WHEN VISUAL ARTIST GRACE DEAL, 20, and fashion designer Preston Boyer, 22, started dating a year and a half ago, it was only a matter of time before the two artists—opposite but complimentary by nature—would rub off on one another.
Boyer, never really a painter, would eventually pick up a brush of his own, even coordinating his paintings into fabrics for his fashion label, Preston Douglas. Deal, the daughter of an artist who spent her life surrounded by paint and pencils, would find herself accidentally matching Boyer's outfit when they'd go on dates to Thai restaurants and art exhibits. Before long, they'd even learn to share a canvas.
This Friday, the couple is hosting an art show in their apartment to show off their solo art as well as several collaborations in an evening billed as Grace & Preston's Shitty Apartment Art Show. And yes, the apartment is shitty.
Boyer is a business major and Houston fashion designer with an interest in art. Deal is an artist who originally was going to go to school for business, until she realized she hated it and continued as an artist. Both attend UH.
Deal jokes about how Boyer hates some of her clothes. Boyer jokes about how Deal hates his paintings. Both deny these accusations, but only to an extent.
"We have completely opposite styles, we clash on everything from art to fashion to music," Boyer says. "We are very different people, with very different styles, but there's something to be said about that. We didn't expect to put these paintings together like this. I did this diptych Buy this for Money, and then we put Grace's piece in the middle. It just became something that was better than either piece on its own."
And so it is with their relationship.
Today, they are both wearing shades of blue that contrast with the orangey painting on display behind them in a mostly empty room, despite the other paintings covering the white popcorn walls and windows. The orange painting is titled The Whataburger on West Holcombe Sucks. You can probably guess the backstory: Boyer and Deal worked on the painting together after going to Whataburger and getting sick from it. Deal hates the painting; Boyer loves it.
"When I first moved into this place, one of the first things I thought was that this room would be a really great room to have a gallery," Deal says. "I've always wanted to do one. I'm interning at a gallery right now and it's been fun trying to put together my own."
When Boyer met Deal, he had just released his first major fashion collection, with art nowhere near his radar. "But now look," Deal says. "He even has art on his clothes."
Deal's work has several themes from frog families, to paintings with an intertwined bodies motif meant to represent herself at different points of her life.
"When I first started painting, I was painting things that were pretty," Deal says. "Now that I've been painting more and going to school for it, I'm able to use art as more of a tool. Now my paintings are a lot more about myself, and a lot more metaphorical to my life stories."
While Deal says she cannot paint when she's angry or overly emotional, Boyer's contributions to the gallery consist of abstract emotional paintings, some simply words hastily painted on to black canvas. "These are more artifacts of moments of my life," he says, "where my [fashion] collections are more artifacts of phases in my life."
Grace & Preston's Shitty Apartment Art Show. Friday, August 11 at 6 p.m. 1933 Dryden Rd. More info via Facebook.