Hills Snyder lives in San Antonio, Texas. He was born in Lubbock in 1950. Throughout his high school years he worked in the local hardware store. Since, he has worked as carpenter, custodian, book seller and has held jobs in a commercial greenhouse, bean canning, paper products and ice making factories and has held many jobs in and around the visual arts. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
In the seventies and eighties he was known for labor-intensive prismacolor-based constructions and drawings featuring dark humor in narratives mythological in nature. His decades-long use of Plexiglas as a material came to the front in the nineties with projects in which a large variety of image-based objects were marshaled into cohesive semi-site installations interacting with pre-existing architectural elements. For the past decade his work has taken a turn toward performance and the interactive, using any media appropriate to the project at hand. He has received grants and fellowships from Art Matters, the NEA Mid-America, The Dallas Museum of Art and the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, among others.
He is also an active arts writer, publishing since 1996, including reviews of Psychedelic, Optical and Visionary Art Since the 1960s (San Antonio Museum of Art), The Old, Weird America (Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston) and Silence (The Menil Collection, Houston).
Since 1997, Snyder has served as Director/Curator of Sala Diaz, an artist-run, non-profit space in San Antonio. He took Sala Diaz to ARCO Madrid (2002, 2003), STRAY Chicago (2002, 2003) and The Suite Art Fair, Dallas (2011).
In 2005, he created Book of The Dead for his project as a resident artist in the International Artist Residency program at Artpace in San Antonio. This project was the beginning of an ongoing series of exhibitions linked by the verses of Song 44, a murder ballad written by the artist in 1997. Other projects in this series include Misery Repair Shoppe (2006), All Good Children (2008) and Casual Observer/Causal Observer (2010).
October 2010 saw Snyder spend nine days on the road replacing objects gathered by curator Jens Hoffmann for the Artpace exhibition On The Road. This action retrieved the objects contextualized by Hoffmann as stereotypically Texan and returned them to their original or near-original locales, hence salvaging them from the sealed narrative projected by the curator. To complete this task Snyder drove Hoffmann’s route in reverse, driving throughout Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Highlights of this project included a Stetson placed on the grave of Blind Lemon Jefferson, pouring back sand “stolen” from White Sands, New Mexico and a 1950s era Lone Star beer can donated to the permanent collection of San Antonio Museum of Art, which was converted in the late seventies from the historic Lone Star Brewery that the can came from over half a century ago.
In 2011, Snyder founded Wolverton, a four piece folk band that plays frequently around San Antonio and has released two albums of original music produced by Joe Reyes. 2013 also saw the release of the Horse Head Dawn EP, co-produced by Reyes and Snyder.