American Art Collector
Eddie Filer: Experiences and Inspiration
The vision of the Houston Museum of African American Culture is “to be a cultural portal through which people share and converge histories and contemporary experiences that acknowledge and expand the African American experience, and from such interactions come together to build a common future.”
Eddie Filer will be part of that mission with his upcoming exhibition My Life and Life Around Me. Filer recently said, “My show is about my personal experiences with family, friends and people I come in contact with whom I admire or inspire me.” The exhibit, in the Bert Long Jr. Gallery, will open October 6 and run through December 15, 2018.
Originally from Galveston, Texas, but currently living in Texas City, Texas, art has always been a part of Filer’s life. He started accepting commissioned portraits in high school for $25 apiece. After high school, he attended Galveston College and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Taught that asymmetrical composition works best, Filer tries never to place an image dead center, always working to have a balance of negative and positive space in his compositions. He has been influenced by how Everett Raymond Kinstler and Michael Shane Neal light their subjects, saying, “Too much light can break up form, so I try to have one light source if possible. The pose for me comes from the sitter when they are relaxed, so I try not to force a pose on them.”
One of the pieces that will be included in the Houston exhibition is a portrait of Filer’s father. He says, “I just wanted to be a part of his journey in some way. My father says to me, ‘I’m getting old,’ but I don’t see him that way. As I begin to draw him, I then realize just how beautiful aging can be. His face told so many stories, as his loose skin and aging lines began to move, eyes forward as if he was in his youth still. The circle around him represents God’s presence. God has watched over him for 81 years, through good and bad times. I placed him to the far left of the paper, so the viewer could imagine him reflecting on his life’s journey and what’s ahead.”
Another work featured in the exhibition will be a portrait of nationally known artist Simmie Knox. Filer says, “Mr. Simmie Knox is an icon, a treasure in the AfricanAmerican community for artists like myself. I’ve followed him and his works for many years, and I finally had a chance to connect with him a few years ago.” Filer wanted to depict Knox at an earlier time in his life and career, while he was still in graduate school. He included the wool beanie and butterfly collar to give him a vintage ’70s look that Filer so admired as a kid, and he still loves today.
Filer often works in oils and graphite but occasionally works in pastel. He works from life as much as possible. His exhibit will feature his works and will include the many people and fellow artists that have inspired and influenced him over the years.