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"I love you, Houston." - Beyoncé 
 
We'd be pretty surprised if this is the first you've heard of Erick Sandlin, attorney by day and a self-taught artist by night. His art is well known around the city and high on our list of artists we want a piece from in our own home. We loved getting to know more about him and his process!

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO PAINT ON CANVAS WITH SPRAY PAINT:

Growing up I always appreciated art and the creative process, but I was only exposed to traditional forms of painting and I simply wasn’t very good. I’m terrible with a brush and I cannot draw at all. I focused on photography and writing in school, which led me to my career as an attorney, but the idea of painting always stuck with me. After law school, I was working for a judge in Austin and painted one small canvas with spray paint on a whim, but I didn’t think about it again. The next year I moved to Houston to work for a firm and several of the attorneys had amazing art in their offices and homes, so I felt like my first “adult” house should have art. Art can be expensive, so I decided I would try to paint my own to hang in the house. I knew that I couldn’t draw or paint with a brush, so I decided to see what I could do with spray paint. I painted three large canvases to put up on my house, and friends started asking me to paint something for them. After about a year, a friend showed my paintings to a new coffee shop and they agreed to put up about twenty paintings. After that first coffee shop show, I have had exhibitions in several businesses, churches, and galleries. I currently have pieces up at the Jack Meier Gallery in the Museum District/West University.
 
OTHER THAN THE PAINT THAT YOU'RE USING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST UNIQUE THING ABOUT YOUR ART:
For me, process is everything. All of my fulfillment comes through the process of painting. I get lost in it, so it is never the same. I start with an idea, a canvas and spray paint but then anything can happen. I tend to follow some specific rules, though. First and foremost, I have learned that I need to give up complete control to a painting. I can’t allow myself to stick to a specific idea or direction when I realize that it’s not working. It’s better to adjust and change directions which leads me to something better and oftentimes new that I would have never discovered if I tried to stay in control. Also, I learned early on that when I like a specific part of a painting, but don’t like the rest of it, I need to sacrifice the part I like for the good of the whole painting. I spent so much time early in my painting career trying to save one part by “fixing” the rest of it, and that never worked. I finally learned that giving up on part of a painting that I liked led to a better overall painting. It's all about giving up complete control and letting the painting lead me.

WITHOUT GIVING AWAY YOUR SECRETS, HOW THE HELL DO YOU MAKE SPRAY PAINT LOOK SO COOL:
I do have some secrets, but mostly I’ve just used trial and error over the years. I get very physically invested in painting. I sweat a lot from the Texas heat and from my manic movements around the canvas and grabbing paint or sticks or the water hose. I don’t use any brushes, but anything laying around is fair game. I also tend to use the spray paint cans themselves as tools to manipulate the paint on the canvas.

WE KNOW YOU LOVE MUSIC, SO WHO IS A MUSICIAN THAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT:
Patric Johnston is a great local artist who plays around Houston and has regular gigs at Cafeza and Axelrad. He's a great songwriter and an amazing piano player.  

  

You say "Mexico City cuisine" and we're there. We visited CDMX twice last year and among everything that we love about it, the food is number one. La Vibra ("The Vibe" in Spanish), is now open at 5th and Yale and serving classic tacos and costras, tortillas made of cheese that wrap around a form of meat.
 
How'd it take us so long to hear about Indigo by Chef Jonny Rhodes in Lindale Park? His hope is to fight racist stereotypes with his "neo-soul food" tasting menu restaurant centered around telling stories of African Americans and Indigenous people. How? Eater, who named Rhodes 2018's Chef of the Year, explains: At two seatings, diners sit around a 13-seat, U-shaped counter and are presented a five-course tasting with each dish explained as to how to the ingredients on the plate reflect the struggles face by black and indigenous people in America. For example, along with a dish of malted magnolia-blossom ice cream with salted butterscotch, thyme, and peach-skin preserves, Rhodes discusses how peaches came to be associated with soul food, despite not originating in America or Africa. He calls the dish “Happiness and Hand-Me-Downs.” We are so intrigued and hoping to get a seat sometime this Spring. 
 
Caroline is watching Tikila's Instagram page like a hawk waiting for more details on the new Heights bound tiki bar. All we know so far: it's going in the old Buffalo Fred's Ice House at N Shepherd and 27th, it's coming sometime in the Spring, and the menu will be a blend of tropical, rum-based classic cocktails but a heavy focus on tequila-spiked twists. Interesting... 

Full circle on this one. Mark saw Patric Johnston play a house show at Erick's last year. So when he recommended Patric as the musician y'all should know, some extra love here seemed more than fitting. Caroline got hooked on his Chance the Rapper cover, but we're both into everything he's put out, especially his new single "Great Southwest" with Jeff Paxton
Photo of Erick Sandlin by Joseph West
 
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