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Robin Kachantones

Featured Article

Palette Personalities

Three talented Houston artists share why animals inspire their award-winning artwork.

In a stunning display of artistic ability, Mia Huckman, an 18-year-old prodigy from Lamar CISD, has set a new benchmark at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Auction. Huckman's mesmerizing painting, "Our Last Roundup," claimed the prestigious Grand Champion Work of Art title and fetched an astonishing $275,000, shattering the event's previous sales record.

For Huckman, this momentous achievement represents the realization of a lifelong dream. Huckman says, "I've always considered myself an artist. I decided art was what I wanted to do for a career when I was around 13."

Breaking records for two consecutive years with her rodeo art has both astonished and fulfilled her. She was caught completely off guard when she won, as breaking records wasn't even a thought in her mind. However, the subsequent success filled her with a deep sense of pride, because of the significant milestone she had achieved.

The impact of Huckman's work on others is proof of her remarkable talent. She humorously recounts instances where she has been approached for selfies and autographs, but cherishes the unexpected interactions.

Looking ahead, Huckman will attend Savannah College of Art and Design, where she hopes to be a concept artist and ultimately live abroad. 

April Murphy is an extraordinary Houston artist who has been drawing since childhood. As a young girl, her parents furnished her bedroom with a round yellow table and art supplies – it is where she discovered her love for art.

As Murphy's artistic journey has unfolded, her work has evolved in remarkable ways. Her earlier pieces had a more straightforward aesthetic, but her creative vision has remained a constant throughout the years. Her current artwork has taken on a more intricate and multi-layered nature while retaining simplicity. Recently, a young girl summed up Murphy's style at a Dallas art festival perfectly, describing it as a beautiful fusion of simplification and abstraction.

Murphy's profound love for art extends beyond her own work. She is constantly immersed in the art world, whether through art festivals or alongside fellow artists at Sawyer Yards, which allows her to collect pieces from artists she admires. 

Houston holds a special place in Murphy's heart, particularly as a dedicated runner. She has discovered three cherished spots, which she calls "filling stations." One is the Eastern Glades in Memorial Park, where she recently painted a breathtaking sunrise. The symphony of bullfrogs and the graceful presence of ducks create a serene atmosphere that fuels her creative spirit. Along Buffalo Bayou, Murphy finds inspiration in two picturesque locations—one offers a stunning view of the downtown skyline, while the other features a tranquil waterfall near Dunlavy. Rather than rushing through her runs, she deliberately pauses at these havens of natural beauty, finding renewal and artistic inspiration within their embrace.

Animals have always held a profound significance in Murphy's life, and her affinity for them shines through her art. When she transitioned to painting as her full-time job, it was only natural for animals to become central to her artistic expression. Creating what she is genuinely passionate about allows her to forge a connection with her audience.

Murphy's artistic journey began later in life, unexpectedly triggered by a layoff from her corporate marketing and graphic design job. Seeking solace, she turned to painting, never anticipating it would lead her to her true calling. Displaying her artwork in a neighborhood Starbucks was a life-changing decision that led to a fulfilling and lifelong artistic career.

Robin Kachantones discovered her passion for art at an early age under the guidance of her father, who was an artist. From the moment she could hold a crayon, Robin was immersed in art. Surrounded by art supplies and observing her father's painting and drawing lessons, her artistic journey began to take shape.

Over time, Robin's work has evolved and as her skills have developed, her art is now remarkably close to its photographic references. However, Robin remains committed to a style that goes beyond photorealism. She tries to accurately capture the essence of her subjects while infusing her work with the unmistakable touch of an artist.

Robin draws inspiration from expressionism, pop art, and Renaissance portraiture – her art spans many styles. Her versatility and openness to exploring different aesthetics shine through in their creations. 

An unexpected source of influence for Robin is the doubters who claimed she couldn't make a living as an artist. Robin embraces the unconventional, constantly pushing boundaries and surpassing expectations on her artistic journey – she is fueled by the determination to prove naysayers wrong. 

In Houston, Robin finds inspiration in nature. She enjoys immersing herself in walks among trees, leaves, and moss to connect with the textures and elements around her. When depicting animals, Robin tries her best to capture their physical likeness and evoke the sensation of realism. This approach breathes life into the artwork, making it a vibrant reflection of her subjects.

Robin credits her love of animals to her rural upbringing, where horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs were her cherished companions. While her artistic repertoire extends far beyond pets, Robin acknowledges the profound bond between humans and animals and tries to immortalize that bond on canvas.


“People often tell me that they want to be an animal in my paintings – I take that as a high compliment.”– April Murphy

  • Robin Kachantones
  • Robin Kachantones
  • Robin Kachantones
  • "Our Last Roundup," Mia Huckman. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Grand Champion.
  • "A Cowboy's Pride," Mia Huckman
  • "Catch First Light" inspired by the Clay Family Eastern Glades. April Murphy
  • "Concert for Two," April Murphy