100 Creatives 2012: Libbie J. Masterson, Artist, Curator and Creator

Categories: 100 Creatives

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Artist/curator Libbie J. Masterson loves index cards. "I'm a big fan of index cards; I have two of them in my lap right now," she laughs. Given all the different things Masterson does in the course of a week, keeping her to-do lists (yes, lists, plural) is important.

Masterson was originally involved with the Houston Center for Photography as an artist. Then she was working on an organizing committee and had an idea for a show focusing on magical realism. "They said, 'That's a great idea, we want you to do it.' So I became a guest curator and exhibitions coordinator, and now I'm curator." She came to the job in an unusual way -- that is, without the academic training most would expect of a curator, but Masterson has an unusual set of skills that made her a good fit for HCP. "Basically, I use my expertise in creating a better installation environment." For the show currently at HCP, "Soldier, At Ease," Masterson worked to maximize the center's space in a way that allowed for an in-depth look at work by three different artists, including one that used video. Masterson and her co-workers had to change the exhibition area from a standard art gallery space to a space that was suitable for video projection. Given that HCP has a long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that let in floods of light, darkening the gallery was a difficult task.

She also continues her work as a multimedia artist (she's represented locally by Catherine Couturier Gallery), jewelry designer and set designer.

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Proposed Hermann Park Installation by Libbie J. Masterson
What she does: "When people ask me what I do, I say I'm an artist and a curator. Then if they really want to know more than that, I go on to say I'm a part-time jewelry designer and set designer. A lot of people say, 'I don't know how you can be a photographer and curate at the same time.' It's very hard for me to separate what I do for HCP and what I do for myself. It's not any different. To me, they overlap and the process is the same. At HCP I take someone else's prints and I conceive of a room where someone can experience that work. When I'm working on my own pieces, I'm doing the same exact thing."

Why she likes it: "I feel very lucky that I get to do all of these things because it makes for a very rich life. I love all of the people that I get to meet all along the way. I really love working with all these great artists, photographers and curators. It's wonderful."

What inspires her: Masterson cites the environment as her main inspiration. Man-made environments influence her as well as nature.

If not this, then what: "I just can't imagine not doing what I do. I've always been an artist. I've always enjoyed creating, everything from creating an installation to creating a set design. Really, that's a hard question. If I had to, I guess I might want to be a chef. Or I would compose music."

If not here, then where: "I really love Houston, but if I had to pick another place, it would be a tie between Norway and the south of France. They're both just beautiful places that I respond to in almost an emotional way." The last time Masterson visited Norway was about a year and a half ago; she was in France on a viewing trip just earlier this week.

What's next: "I'm working on a set design for The Memory Stone for HGOco, and a sculpture for Hermann Park (see above). I'm also working on a group show for HCP, called 'Unusual Garden.' Oh, and I'm redoing the glass studio for my jewelry business." See, lots of to-do lists.

More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Leighza Walker, theater owner, actress, writer, theatrical everywoman
Macy Perrone, costume designer
Elsa Briggs, Painter, jewelry maker
Baldemar Rodriguez, film director/producer and actor
Linarejos Moreno, photographer

Heather Rainwater, artist, jewelry maker
Detria Ward, actress and entrepreneur
Justin Cronin, book author
Mark Ivy, actor
Lauren Luna, painter and shoe designer

Sarah Cortez, writer

Kent Dorn, drawer, painter, artist
Lillian Warren, painter
Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor
Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer
Tom Stell, actor, writer, director
Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder

Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer
Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher

Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director
Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician

Matthew Detrick, classical musician
Travis Ammons, filmmaker
Florence Garvey, actress
Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker

Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder

Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director

Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist

Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor

Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer

Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor

Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer

Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts

Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer

Wade Wilson, gallery owner

Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright

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