Navasota, You Rock!

IMG_8615(October 1st, 2015 – Me on my first day.)

Over the past 6 months, I have been living and working in Navasota, Texas. I have learned a lot about small town living, Texas, America, and myself. For my final blog post I wanted to answer some of the questions people have been asking me.

“Did you like it here?”

Yes. I found the people of the City of Navasota to be friendly and welcoming. There was definitely culture shock with moving from a big city to a small town in the country, and also from the North to the South. However I found once I sort of relaxed and made more proactive attempts to engage the community, the people of this city were enthusiastic, authentic, intelligent, helpful, and very curious about what I was working on.

“What would you have done differently during your time in Navasota?”

I would not have waited so long to ask for help. Almost to the day, when I asked Lupe at the gym and Dom in my garage why I was having such a difficult time connecting, they both gave me candid and smart answers that helped me change the way I approached the City. I made a way more conscious effort to engage and put myself out there, and it worked.

“How has your work changed?”

  1. Interacting with the floor. Because of the required hanging system in the Horlock House, I looked for different ways to use the neon units I had. My project “Candy On The Dancefloor” is the first attempt I have made to use neon on the ground. That project was spotted on Instagram by a curator in Puerto Rico, and she reached out to me. A few weeks later two of the units were in an exhibit at the Galeria Casa Jefferson in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  2. Working in the windows. As a new and still developing program, there is not a lot of foot traffic in the Horlock House Art Galleries. In an attempt to more directly reach the people of Navasota I began to regularly install and rotate neon and other lights in the windows. I was so happy to hear that people noticed, and seemed pretty happy to watch the show! I had forgotten the often joyful power of the “spectacle”. And it was just fun to do.
  3. Social media! I was pretty active on Instagram before I got here, but I really upped my game with social media on Instagram (@scottygorham), Facebook, a new Facebook artist page (Scotty Gorham), LinkedIn, and my website ( I consider these social media outlets to be part of my art, and vital to understanding the work that I do.
  4. Traditional media. It really helped that people like Connie Clements, Jon Cooley, and Nicole Wilcox are the City’s “traditional media” because they are all awesome people. Giving interviews and working with them really helped me grow as an artist, and learn how to talk about my work more concisely. If my TV interview with Ian Smith from KAGS taught me anything, it’s that if you say funny things like “people kinda think I’m a space alien. But then they’re like ‘Oh, ok.’”, they will DEFINITELY put it on TV! 😉 Again, I consider the way my art and I reach the public to be part of the what the work is about.
  5. More conceptual grounding in history and the sociopolitical climate of a place. My work has always had a strong base in research and history, but this is first time I really tried to layer the more abstract issues of space with the more concrete issues of a place. I am happy with the combination, and look forward to developing this in my work.

“What does this project (“Neon Railroad”) mean to you?”

“Neon Railroad” is directly inspired by my time in Texas. I wanted to do a project about Navasota, so for me that was trains. Trains are such a large part of Navasota’s identity, as well as of our American heritage. This installation is about the railroad’s ability to both separate and connect, and the possibilities it offers. I am interested in the cultural history of “the wrong side of the tracks”, especially in a community that is so actively pursuing positive change. From my time observing the City Council meetings and working with so many employees of the City, I am sure this is a place that is continuing to move in a positive direction because of the people who run it. That gives me a lot of hope for this country.

“Do you sell your artwork?”

Yes. Yes yes yes. My general model is that I do large commissions or create large pieces that are “rented” by galleries or venues. However I have successfully created many smaller site specific installations in people’s homes. I usually sell the neon object and then work together with the owner to determine the most exciting place to install the object in their home. These typically run a few hundred dollars. My number is 312.731.1550.

“Aren’t people here friendly?”

VERY. I am leaving here with very real friends, and having known and worked with some really good people.

“What was your favorite thing about the Residency?”

Navasota Citizen’s University. Hands down the best thing ever. Shelby Green runs the program. Each week is a new unit where the students get to see behind the scenes a different aspect of how the City is run. My fellow students were such a diverse group of awesome people, and I looked forward to going each week. Everyone should do it.

And my roommate Andrea once asked me, “What would you consider “winning” this residency to be?”

The first week I was here I saw the 111 Railroad Street building and knew I wanted to do a large installation there. Mission accomplished. It wouldn’t have been possible without Donnie Roberts, Corey Johnson, Rachel Stack, Sarah Korpita, Dom, John, & especially Pat! Really so many people helped make the exhibition happen and that was such a fun and rewarding way to create something amazing! I’m pretty stoked with the result and definitely #winning. ScottyGorham_111Railroad

“So, what’s next?”

Right now I am staying in College Station for another week so I can keep the exhibition at 111 Railroad Street open through Thursday. Stop by! Then I am moving to Dallas. Almost immediately I leave for San Jose to do a 2 week visiting artist/consulting job at San Jose State University. Then in June I have a 1 month artist residency at Likewise in Portland, Oregon. It is a unique bartender-in-residence program, that operates as a creative space and a bar. I am also looking for new opportunities and constantly applying to things! I would love to run an exhibition space in Dallas, so if anyone knows anyone with an old empty building…hit me up! 😉

Thanks again everyone who made this such a great experience, and I hope to see you again! Navasota, you rock!



(Me towards the end.)



Back To Basics

Up now in the Horlock House Art Galleries are 3 light installations in the minimal style I really enjoy. The first room is the pale light blue, almost white, of electrified argon gas in clear glass. The second room is the bright red of pure neon gas and electricity in clear glass. And the final room is the layered “white” of RGB (red, green, blue) LEDs (light emitting diodes), combining multiple colors to achieve “white”. For all three rooms there is a certain strength in letting each light source stand alone, creating a subtle and beautiful experience. The Horlock House is still open by appointment as I work on the 111 Railroad Street installation which opens to the public next Monday.

Horlock House Hours 2/22-3/12

The Horlock House Art Galleries will be open BY APPOINTMENT Monday 2/22 – Saturday 3/12. Please call or text Scotty at 312.731.1550 or email at to set up a visit.

I will be up the street working at 111 Railroad Street on my installation “Neon Railroad”. This will be one of the largest site specific neon sculptures in the country and is directly inspired by my time in Navasota. More to come about exhibition hours and opening details. If you would like to visit that space while I am working and see some of the process involved in creating such a large artwork, feel free to call or email and we will set up a time.

Thank you again everyone in Navasota for being so friendly and making this experience a great one! You rock.




If you came to our Open House a few weeks back, you likely saw my “mini-installation”, with the knitted form expanding off of it’s pedestal. Maybe you even added to my word wall for inspiration on what to name it:


After the dust settled and I had more time to think, I started examining the ideas the people had for my sculpture piece. Something I really like to do when naming any of my sculptures is take a common word and find a lesser known synonym for it.  Words that stood out to me on this board were: Spawn, birth, and miracle. Upon consulting the online thesaurus I finally settled on the perfect name:

Proliferate (v) : to grow or produce by multiplication of parts,
as in budding or cell division, or by procreation.

Given the context of the words I liked, this seemed like the perfect title for such a creepy, abstract sculpture. Of course, the next phase was getting some good photos of it. And with colored light, that’s harder than it sounds. I think I finally scored a few.

Something I found really interesting was how the color changed as the sun went down (because there are 2 windows in my studio that shine through). I think I may experiment with videos and time lapse sometime just to see what happens.

As I was laying in bed last night, I started to think more about words and the poems I like to write for my works. Although I didn’t have one for this piece at Open House, I started to feel like a poem was necessary. Almost as if the art isn’t complete until it’s written. It’s amazing how such a profound effect poetry has had on me here. Reaching for my notebook, I started jotting down words until I finally came to this poem:

Open your mouth
Close your mind
Prepare for what’s to come

Expand the boundaries
Keep the distance
Burst free as one

Hang and claw
Scratch and grab
Next upon the ground

Ropes of sadness
Eggs of fortune
Small, perfect, round

Hold on tight
Be on target
Don’t look up too soon

Reach no endings
Leave no memory
Pieces of the moon.

From start to finish, this was a really fun piece to work on, and I can’t wait to do another after Thanksgiving. But until then I am taking a much needed break and heading back to KS for the holiday. I hope you all have a good holiday also!