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Some Things Just Hurt

“Some Things Just Hurt” is a site-specific sculptural installation by Damon J. Thomas, a Houston-based artist whose practice centers on visual storytelling with found objects. The title is borrowed from meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg’s take on the Buddhist idea that suffering is a fact of life. As she sums it up, “Some things just hurt.”

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Thomas has long been intrigued by the memorials created to honor victims of vehicular accidents and violence. On the same day in March 2019 that he was installing his “Home Fire” sculpture on Heights Boulevard, as part of the annual “True North” exhibit, a 23-year-old bicyclist was killed by a school bus just a couple of blocks away. Almost immediately, a roadside memorial materialized and has been lovingly maintained ever since.

That tragic incident inspired Thomas to start thinking about memorials and the emotional impact they have on close survivors and the community at large. In the past year, the ensuing pandemic and the deaths of George Floyd and others have added more urgency to this investigation of public memory. 

For “Some Things Just Hurt,” Thomas envisioned an open, collective memorial created from stuffed animals, balloons, graffiti, and other elements that survivors use to express love, pain, grief, and other feelings. To collect the materials, he scoured thrift stores throughout the Houston area, noting the many of the objects, especially the animals, already carried their own histories, originating from organizations devoted to children’s survival and wellbeing, for instance. 

Thomas sees these disparate found objects as coming together for an ephemeral representation of sympathy and solidarity before being released back into the urban recycling stream, like seeds from a spring dandelion. 



Houston artist Damon J. Thomas works in found objects and mixed media to create art that explores the emotional range of the human condition. He has a certificate of achievement from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of Art and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Art League Houston, Art Car Museum, Artspace111 and The Jung Center. It is included in the Houston Airport System's Portable Works Collection and in Armadillo Clay's sculpture garden in Austin. Upcoming exhibitions include Sculpture Month Houston in October 2021 at SITE Gallery Houston. 

For more information about Damon, visit

All exhibitions are free and open to the public Monday - Saturday 9 AM - 5 PM.


TANK Space - Spring Street Studios

1824 Spring Street, Houston, TX 77007