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MEET DANIEL ANGUILU: METRO TRAIN OPERATOR BY DAY AND MURALISTS BY NIGHT!

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Artists often stretch canvases to paint on. Other artists, like Daniel Anguilu, stretch to paint … over walls that serve as both canvas and easel.  Art moves people, and so does Daniel’s job as a METRORail train operator.  Daniel began as a tagger, armed with a can of spray paint and a fascination with trains. The desire to paint, Daniel says, grew with time. Today he’s happy driving trains and his art has morphed – bigger, and better.   Daniel belongs to a group of artists called muralists, painting big and in your face. On a recent drive through Midtown the Mexico City native pointed to buildings covered with exotic, elongated, creatures like the ones (left) covering the walls of the old MHMRA building on Drew at Main.  Others are composed of jewel-colored slivers braced in strong black lines, the effect akin to a stained-glass window – on steroids.  His images like the one (below right) at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art are otherworldly – and wonderful.   People see the images as they ride Houston’s light-rail and Daniel is happy to be in the driver’s seat as they do.  “Rail operators change schedules three times a year. That lets me stagger my projects and studio time around my METRO schedule. Driving the trains lets me really see the city.  I love architecture and I observe it every day. I watch patterns and colors on clothes and that is reflected in my work. Some of my work has quotes. My passengers are references, updating me on how they feel about what’s going on in the world.”  The Bellaire High School grad has developed quite a following – from his former art teacher to street people and gallery goers – glad to see Daniel’s kaleidoscope blazing on walls that otherwise have no reason to be noticed.  Fans stop and ask about his work as he makes an appearance at a local gallery where his work is on display.  A young Russian émigré takes notes as Daniel answers questions while a couple visiting from Mexico quickly approach him saying, in Spanish,  they’d come to see the exhibit at the Station Museum after reading about his work. They weren’t disappointed.   The exhibit is the first in a series of shows planned by the Station Museum and features Houston’s diverse communities and cultures. Anguilu’s painted walls are featured prominently, and look as if they might start breathing at any moment.  Harithas, well-known and established as an authority on contemporary art, is mentoring Anguilu whose work is receiving national, and international attention. The HX8 exhibit will be on view through February 17.  Fortunately, rides on METRORail, with a view of Daniel’s art, are available all year long.

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