Art life and art hype on the island – Nellie Cornett produces a wonderful project that brings together a kaleidoscope of creativity from her community in Southeast Texas’ Galveston. She lets us in on her goals and shares her personal watercolor artwork…
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in a solar observatory village the mountains of South Central New Mexico until I was 15, then I moved to Houston. After being in Houston for a very long time I moved to Galveston to attend UTMB, and fell in love with this community and the lifestyle. I’ve been here 6 years and have bought some property nearby so I can grow my long term roots.
How was the Galveston Synergist Project imagined then initiated?
The Galveston Synergist Project came together at the intersection of a couple of ideas. Last summer I was challenged to record all of my freestyle songs….which proved to be a fascinating learning experience for me. Soon I began to amass a large collection of scratch recordings and needed a higher quality way of capturing them. Some beloved locals and amazing musicians sold me their Tascam for $60, then this whole world of recording became accessible to me for the first time. Around this same time I was meeting so many cross-media-competent individuals in Galveston who do visual art, write, and play music. I was fascinated by the potential in that. The little scene here is extremely vibrant and inspiring to me. It’s the individuals in the community that really inspired the idea. I was also very fascinated by Wake the Zine, a culturally important zine here on the island that comes out monthly and is a cultural hub for a lot of the relevant music and art events on the island. I thought to myself hey, why not combine all of these great attributes and create something bigger than any of us individually?
Since I’m such a huge fan of synergy and growth, I began to dream up the Galveston Synergist Project idea – a hybrid of a music album, an art zine, and a performance between a compilation of artists. One day I just decided to bring it to fruit. Most of the work organizing and managing, is done just by me, but the performance itself and the promotion for it relies heavily on the participants themselves. Having people who I can really rely on has been everything to the reality of this project, and I am super grateful to have a few core people that come through for the project. Having people help with the project wasn’t so much a selection process as a weeding out process. People who have proven to follow through and are reliable end up revealing themselves. Because this project is so big, I rely very heavily on those people, and so far it’s worked out. Now we are in our second year, and the project this year is going to be amazing! I’m so stoked! Around 15 participating artists/teams. Hoping to keep this momentum strong and bring in different producers as we move forward.
Patency: Locusts of Control is the Synergist Project’s next production. Tell us about it! Are you so very excited? Is there a long road ahead of you?
Patency: Locusts of Control is an idea I came up with when I stumbled across the word “patency” during a conversation with a brilliant sound engineer I know. When I looked up the word, I was fascinating that a word could have two very different definitions that I imagined could be metaphors for making our way through life. One definition of patency is to open up, be unobstructed, expanded….the second definition being to have a detectable parasite infection. I think a lot about life and our choices in it, like how to grow or what kinds of choices can bring us down or build us up. The word patency used metaphorically for that, to me, represented the duality of that choice.
The line up this year is awesome! This year will be a color zine, and some extremely talented artists are teaming up – many which I admire greatly! I am very excited.
The event is on January 6th 2018, so it is quite a way away. We just went through our first deadline and am I very pleased with the quality of work that I’ve seen so far!
What are your near-and-dear long-term goals for the Synergist Project?
I’d like to expand the Galveston Synergist Project into an official 501c3 one day….and to expand it’s reach to high school students. I would absolutely love to see other members in the community step forward to be a producer on the project, and I am very open to seeing different iterations of “synergy” in different formats other than the zine-album-performance one. For now, I am quite happy to be putting out the second project and have it be higher quality all around.
Are watercolors your favorite art supplies? Are there any that intimidate you?
I do all kinds of media. Lately watercolor has been something I’ve really gotten into. I love the freshness of the color…I love the challenge of it. I also love the spontaneity of the medium, and it’s delicacy. I have a love for Japanese and Chinese ink paintings, and watercolors remind me of those a lot. Also, it’s very easy on storage….paper is so much easier to store than canvases.
I am not sure if any medium intimidates me. I know there are some that I do not prefer, like sculpture. Sculpture is wonderful, but the execution often takes a long time. I love being able to work in mediums that have the capacity to be alla prima, as I tend to work quickly.
And lastly, what makes you happiest in life?
What makes me happiest in life is living each day with purpose and spending enough time doing things that I truly love—like music, art, dancing, laughing with my baby boy, watching the sun play off the waves at sunset, Tai Chi, meals with friends, and creating a positive impact in the community.