We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindee Travis Klement and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cindee Travis, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
At 63, when I am deciding what my next project should be, I tell myself If it does not scare me to take it on, I am not pushing myself enough. It is now or never; how will I know what I can achieve if I don’t try. I embrace the butterflies.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My research-based work focuses on the natural world: much of my previous work has been about conservation issues, specifically at bees, at waterways, at recovery from Hurricane Harvey, at bison and grass, and living soil. I am interested in the ways that sculpture and printmaking can incorporate time and movement. My work records endangered knowledge to the collective memory and reimagines urban landscapes to balance the needs of humanity and wildlife holistically. In 2020 I have completed Gust; a series of bronze pieces caught is a gust of wind. The sculptures represent the solution to desertification. I am in the process of creating a 6′ tall by 11′ long piece Endangered Knowledge: The soul of Humus, which considers the role of the American bison within Houston’s specific soil ecological history. I am starting Symbiosis, a new Work at the Lawndale Art Center. In Symbiosis, I am stretching my practice and creating a living piece of site-specific art activism that will reimagine a 53.5′ X 48′ traditional urban landscape/sculpture garden and answer the question: how do we holistically restore an ecological balance in Houston. Symbiosis is a collaboration with Lawndale’s Art Center community, neighbors, and urban wildlife. For me, success will is not measured by selling my work, success will be measured by inspiring local landscape policy changes and addressing conservation issues.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is a fascinating city to host friends. I like to start with a big Texas Breakfast by my cement pond and a walk around the Houston Arboretum. Before lunch, I bust the myth that Houston does not have a soul with a drive southeast to the Orange Show and the Beer Can House. To prove the city of diversity is eclectic and unpredictable, The Museum District is next on my list of Houston experiences. I start the museum district with lunch on the Menil Bistro’s patio. We would then spend the rest of the day leisurely visiting the various exhibits in the Menil. The museum district takes a few days hitting the MFAH, Lawndale Art Center, the Craft Museum, The Asia center, and the Houston Center for African American Culture. Would we have to enjoy a leisurely dinner on BCN’s patio? On a Sunday, we would have fun renting canoes and canoeing down Buffalo Bayou or rent bikes and check out the park. The next week we could spend several days in the Houston Natural History Museum, zip to Galveston to soak up some fun in the sun. And lastly, we would have to take in one of Houston’s major sporting events.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My children and husband completely support my work. They are always encouraging me to fo for it, and take on the big projects. I learned to see the environment through their eyes. I also have to give a big shout out to art critical thinker and writer Laura August. She has a magical way of helping me see my own work.
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Nash Baker photographs my work