“A childhood spent on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico instilled in this seventh-generation Texan a lifelong love of water that came to inspire his art. He represented water as glass, blending it with the limestone of the Hill Country – his home for more than 30 years – to create elegant artworks that captured the essence of Central Texas' natural beauty and the admiration of viewers and collectors worldwide.
Damian contributed generously to many cultural organizations, serving on boards for the Austin Museum of Art, Ballet Austin, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, and co-founding the Austin Visual Arts Association. His generosity was also exemplified by the Texas Chair Project, for which he sculpted 100 small chairs that he sent to 100 Texas artists he admired, asking them to make a small chair in return. From that, Priour expanded its scope, creating the Global Chair Project as a means to support cultural, environmental, and health research efforts through the sale of chairs donated by artists from around the world. Priour was named the Texas Commission on the Arts' State Three-Dimensional Artist in 2008 and inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2009.” (courtesy of The Austin Chronicle)
Damian Priour opened Priour Studio in 1984. His work can be found in numerous collections including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Austin Museum of Art, the Austin Convention Center, the Equitable Companies of New York, the Texas Sculpture Garden in Frisco, and the Public Art Collections of Frisco, Grand Prairie, and Corpus Christi.
1949 - 2011
"J.J. Priour’s vision and inspiration for art come from growing up in Central Texas and watching his father, Damian Priour, evolve in his lifelong passion as a sculptor. The Central Texas limestone and glass, used as a metaphor for water, are the unique elements combined in his pieces of sculpture that capture the light, fascination, beauty and strength of the relationship between nature and the artist. These materials deeply depict the importance of our place in and commitment to our surrounding environment. Priour hopes to enlighten the community with love of the arts in our environments and in our homes." (courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson WIldflower Center)
In 1998 I had the fortune to answer an ad from Damian Priour. He had requested someone knowledgeable about tools with a background in art. I met up with him at his studio and was soon amazed at the sculptures he created and the wonderful friends and clients he had made along the way. We soon struck up a lasting partnership and friendship. I helped to engineer and sculpt many monumental works in glass and stone up to the point of his passing in 2011.
I am honored to have the legacy of now working with JJ Priour and helping to convey the technical skills I have learned over the many years. I consider the Priours not just employers but family, and am grateful for their support and friendship. We share many of the same views of preserving the Hill Country, protecting the environmental and supporting artists.