Tra` Slaughter is a prolific artist with a range of styles that many artists can only aspire to. His paintings can range between chaotic and primitive to incorporating cartoon-style sketches or complicated portraiture. At first glance, all his work appears to have an underlying message, a story to tell.
On Saturday, Feb. 1 from 6-9 p.m., Slaughter will reveal something about himself in a new body of work when Hardy & Nance Studios presents “A Day in the Life of a Mad Artist.” The free exhibit, located at 902 Hardy St., features 365 original journal works by Slaughter that document the daily life of an artist and his personal struggle with bipolar disorder.
Each original piece, created on the front page of a newspaper from various locations around the globe, reads like a journal entry.
This exhibition is Slaughter’s approach to a crucial conversation about mental health awareness in today’s society.
“It’s not an easy thing to talk about, but it is critical to have an open dialogue about mental health within the art community, in addition to the lack of mental health support currently available to Houston artists and what we can do to change this,” Slaughter said about the work on view at this one-day-only exhibit.
In addition to being a full-time artist, Slaughter is a founding member of the Houston-based nonprofit Artists for Artists. The organization provides emergency grants to artists in times of medical crisis with future medical programming that includes support groups for Houston-based artists struggling with mental illness. artists4artists.org
“My art is inspired by the exploration of different cultures and how social constructs define one’s growth and identity,” Slaughter said in a news release. “I have discovered that art is not a private conversation; rather art is a communal experience between the artist and their community. My goal as an artist is to reveal to the world its humanity and our human connection.
“Every piece I create has numerous layers of stories and experiences that can only be seen by continuously searching, both for the truth and for the real story of who we all are when glamour and ego has been shed.”
For more information about Slaughter and his exhibit, visit traslaughter.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.