The XII Travelers board and the El Paso Museum of Art will host a public Celebration of Life for El Paso artist and sculptor John Houser on Wednesday, March 21, at noon at the El Paso Museum of Art.
Houser is the creator of the XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest, a project that was inspired by an illustration in a book by fellow El Paso artist Tom Lea. The project was started in 1988 as a way to bring tourism and promote economic development. The 12 memorials depict a diverse group of figures from the region’s history. Three of these memorials, Fray Garcia de San Francisco, the Equestrian and Susan Magoffin were completed during his lifetime. A fourth sculpture of Benito Juarez is in process and will be completed by Mr. Houser’s son Ethan.
John Houser was born in South Dakota where his father was assistant sculptor on Mt. Rushmore. John's talent honed by studies in America and Europe, has evolved into a unique vision of the world. Trained equally as a painter and sculptor, he wields both idioms with unusual aesthetic force. John dedicated his talent to interpreting the "human condition" through living and working amoung such diverse groups as the Gullah Blacks of South Carolina, Italian street fakirs, hippies, migrant workers, Gypsies and Native Americans.
Apart from monumental commissions and studio sculputre (including portraiture), he is also an award-winning painter of landscapes, still life and the figure. The artist has exhibited in the United Sates and abroad. His work is in prominet collection including the US Library of Congress, Greenshields Museum (Montreal), The Southwest (Tucson), and the Portland Museum of FIne Arts (Oregon). His art has been feature in The New York Time, London Sunday Telegraph, ABS (Spain), Der Spiegel (Germany), Southwest Art, Connoisseur Magzine, Artes de México (magazine) and The Houston Chronicle. He is a professional member of the National Sculpture Society. Recently he has vitalized monumental art with this same sense of immediacy and power.
Houser is the originator and creator of the XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest Inc. for El Paso, Texas. With over 400 years of history memorialized at the Pass of the North, his audacious interpretation of this tumultuous history is controversial as well as profoundly moving. The centerpiece is a colossal equestrian of Don Juan Oñate, the founder of the Camino Real and colonizer of New Mexico who arrived at "the Pass" in 1598. Oñate's exploits (controversial in themselves) left a legacy of undeniable impact upon the region. In creating this work John has been assisted by his son, and colleague, Ethan Houser who's growing stature as an artist is a rare echo of those generational traditions that grace the history of art from ancient Greece to the present.
Ethan Houser, Sculptor
Ethan Houser was born in Tucson, Arizona on April 6th, 1971. He received his first training in the studio of his father. His Artistic development was further influence by the renowned classical sculptor, Julian Martinez.
Over the past few years he has been closely associated in the development of a number of important public monuments including the "Bishop Gallegos monument in Sacramento California, and the colossal equestrian of Oñate for El Paso, Texas. Ethan's talented contribution has been a major factor in the creation of this record breaking work.
His own work ranges from a loose and highly personal style, to a studied renaissance finish -- as in the small equestrian entitled "Prometheus". This combination of freedom with careful study is the hallmark of a young master.
Mexico's Zapotec President: Developing Democracy to the South (1864 - 1865)
Susan Shelby Magoffin
Down the Santa Fe Trail: The Santa Fe / Chihuahua Trail (1821 - 1880)
Don Juan de Oñate
The Colonizer: The Spanish Settlement of the Southwest (1598 - 1680)
Fray García de San Francisco
Founder of the Pass of the North: The Building of the Missions (1598 - 1740)
The XII Travlers Memorial of the Southwest is an integrated sculpture tour through history comprising of twelve separate (bronze, over life-size) monuments. The memorial includes individuals, groupings, equestrians that serve as metaphors for histrical movements and periods.