Fashion / Shopping

New Groundbreaking Art Installation in River Oaks District Shows Another Side of Houston’s Shopping Mecca

This is a Place Where Inventive Art Lives Too


A stunning new art installation has hit River Oaks District, blurring the line between technology and art and promising pieces like you’ve never seen before. Right in the heart of Houston’s shopping, restaurant and movie mecca.

Through the inspired work of nine diverse, talented artists, Sound + Light has transformed River Oaks District’s gallery into an incomparable haven of immersive sound, light and visual displays alongside photography and sculpture.

The gallery space will pulse with light motion, inflatable art and sound, thanks to the inventive works of muralists, photographers, sound sculptors, video artists, fashion and print designers, and more.

Their boundless imagination comes to light and reverberates thanks to Iconic Systems, masters of the highest-performance audio systems out there.

“As a company, we do high-performance audio and luxury residential home automation system installations. We just thought this was a good opportunity to do something different — something that’s never been done before,” Will Breaux tells PaperCity.

“The resounding theme is showing people things they’ve never seen before, whether it’s a piece of work from these particular artists, or a type of product in terms of hand-crafted audio pieces, or a 98-inch video display. Things they’ve never seen and probably would never see anywhere else in Houston.”

River Oaks District is all about unique experiences. This outdoor shopping wonderland is full of global luxury brands, top restaurants, sidewalk cafes and an even an iPic movie theater. There are plenty of hidden spots and hidden deals to be had at River Oaks District.

And plenty of impressive art.

The Sound of a New Art Wonderland

The new Sound + Light art installation showcases a $300,000-system that features hand-made speakers that are statement pieces, art in and of themselves.

The sound quality is unparalleled.

“It’s hard to quantify. But we use cars a lot as an analogy,” Breaux details. “If you’ve never been in a Ferrari, it’s hard to describe what driving a Ferrari on a race track is like. There’s no equivalent to it. It’s the same kind of thing in the audio world.”

This sound guru is wowed that River Oaks District is the venue for this state-of-the-art new art.

“It’s a very high-profile event and space, arguably one of the most high-profile retail areas in the entire city of Houston,” he says. “With 3,500-square-feet and 50 percent of that being glass walls, it’s a very visible art gallery in a very visible location.

“This will allow artists who have their own studios to be in a more public space in a high traffic time of the year.”

It’s significant, especially because all of the pieces will be available for purchase — with a percentage of each going to the charity of that particular artist’s choosing.

The majority of artists showcased are Houston based, and many are internationally recognized. They either had pieces that fit the theme, enhanced pieces to fit the theme or created pieces entirely new and different for Sound + Light.

For some, it was a chance for well-known artists to show off a side of their work that others have never seen.

“Justin Garcia immediately jumped at the idea because he has a certain type of style, but he’s also been doing some work he hasn’t shown yet. When I talked to him about showing these that had technology in them, he was super excited at the chance to show things he didn’t really have a venue to show this different style in,” Breaux notes.

“Sebastien Boileau, who goes by Mr. D for his street art, was kind of the same way. He mostly does street art, like the largest mural in Houston, the big mural in Midtown with God. He also has some works that involve light, like neon or LED, that didn’t really fit in with the other stuff he was doing.”

One artist has even created a separate, 600-square-foot fully immersive exhibit room that you walk into, as it bombards your senses from visual videos to custom printed art, set against the backdrop of pounding audio.

“It’s definitely an immersive experience,” Breaux says.

River oaks district sound + light
Tra Slaughter found incorporating light into his pieces to be an exciting challenge.

Acclaimed painter Tra Slaughter embraced the challenge of integrating light into his pieces.

“Houston is a bright and loud city in itself,” Slaughter says.

He’s never utilized light in his works before. For Sound + Light, he has created five unique pieces that complement one another. “It was challenging and exciting, making light a cohesive element with what I already do,” he says.

“I think working in a different element — art is really whatever you can get away with, as they say. As far as adding light and sound, it’s something that would attract a different type of audience, perhaps.”

Slaughter has always been drawn to work where you can see the artist who created it shining through — in scribbles, scratches and more. “Things that don’t make sense but at the same time are completely necessary,” he says.

His Sound + Light works will include old photographs, bits of old poetry and iconic symbols, plus layers of paint and light bulbs, no fixtures.

“This brings something new to our current collectors and people who are already familiar with our work,” Slaughter says.

He has selected Artists to Artists as his charity, a local organization that provides emergency grants to artists in a time of crisis.

Sculptor Justin Garcia will bring diverse pieces to Sound + Light, from the Lite Brite-inspired Liquid n Lights concept to a range of the unexpected.

“Sound and light — I mean, all my studies in science deal with wavelengths and frequencies and studying the intersection of how we perceive reality through these different elements,” Garcia says.

“The artwork I’m including in the installation deals with the human perception of time and how we see it, through touch, smell, taste and visual senses. Most of my work deals with time and how we perceive it.

“Things we talk about in a spiritual and metaphysical world are actually measurable in a very scientific way. This exhibit is connecting those things to the art realm. There’s a science behind it that we connect with.”.

The renowned artist hopes that everyone who explores Sound + Light comes away from the experience with one key thing: awareness.

Liquid N Lights is a playful piece, a composition made of myriad colorful tubes filled with liquid — often different types of alcohol — that glow like a Lite Brite picture.

“It’s been a lot of fun to play with,” Garcia says.

Other participating artists include an award-winning photographer, sculptor and performance artist Sarah Sudhoff, who is doing a custom sound sculpture using raw speaker drivers and digital sources; audio manufacturer Devialet, known for setups in the Paris Opera House, creating an innovative exhibit; fashion designer Ben Copperwheat, who has developed a customized Devialet Phantom Speaker; famous muralist Mr. D, sharing a mini version of his outdoor projection mapping exhibit and neon art; Black Dove Digital Art featuring a one-off limited edition digital art piece; designer speaker and furniture manufacturer Leon Speakers/Media Décor, renowned for sound sculptures; and Wilson Audio, manufacturers of arguably the best loudspeakers in the world.

This installation is unlike any other — told by artists, full of Sound + Light, signifying so, so much.

It is the type of art experience you’d expect to find in a prominent museum. Instead, it is in the heart of Houston’s luxury shopping world. River Oaks District continues to surprise — in all types of sophisticated ways.

For more information on River Oaks District and everything that is happening there (art and otherwise), click here.

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