Tony Parana, Featured Artist for Bayou City Art Festival Downtown shares his story behind the art

The Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, scheduled for October 14-15, 2017 and produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc., will be held under the iconic Houston Downtown skyline, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The festival will spotlight more than 300 artists from 19 different disciplines and benefit local non-profits. is slated to deliver premiere artists from all over Now entering its 46th year, the Art Colony Association has raised $3.5 million for local non-profit programs through the festivals.


1. What originally spurred you to become an artist?

I was feeling the need to be connected to my culture and to express myself and put out all these thoughts I had inside, and art is an amazing thing to be thinking of when you feel that way – there is total freedom for you to let it out.

2. Do you have a primary influences that maybe were part of your starting out?

Yes, the artist named Carybe motivated me a lot. His style helped me to find myself and gave me a direction in my own work, to a certain extent. Still, I am always motivated by my culture’s energy and richness.

3. How old were you when you knew this is what you wanted to do?

I was 22 years old already, recently moved to Bernalillo, NM from Brazil. There I found a lot of inspiration and support from the community and family. The artistic scene in New Mexico is really big and important to the local communities there so I felt I was in the right place, at the right time.

4. Why mixed media & how do you put it to use in your work?

Being a self-thought artist made me discover so many things and I realized that I have all the tools I need to explore and to be myself. I also realized that my mistakes were not always a bad thing, and that the many times when my art was compared to “good” art and deemed “ok” were just a part of my learning process as I worked to become a professional artist looking to learn more about how to express my memories, layered with complex feelings.

5. Please comment on working with the art community in Houston in regard to the creative support and outreach here.

Love it!!! So many opportunities and great organizations doing good things here in the city. Art Colony Association, Houston Arts Alliance, Fresh Arts, Brazilian Arts Foundation, Diverse Work and many more organizations have been a strong support to the art community. It makes Houston look good and be a welcoming place for artists. However, there is still a lot to do within many communities, especially those that perhaps would benefit from the transformative power of art the most. I say this because I leave in the Fifth Ward and while there are great people doing amazing work in the community, the cultural arts projects are still limited. That’s why I have been working on a project called Mobile Arts Space for the Artists (MASA) so I can help by doing my part to bring more opportunities for education and empowerment through art and culture to the communities that need it the most around the city.


Tony Paraná is a self-taught artist from the state of Bahia, Brazil. Located in the northeastern region of the country, Bahia is a state known for its rich colors, flavorful foods, beautiful landscapes, eclectic music and unique Afro-Brazilian traditions. Many of these components are portrayed in Paraná’s work as he captures subject matter ranging from community life to local architecture, all having warmth and vibrant movement.

Paraná works primarily in oil painting, mixed media, sculptures and mosaics. His work has been exhibited in São Paulo-Brazil, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New York City, Paris and in his current home, Houston. His private collection has also traveled across the country and internationally.

Paraná has been actively involved in the Houston arts community since his arrival to the city in 2007. He hosted the first Montrose Art Soirée in 2010 with the mission of supporting local emerging artists. The success of the Art Soirée led him to found the Montrose Art Society in 2010 were he has been working since.  He curated art events featuring spoken word poets, artist talks, live music performances and critique sessions, including one held at the HAA Gallery in 2011.

Tony has also collaborated with many local organizations such as War’House for their Annual Invitational Art Show in 2010, Caroline Collective in 2011 for the Portrait Session exhibition, Houston Community College Northline for the Hispanic Heritage in 2011 and 2012, Nature’s Market for a collaborative exhibition in 2011, Fresh Arts for The Candy Shop art show in 2011, Cultured Cocktails from 2012-2017 and Spring Street Studios where he manages Forum 6 Gallery with artist and curator Eduardo Portillo.


Bayou City Art Festival will be held under the iconic Houston Downtown skyline, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The festival will spotlight more than 300 artists from 19 different disciplines and benefit local non-profits.

As one of the top outdoor fine art festivals in the U.S., Bayou City Art Festival will transform the streets of Downtown into artistic avenues bursting with colors and culture. Guests will have the opportunity to see and purchase unique, custom art and enjoy live entertainment, food trucks, a Children’s Creative Zone and much more.

Celebrating 46 years since the founding of the Westheimer Art Festival, now known as Bayou City Art Festival, ACA has provided a venue for over 20,000 artists to showcase their work to thousands of art lovers from all over the world. The participating artists, some new and some returning are selected by a new jury every year.

Online tickets are on sale now until the day of the event at Tickets online are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6 – 12; children five and under are free. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults. Also available online are two-day passes for $20 and family passes (two adults, two children tickets) for $30. Discounted tickets for Veterans and Seniors will be available at the gate.

More details at