Our thanks to Matt Manalo for including Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in his 365 Things to Do in Houston “My Top 5” feature! We are very excited for Matt’s solo exhibition here at HCCC in early 2023.
In our My Top 5 series, we turn to the Houstonians who create and shape Houston’s character and ask them to share their own favorite things that make H-Town home. This week, we’re delighted to feature artist Matt Manalo, who also founded alternative art space, Alief Art House.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
By Justin Jerkins
Photo: Michael Starghill Photography; courtesy of the artist.
“I’ve lived here for 19 years; my family and I moved here [from Manila, Philippines],” says artist Matt Manalo, founder of Alief Art House and Filipinx Artists of Houston. “I was already in college when I left, pursuing computer engineering and then when I came here, I felt like it wasn’t a thing I wanted to pursue anymore. At that time, people were really hiring nurses at a fast rate and so I thought that was something I would be doing for the rest of my life, and it turned out it wasn’t [laughs]. I quickly realized that I can’t really imagine spending the rest of my life working at a hospital and that’s when I did some self-searching…I’ve always been interested in art growing up and that’s when I realized that art is something I wanted to do full-time for the rest of my life.”
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