Marlo Saucedo and I met in the early part of May in her beautiful and cozy home in The Woodlands. My son rode a long in a happy frenzy knowing he would have two playmates – and fun he surely had. We received a warm house tour, met the friendly house cat, had a few protein filled cookies, a banana, and some delicious coffee. Marlo was very welcoming and full of pleasantry. On another note, I was bursting with excitement when I discovered our interview would take place in a ‘secret room’ — like something out of Sherlock Holmes. Okay. Not quite. The room was, in fact, a media room but the concept of a library enclosing the room conjured up child-like repartee.
I found there was no-end to my interest in Marlo’s very logical mind — full of analytical intelligence and history. Our dialogue; easy as pie. Our similarities and differences were enjoyable to notice. I know I could not do what Marlo does in her art. Tedious and repetitive work is hardly a task I’d consider amusing but for Marlo her art is like meditation. Although our minds and expressions differ, our commonplace is art.
Artiste Illumination: Marlo Saucedo
How do you classify your artwork?
Left-brained. I’m definitely not right-brained but highly visual. It’s just the way I view the world. My way of art is to get detailed and focused; to have a start and finish. To classify it — what it’s not is what it is.
What’s the earliest memory of your inclination to art?
I think I was about seven or eight when I learned about the Deep Ocean and strange characters down there – the strange fish. I liked the deep sea Anglerfish. It looks like something from outer space. I wrote a little book. I had different fish on each page. I made the book out of my dad’s business cards. He was constantly giving me his old office supplies so I used a lot of office supplies for art – even cigar boxes. I stapled the cards together and on one side was a story about the fish and the other was his business card.
Do you have a passion for any other art?
I love extreme realism — the kind of art that Houston Artists Michael Arcieri and Lori Miglioretti are able to create. I love it because it’s so detailed oriented but it’s that way in a way that I feel I can’t do – no way. Although the aspects of their work apply to my own, I am unable to do what they do. What I do is like Zen – like running. It’s the same thing over and over again.
There’s also training, nutrition, and fitness. I really like that a lot but it’s always art –it’s kind of always been there. It’s more than something that cropped up in adult life. There’s music – yeah, but art is it.
Do you have any formal training?
Glassell handed out scholarships from the time I was in fifth grade to eighth grade. How they did it was to have students sit on the lawn and draw what was around them. Jurors chose art from all the submissions and passed scholarships those children whose artwork was chosen. So every summer from fifth grade to eighth grade, I had a scholarship to Glassell. I went from being the best artist in school to suddenly being intimidated –like going off to college. Suddenly, everyone around me could draw better than I could. We did everything from clay to paper mâché. It was a good learning experience.
My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Psychology and Business, respectively.
Is anyone in your family considered or considers themself an artist?
My father’s sister –my Aunt Sue – she does wonderful portraits in pastels and watercolor. She used to work on side view portraits like from the early 1970’s – with yellows and yellow frame. I remember seeing her work but I didn’t connect to it. My cousin, Brooke — her daughter has artistic talent as well but she didn’t major in it. My father can easily draw spatially; he’s the frustrated architect.
What is your work experience in the art field, if any?
None. Up in New York in the mid 90’s, I worked for an artist management company — they managed Liz Phair, Mark Ishman, and Lyle Lovett. I worked in the industry long enough to decide that entertainment is very different from business. I used to write about Music for the Houston Press.
I’ve also led tours from The Woodlands to Houston a little over a year via my Getting into Houston Group. I led one tour this year and we visited three artists with very different fundamental opinions on what makes an artist an artist. I didn’t plan it that way, though; that was a surprise. It was fascinating and those differing approaches made it an even richer experience for all of us in the group.
What is your experience in the realm of arts?
My cityscapes and portraits have been commissioned since 1999. I have shown at Diverse Works Art Space, Lawndale Art Center, and in Art League Houston’s Open Show. I was awarded a grant from the Houston Arts Alliance (then the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County) in 2005. I was awarded a scholarship for summer 2007 to attend Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One of my pieces, Downtown Rising, was displayed in Mayor Bill White’s conference room as part of the 2008-2009 Vibrant: Houston Artists in City Halls show and my piece, Mounted II, was installed in spring 2009 at the facility for Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Detail.
Is there a particular individual(s) that influence(s) you? What is it that captured your attention about their work?
Chuck Close for his amazing pointillism Also, an artist named B. Wallace, who did a pen-and-ink drawing used as the cover of Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages sometime in the mid 80’s. His very detailed line drawing of Houston’s skyline included all kinds of hidden pictures so the end result was kind of like a hundred mini-mini-comics inside an accurate architectural rendering. His work followed Norman Baxter’s and Karl Hoefle’s, who did the same thing in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I still enjoy seeing that kind of work, because in addition to appreciating the actual work involved and the end result, it also just makes me happy.
What do you think makes you happy about their style – is it the detail?
No, it’s that it’s so much more than the detail. It’s a lot of detail but it’s also a lot of thought. A person has to put 3D in the design and it has to be correct to be believable but then once it’s made believable, you go back in and make it not believable. But in order to know it’s not believable the observer has to be observant. A person could have that phone book, for example, on their table for years and never notice it – the art – and that’s the kind of art I really like. Someone could look at it one day and say, “Oh wow, there is a balloon” having never seen it before.
Every artist has a specific medium they favor – what is yours? Is there any other medium you are interested in exploring?
Acrylic, paint, and ink. I have a loaned kiln in my garage. It’s been good to be able to experiment with impunity; without having to actually go out and buy a kiln, although, I haven’t been able to take my art in any new direction that’s solid with ceramics yet.
What kind of topics or subjects do you find yourself discovering in your art?
History, people’s personal stories, and school’s missions toward the children they teach. On a deeper level, intense and intricate connections between specific persons, places, and things continually interest me. It’s just fascinating to work with some of the private schools in Houston. It’s wonderful to read their missions, what their ideas are, and to develop their art.
What inspires you to create?
I have these ideas and they tug at me. They come from everything and anything – from running, to things I read or listen to like NPR. They don’t have to come from anywhere; they just come as we are constantly bombarded with information. I can find myself in a constant state of minor anxiety over what I have not been able to get out onto canvas or paper. Occasionally it’ll keep me up at night.
Do you work based on a theme or stream of consciousness?
My works is stream of consciousness but for someone like my stream of consciousness works as a formula. It’s formulated and it seems to move within specific realms.
I believe that to create something where part of the creative process is to ask “what does the customer need?” isn’t necessarily bad; it’s practical. To ask, how will it be used and what need exists that is currently not being filled? What art might occupy a space that’s now empty? I can’t seem to get away from that – it is part of my MBA saying art is a product. It gets difficult for me to separate that. If I’m going to make something, I want it to be useful.
Let’s talk about the creative process on this piece of art.
I love yoga and in the future hope to do more pieces chronicling physical activity and achievement. Yoga and gymnastics can be beautiful to watch. Men and women who’ve overcome physical shortcomings and/or have accomplished physical feats I can’t even approach are very inspiring to me. Volunteering and being around athletes at Ironman Texas, for example, motivated me to sign up and complete a half marathon in 2012.
So, she can get into this position — this person in the art. She’s not the body type that one might consider healthy, however, in her mastery of that position – at that time period – she could be considered healthier than me. She could reach her hand out and grab her foot. Her back is much more flexible than most. The reason I did this is bring awareness to how most look at health. It’s not about how big or small one is, it’s about what one can do – what can you do with your body; with your one, beautiful body? That’s what that piece represents for me.
Do you have a favorite place to brainstorm? What’s that environment like?
When I’m running the trails, it’s so peaceful. I’m alone with my music and it’s close to meditative. My mind’s relaxed and blank; thoughts come easier with no distraction. It’s the easiest place for me workout thoughts or solve problems.
What is your vision regarding your work? Your hopes?
I’d like to do some very large pieces for public display; I think my work would translate well into that. Also I definitely enjoy utilizing words to educate on the history and significance of a place. Overall, the purpose toward which I hope my art will grow is to find that which the viewer may not know they want – until they see it. I think that’s a part of good art, whether or not that process is premeditated by the artist. As much as I enjoy the process of creation, I really like to fulfill needs and supply new information.
What are your thoughts on the highbrow vs. low brow art?
I love Mark Ryden’s paintings: They’re fascinating and beautiful. For me, there’s something to like in nearly all of what’s considered “lowbrow” art. An art community limited to venerating what feels safe hanging behind one’s sofa is a lifeless art community. Similarly I fail to see what makes Cy Twombly “high art.” The distinction seems bogus, perhaps dictated by the same kind of industry insiders as those in the fashion industry who sit down every season to decide what the average woman does NOT have in her closet yet – so that they can sell it to her by making her feel unfashionable. Art is subjective, so everyone likes it differently. I lean toward art by people that I know, that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also makes me think. Art means much more to me when I know personally who created it; that’s probably my interest in psychology talking.
To see more of Marlo Saucedo’s work visit her website at http://www.marlosaucedo.com or contact her via Facebook.