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Artist Biography

I was born in Austin, Texas in 1948 and raised in Houston, TX where I attended college at the University of Houston. This is where my interest in activism was ignited. I became exposed to revolutionary ideas emerging out of the 1960’s anti-war and peace movements and supported these by marching the streets and producing art.


Although I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Houston, I knew I wanted to pursue art further. In 1983, I went back to my alma mater to study sculpture in order to better express my view of the world. I was drawn to structural geometric forms and developed both abstract and activist sculptures. The former was well received, but the latter drew a smaller audience due to its unnerving nature. Therefore, I developed my art to appeal to the larger audience while still pursuing my activist art passion from time to time.


Eventually, I found an audience at the Art League of Houston which showcased my creations in their sculpture courtyard. The appeal for these forms widened and since then I have been selected multiple times for the Lawndale Art Center's The Big Show, an annual open-call, juried exhibition featuring artists from southeast Texas. In 2016, I was honored to receive the Juror’s Special Distinction Award.


Today, I devote the majority of my time to activist sculptures. I want to stimulate dialogue and educate the viewer about topical world issues. My work is now less abstract and follows a more storytelling format to convey my viewpoint. I use simple materials and prefer sculpture as people tend to remember objects that take up space in the world and the simplicity makes the experience more impactful.  


As an activist, I do more than simply show my work in galleries. I want as many people to experience my work as possible, which you can see on any given weekend in Houston’s city parks. I firmly believe that activist art needs to be taken to the people in the streets.


Herb Shapiro Artist
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