Hills Snyder: Infusing a Passion for Prose into Contemporary Art

Song 44 Verse on table, Misery Repair Shoppe, 2005

Hills Snyder has established himself as a key figure in the San Antonio contemporary art scene.  Born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, Snyder’s work ranges from performance pieces to participatory events and installations.  Known as a cutting edge artist, both locally and internationally, Snyder says he is heavily influenced by musical and lyrical elements rather than traditional artistic genres.

“As a consumer of other people’s creativity, I tend to be drawn more to writing, music and film,” the 59-year-old Snyder says.

Snyder infuses his passion for music and songwriting into his art, blurring the lines between art, music and prose.  His 2005 participatory art event Book of the Dead incorporated the sixth verse from Song 44, a murder ballad he wrote in 1997.  Verses from it have appeared in several of his artistic works, including Misery Repair Shoppe and All Good Children.  His upcoming exhibition, set to open in September at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, will include the first verse of the ballad.

“I just don’t put dividing lines between things,” Snyder says.  “I seem to continually play with words and it’s not like it’s something that I intend.  It’s like I hear it like it’s on a radio.  I always hear the backside of words.  It’s just something I hear all the time.”

When asked how he feels about his artistic endeavors sparking controversy, Snyder shook his head and expressed his disinterest in the matter.  He creates what he chooses and enjoys what he creates, regardless of the outsider’s perspective.  Although Snyder describes himself as laconic, his creative works suggest otherwise.

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