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Meet Charles Houska

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charles Houska. 

Hi Charles, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Well, I guess the easiest way to start is to work backward from where I am now. I am a full-time artist, who owns and runs a gallery, with an amazing team at my side. It has not always been this luxurious, and believe me, it still isn’t perfect! For many years, I was a one-man operation, doing everything myself. I would make my own work, find other artists, hang shows, do all the publicity and marketing, and then make time to socialize and sell art too! Before I started showing other artists’ work, Houska Gallery was my own working studio space. The Central West End was different back then and it felt like I was beginning to be a part of something special in St. Louis. I came here from Springfield, Illinois after working a bit in Chicago. I just always knew that with my specific vision and way of doing things, my best outcome would be to be self-employed and build a life only I could create. Looking back, I think my determination and constant desire to keep creating is what got me where I am today. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The life of an artist is the definition of struggle! Being a perfectionist and striving for beauty, inherently means a more difficult journey. I guess I find hope and stay optimistic that there will be a reward for all the hard work. Specifically, for me, I struggled with the pressure of sustaining myself on my paintings. Also, learning how to live in my studio space in order to maximize my ability to create, often left me feeling like I never could escape being at work! 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have been a professional artist/painter my entire career, or at least that’s what I have focused on while also doing many other things. My love of painting came from an early age, but that was also a time where it was not very practical to try to build a career selling paintings. My signature style came very organically after going to school and studying graphic design. I found a way to paint in a way that was accessible and easily translatable to other applications in addition to the piece you hang over your couch. Pop art was very hot at the time and I was so attracted to the idea of the simplicity and directness of the genre as well as the bold color palettes. I thought that if I could paint positive imagery that would make others feel happy, while also paying my bills, why wouldn’t I? To make that happen I applied to mural projects, pitched my images for advertising campaigns, and began to develop my own private line of merchandise, as well as my original paintings. 

The work I am most proud of, however, is the work I have done with kids in school and also supporting animal charities. Through my program Houskaballoo, I collaborated with students to create murals in their schools. In my own way, I was able to show the children how to make a difference in their surroundings, by adding more beauty, fun, and creativity! 

What does success mean to you?
To me success is not to be defined, it is more of a feeling. I don’t want to spend my life chasing a word or a made-up definition of an idea. For me, I already feel incredibly lucky to have my gifts and the ability to use them in a way that feels authentic. I feel most alive when I get to celebrate with friends, share what I have to offer, and still feel that the best is yet to come. That is what motivates me to keep going. If I, have it my way, I will be painting and celebrating every day for the rest of my life. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Suzy Gorman
Emily Elhoffer

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2 Comments

  1. Kris Smith

    October 12, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    So wonderful to see an article written about Charles. ((Charlie).I am proud to have quite a few pieces. Loved his style, since the first time I saw it. fFabulous!

  2. Edie Tashma

    October 13, 2021 at 3:18 am

    Wonderful article about a truly socially engaged artist and business man. I miss visiting Charlie during these weird times but I vow to get there soon.
    Cheers and Love, Edie Tashma

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