incite wonder within yourself.

Though they are only halfway through their creative process, it seems as though they have already reached their destination. For theses artists, their process is their journey.

The Artpace Spring International Artist-in-Residence exhibit will run March 7-May 7. It is open to the public and admission is free.

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