The Bayou City Art Festival has been around for nearly 50 years as a celebration of fine art and fellowship. Each year young people are introduced to this event one, of Houston's signature events, through volunteering and patronage, and cements itself in the hearts of art-lovers as a bi-annual tradition. On some rare occasions, a volunteer is a budding artist waiting for their moment to emerge onto the scene; making their debut as a Bayou City Art Festival.
Carlos Macias is one of those volunteers. In 2015, at my very first Bayou City Art Festival, I met the Artist Support Committee; a group dedicated to aiding the participating artists with anything from relief to art pickup. That is when I first Met Carlos. He was a shy, timid, yet excessively kind soul with nothing but joy in his eyes and a helpful hand fully extended.
Q&A with Carlos Macias
How long have you participated as a Bayou City Art Festival? This year was supposed to be my third year, but we have a pandemic situation that put it on hold. I was hoping to showcase my work at Memorial Park this year. I started out as The Rising Talent in March 2018 in Memorial Park, which was my ﬁrst art show.
Who and/or what inspires you? You may not know the artist, but her name was Inza Frost. I was 10 years old one summer when my mom took me to where she worked as a cleaning
lady. The ﬁrst thing I saw in the hallway was two oil paintings of her boss’ wife. t was a beautiful and realistic depiction of her. I was feeling inspired and wanted to do this, but I realized my parents didn’t have enough money and didn’t know very much about the arts We were in poor class. Since then I always wanted to be an artist. That is how I fell in love with art. I was in middle school but, by the time I was in high school, I was told that is so wasteful and not worth it for education. The point is, I felt her painting was real because it came alive when I saw it. It was like I forgot all the problems in the world and felt I was in my own world, feeling alive. The artist made me think and believe that I can do it on my own. That I could learn quickly because I can see rather than hearing. I am deaf and I have so much in me to share. My experience is a quiet world. I want to break the silence. She made me believe I could do that.
What is the hardest part of being an artist? I don’t know about other artists, but for me, I think it is because I am deaf. I think I have to ﬁnd something meaningful to capture. Something I can feel, and something I can relate to. For me, I see things.
What is the best thing about being an artist? Being deaf. I that can't hear so I can be focused and complete pieces in a month. I can be quicker when needed with no noise, no distractions.
What’s the best part of the process when working on a new piece or project? To ﬁnd something meaningful for others.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? I don't know. When I was in high school I never want to be a lawyer, doctor, or anything because I was not in the “top” of my class.
What do you do when you’re seeking inspiration? I go out looking for something new. Mostly, I go to see the market and what artists sell.
What is your dream project? I dare to dream of having my own art studio. I love art because I use my hands to make something special. Honestly, when I am working on a new piece it is a magical experience. I can’t describe it. My sister has 3 acres of land that need to be cleaned but never got a chance to do because of my father’s passing. He died in June 2004. It struck us hard, especially my mother. My father wanted me to have it so I can use it as an art studio, but I thought my father is going to live longer. Everything falls apart. It took a toll on all of us. I live with my sister in a small cottage house. It would be nice to have a small art gallery and art studio. I love ceramics and would love to do for Nutcracker Market or Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. That would be so great! I will slowly develop my business. I didn’t realize I need to have a business logo, copyright, website, and more.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve given or received? While I was volunteering on the Artist Support Committed for Bayou City Art Festival, my friend, a Bayou City Art Festival artist, Fred Conlon, asked me why can’t I be in that show? "Why wait? Do it!", he said. Actually, I was scared to do it, but someone told me if I stay in my old job and never been happy because of the lack of communication. I had been emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted from my old job. Every day I tried and kept trying. I had been giving my all and never felt a return. Sadly, my former manager told me I am being dismissive because I didn’t want to eat lunch with them every day. The reason I didn’t want to eat with them because I had to sit there “listen", which is actually me reading their lips. Do I really enjoy watching the ladies talk while eating? No, I don’t because I am tired of pretending. So, when Fred told me to try to do the festival, I did!
What does the Bayou City Art Fes2val mean to you? Oh, you have no idea!!! It means so much to me because I ﬁnally became a real artist. Why? All my life when I was told art is not one of the things that I could find success. I believe in art because it is part of me; the inside that needs to be shared. It doesn’t matter who is the best. All that matters is that you do try
to do better and keep making improvements. I am not looking for the best or to be the best. I started as a volunteer because I felt I needed to learn how to interact with others because I am deaf. Also, I needed to research what the artists were doing and what this was all about. I met a guy named Fred Conlon, who I mentioned earlier when I became a volunteer in 2011 at Memorial Park. He is my ﬁrst professional artist friend because he knows American Sign Language. in 2018 I applied as a Ristin Talent Artist and juried in for my first show. It was a huge risk! Bayou City Art Festival changed my life because I ﬁnally shared my personal experience with my art. I felt so special when I discovered I was one of the top-scoring 300 artists. I thought it was such a special moment.
Describe your creative process in three words: Magical. Better. Passion.
Artist Relations Director
Bayou City Art Festival