That’s so Marfa

When a mutual friend first introduced me to Mary Ann Glass a few years ago, I always remember how when Mary Ann learned I was from Texas the first thing she asked me is if I lived anywhere near Marfa, Texas. I recall thinking, where’s that? It would take a google search for me to find where it was in the state, and the answer to that is summed up in 3 letters: B-F-E.

The closest way to get to it is to fly into either El Paso, Texas or Midland, Texas, and then grab a car and drive a few more hours to get there. It’s in such a remote area of the state, and just on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert (within a couple of hours of Big Bend National Park), it takes a hardy, and a bit of a unusual sort to want to call it home. In fact the town was created solely as a watering stop for the railroads.

Marfa, Texas is really only famous for three things:

  1. Movie Locations: Giant was filmed in the area with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson,  Dennis Hopper, and in his final appearance James Dean; more recently the film No Country for Old Men was filmed in the area starring Tommy Lee Jones
  2. The Marfa Lights (atmospheric anomaly, some sort of bio-luminescence, swamp gas, ufos?)
  3. The Arts

The development of the arts was really galvanized in the 1970s when minimalist Donald Judd moved from New York City to Marfa for the express intention of finding a spot to permanently display his works. He would find an old abandoned World War II army base, and with help from New York’s Dia Foundation, he established the Chinati Foundation which displays both huge indoor and outdoor installations and is home to his outdoor Concrete series.

From the creative seed provided by Judd to the area, more artists soon began flocking to the area. Today, Marfa despite having a very small population of fewer than 2,000 according to the 2010 Census, has well over fifteen different art galleries, hosting artists from around the world. Marfa also now hosts a film festival too. The town has become synonymous with the arts, featuring many artisan boutiques and wares in the city, and nary a chain store anywhere to be seen.

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This is best embodied by the “White Shirt Marfa” just as it’s name suggests, it sells nothing but White Shirts, because apparently you can’t own enough of them. It can also be represented in Elmgreen and Dragset’s Prada Marfa, a pop culture land art installation, of a faux Prada store, with a door that isn’t functional. It’s been theorized to be the single most instagrammed location in the entire state. Of course, I couldn’t resist a Selfie either. It had just rained when I showed up, so I decided to take advantage of the mud and puddles, and stormy skies.

The town is so small, that most of the places a tourist might be interested in are closed except on the weekends. For this reason, I had intentionally left my exploring of the galleries and shops to Saturday, when everyone had hours listed as being open. Alas, in practice, over 2/3 of the galleries and shops I went to visit were closed, some permanently, some between installations, some on vacation.

The main reason I was in that part of the state is my cousin had invited me to a special weekend at McDonald Observatory in the nearby Davis Mountains, but when I realized Marfa was a short distance away from where I was staying in the neighboring town of Fort Davis, well I decided I ought to go give it a gander. Afterall, since I was in BFE, I might as well embrace the opportunity, as I have no idea if I’ll ever make it back.

You can look forward to installments of more photos in the near future from my travels to this part of the state.

Central Arts of Bedford – Me & My Critter – Gallery Show

For those of you in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, please come on out and support me as well as other local artists at the next themed show at the Central Arts of Bedford. I’ll have several pieces for sale in the exhibit featuring some of the ‘critters’ (Ravens, Ducks, Longhorns, and Bees oh my!) I’ve taken photos of in my nature photography. I will be on hand until at least 9pm to admire the works of others, and to talk about my own photographic works. I hope to see you there!

 

Me & My Critter

Saturday, July 8, 2017

7pm – 11pm

Central Arts of Bedford

2816 Central Dr. #140, Bedford, Texas 76021

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Summer Blues – Peacocks & Feathers

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas I decided to swing by one of the city’s hidden gems, the Mayfield Park which features cottage style gardens, ponds of waterlilies, and peacocks roaming the grounds. I was there for about 2 hours waiting for a magical moment, and then finally one of the peacocks decided to spread their magnificent plumage in a full display. Nature Photography is part planning, part skill, part patience, and part luck. Of course I remembered one of the most crucial tenets of nature photography, don’t forget to look behind you, and don’t forget to look up, which helped me notice one particular peacock hanging out in a trees branches around 16 feet above me.

 

One man’s junk, is another man’s treasure

As much as my personal preference is towards nature photography, sometimes I do enjoy the freedom of experimentation that comes when I decide to take items that represent manufacturing and engineering, that are gritty from rust, or left abandoned to decay. The freedom to play with them can be fun, as it’s trickier to find lines, and composition that still speaks in the colors, textures, shapes, and found objects.

CARS

 

TRACTORS

 

ABANDONED DECAY

 

 

FLEA MARKET FINDS – ROCKING MY WARHOL

 

SALVAGED

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Wild Sunflowers

I’ve had the worst luck this year when it comes to my wildflower photography. I either miss peak bloom and arrive as the flowers have gone to seed, or the flowers have been mowed/harvested. I just missed most of the sunflowers in the Waxahachie to Ennis area in Texas by a couple of days this year. By the time I arrived the heat had doomed the agriculturally grown sunflowers into a drooping slump with the exception of a handful of blooms that were still upright. But at least the field had some wild sunflowers still thriving amongst the done for commercial cousins.

How can you tell the difference between wild sunflowers, and commercial ones? Easy: commercial ones have a flower that’s about the size of a human head, and wild ones are about the size of a human palm to hand.

These were taken in a multi-acre field adjacent to the Texas Motorway in Ennis, Texas on June 14, 2017.

 

 

Grapevine’s Main Street Days, May 19 – 21

Looking for some color to enliven your walls? These will be available for sale in my booth at the Foust Event Center during Main Street Days (May 19-21) in Grapevine, Texas. While I have variations of these at different sizes, these large format 16×16 inch prints on Fuji Pearl Paper are luminescent and presented in a 20×20 inch mat. They can be framed as a stand alone piece, or can be hung in a grouping together.

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From Left to Right: Tulip, Poppy, and Keeping Bee-zy by K. C. Hulsman

I hope you’ll swing on by. Admission is free on Friday until 5pm, afterwards while admission is required to come out to the Festival, there’s live music, a wide arrange of food and drink (including all sorts of craft beers!) and there’s a ton of fun things to do. There’s free parking and a shuttle offered as well. For more details, check out the city’s official page here for the 33rd Annual Main Street Days.

Texas Longhorn Series

The complete Texas Longhorn series will be available as 16×16 inch prints on Fuji Deep Matte Paper, presented in a 20×20 inch mat. And you can find variations of these images at other sizes too this weekend at my booth in Grapevine’s Main Street Days. Please be sure to check me out inside the Foust Event Center.

 

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Texas Longhorn Series by K. C. Hulsman

 

 

Art is Exponential

Art is exponential: from the original inspiration works are created, which in turn inspire both more works and move both the hearts and minds of its admirers. Art grows from a seed, it blooms, it spawns new tangents, it branches.

A couple of years ago I took this photo at a powwow in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, which in turn inspired this painting by Galina Krasskova that she sold at an artist in residency program. I was there trying to play around with photographing movement, while also celebrating another culture. I tried to capture the expression of movement, and also the artisanal craftsmanship that went into the outfit from the meticulous beading.

 

Spring is in the Air

I’ve been slowly recovering from a knee injury, which has suspended a great deal of my plans for wildflower photography this Spring. Unfortunately, I missed peak bloom down in the Ennis area, but I decided to go there today and try my luck hoping there be a few small vignettes I could work with. More than 95% of the Bluebonnets have gone to seed or have been overtaken by the grass. While there were a few lovely spots with primroses, they were in locations where there was no naturally flattering composition available at that spot. And fields of flowers don’t look like field of flowers unless you can compose them just right.

One of the spots I did have luck, was a small fenced in private pasture on Mach Road, the Bluebonnets there were thick, lush, and tall. If not at peak, they’re just a bit past peak and they were surrounded with some sprinklings of pink, yellow, and even a touch of white from some other wildflowers which intensified the blue of the bluebonnets themselves.

I was working on a composition, when suddenly I noticed a mule/donkey walking towards me. I was like, ok I can work with this. But that meant I was changing from a landscape shot, to a wildlife shot, so I switched out my camera lens accordingly. So I was trying to line up a shot testing my setting on my camera with the new lens, snapping some shots, when I noticed what I had captured. I was just photobombed by a pair of exhibitionists.

The perils of nature photography.