In high demand, islander’s art form changes through time, opportunity
Some people are compulsively creative. Everything they see can be art. Cara Moore fits that description. She’s a Galveston artist who morphs her art form as often as the opportunity presents itself.
Moore, who originally is from Hobbs, New Mexico, but grew up in the Spring, Texas area, has been in Galveston since the early 1990s when she moved to the island to design silk screen clothing for then Galveston-based clothing company Yaga’s.
She attended college, but took only the art, sculpture and painting classes at Sam Houston State University and then Stephen F. Austin State University. Finally, she settled into a more focused education at The Art Institute of Houston, where she was exposed to many new art forms and techniques, including still life, live models and learning about anatomy to make her portraits and paintings more realistic.
But she wanted to be in Galveston, near the water and a big city and somewhere that the air and light was good, Moore said.
She created logos and murals for Galveston restaurants, such as Mario’s Seawall Italian & Pizzeria, The Spot, Float and the tarpon at Fisherman’s Wharf. She began experimenting with mosaics — first with large sections of tile to later mastering designs with tiny shards. She designed a huge installation of a tree at Mod Coffeehouse. Survivors of Hurricane Ike, a storm that caused catastrophic flooding in Galveston in 2008, put together “Tree of Life” at the downtown coffee shop. And, most recently, Moore created a 18-foot-long octopus mosaic in a friend’s pool.
She planned all the interior art work at Yaga’s Café on The Strand in downtown Galveston, and painted the whimsical chickens on the front of The Kitchen Chick on Market Street. She also fabricated at the kitchen accessories store a 3D canvas of a chef, using coffee cups for eyes and copper tubing for facial features.
At Saltwater Grill and Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar on Postoffice Street — two Galveston Restaurant Group venues downtown — Moore formed a quirky school of fish and underwater lifeforms meant to decorate as well as mitigate some of the acoustics in the restaurants. The wall hangings all are crafted from a foam material that acts as a sound insulator, she said.
Her artwork again morphed as she was asked to paint a tropical mural in the restaurant at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at 17th Street and Seawall Boulevard, where she mixed fish and palms on a primitive background with bold orange and black colors. And her imagination went wild with a large circular ceiling nautical compass of fish at Jimmy’s on the Pier on the seawall, she said. Last year, she was asked to produce a series of seven vibrant paintings of colorful parrots and cockatoos for the new Hospitality Health ER, also on the seawall.
Presently, her talents have been commissioned to redesign the interior and exterior of the Condos di Cocco on the seawall. Her latest passion? Creating collages with found objects of art, she said. She used a combination of latex gloves, old CDs, shells, Mardi Gras beads and tiny toys to fashion a collection of imaginative fish, seahorses and a huge octopus at the University of Texas Medical Branch clinic on Broadway.
“I’ve done a lot of work in Galveston and if you go into most local restaurants, you will see my art,” said Moore, whose home and studio in the city’s historic San Jacinto neighborhood is a work of art itself. In 2003, she purchased the city’s 1891 firehouse and transformed the building into an eclectic mix for living and working. The building is still a work in progress, but is perfect for large art projects because of the giant spaces and 20-foot doors, she said.
She also enjoys the culinary arts and has “enough skill to get me into trouble,” she said.
“But I can fake a gourmet meal,” she said. “It is just another form of art, just another medium to learn.”
Next, she wants to venture into fine art — painting and embellishing large photos, she said.
“You are only as good as your imagination and creativity,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in art — it’s the most fun thing to do, but it is hard to make a living.”