Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom, Fungi Abound, 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

2017 Martel Award Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom

Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom has been selected as the recipient of the eighteenth annual Marian and Speros Martel Award of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The Martel Award is given annually to a graduating senior chosen by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in consultation with the visual arts faculty at the senior’s high school. The selection criteria include: production of a significant and meritorious body of work during the senior year, plans to attend an accredited college, university, or art school, and exceptional promise in the visual arts and attendant professions.

Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom has a unique worldview and pulls inspiration from many places in creating her unique and sumptuous worlds. In her own words, Bomba-Bloom states, “When I look at the world around me, I tend to focus on the details of my environment, both natural and man-made. The vast and complex organization of cities and countries that humans inhabit mirror the way living creatures interact in various naturally occurring biomes. I treat these systems as sentient beings who have interactions and conflicts with each other, and I am interested in examining the processes and reasons behind such interactions and conflicts. I have always found interest in how individuals move through nature and forms relationships with others.

For the past year and counting, I have focused on creating an alien world where I can explore how individuals act and react in moments of danger, of action, of solitude, of sorrow. People have fascinating dynamics with each other as well as with the spaces around them. My interest lies in the truly breathtaking, sublime qualities of nature. In my appreciation of the simultaneous beauty and danger of the natural world, I am creating my own variety of arenas that reflect my fascination with the natural world. My main characters’ journeys examine the intricacies of a planet full of new cultures and environments, with new people to meet (whether friend or foe). I have always had an interest in telling stories, especially through media without the use of words. I construct my stories with a collection of images to provide a narrative flow that allows the story to follow a visual pace that correlates to the pace of ideas.

The designs and ideas for my characters and environmental creations are based on my memories of local, neighborhood locations and vast natural parks. These include Buffalo Bayou, Wissahickon Trail, Howe Caverns, Shenandoah Valley, Kaaterskill Falls. I am inspired by Andy Goldsworthy’s land art, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s vast sculptural forms, Kesler Woodward’s vibrant paintings, and the journal-entry like format of Audubon Society book illustrations detailing different types of organisms. I enjoy investigating the methods that other artists employ to create their art because it helps me develop my own ways to translate my ideas through multiple image format.”

About Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom

Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom attends the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, and is graduating as a senior in 2017.  She will be continuing her education at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, where she will be studying illustration and narrative art.

Bomba-Bloom has been developing her world through comics and illustrations throughout the year and will be continuing to expand her story in college.  She works in both traditional and digital media, exploring photography, printmaking, pen and gouache illustrations, and digital painting. Bomba-Bloom draws inspiration for her stories from local and renowned natural parks and sites, a healthy variety of music, and unexplored places. She hopes to continue her art practice into a career of illustration, including her original comics.

Work Samples

by Elizabeth Bomba-Bloom