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Brent Houzenga
Artist Brent Houzenga is a native of Fulton, Ill.

Since he began living in Iowa's capital city, Des Moines-based artist Brent Houzenga has amassed a statewide following in only five years.

But he wasn't sure he was documentary material.

"It's really flattering, I guess. And it kind of blows my mind. It's kind of weird to say, ‘This guy made a movie about me,' " said Houzenga, who grew up in Fulton, Ill.

"Usually when people make a documentary, it's about someone who is super-famous or super- accomplished. You know what I mean?" he added.

"Brent Houzenga: Hybrid Pioneer" debuted last fall and will be shown this week at the Bucktown Center for the Arts in downtown Davenport as part of its monthly Final Friday celebrations.

The 65-minute movie is the result of a friendship that Houzenga struck up with Kristian Day, a Des Moines documentarian.

"As we got to know each other and he learned more about me, he said he wanted to do a full-fledged documentary," Houzenga said.

In a news release for the movie, Day calls his pieces "do-it yourself punk" mixed-media work.

"When I was first introduced to Brent's art, I was blown away by his mixture of Americana and chaos," Day said in the release. "As I got to know him through the making of ‘Hybrid Pioneer,' I realized he was living the dream as a full-time artist: no day job, couch surfing, suffering for his art. Many people would scoff at this kind of ruthless dedication, so I became determined to make a film about a guy from Iowa who had put his career of creativity above everything else."

It is the first in Day's series called "Made in Iowa," telling the stories of innovative people, places and things that have influenced the state's culture.

Houzenga, 27, said he has wanted to be an artist from the time he was young, but he pictured himself creating comic books. "Galleries and stuff isn't what I had envisioned as a child," he said.

At Western Illinois University, he combined his study of printmaking with his love of street art. He used elements of printmaking, such as stencils and scraping away paint, to paint on found objects as large as cars.

"I'll paint pretty much on anything," he said. "It's pretty much whatever I can get my hands on."

Houzenga, who will be at Bucktown for the screening as well as having some of his works on display, said the documentary serves as an introduction to himself and his style.

"It does explain more about me and how I do it, and a little more about my philosophy than if someone walked in and saw my paintings on the wall," he added.

"I've worked really hard over the last five years to do what I've done. This is not the end. I'm still gonna have to work really hard from here on out, but it's a cool thing."


What: "Brent Houzenga: Hybrid Pioneer"

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Bucktown Center for the Arts, 225 E. 2nd St., Davenport

How much: Free

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