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November 29, 2023

"The Square at Texas Tower Artist Series" - Part 2

As part of our ongoing “The Square at Texas Tower Artist Series”, we sat down with each of our artists to learn more about their work. Last month we spoke to Leslie Gaworecki, a Houston-based abstract painter, and for this second part in the series, we caught up with mixed-media artist Laura Aurealis, and Tati Sykes, a well-known Houston Tattoo Artist. Both artists offer a unique creative perspective that we are thrilled to showcase in our hallways this fall.

Art Show 1

"No matter the subject in the work, the color is what I’m drawn to." Tati Sykes

Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your work?

LA (Laura Aurealis): Hi! My name is Laura and I’m a mixed-media artist with a background in art education. My work comes from a place of curiosity and play, but layers in a lot of meaning through the use of color, materials, and metaphor.

TS (Tatiana Sykes): My name is Tatiana Sykes. I am a black artist from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. My work is a direct line of my inner emotional battles. I work with color to express how I feel when I paint. No matter the subject in the work, the color is what I’m drawn to.

What type of art do you create, and what mediums do you usually work with?

LA: I make assemblages of both origami cicadas and colorful rock labyrinths out of paper. I get a kick out of telling people the cicada shells that I incorporate are real, but the rocks are not! The cicadas are folded from papers I create using printmaking techniques. Then I pair them with sticks I’ve found and actual cicada shells that have been left behind. The rocks are all made out of my sketchbooks and journal pages. I spend a lot of time making each little rock and moving them around before finally arranging them into labyrinths. Both my cicadas and labyrinths share themes of transformation through symbolism and metaphor but also the process and stages of their creation.

TS: When I paint I mainly work with acrylic and water. I’m also a tattoo artist in Houston, so I work with skin. Particularly but not exclusively full-color pieces on melanated skin. I just want to make sure everyone can feel beautiful in their own bodies.

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"My cicadas and labyrinths share themes of transformation through symbolism and metaphor" Laura Aurealis

How does your art connect you to the Houston community?

LA: I think all Houstonians can connect to the sound of cicadas singing in the trees throughout our long summers!

And one thing I wish more people knew is that Houston has a lot of labyrinths throughout the city that you can go and walk for free! I try and walk a different one every month. Walking a labyrinth is a great way to relax, decompress, find inspiration, and come back to your center.

I have a studio located just around the corner in the Arts District where hundreds of local artists open their studios to the public on the 2nd Saturday of every month and host other special events throughout the year. It’s a great way to connect with people from all parts of the city, see what is being created right here in Houston, and connect with local artists and fellow art lovers. I also offer art classes for adults who want to reconnect with their creativity and inner child or who just want to have fun making art with friends.

TS: In most of my work I paint the world I see and people I’ve come across. I think that my paintings will bring a different energy to Houston, like my tattoos do. Reaching more people in the community and connecting our similarities is the goal.

Art Show 2

"Listen to that little knot in your gut. You know what you love to do. Just go out and do it fearlessly." Tati Sykes

What do you both love about Downtown Houston? 

LA: What I love about Downtown is all the creativity! There are murals, sculptures, galleries, and art markets sprinkled all over Downtown, not to mention all the shows, concerts, and events. What I especially love are all the green spaces that have been popping up - I’m always inspired by nature.

TS: Downtown Houston has to be the most intimidating thing if ever experienced in my life. Coming from a small farm, being covered in huge buildings and fast lanes makes me super anxious, but what I love the most about downtown is watching the many different people walking and living their lives. You can see a bit of EVERYONE in downtown Houston.

What are your top 3 tips for anyone starting their own business or looking to turn their passion into a career?

LA: Three things I’ve learned while turning my passion into a business are to be willing to learn and open to change, but also to listen to yourself and to remember why you started.

TS: Firstly, listen to that little knot in your gut. You know what you love to do. Just go out and do it fearlessly. Secondly, don’t paint for anyone else but yourself. Your goals and your passion are YOURS, so do it for you. Finally, be patient and be kind. Give more sometimes - you will get it back tenfold.

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"Be willing to learn and open to change, but also listen to yourself and remember why you started." Laura Aurealis

Both Laura and Tati’s works can be viewed as part of our "The Square at Texas Tower Artist Series" series until the end of this year.