Discover these local Latine artists
This Thursday marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which recognizes the achievements and influence of Latine communities and individuals around the U.S. To celebrate, here are five Houston-based Latine artists to check out and support this month and beyond. More amazing local artists can be found through the Houston Latino Artists Registry from the Inter-University Program for Latino Research.
Born in El Paso, TX, artist Adriana Corral draws on her experiences as a native Texan to create works that touch on issues of immigration, human rights violations and often-erased historical narratives. Her research-based artistic practice leads her to seek out primary documents and collaborate with historians, anthropologists, human rights attorneys and victims’ families to create her work. Corral’s art challenges history and injustice through visually minimal but thought-provoking conceptual pieces. She invites the viewer to question the collective memory of history and what has been forgotten or intentionally erased.
Gabriel Martinez is an artist, writer and performer working in Houston. After graduating from Columbia University with a Master of Fine Arts, he attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in New York. Martinez uses a variety of mediums including fabric collages, photography, musical performances and more. Key themes he explores in his work include the social dynamics of public space, often repurposing found objects to create public art outside of gallery spaces.
Martinez also founded Alabama Song, a space for experimental work to be shared across cultural disciplines.
For those who prefer more representational work, Vincent Valdez is known for using tight brushwork and mastery of lighting as a vehicle to bring forgotten histories to light. Much of Valdez’s work deals with provocative subject matter to address the state of contemporary society. Through his monumental oil paintings, Valdez creates distinctly contemporary works that comment on the pervasiveness of racism, forcing the viewer to consider how white supremacy thrives in modern society.
One of Valdez’s paintings from the series “The Strangest Fruit” is currently on display at the Museum of Fine Art Houston’s Nancy and Rich Kinder Building as part of the third floor’s Border/Mapping/Witness gallery.
Debora Barrera is a multidisciplinary artist and curator creating works dealing with the concept of home. Her experience growing up in a modest house in Corpus Christi shaped a desire to ask what the concept of home is defined by, exploring that question in many of her series and exhibitions.
If you’d like to see some of her work in person, look no further than Rice campus. One of Barrera’s public pieces was commissioned in 2015 for Brockman Hall. “Asymmetric Seekers” features screen-printed images that represent the different fields of study within physics and astronomy.
This list would be incomplete without at least one muralist, and Ana Marietta has more than ten years of experience with the art form. Marietta graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Animal Sciences. Since then, she’s transformed her love for animals into an artistic practice focused on creating imaginary animals and whimsical characters, like flying fish and birds that swim. Marietta uses these physical impossibilities as reminders that anyone can make the unthinkable come true through their art.
Marietta’s murals are all around the city — check out UP Art Studio’s Houston Mural Map to help locate them in person and discover other local artists’ work at the same time.
More from The Rice Thresher
When Akaya Chambers was twelve years old, she made her own Halloween costume — a steampunk TARDIS dress. It was the first time she had ever sewn, but she hasn’t put down her needle and thread since. In the years following, she discovered a passion for costume design and theatre on and off of the stage as a costume designer and actor, and on the page as a playwright.
It’s impossible to understate Mac DeMarco’s influence in the world of indie music. Since his breakout 2012 album ‘2,’ DeMarco’s twangy jangle pop songs have inspired new musicians and subgenres, notably bedroom pop. Tracks like “Chamber of Reflection” helped define alternative music in the mid-2010s, and recently, cuts like “Heart to Heart” have been wildly popular on TikTok. At the core of these successes were not only strong instrumentation but a slacker attitude and a sense of understated romance within DeMarco’s lyrics. However, for “Five Easy Hot Dogs,” DeMarco has ditched this core component in favor of focusing on instrumentals. Regardless of this switch-up, DeMarco has constructed a solid project full of unique albeit forgettable songs that inspire a sense of tranquility unmatched by his other work.
“That ‘90s Show” is the latest nostalgia-filled sequel to come out of Hollywood, and while it does not excel in the same way its predecessor “That ‘70s Show” did, it is still a decent sit-com that is worth a watch even if it feels dated at times.