Houston Llew ~ The Artist
I started enameling in a poorly constructed leaning garage in Atlanta. I was unemployed in the middle of the great recession during a record breaking hot summer. Through fortuitous circumstances, I befriended the master enamelist Zingaro, I shadowed the artist around his studio until he gave me the keys to enameling that would later evolve into my first works – Spiritiles.
For months I spent every waking hour over a kiln, experimenting, sketching, living on only “ramen and beer”. The only reason my art exists today is because I had no other option – no job to fall back on, no security other than what I could create myself. Tenacity keeps me going. When one thing doesn’t work, step back, retool, and try a new path.
I love spitballing ideas and trying seemingly crazy things just to see if they work. By harnessing that constant experimentation, art evolves. That’s how it’s possible to create a dueling form of enameled imagery and with bending stories and quotes out of context into something entirely new…
I call it “design” but it’s something unnamed.
What pushes me forward is the uplifting thoughts and musings. This is the cornerstone of my work- creating art that uplifts, and brings a hopeful connection to life.
What is a Spiritile?
I believe that meaningful art is about emotion. Thus, every Spiritile created reflects a piece of our story. These icons stretch our memory and bring to mind the people we love, the things we cherish, and the passions we pursue. When collected, Spiritiles become a montage of moments that make us smile, laugh, remember, and dare to dream.
What are the cracks?
By rolling a pin over the surface of each piece after cooling, the light refraction in the glass increases and the enamel becomes malleable enough to frame.
How long does it take?
I encourage you to check out the enameling video below. There you can get a feel for the care each piece gets during its physical creation. Some are relatively simple, others are very difficult.