How the #LoveHouston Art Wall Idea Originated
The idea for an art wall originated in April, 2015 when we were negotiating a commercial lease for a salon location at 1800 Westheimer Road. We immediately fell in love with the property located just east of downtown, in Houston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. In addition to being nestled between the River Oaks and Montrose districts, the contemporary space offered massive windows that provided a ton of natural light and a large brick wall that faced one of Houston’s busiest streets. A quick Google search lead us to The Houston Regional Traffic Count Map and we learned that 22,000 vehicles passed by this wall everyday. The smart business move would probably have been to install a large sign, but the more we looked at the wall, the more we thought it would be a great spot for art.
We soon leased the property and over the next year we sketched, and then discarded, numerous designs. Nothing seemed quite right. With Houston playing host to the 2017 Super Bowl we wanted the artwork to not only inspire Houstonians, but also show the world how much we love our city and all of the wonderfully diverse and creative people who call it home. Finally, in February 2016, after nearly a year of art block (very similar to writer’s block), we settled on a final design. The #LoveHouston art wall design resonated with us as it coupled a statement, a directive and a mission in a modern and fun way.
With the design finalized, we turned to Guido Schindler of Schindler Metalworks to bring our vision to life. Born in Zurich, Mr. Schindler became a Master Metal Smith in Switzerland and moved to Houston in 1996. Mr. Schindler specializes in sculpture repairs and installations as well as in the fabrication of artwork and museum grade transport and display cases. Mr. Schindler has performed work for several museums, galleries and private collections including the Menil Collection, MFAH, Vassar College, Field Museum of Chicago, New Orleans Museum Sculpture Garden and the Sicardi Gallery. Mr. Schindler has also performed sculpture repair on the Luis Armstrong, Anthony Caro and Mark Disuevero sculptures as well as the Schuler Bronze Swords and was responsible for the Jim Dine Heart installation and repair in Discovery Green. A few of the highlights of Guido Schindler’s other work may be found here.
When the sculpting and fabrication was complete, Cesar Reyna, a second generation automotive and custom finisher, finalized the work. Mr. Reyna acid washed the sculpture to a consistent, industrial look and applied a matte, clear coat finish to protect the art from Houston’s harsh climate. The four people responsible for the design, sculpting, finish and installation of the #lovehouston art wall signed the backside of the center “o” in red. The word “BELIEVE” is also written on the backside of the center “o” as we believe that Houston can show the world how an incredibly diverse city can live, love and thrive together.
The art wall was installed on October 21, 2016 which would have also been the 183rd birthday of Albert Nobel, the inventor who later established and endowed the Nobel Peace Prize. View the additional details and the press release here.