Maria Elena Sandovici is a full-time artist, writer, and gallery owner living in Houston, TX. She works primarily in watercolor on paper and acrylic on wood with occasional luscious incursions into oil painting. Balancing figurative and abstract, her works explore her daily experiences and emotions, which she has been blogging about at HaveWatercolorsWillTravel.com since 2013. The discipline of making and sharing something every day creates a sense of well-being in her life, no matter the circumstances. Throughout the pandemic art has been a saving grace. So has writing. Sandovici published two novels in 2020: Storms of Malhado and The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard. Both are feminist historical novels set on Galveston Island. In February 2022, she released a new historical mystery entitled Galveston 1922, exploring the friendship between a flapper dead before her time and a dissatisfied housewife. You can purchase all her books on Amazon as well as in select stores in Galveston.
Sandovici was born in Bucharest, Romania and had a non-traditional upbringing traveling between her parents’ cosmopolitan life as urban intellectuals to the mellow Southern European town where her grandparents made a fortune selling fur coats, to New York City, a place that as a child struck her as not much fun at all. She graduated from the German High School Bucharest in 1997 with an International Baccalaureate and still maintains that German is a lovely language, especially when spoken with a Viennese accent. She speaks six other languages, and loves Spanish best. She wishes her Catalan were better. She went to college in Philadelphia, and fell in love with Barcelona during a semester abroad. Sandovici went on to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton in 2005.
Before quitting her tenured job to open her own gallery in Houston in December 2018, Sandovici was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Lamar University, in Beaumont, TX. Her research centered around political participation, leadership, social movements, and the difficulty of human cooperation. Her scholarly career led her to extended research stays at prestigious universities, such as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Juan March institute in Madrid, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. These stays resulted in an impressive list of academic publications nobody reads except for other academics. They also underscored more and more her desire to experience the world not as a social scientist but as an artist and writer.
Making art a priority, Sandovici moved to Houston in the Fall of 2015, and rented studio space first at Hardy and Nance Studios, then at Sawyer Yards. In 2017, she met internationally acclaimed artist John Ross Palmer and applied to his Escapist Mentorship Program, from which she graduated in 2018. She received the Escapist Alumni Award in 2020. Besides Houston, she has had solo shows in Barcelona, Binghamton, Galveston, and Beaumont. In 2020 she was honored to be featured on the Meet Houston’s Artists docuseries which led to her participation in the Meet Houston’s Artists show at Sawyer Yards in February 2021. Her live painting shows during lockdown were also featured in the Houston Chronicle.
The pandemic has been especially challenging as it has forced Sandovici to stay on one continent for longer than usual. With her participation in the Fira Internacional d’Art de Barcelona in December 2021, Sandovici celebrated her return to her favorite city. Her display was a love letter to Barcelona: from the panots of its modernist sidewalks all the way to the sea – a magical salty bridge that leads from the Catalan metropolis all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and the small mysterious Island Sandovici loves writing about.
Stay tuned to see what’s next!
For appointments or other inquiries please email Elena Sandovici at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this contact form.
Sandovici Art LLC has been operating in Houston since January 2019.