Ah, the Artist Issue … I’m not entirely sure whether, when we planned the first edition of this issue in 2015, it was intended to become an annual cover feature. Yet here we are, nine Artist Issues later, and it remains a favorite — for our readers and for me.
That made me wonder about its popularity. The numbers — online pageviews for the annual feature and responses to yearly readership surveys — indeed show this issue consistently pleases the crowd, but why? Here’s my guess: Art, in its varied forms, has the unique power to move people, to evoke emotions and to connect us all via the reminder of the human existence being a shared one.
Managing editor Alexa Rodriguez and contributing writer Vanessa Perez brilliantly take readers into the minds and visionary worlds of our five featured artists for 2023. Beginning on page 42, the dynamic writing duo zoom in on the extraordinary gifts of Noe Perez, Payton Koranek, Ricardo Ruiz, Sonia Ortega and Jesus De La Rosa. In each individual profile, you’ll learn the life experiences, cultural identities, societal messaging and wonderous inspiration behind the works produced by these fine artists.
When reading through that feature, “State of the Arts,” I lingered on the idea of art acting as a conduit for shared humanity in a way that words sometimes fail to do. In Simon Schama’s Power of Art, the author explores this very notion and states art “tells us something about the world, how it is to be inside our skins, that no more prosaic source of wisdom can deliver. And when [art works do] that, they answer, irrefutably and majestically, the nagging question of every reluctant art-conscript … ‘OK, OK, but what’s art really for?'”
Similar to Schama’s insightful take, Rodriguez shares a similar sentiment in that the power of art “…is a summation of the solitary human experience in which everyone is different, though often with a thread connecting us together.” My interpretation of that connecting thread is the desire we as humans have to be seen, heard, valued and given the chance to live a life of hope and freedom. On page 16, the successful entrepreneur and PRIDE Corpus Christi Board President Jonathan Swindle reminds us of this fact.
Other art-filled stories line our pages this month, such as a chronicle of six female metalsmiths forging incredible art and an even more incredible bond (pg. 56), a look inside the masterpiece of professional art advisor Morgane Heinz Blackmon’s home (pg. 65) and an exploration of the exhibition “Daydreaming Ourselves Awake,” which explores the history of Pride Month and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community through the eyes of talented local artists (pg. 92).
After reading through this issue, I hope you feel inspired, and are reminded of the fact that our individual stories and experiences in this life might just be the thing that connects us all.
– Kylie Cooper, Editor in Chief