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How The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival Puts Emerging Artists Centerstage — Launching New Art Stars

These Art Fair First Timers Already Stand Out

BY // 04.08.24

This is the next in a series of stories on The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. Come back to PaperCity The Woodlands for more coverage of the beloved arts event, which takes place this Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14.

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival — set for this Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14 at Town Green Park, along The Waterway  — is set to showcase seven emerging artists. Being chosen as one of these artists can be a life changing opportunity and new artists are vitally important to the festival too.

“It’s critical to involve new artists to engage with attendees and sell their work,” The Woodlands Arts Council executive director Jenny Carattini-Wright says. “This provides opportunities for local artists, potentially launching lucrative art careers and supporting the creative economy in The Woodlands and surrounding areas.”

To qualify as emerging, artists must not have shown art at an outdoor festival in the past and must live in Texas. At The Waterway Arts Festival, these emerging artists get booths near each other, in a prime place near the base of Town Green Park.

Let’s meet the last three emerging artists for 2024 now. Miss the first four artists? Read all about them in PaperCity‘s full story.

Jeff Lung

Jeff Lung moved to The Woodlands from Chicago two and a half years ago, changing careers when he arrived. A former gym owner, Lung decided to pursue a career in art in Texas.  A self- professed “doodler,” Lung has combined his love of doodling and his outdoor passions of running, cycling and meditation.

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“My passion has always been art, but I never pursued it as a career until I moved here,” Lung tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “I got to meet people in the art leagues.”

To create his art, Lung uses a reference photo.

“I take pictures of myself, but there are no details that make it obvious who it is,” Lung says. “I use that and then I fill it in with shapes. One of my favorite things to do in the world is doodle. But I’m always doing it and it gives me great pleasure. I also like to hide messages, and sometimes images and stories, within the image.”

Meditation is an important part of artist Jeff Lung's world. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lung)
Meditation is an important part of artist Jeff Lung’s world. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lung)

Lung grew up with stereograms and loves magic eye posters. 

“I would spend hours at the mall just staring at posters,” Lung says. “(My art) is kind of my own version of that. I like images that have images inside of them. A lot of my work has to do with my hobbies, which are running and cycling and meditation.”

Lung runs in The Woodlands or at Sam Houston State park in Houston. He cycles down 2978, from Lake Conroe to his Magnolia studio and back.

He’s looking forward to being part of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival, his first major arts festival.

“For me, the most exciting thing is being a small part of such an important art festival and celebration of talent,” Lung says. “Long before I ever thought about showing my art, I knew what the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival was and how important it is in the national art scene.

“So to be a part of it now and be on the same stage as many artists I look up to is an exciting prospect.”

Tetyana Aleksenko

Tetyana Aleksenko is a Ukrainian-born artist living in The Woodlands. She moved to Texas in 1999 when she won a green card lottery. Aleksenko works with pastels.

“Several years ago I discovered Unison pastels and could not stop painting after that,” Aleksenko says.”I have studied academic drawing, composition, oil painting and pastel painting in a prestigious online art school and am fortunate to be a student of such well-known pastel artists as Elena Tatkina and Irina Klimova.

“Now I am a member of Pastel Society of Southeast Texas and started participating in local and national pastel exhibitions and competitions.”

Aleksenko finds plenty of inspiration for her work in The Woodlands.

“I get inspired by nature, by its beauty and endless variety of shapes and forms,” Aleksenko says. “I am especially fascinated by flowers and seascapes. I believe that my mission as an artist is to find unusual aspects of everyday life and add a little more joy and beauty to this world.”

Pastels are Aleksenko's favorite medium. (Photo courtesy of Tetyana Aleksenko)
Pastels are Aleksenko’s favorite medium. (Photo courtesy of Tetyana Aleksenko)

Aleksenko is no stranger to The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival either.

“I visit The Woodlands Art Festival almost every year, and I have always been inspired by different artists and their stories,” Aleksenko says. “I am so grateful that I will be able to participate as an artist this year and tell my story, and hopefully inspire other people.

“Artists don’t need words to tell stories. Their art evokes emotions and feelings in people. I think that I am most looking forward to see how my art speaks to the viewer, to communicate through my paintings.”

Regina Lerdo de Tejada West

Leveraging a diverse upbringing spanning five countries across three continents, Regina West brings a unique perspective to her artistic endeavors. Born in Mexico in 1967 and then raised in Mexico, England, Italy, France and the United States, West developed a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and artistic expression from an early age.

She studied graphic design and earned a Masters degree in Milan.

Regina West's watercolors are inspired by her personal travel experiences. (Photo courtesy of Regina West)
Regina West’s watercolors are inspired by her personal travel experiences. (Photo courtesy of Regina West)

West’s artistic journey is characterized by a profound love for watercolors, driven by the medium’s ability to capture light and convey transparency. Viewing art as a powerful storytelling tool, West infuses her work with narratives drawn from personal experiences and global encounters, resulting in pieces that resonate with viewers on a visceral level.

She is a member of COWS Central Ohio Watercolor Society, The Ohio Art League, The Woodlands Art League and Watercolor Art Society Houston.

West has taught graphic design at both the college and high school levels, and she has been an entrepreneur with her design studio dubbed Dag.

Tickets for The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival are on sale now. Single day tickets run $15 with entire weekend passes costing $33. Kids under 12 get in free.

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