Introducing VAA at stARTup Houston 2019

stARTup’s mission is to champion under-recognized artists, and to empower them in their careers. This includes working with artist collectives and non-profits who sustain diverse communities of working artists.


For our first edition of stARTup Houston we’re working with Visual Arts Alliance (VAA), an educational organization for serious practitioners of the visual arts and interested members of the general public. VAA produces professionally juried art exhibitions providing opportunities for members and non-members to have their work professionally judged and viewed by the general public. VAA also organizes educational programs including studio, gallery and museum tours in addition to presentations of art-related resources.


In Room 406, eight VAA artists will be exhibiting work — including stARTup Houston exhibitor Anthony Pabilliano, also showing in Room 312. Here’s a preview of some of the works you can find at stARTup Houston!

Lisa Goodrich works with oil and cold wax. After receiving a BFA in Studio Art 1 she worked as an art director for 25 years pushing pixels around on a monitor under the thumb of sterile corporate brand guidelines and structured grids. Her newest work represents a departure from the grid, a freedom of form and expression of emotion: Dream & Emotion: Internal Landscapes.

Currently Houston-based, Lisa is enjoying getting to know Houston again. She currently maintains a studio at Hardy Nance Artist Studios in a historic corner of downtown Houston. Lisa is currently Programs Chair for the Visual Arts Alliance.

Marlo Saucedo's work is journalistic, word-based, and narrative in nature. In 2D space she presents the internal as external, visible in a piece upon closer examination as the secrets people hold within themselves and reveal to confidantes. Stories/narratives become complex positive space on canvas/board/paper.


Marlo returned after a graduate degree in business to her hometown of Houston and its vibrant arts community. Her work is created in a home surrounded by woods outside of the city, and exhibited in a studio/gallery in The Silos at Sawyer Yards, Houston.


Erik Hagen is an American artist originally from Florida. His work has appeared in numerous group shows, both in the United States and internationally, and he was a selected participant in Review Santa Fe. He is interested in the ways in which jobs affect the psychological space of the people who work them. Drawing on his personal experiences, he uses both photography and writing to explore the work environment in contemporary America. Erik has been recognized for his work about Los Angeles, based largely on his five years driving a taxi there. He is currently finishing a project about working in customer service — a reaction to his years working at Whole Foods Market. He is based in New York City.


William Gerrish was born in 1955, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, on the border of the US and Canada.  From 1973 to 1975, he attended Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, receiving certification in illustration.  Additional studies at Kendall School of Design included, art history, life drawing, painting and 3-dimensional sculpture.

From 1975 to the present, William has made his livelihood in the field of commercial art, delivering to thousands of individuals, small businesses, corporations and non-profit organizations, illustrations, print & display graphics and scale models.  Always within reach have been his fine art tools.  His drawings, paintings, assemblages and sculptures are found in private collections in the US and Canada.

Recent artworks focus on telling stories and capturing memories. These "recollections" are composed of raw materials and once abandoned personal effects. Aged color and trace impressions on the surfaces reveal truths created by nature and the hands of those from the past. The intent is to evoke a sense of nostalgia. These found objects are rescued from oblivion and given a new life.

Growing up in New Orleans, Julia Koutroulis was inspired by the artists in the French Quarter and dreamed of being one too. She took lessons for a few years in high school and even had the opportunity to paint in Jackson Square. Although time passed and life took a different direction, she never forgot that dream. In her fifties, as a widow, Julia started painting again. Her uncle, Aris Koutroulis, a successful artist in New York, became a new source of inspiration and encouragement. When he passed away on the same day she got her first award, she knew she had to keep painting and continue the Koutroulis legacy.


Julia’s favorite subject has always been people, and children in particular, but her paintings strive to capture more than just a likeness. She will look for what is unique and try to reflect that very essence oremotion. Her play of light against dark is an expression of what is hidden coming to light. In many ways,the paintings are a reflection of who she is.

Julia Koutroulis has been accepted into multiple juried exhibitions and has won several awards. She is an active member of Visual Arts Alliance in addition to serving on the board.


Judy Halter is inspired by nature, travel and bits and pieces of everyday life. Sights, colors and energy mingle with memories and become a mental palette and renewing vessel of inspiration for my paintings.


Each painting is a new adventure, a joyous exploration of layering organic elements, minds eye — fragments and shadows of previous journeys. Listening to her innermost creative voice, Judy translates the beauty of nature, cities and even constellations into colorful and sometimes fanciful contemporary art.

Her paintings are colorful escapes and abstracted translations of her memories, things she loves and places she’s been. They are snapshots of emotion, revealing her past, present and intuitive journeys. It is Judy’s hope that her artwork also serves as a touch point to remind others of their own journeys and pleasures in life.


Keri Bas is a writer, artist, and award-winning quilter from Houston, TX. Her work is in several private collections, and has appeared in national and international art shows and magazines. Her art quilt, "Shattered: Modern Day Slavery" was on view in 2016 at the Holocaust Museum Houston in the exhibit "Genocide: Man's Inhumanity to Man."

Since 2008, Keri has been leading small-group workshops on topics including tarot, textile arts, Artist Trading Cards, and breaking creative blocks.

You can find a complete list of our Houston 2019 Non-Profit and Community Partners on our Sponsors page.

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Feature by Content Curator Mica England