The Coastal Bend’s art scene is vibrant and fostered by passionate creatives with unique points of view and thought-provoking imagery. With this feature, we showcase five local artists and provide an intimate look at how they each express themselves and communicate with the world around them. From transcendent folklore to anthropological figures, this year’s lineup of Coastal Bend artists includes works in varying mediums from individuals who are just as inspiring as their creations.
Growing up in the brush country between the Gulf Coast and the border, Noe Perez began a quest to capture the austere, beautiful landscape in the gaps between human impact. Perez, the son of a cowboy in Falfurrias, would often follow his father out into the field to watch him at work among the oak trees, mosquitoes and cacti. “Those things have become my main subject,” Perez said. “It’s that kind of nostalgic feeling I’ve been around since I was a kid.” This sense of familiarity and closeness to the landscape is ripe in the smallest detail and corner of each painting. Read more
For as long as she can remember, Payton Koranek — now a ceramicist, sculptor and teacher — has been surrounded by artists. She was inspired by the clean lines, color and complexities of cartoons as a child, but drawing and other creative disciplines remained mere pleasant pastimes. It was in her exposure to clay and classical sculpture that an artistic identity began to form, as did her functional pottery pieces and eventually anthropological figures. Read more
Early in life, Ruiz recalls internalizing the traditional tales told by elders — La Llorona, El Cucuy, El Chupacabra — and began spinning corresponding legends that sang a different song. These figures of his own creation are the focal point of the work he produces now. He explores the potential of folklore and its propensity for spreading wonder, joy and striking humor. Read more
For Sonia Ortega, art is a grounding force and a concrete expression of abstract emotions. Raised by a professionally trained artist in her father, the artistic process was made personal only in adulthood during times of unrest and uncertainty — when an artistic outlet aided in processing complicated feelings, and provided a sacred space to do so. Read more
Mixed Media Artist
Jesus De La Rosa’s road into the arts was paved by the constant flux of inspiration unfurling around him, both in his family and in the rich culture of the South Texas borderlands. The tradition of starting something from scratch and crafting it by hand was sewn into the fabric of his upbringing — much like the intricate designs he would watch his mother, a seamstress, conjure up in her dress shop. Read more