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Alumni Spotlight: Colby Deal

Q&A with Magnum Photography Agency nominee, Colby Deal

"Something that specifically makes me proud of attending the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts is the huge community of artists of color that have grown together and moved into positions of effect throughout Houston, the country and even the world. I can’t stress the vital importance of this, especially in the climate of todays society. We’re using our art to create real change and I’m very proud of that." -Colby Deal

Q: What was the year and degree you received from The University of Houston’s College of the Arts?

A: 2018 BFA Photography and Digital Media

Q: Where has your [arts] career taken you since graduation?

A: It has given more access to public art projects in Houston and in other states. I’ve also been to a two-year residency in Denver, Colorado at Redline Contemporary Art Center from 2018 to 2020. I was able to have a solo Participating Space in FotoFest 2020 and as a result there are a couple museums who are going to exhibit my work, which is every artist’s dream.

Q: Is there one thing that has surprised you about a career in the arts that you didn’t expect?

A: The importance of building a proper network will take you a long way and make goals a lot easier to obtain. 

Q: What accomplishments in your career do you feel most proud of?

A: The opportunity to display public art projects in Houston in order to stimulate positive influence. Most recently, being nominated into Magnum Photography Agency. 

Q: Are there specific skills or things you learned at the McGovern College of the Arts that you find valuable in your career now? What are they?

A: I learned how to articulate the concept of my craft and its purpose. Experimenting with different mediums and materials has been a crucial part of that.

Q: What is coming up for you in the future that we should watch for?

A: I’m excited about projects that will come from being a Magnum nominee and the personal projects I have ongoing at the moment. I got some interesting ideas I want to pursue. I have two museum exhibitions coming up soon, one will be at the Houston Museum of African American Culture and the other I’m not permitted to disclose just yet.

Q: What advice would you have for incoming students who are focusing on a career in the arts?

A: Build a proper network of all kinds of people, but be particular. That support system will never fail you, especially if you genuinely work diligently at your craft. When you get discouraged and want to give up on being an artist, DON’T! Your blessing is most likely right on the other side of that hard time. So many creatives give up right before it’s their time, just keep experimenting and talking to people who are likeminded that bring you solace and not negativity, and just breathe.