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Gallery One is pleased to present Altered States (Part Seven), a fine art work by Hills Snyder. A series of drawings, Altered States, maps time, place and our humanity over many road trip miles.

The landscape of this show is so expansive, we thought it fitting to let artists, curators, art writers, critics and gallerists ask the big questions in our Q&A.

~ Gordy Grundy, Art Report Today .com


Annette Dimeo Carlozzi, Independent Curator, Austin, Texas

Do you ever use your non-dominant hand to draw with?

I have not, but that is a great question. I’m looking at it through the lens of playing guitar, when both hands are equally involved, even though my right is considered dominant. I will give it a try too. If it’s any good I will send it to you.


Jeff F. Wheeler, artist, Creative Director, Southside Living + Maker Spaces, San Antonio, Texas

Which of the towns that you visited for this series most matched its’ name?  

I’m going to say Lost Nation simply because I visited there in 2019. Truth or Consequences comes into play because they always do. And Eldorado, well, nothing is ever what you think it’s going to be, is it? But in truth, none of the towns matched their names --- they were each another version of Anywhere, USA, but as different as every face you’ve seen. Truth is this: if you live there the relationship of the name to place has a whole different meaning than anything I or any other visitor would assume.

In Nowhere, Oklahoma, it seemed that I arrived there just as a vortex of activity was opening up with some kids on ATVs rounding a lake that definitely felt like somewhere. In Eden, Utah, a white sweatshirt left hanging on a highway reflector pole at the edge of a bridge flapped in the breeze, signaling abandonment, if not banishment. Nothing, Arizona was mostly vacant but for a disowned office chair with casters in the air like a helpless beetle.

I drove through Arizona on the day of radio eulogies for Mohammed Ali and just the next day dozens lost their lives at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. The country happens and changes and the wheel of that movement, though larger and longer to turn, moves by the hour, even as you drive through it going sixty. So the timbre of each place was tinted generally by my own subjective states and things that were going on in the world, while each locale had specifics that were simultaneously unique and much like things that happen everywhere.


Installation view, Altered States (Part Two), 2017
Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock, TX


Catherine DeMaria, Director, Warehouse 1-10, Magdalena,
New Mexico

Aside from the intriguing names of each town is there a common thread between these locations?

Not exactly, but in contrast to how cities can sometimes seem homogenous based on the ubiquitous commercial facades that recur again and again, small town America’s homogeneity is based on peculiarity. That is probably the common thread. And wagon wheels.

You're also a musician and songwriter. Is there a connection between your drawing and the music you create? 

I think there has to be. Some of the visual events on the page dance and there are gatherings of energies that are not unlike music. There is a song, Nate The Bandit, which not many have heard, though I recently played it for David Longoria when he came to play on the porch at kind of a small array. In the song an un-named figure is sent by train to meet his sentence. The rider’s voice speaks to what you’ve asked:

the track of the train
cuts a line through the terrain
a line
I drew with my own hand

In the end, it’s all storytelling.

What’s your method of working once you’ve come upon a location that calls to you?

I try to listen for the unimportant things to speak and follow every impulse to photograph them. The photos are taken in greater numbers than are needed so that a few of them will seem likely to be up for drawing. From there it’s wherever the movement on the page sends the pencil. And to reach back to your previous question, even though my hand might be musically engaged when I draw, so far I have not accidentally dropped a pencil inside my guitar.

Did you discover your current home in Magdalena based on the name?  

To a degree, though I would love this place whatever it might be named. There is probably some destiny that came on the heels of the name Magdalena. I’m sure for some. Magdalena Mountain has the quality of a slumbering beast, something I am completely in love with.


Leigh Anne Lester, artist, San Antonio

Do you do the drawings in chronological/travel order? Or is it a recall of what stood out for you. 

Not in the order of travel really, but there were three drawings from Opportunity, Montana that formed an unplanned triptych. They were done one at a time, one after the other without consciously referring to the previous one. Sometimes the drawings that were done on a given day form a kind of similarity, or at least an inclination to cross talk.

Recall might occasionally play a part, but probably in some oblique way.

Does the previous location of a drawing determine what you edit out of your drawings in the current location? 

Not really, but the previous drawing may reveal some starting points for the next drawing.

Does that possible repetition tune you into the special aspects of the specific place?


Does the name of the place cause you to look for synonyms in its’ presence?

Maybe so.


Leslie Moody Castro, Independent Curator, Mexico City/Austin

Tell a story about Happy.

There is a cotton gin there that is a wonder to observe. And to listen to (Happy can be windy). It is a destination to seek out. When you are there, spend some money with the local businesses. Buy some gas or get some coffee and a sandwich. If you must, pretend you’re a character in a Jim Thompson novel.

In 1972, I worked at a bookstore on Main Street across from Texas Tech in Lubbock. There was this one couple who came in every two weeks and bought a stack of very glossy, very expensive ($25), sealed porn mags and three dozen pieces of Super Bubble bubblegum; but more to your point there was a guy I knew then that lived in that neighborhood. He was the first person I’d met that was extensively and exclusively interested in jazz. He was from Happy.


Annabelle Larsen, writer, New York

What were the origins of inspiration for this project?

In 2010 there was a show in The Hudson Show Room at Artpace in San Antonio --- “On The Road,” the title obviously taken from the Kerouac novel. The walls of the exhibition featured fifteen artists, but scattered throughout the space were vitrines of objects gathered by the curator on a road trip through Texas and Eastern New Mexico.

This collection, with accompanying tags identifying the origin of the objects, worked like a laundry list of regional stereotypes --- a photo of John Wayne, a Lone Star beer can, a Smokey The Bear comic book, a Stetson, etc.

Though the texts on the tags were incisive and humorous, sometimes cutting through the conceit of their selection, I was struck by the regional profiling and proposed to Artpace that I drive the curator’s route backwards, returning the objects to their original contexts, or otherwise engaging/dis-engaging the intentions of the curator. Glasstire supported the project by publishing a six part serial narrative, written during the eleven days I was on the road, with a new piece of the story appearing every couple of days.

So the road trip accompanied by story began with that project and since I’ve for decades intermittently lived parts of my life in small towns, I may have had the ears to hear the call to do what this project has become.

During your travels did you take notes or journal about your experience? If so, were the notes translated to your drawings in any way or vice versa?

Not taking notes is a way of achieving a kind of separation that allows things to come in unforeseen. The serial narrative published by Glasstire is in dialogue with the drawing and the driving and figures to mix recollection with whatever is happening at the moment of the writing.

Did you have any rituals before taking the photographs or before drawing? The drawings seem meditative in quality.

No rituals, other than those provided by sharpening pencils. If the drawings come off as meditative, that is fine. They are done slowly, with an eye toward making marks selectively, as opposed to some sort of expressive fury. The MO that I employed was to always stop drawing before the feeling for stopping was completely resolute.

Has film influenced this journey? When viewing this collection, I found myself thinking of Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas.

The road movie is a post WW2 genre. I was born in 1950. With the Highway act of 1956 and the years following, the US Highway system reached a stage of completion about when I got a driver’s license. Given that I love movies and love solitary driving, watching a feature length film isn’t that different from sitting in vehicle watching moving pictures through the windscreen. In this scenario, I’m the projector in reverse, filling my eyes with images and processing them into writing and drawing.

Is there a template of correspondence between the contours of reality, the lines on the page, and the truth of who we as a nation are? 

Intriguing. At the end of your journey did you come away with any notions or conclusions about this?
Conclusions no, but it’s important to note that the project began in May of 2016. The quote you’ve pulled from Part Three of the narrative was written in Spring 2017, when it was becoming more and more apparent that the foundation ideals of the country were under assault from its president and cabinet. They’ve been joined by numerous members of congress. It was not possible to see that May that the line I’d be driving the next few years was a journey into a truly alternate reality, the warp of which hope demands we gather to bend into an altogether new attempt at really being the nation of our potential.


Gordon McConnell, artist, Billings, Montana

You are less a nomad than a traveler, explorer, flâneur, yet your drawings remind me of Plains Indian ledger art. Are there any consistent notational or pictographic codes embedded in these works? Would you care to offer any Rosetta stone cues?

I don’t know, eyeballs, antennas, tears, tongues…these things all seem relational. And now that I think about it, gesture and movement are with gravity relationally too. That Y-shaped antenna is an image that goes back to my earliest work. Maybe it’s about receiving a signal or maybe just the act of surrender that would precede that. Try standing on a hill with your arms out in that Y --- your body will tell you what it means. The eye and the tongue probably go with consuming the road. The partially realized objects that scatter through these dozens of drawings are also scattered across America.

Your lines are supple and kinetic, the open space unlimited. Do you feel an affinity with George Herriman?

You know, that had not occurred to me, but now that you’ve asked, I’ve re-acquainted myself, really looking at a lot of his stuff for the first time, and I can feel it. He’s almost the anti-John Ford --- I can’t quite imagine there ever being a plaque in Monument Valley memorializing its’ effect on him.

An artist I know once referred to the supple quality you mention as my “Botticelli line.” I didn’t study him either. Maybe there is a back door effect --- I did watch a lot of classic cartoons in the late fifties and early sixties, when all the great Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Silly Symphonies, Popeye, etc. were on the TV waves.

My sons Max and Utah both pointed out a specific episode of Marvin The Martian that featured an image that appeared unconsciously in a drawing I did in Miles City in 1986. I’m sure you know it, All Alone In Romance, in which that cartoon thing joins a Marty Robbins lyric to send an ICBM through a hole in the center of a bright red cross with a pink carnation at its base.

Now that I think about it, I recall a friend saying that a lot of my drawings feature a lone verticality in a vast space. In that conversation we attributed this to the influence of growing up in West Texas --- Lubbock in particular, so now we’ve come full circle to watching Saturday morning cartoons.



Kate Green, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson

A moment in a town you visited, that matched the town's emotional state name? How did that state --- or the memory of the state ---manifest in color/line/image in a drawing?

A neighborhood in Happy, Texas when the two-point perspective of a long length of street conspired with a typical west Texas church, right at the end of the street --- brick a certain shade of maroon, a tall, narrow stained glass window pointing straight up into the gable, and a three-tiered wooden steeple painted brilliant white on top. The steeple looked like an upside exclamation mark missing its dot. In the drawing a lemon yellow circle of sun, lined with sickly green, creates a space behind the images on the page and behind the page. It was happy in some kind of fifties sitcom way, nothing actual or to do with the town or the people of that neighborhood.


Richard Saxton, artist and founder of M12 STUDIO, Denver, Colorado

In a time of such apocalyptic resonance and massive global challenges, what role can art best play in the coming decade? 

Art is always best when playing an oblique role, as if one rail of track, which merges with the other rail in the distance. That lengthy acute triangle that leads to a vanishing point is a way to slip in, to merge with consensus reality (the other rail). But the distant merger is only an illusion --- you well know that the tracks remain parallel. It’s the slipping in that matters, a kind of infiltration, which has the subtle power to nudge any linear path that comes near, toward something more lateral, more considerate of surroundings, relations and reciprocity. At least that is my hope. I don’t think it works differently in urgent times than in times deemed normal. Art that comes at me head on always misses, unless it is immersive or a well played use of materials that would otherwise end up in the oceans. But literalized images with frames of reference, that offer no ambiguity, no mystery? These always miss me. I like the stuff over there, whispering in the corner. I’m aware that I may have evaded your question --- would be a good one to ask future participants in your field school --- something that is probably already on your mind. Hopefully, sustainability will be what sustains.


Matthew Eric Mendez, artist, San Antonio

How does the suspense of driving toward a new destination compare to that time between experiencing and drawing about that place? Fantasy vs. memory.

I think I’ve laid a map on top of everywhere I went. The drawings delve into my subjectivity at least as much as they do the places the photographs were taken. 110,000 miles of nerve fiber brought to bear on a few thousand miles of road. It’s a bit like turning a sock inside out to make sure there’s a toe on both sides.

A guy I built model cars with in junior high turned out be a really interesting engineer, a builder of intricate wooden clocks. In the seventies he was studying holography, and told me about the conjugate hologram, a single image, which when smashed with a hammer breaks into multiple pieces, each with a duplicate of the complete image on them. So to follow that, it’s like looking for America one highway at a time, with each section of road crossed by the changing of the day, and the speed of mind that is faster than the other vehicle you’re in. You might randomly pull over to stretch in Wyoming at the exact spot where someone lost a small plushy toy.

A Guernsey cow with blue eyes.

Do you consider yourself a psychedelic cartographer searching for the sublime or supreme banalities?

I like that, but it sounds a little fancy.

Do you think the dynamic stillness of long distance driving can improve artistic intuition as meditation expands consciousness and awareness deepens?

I’m thinking of a night drive past a burning slag-heap in Montana. It was like a silent, but demanding, bit of serious punctuation. A comma. A peripheral drama along the stream, indicative of ongoing events outside the interior propelling me down the line of road. A feeling of loneliness flying past work that had to be done, had been done, but, now, when I was there, no one else was, just the fire, finishing the job.

What tensions exist when introducing your gaze as a flâneur instead of a tourist?

Sounds like a question grounded in your own experience. I made a point of not being intrusive or at all overt about taking photographs, diffusing that potential of tension. There are only two people that appear. One was just someone who walked into the frame as I snapped the photo. The other was a guy that was on the ground doing some work under his trailer. I wasn’t going to take his picture at all, but then he began loudly and profanely yelling at his wife and then at his dog, so I thought he’d given up his right to the respect I was affording him by not including him in my viewfinder.

It’s possible that the gaze of a tourist might concern itself with the known destination, say Mt. Rushmore for example, more than would a flâneur, which is an attitude more aligned with how I felt, noticing the peripheries, choosing a line of travel unrelated to monumental ideals.

Are you making serendipitous scenery or an autobiographical portrait?

Hopefully it rides a line.


Chris Sauter, artist, San Antonio

Are the frequent drips appearing in your drawings residue? If so, residue of what?

Well, it’s a drawing, so maybe it’s all residue. Marks left by a life. Someone asked me, thinking they were ink drawings, if my pen had dripped onto the page. I said, no, the drawing is dripping. But in retrospect, I think they are tears, not drips. They respond to gravity in different ways.

How does the notion of drawing affect which photos you take/work from?

I don’t go looking at the photos for anything specific, but something will say, “try me.” A movement or gesture; maybe an object; a color-flash. Something that lends itself to a point of departure. Once the drawing begins to produce its own space, I leave the photo behind.


Ariane Roesch, artist, Houston

I hate to bring in politics but since we can see the light at the end of the tunnel...somewhat: how much did trump-era antics shadow this project?

The words he speaks obscure truth; the thoughts he hosts infect the nation; his movements block the sun; so yes there have been shadows.

There are several references to Trump in the texts and even though the project was conceived before his win, it seems that these off beat, homegrown American towns had a heightened effect amongst the MAGA fanaticism... or would they have the same effect under a different administration?

People that voted Trump are everywhere, not just rural America. This idea that he represents the unheard masses, though true for some, is one of the facades of his campaign. He’s the president of paranoid wealth, resolute greed, obstructionist retention of power.

You mention that it is the land that connects us. But there's a certain wobbliness to the project - the emptiness of the drawings, the broken lines, the tears/drips... it all seems unstable. Do you think the United States will ever be stable? or non-wobbly?

I have to hope for that stability, though that particular connection, the land, is frequently curbed by abuse. There is quite an array of examples, but I’m thinking specifically of the people at Joshua Tree during a shutdown in mid-January, 2020, seemingly celebrating the absence of park employees as a reason to trash the place, going so far as to create new roads. This was a shutdown unrelated to the Pandemic --- the cabin fever excuse doesn’t apply. Not that there is any excuse. As I think of it now, that is my ideal of personal liberty, shitting out of a tree.

So, you have asked a question that probes a very vulnerable place in my story --- the wish that there is something that connects everybody. Hard to believe and sometimes you have to ask yourself, “Why do I want to believe this?” It’s a valid question. Nothing should be taken for granted. But that connection is actually my experience, so…

Maybe just accepting that democracy by nature is a vulnerable institution may bring more stability, albeit through the back door. If you get how fragile it can be, this is incentive to care.

The past few years have felt like a machine someone forgot to oil. A closed system, bound to break down. The wobble is the sound of that friction. The oil this machine needs is heightened awareness, applied from the outside in. But the exposure is helpful --- to know even a little about how dire it can get. And then to move forward.


Georganne Deen, artist, Joshua tree, California

The Gina Abeles quote in Neil Fauerso’s essay about some double binds being therapeutic & others malevolent: could you give examples of those?

Trump is a convenient tool for this. His essential double bind is that he lost the election by a large margin, but is unable to accept this because losing is an experience he has continually denied being familiar with, even though failure and mounting debt are part of his experience as a businessman. This is simultaneously his experience and the experience he cannot acknowledge, a malevolent double bind.

Any double bind always sets up a choice. The therapeutic choice that could release him from this duality is essentially bound up in the phrase, “the truth will set you free” --- the acceptance of the fact that winning and losing are both part of life and that the notion that one negates the other is essentially false. Though he’s missed the opportunity, he could have acknowledged defeat and engaged the expected concession ritual, which protects the loser from despair by offering a dignified exit. Instead, he chose denial, which keeps the malevolent repetition in play, with each missed opportunity to be truthful creating more entrapment for him and more pain for the nation.

Says me, who is not a psychologist.


Karen Mahaffy, artist, San Antonio

What a lovely time I have had (re)taking this trip with you and at a time of such “stayness”. Rereading the narratives of “Altered States” has been like having a full, completely entertaining conversation with you –-- without ever saying a word. Just bouncing around in the passenger seat watching the landscape change. 

I had already LOL’d and cried by “Day Two.” It likely has a lot to do with an inclination and longing to travel --– the love of seeing (traversing, driving, walking) the unknown and the well known – that resides deeply but is also dormant, at present.  But also more likely, it is that we are all suspended among your words. That we are able to infer ourselves in the spaces between the lines: the ones you drive, the ones you draw, and those you write. This lead me to a lot of (re)musings about my own love of what lies outside the edge of the window; a presence implied there in the landscape, the unseen hand that arranged that bowl of fruit... There is a parallel to what is both said and inferred in the space between words. What fun exploring what is within the structure of those lines and what is beyond – and which is which. Thank you for bringing me along.

In what state is an Altered State unvisited?

Uh, that would be Texas. Seems.

Also, you’re welcome and I can see that bowl of fruit

What made me laugh the loudest was the line, “Just so happens I pull up next to the Parallel Wood.” It just gets me every time I read it. Parallels are a theme that runs straight through your narrative. As we lift our heads to occasionally gaze across from the row we are hoeing, it feels like we might see where we are almost headed.  

If you lose yourself in the Parallel Woods, will you ever meet again?

Yes. As long as Yogi Berra is there. He might also bring an oilcan.

About your favorite laugh line --- I remember you also liking something I said one time about having a parenthetical experience in Bracketville…


Bill Nevins, poet, Albuquerque, New Mexico

?Que pasa, raza? Not so much seeking answers as questioning seekers. What is the history of all this mystery, or what is the mystery of all this history? Where is the line going and will it bring us all along with it, and if it will, then when? OR, in other words, How NOW, Dun Cow?

Even spilt milk is an exhaustible resource.


Anne Wallace, artist, San Antonio

"Is Philip Guston an influence here?"

I can relate to Guston on a number of fronts. A tendency toward humor and an influential high school art teacher are a couple of touch points. His sixties paintings came along just as I was being exposed to color field painting in college painting classes. I cited Disney cartoons in a class critique and another student said, “Somebody finally said it.” That same day the teacher antagonistically said to someone, “Does it turn you on?”

So the apple carts left in the wake of Guston and others, even The Beatles, were upsetting to some folks. There were also instances when faculty and students shared the same cultural reference points. At the time I was trying to do abstract paintings as if they were repositories of presence, with a sense of potential animation, as if physical reality was on the verge of a grin.

I relate to what they call Guston’s “mess.” I don’t know how to be an artist that only pursues some vertical ideal. The peripheries of concern outside what the art establishment values are still in play, even though the tension is long past being about “abstract” and “figurative.”


Larry Bob Phillips, artist, Director of The Roswell Artist-In-Residence Program, Roswell, New Mexico

Hills, I know you are interested in the notion of shamanism --- a kind of DIY spirituality that allows practitioners to access other realms with the aid of substances and spirit animals. Can you talk about the role of contemporary artists in a society where shamans have been eliminated and how you situate yourself to that idea?

I don’t know anything about spirit animals. I’m wary of the word shamanism also, because I’ve witnessed some kinds of casual la-di-da about it that seems disrespectful, and there are obvious appropriation issues.

I do think art and music, poetry, cooking; any creative activity has the potential to produce transformative effects that can be savored and integrated into a life. Half the work belongs to the viewers, the readers, the listeners, the consumers; there is an attitude of surrender involved. Without that, you won’t get it, that potential moment of transformation. The roles that artists find to play are varied --- some think everything is absurd and riff on that. And while I do think irony can be a useful tool, as a worldview it is bereft. So what is left? --- The suggestion that an artist is someone who is willing to play because life sparks engagement with what can be called common good or just the existential joy of being alive. It’s a feet on the ground idea and also an all encompassing idea.

A lesson I learned in my twenties is that if you follow unconscious expression with trust, the things you make will speak to you about adjustments you need to make to your being. It’s as much about the inner activity as it is about the outer expression. I love what I heard Robert Fripp say from the stage once at a King Crimson concert --- “This is what we’re doing when we’re doing what we’re doing.”

How does your move to Magdalena work with your practice, it seems like a place poised between zones. Between cow trail and railroad, a mining community and an unlikely astronomy hub?

I’m only beginning to find out specifically, but generally it’s the same --- ground and sky, though there is a very pleasing and prominent shift in scale. I can pretty much do my pickup truck anywhere. BTW, I don’t use that word “practice.” I prefer “pickup truck.”


Riley Robinson, artist, Director, Artpace, San Antonio

I remember seeing “How Big Is Your Love” in 1993. The single line drawing assembled over 18 frames creates a landscape, which describes culture. These recent drawings with fragmented imagery and the introduction of color also describe landscape. Can you describe the journey across landscape that brings us to these recent artworks?

Good point. A life-sized drawing of a ’59 Cadillac convertible, drawn with a single line certainly suggests a horizon, at least from fin to headlight. This reaches back to a primordial perceptual experience of being human --- a lone verticality supporting eyes staring into the distance at a horizontal expanse. The grounding of language in physical reality is in this too: here/there --- this/that.

The drawings in this project are tiny by comparison (9 X 12 inches), so there is a difference in focal point. With the Caddy you are naturally inclined to stand back from the twenty-four foot width of the drawing, which creates the landscape effect you’ve mentioned, even though each framed section of the car is installed two inches from those beside, beneath and above it, creating gaps in the flow. These gaps, by the way, are where the question in the title accrues --- the image is exponentially larger than the actual car. And since the image is a vehicle, and the drawings are installed so that the wheels are close to the floor, the viewer is probably also inclined to sense movement. It’s like the vehicle of your movement and the distant horizon contradict each other, suggesting stillness, where love grows.

With the Altered States drawings you are drawn in to an intimate relationship. Like maybe getting so close to a WORD that you fall through the hole in the O. You are right up close, just as I was when I drew them. But since they are installed in grids, you can also stand back and take in that gestalt. Perhaps you’ve led me back to the previously mentioned conjugate hologram, though each image is different. Maybe this speaks to fragmentation, the way a single life has fallen off the edge of a single line.


Sarita Talusani Keller, Ann Simpson Artmobile Educator, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wyoming

I want to know more about your artist process. Did you have any self imposed rules, criteria, or structures that guided your process.

Just a bit --- I photographed every single time I felt the impulse. Sometimes I knew why, other times I didn’t. Didn’t matter --- the rule was simply to follow every impulse.

The other structures which came to be part of it were that the drawings would be done remotely, after the fact of being somewhere, and the writing would always be done right before publication in order to guarantee a mix of memory and the influence of things occurring in real time as I was writing. The point was to introduce mitigating factors --- the photo in between me and the drawing; the fractured time afforded by not writing in a journalistic way as things occurred.
This is related in a way to the large-scale drawing that Riley Robinson brought up in his question. The caddy was drawn small scale and then cut into eighteen rectangles, each about 2.75 x 3.75 inches --- then projected one at a time onto 22 x 30 inch pieces of paper. So even though the original small drawing was a single continuous line, the projection necessarily introduced fractures and mis-alignments. I think of these mitigations as ways of introducing uncontrolled elements, leaks in the process that let things in that might not otherwise show up.

Your travelogue is a very entertaining and brings a whole new dimension to the exhibition. Was the travelogue an original component of your project? How did it come about?

Yes, an original component and one of the ways the whole project was supported. I had no idea where the travelogue would go or how many installments there would be. Based on a mutual trust --- Glasstire would support however many installments it took to complete the arc and I would make certain to pull it off within a vaguely agreed upon budget. The only structure has been that the publication of some of the narrative installments corresponded to the opening dates of the exhibition as it moved from venue to venue.

Since the pandemic our museum has had to rethink how we engage with the public. Although our museum doors are open, most of our official programming is now online. How do you feel about your exhibition being a completely online experience vs the traditional museum or gallery experience?

In that regard, this is probably just a one off. Or maybe that is hopeful. At least that’s the way it looks right now. But given the curator’s idea to add this Q and A, it’s still an expansion rather than a pulling back. I expect Part Eight and anything further will be physically accessible experiences. But that’s just conjecture --- with so many variables, anything could happen.

Heyd Fontenot, artist, San Antonio

My question is about the Psychic-Energetic components of these landscapes: Do these partial maps of the material contents of the true-life scenes reflect any value system --- how the artist would prefer we read the drawings?

I could not prefer anyone to have a specific reading, but I do think, in a quantum world, to see the topography on offer as “unrealistic” is silly. Or, to need the photograph, in order to “get” the drawing, the same.

There is a lot of neglect, abandonment, accumulation of disorder on the peripheries everywhere one can go. It’s an unfinished country, a tarnished ideal, a lot of mess, but then you come across someone who has made an immaculate Elvis shrine out of their yard.

I was photographically documenting the local in out of the way places. Sometimes I saw no one, as in Lost Springs, Wyoming, but I could tell that one site I found there was an outdoor fire gathering place for folks that lived around there. I could feel the residue of their presence; probably because hanging around outdoor fires is something I’ve done a lot of. So there is a connection that can be had, depending on what you bring. I guess that’s the value system, giving and receiving.



Patricia Ruiz-Healy, Director, Ruiz-Healy Art, San Antonio and New York

What is the name of the town that was more difficult to travel to and how long did it take?

Bummerville, California is clearly marked on the map, but driving to it for the first time is a different story. I arrived at my campsite in the Sierra Nevada just before dark and I guessed that I was only an hour or so from where I thought the destination was, so the morning I went looking for it, I headed out a bit late. Had to navigate Carson Pass to get close. Didn’t know that once near I would spend the day making every single turn, except the right one. Wound around for several hours before giving up and heading back to camp completely discouraged. No one I spoke with knew how to find it or how it came to be called Bummerville. The following morning I headed back and found it right away. There was something about that turn. Returning to camp, in a celebratory gesture, I left the Guernsey plushy on the grave of a young girl who died on Carson Pass in the 1850s.


Neil Fauerso, writer, San Antonio 

Have you ever had an encounter with a trickster spirit? 

Not sure, unless you mean Chemchuties. She whispered to me, “If you want to get to Pleasinoinktament, you’ve got to go Nootenoinksterwards.”


Toby Kamps, Director of External Projects, White Cube, London

What name did you have before you were born?

You’ve asked a question far from the center of the usual art dialogue, but right at the center of the big picture. And the obvious answer: I don’t know, have not remembered, but if I had, there would be more of me. Or less, depending on how you hear that.

Rainey Knudson, former publisher, Canvas & Glasstire, Houston, Texas

What do you think humans will look like in 500 years?

Like people who have seen the end of “white” as a political ideology.

What will Earth look like?

Depends on actions taken now.


Jesse Amado, artist, San Antonio

Still blue sky eternal, endlessly above us. What is that we see below?

The branching of the story when our awareness isn’t the best. Maybe we see it, but we don’t recognize it. The moment when “it” is unobtrusively waiting for our arrival --- eye contact is possible but we are drawn to distraction. We’re out on the wrong branch, the one that leads to a diminished fate. The intuitive voice is available, but we are too loud to hear it.

What’s that staring at us? 

Our better selves having a party, giving us that gaze, wondering why we forgot to show up.




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Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy

Gordy Grundy



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