It’s another very special year for art on Heights Boulevard with eight exciting, diverse and thought-provoking works by accomplished Texas artists—two of whom are returning to the project. True North 2024 is proud to present sculptural installations by Nela Garzón, Dion Laurent, Wyatt Little, Suzette Mouchaty and Patrick Renner, of Houston, and Clayton Hurt, Ricardo Paniagua and Art Shirer, of Dallas. Creating and installing large-scale outdoor public art is a huge commitment, and we appreciate these fine artists’ precious time, resources, dedication and extraordinary talent.
Beginning as an idea and a dream, we are thankful for the many hands that have touched the sculpture project over the last eleven years. Working with this supportive, arts-minded community—and the 80+ gifted past and present True North artists—continues to be a pleasure and a privilege for this team.
We hope you enjoy True North 2024.
Gus Kopriva & Chris Silkwood [founders], Donna Bennett, Dean Ruck & Kelly Simmons
2024 sculpture photos soon.
"Pre-Columbian Unlooted Bat
or Vampire for the New World"
A multidisciplinary visual artist, Nela Garzón finds inspiration through studies of ancient beliefs, myths and customs—and those reflections in folk art—from around the globe. Her works raise awareness of the importance of ancestral traditions and promote pride within these cultural societies. Her sculpture, “Pre-Columbian Unlooted Bat or Vampire for the New World,” for True North 2024—made of chickenwire, salvaged plastic and polyethylene, paper mâché, PVA glue, primer and gesso—is based on the Mexican free-tailed bat. Adorned with pre-Columbian ornamentation, its wings hold patterns of the iconic monarch butterfly and the nose and fangs are inspired by the vampire bat. Garzón explains that the pre-Columbian Tayrona tribe believed their shamans would transcend into fierce animals, and Mesoamerican mythology tells of an anthropomorphic bat-headed monster named Camazotz.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Garzón earned degrees in Literature and Visual Arts from Los Andes University and Javeriana University, respectively. She received the Jones Artist Award from Houston Endowment in 2023 and has held residencies at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and PAC Art, Houston. Garzón’s installations have included The Lillie and Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Discovery Green Houston, Institute of Hispanic Culture, Houston, Gallera San Miguel, Bogota, Colombia, Post HTX, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Holocaust Museum Houston, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, and has been selected as one of 40 prominent Houston artists to collaborate in the highly-anticipated Meow Wolf art experience—opening in Houston’s Fifth Ward in 2024.
Nela Garzón's “Pre-Columbian Unlooted Bat or Vampire for the New World"
Hurt earned a BFA Sculpture from University of North Texas, Denton, and an MFA Sculpture from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Featured in Glasstire’s prestigious Top 5 release in 2021, his works have been shown, in part, at Fort Worth Contemporary, Texas Christian University, Arts Fort Worth, Plush Gallery, Dallas, Ann Dean Fine Arts Building, Kilgore College, Redbud Arts Center, Houston, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Artspace 111, Fort Worth, and 500X Gallery, Dallas.
A multi-media artist based in Dallas, Clayton Hurt is mostly known for his figurative works—often depicting the mundane daily life of a dog—which navigate a fine line between struggle and humor. His father a master electrician and his mother an artist, Hurt grew up around construction sites and surrounded by art and the Dallas-Fort Worth arts community. His True North 2024 sculpture, “Apprehensive Dog”—made of welded steel, burlap, cloth, foam, tar, wax, resin and paint—depicts a mysterious canine with a story that is left to the viewer’s imagination. Its precarious posture suggests it is avoiding or contemplating something below, and its shiny chrome eyes reflect the world around it.
images coming soon
A fourth-generation visual and performance artist with studios now in Houston and Bastrop, Dion Laurent spent 7 years traveling the world after college—with a backpack of supplies—covering 23 countries and creating and exhibiting works all along the way. He has lived and maintained studios around the globe, including six years in Tokyo and throughout Asia, including a small Japanese island in the Pacific. Laurent’s large-as-life sculpture, “AirPlane 1,” for True North 2024 is made of wood, aluminum, steel, plexiglass, batteries, tires, electric motor, solar panels, generator, lights, PVC, plants, soil and water—a conceptual work designed specifically to produce fresh air in lieu of carbon.
Laurent attended Texas A&M University, College Station, and Belmont University, Nashville, and has exhibited extensively, including shows at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, Hobby Airport, Houston, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Art Car Museum, Houston, Poissant Gallery, Houston, Texas A&M University Visual Arts Gallery, College Station, Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, Guardian Garden Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, and HTTP Gallery, London. He has held his unique brand of art performances, including the EarthMan, at Tate Modern, London, Art Basel, Miami Beach, Art Chicago, Louvre, Paris, and Espace d’Animation des Blancs-Manteaux, Paris.
images coming soon
Following an early career in traditional industrial design, Houston Heights artist Wyatt Little turned to ceramic art after learning mold making from a friend. His concepts are derived from early memories of treasured, iconic objects—resulting in decidedly quirky and whimsical symbols of a bygone time. Growing up watching “Saved by the Bell,” Little recalls those comically-huge phones—like the kind Zack had on the show—resembling a brick in size and shape and representing a major status symbol that personified that era of conspicuous consumption (costing upwards of $4,000 at the time!).
Little’s 16’-tall “BRICK PHONE”—made of treated lumber, stucco and paint—evokes nostalgia, immortalizes the dramatic evolution of that technology and, let’s face it, simply makes us smile.
images coming soon
"Monument to Sea Slugs"
photo by Rick Wells
Mouchaty is an artist and scientist who lives and works in Houston. She earned a BS and MS from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, an MFA from University of Houston School of Art, a Ph.D. in Genetics from Lund University, Sweden, and received a Junior Fulbright Fellowship to Sweden. Mouchaty has received grants and scholarships from University of Alaska, Lund University, Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston Arts Alliance and University of Houston School of Art. She has held exhibitions, in part, at Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut, G Contemporary Gallery, Houston, The Glassell School of Art, University of Houston-Downtown, Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Bill’s Junk, Houston, Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, and The Lab, Adelaide, Australia.
Suzette Mouchaty’s works blend formal structures of rational scientific thought with the imaginary and subversive of the artistic realm—realizing quirky objects that address sociopolitical issues and environmental concerns. Inspired by marine nudibranchs that are no larger than your thumb, her sculpture for True North 2024, “Monument to Sea Slugs”—made of metal, Styrofoam, stucco, pvc and paint—is composed of two colorful sea slugs rapturously gliding up a carnival pole. One of the many marine species facing extinction because their coral reef habitat is being lost due to warming oceans, these tiny mollusks have consequentially become indicators of climate change. Our survival and well-being depend upon healthy ecosystems rich in diversity, and Mouchaty’s sculpture serves to shed light upon the plight of these phenomenal creatures of the sea.
images coming soon
"Intersections of Dimension"
Ricardo Paniagua is known for his trompe l'oeil and geometric paintings and sculptures which explore the relationship between color, line and form. He draws inspiration from a backlog of concepts and projects stemming from his dynamic and ubiquitous dreams and visions. Paniagua’s brilliant geometric sculpture for True North 2024, “Intersections of Dimension”—made of laser-cut and -welded steel and automotive paint—continues his work originating from a lucid dream where he observed a vivid hypercube—painted in a multicolored array of stripes—turning and moving on the many planes of the form itself.
A self-taught artist whose works have been shown all over the world, Paniagua first became interested in creating art while enrolled at a
technical school for underprivileged youth—taking advantage of the free art supplies he found in the facility’s community room. Since that fateful day, among his many exhibitions, he has held shows at The Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Dallas, Irving Arts Center, RE Gallery, Dallas, Davidson Gallery, New York, Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, Central Booking, New York, Amarillo Museum of Art, Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, Box43, Zurich, Switzerland, and 500X Gallery, Dallas.
images coming soon
A fourth generation Houstonian, Patrick Renner has been established in his hometown’s art scene for over two decades. Returning to the project this year, his True North 2016 installation, “harbinger,” was an otherworldly work of imaginative and architectural genius. For 2024, Renner brings us “dauber”—a meditation on the structures built by the garden-beneficial mud dauber wasp. His stylized “nest” is constructed with—instead of mud—a combination of architectural refuse and brightly colored wood from past projects—dismantled and reconfigured into the new form. One side of the nest’s organic silhouette is considered the planar facet—implying it might have been originally built on the angling surface of another form that is now absent.
Renner attended the famed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Houston, earned a BFA from Kansas City
Art Institute and MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. An art educator from 2006-16, Renner led his students at Sharpstown International School to win prizes for their Houston Art Car Parade entries, including First Place Best School category in 2016. His solo and group exhibitions include Art League Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, DiverseWorks, Houston, Locke Surls Center for Arts and Nature, Cleveland, Galveston Arts Center, Kirksey Architecture, Houston, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Poissant Gallery, Houston, and Redbud Arts Center, Houston. Renner was named 2016 Artist of the Year by American Institute of Architects, Houston, and has won multiple prizes, including first place, in Lawndale Art Center’s The Big Show. His traffic-stopping “Funnel Tunnel”—the renowned 180-foot-long civic art sculpture snaking its way through the esplanade of Montrose Boulevard in 2013-14—was commissioned by Art League Houston and later permanently installed for the city of New Orleans.
images coming soon
Art Shirer has produced welded steel sculpture for more than four decades and is known for his kinetic forms and ephemeral site-specific installations. His True North 2020 collaborative sculpture, “Carbon Sink” (with Dallas artist Sherry Owens), was one part performance art as they meticulously pieced the work together on site over a period of several days using hundreds of discarded crape myrtle cuttings. Appearing as a mysterious ancient relic, Shirer’s industrial-sized, welded steel sculpture for 2024, “WISH,” is an interactive work—meant to grant your every hope and dream with a spin of its abstract wheel.
Shirer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and received a BFA from East Carolina University, an MFA from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, and an Artist
Fellowship from the State of Louisiana Division of the Arts. An art instructor earlier in his career, Shirer taught at Creative Arts Center School of Sculpture, Dallas, and School of Art and Architecture, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston. Exhibitions of his work include Locke Surls Center for Art and Nature, Cleveland, Art League Houston, Port Jefferson Nature and History Center, UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum, Austin, Redbud Arts Center, Houston, and Fain Fine Arts Center, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls. Selected public collections include Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Dallas College, Brookhaven, the City of Dallas, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Onslo County Museum, Jacksonville, North Carolina, and East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
images coming soon