Since there's so much to see and just two days to do it, I recommend forming a plan of attack. EAST's exceedingly informative Web site, www.eastaustinstudiotour.com, can give you the lowdown on any of the participating artists or studios and help you choose the destinations best suited to your particular tastes. If you're interested in furniture, the applied arts, and design, you'll find 22 stops on the tour that cater primarily to design and large-scale fabrication. (Many of these builders lead our community in green building techniques.) If you hunger for some color and brand-new paintings, you can choose from among 34 locations showing your basic oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, and 2-D design. That still leaves 20 studios, full of photography, videos, ceramics, custom lighting, decorative metal sculpture, jewelry, framing, and silk screen. Is that enough convergent media for one weekend? I'd say yes, particularly due to the open format of the tour; many of these studios blur all creative boundaries, making pedantic terms like artist or artisan completely irrelevant.
Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20, 10am-5pm. For more info see www.eastaustinstudiotour.com.1) ArtAmici, 78 San Marcos, 457-0171
2) Liliana Wilson, 58 Waller, 431-5658
3) The Nest, 1114 E. Cesar Chavez, 699-0506 Dylan Robertson, Selena Souders, kitefilms, (480-0688)
4) Mingle Jewelry Design, 1407-A E. Cesar Chavez Rachel Roberts (659-4159), Cynthia Wells (476-7788), Stefani McNutt-Alley (565-3953)
5) Fisterra Studio, 1200 E. Second, 482-0747 Holly L. Fisher, (789-4155)
6) Barry George Sculpture Studio, 204 Attayac, 480-0267
7) Cesar A. Sylva, 1402 E. Second, 633-9728
8) Graphic Glass Studio, 1101 E. Fifth, 443-7354
9) Archaic, 414 Waller, 473-8957
10) Silver Leaf Framing, 1300 E. Fourth, 507-3619
11) Galleria Las Americas, 1103 E. Sixth, 971-3643
12) Clayworks Studio/Gallery, 1209 E. Sixth, 474-9551
13) Obsolete Industries Inc., 2207 E. Fifth, 480-8710
14) Sharon Bright, 1313 E. Sixth, 302-1757
15) RedStart Paint Design, 517 Navasota, 743-3385
16) Telepathic Tattoo, 502 Onion, 478-5752
17) Dark Room Studio & Gallery, 301 Chicon, 542-9261
18) Art Palace, 2109 E. Cesar Chavez, 496-0687
19) Andrew Long, 2112 Willow, 450-1045
20) John Corry, 2110 Riverview, 573-6770
21) The Mad House, 2203 E. Fifth, 502-9595
22) Iron Gate Studios, 2205 E. Fifth, 495-9994
23) Flux Studio & Gallery, 2401 E. Sixth #2020, Bldg. 2, 320-0753
24) Karen Maness, 2401 E. Sixth #1010, 799-7528
25) blisspopart, 2401 E. Sixth #102, Bldg. 6, 413-8125
26) José Acosta, 501 Pedernales, 565-6064
27) Maggie DeSanto, 2711 E. Third, 469-2959 Debbie Ellison (477-5022)
28) Ryan McKerley, 2710 E. Cesar Chavez, 477-4776 Edmo
29) Utility Research Garden, 638 Tillery, 386-9453 David & Patty Cater
30) Hard Court Studios, 628 Allen, 799-0589 Courtney Gray, Veronica Ceci
31) Bearded Lady, 3222 E. Fifth, 389-0180
32) Slight of Hand Metalworks, 3222 E. Fifth, 825-5602 Robert Abdallah
33) Dillo Glass Studio, 3307 E. Fourth, 385-7311
34) Fire Island Hot Glass Studio, 3401 E. Fourth, 389-1100
35) Splinter Group, 405 Springdale, 385-7220 Hawkeye Glenn, Brian David Johnson, Chris Levack, Mark Macek, Andrew St. Martin, Joseph Zambarano (740-5324)
36) Coronado Studio, 901 Vargas, 385-3591
37) Art Schoenig Studio, 904 Koerner, 385-4017
38) Katy O'Connor, 5305 Bolm #5, 320-8242
39) Assemblage, 5305 Bolm #6, 576-2177
40) Absolute Concrete Design, 5305 Bolm #7, 791-9894 Kollin Baker
41) Hillary McMahan, 5305 Bolm #7/8, 350-8825
42) Michael Yates, 5305 Bolm #8, 922-4640
43) Dusty Whipple Designs, 5305 Bolm #8, 775-4069
44) Bolm Studios, 5305 Bolm #9-12 Sodalitas (385-1670), Michael Schliefke (431-0612), Michelle Mayer (695-9449), Matt Norris
45) Adam Stern, 777 Shady #14, 389-3530
46) Vintage Material Supply Co., 730 Shady, 386-6404
47) Shady Tree Studios, 702 Shady, 351-8571 John Mulvany (203-4102)
48) Ginko Studios, 800 Gullett, 389-1920 Sunyong Chung, Melanie Schopper, Pat Guerro (210/394-9712), Connie McCreary (894-3620)
49) Philippe Klinefelter, 800 Gullett, 389-1920
50) Blue Genie Art Industries, 916 Springdale #4, 444-6655
51) Bartok Studio, 1007 Tillery, 929-8483 Kirby Rogere
52) Idea, 701 Tillery Ste. A-3. Jacqueline May (472-3349), Deanna Miesch (385-6278), Tina Weitz Photography (481-8493), Benné Rockett (472-3349)
53) Felton Knorra Studio, 701 Tillery #1, 389-9776
54) Holly Reed Photography, 701 Tillery Ste. A-12, 413-0188 McConnell Photography (426-8368)
55) DeCola & Eusebi Studio, 701 Tillery Ste. A-11, 389-2266
56) Iona Handcrafted Books, 701 Tillery, Bldg. B, 247-4700
57) Scarlette Olson Fine Art, 701 Tillery Ste. B-2
58) Littlebird Studios, 701 Tillery, Bldg C, 791-2453
59) Daniel Burns, 1916 E. Eighth, 480-5946Shawn R. Camp (289-8589)
60) Texas Center for Documentary Photography, 1604 E. 11th, 478-8387
61) Peter Staats Design Studio, 1150 San Bernard, 473-2277
62) The Factory, 1178 San Bernard
63) Alonso Rey, 1131 Leona, 220-5277
64) Terra Firma Studios, 2009 S.L. Davis Ave., 481-1923 Aly Winningham, Katherine Casey
65) Susan Wallace, 2012 E. 16th, 477-2740
66) Gallery Dv8, 2300 E. 16th, 482-0911
67) Chia at the House of Taurus, 1404 Cedar
68) Pandora Studios, 1180 Pandora, 474-5229 Ryah Christensen, Sun McColgin
69) InHouse Gallery, 2514 E. 17th, 220-7198 Ethan Azarian, Kala Fine Art 299-2101
70) Singleton Studio, 1804 Singleton Jamie A. Kelsch (413-3972), Rob Harrell (527-8677), Eric Mills (293-6729)
71) Slugfest Printmaking Workshop & Gallery, 1906 Miriam, 477-7204
72) Flatbed Press, 2830 E. MLK, 477-9328 Studio 68, Elvia Perrin
73) Gat 5 Studio, 3403 Larry, 680-0532 James Ferraro
74) Bonnie Gammill Studio, 3201 Hollywood, 787-3530
75) Pascal M. Simon, 1706 E. 38½, 320-0748
76) Soul Takes Flight, 4205 Lullwood, 459-1882
Sodalitas, the art team composed of Joseph Phillips, Jana Swec, and Shea Little, continues to work in its mixed-media format. Having just met Dave Hickey, I'm reminded of his complaint about Texas artists, something to the effect that they all grew up on farms so their artwork is always about the farm, nostalgia for the pasture, or guilt about leaving it. I've known many a landscape painter to leave his true suburban home and drive out to the country to paint farm scenes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but artists like Sodalitas move beyond our agrarian past to represent our urban present and future. Their honest landscapes point happily toward our shared experiences in dense urban settings. The visual comforts and rhythms of parallel lines can come from overhead power transformers and highway flyways, not just trees in a forest. These artists are forward looking, dealing with the actual landscapes most of us live with and portraying them as objects of beauty. They lead this tour by example and by making consistently fine art.
Bonnie Gammill is a promising new painter on the tour. Originally from Dallas, she art-schooled in Baltimore and has just settled in Austin. Her paintings of tree canopies and highway landscapes from the driver's perspective are beautiful and may help reduce road rage by encouraging viewers to stop and see the urban symphony of visible parallel lines while stuck in rush hour traffic. She has quietly developed a tape, cut, and layer method of oil painting, a technique that looks something like a silk screen but with a highly refined color palette and sensitive gradations. The cut edges give interesting texture and a mechanical crispness to the details. Hers is some of the best new painting I've seen all year anywhere, period. So look out, Sodalitas, you're no longer the only awesome painters of power lines and concrete in town.
Special guest artist this year at the awesome Fisterra Studio is the promising realist painter Holly Fisher. Using photographic realism as a starting point, she creates emotional ambience by painting outdoor scenes at night with lots of unnatural lighting effects very Hopper, very urban, very cool. In the future there will be fewer and fewer barn paintings because the bulk of folks will live in cities. We can all enjoy these images that reflect our current state of being and living together.
Kala Fine Art represents artists living in India for our viewing pleasure, and more than a dozen of them will be showing alongside Ethan Azarian's work at his InHouse Gallery. There are plenty of sweet South Americans in Austin, too. Alonso Rey will showcase his excellent mostly figurative paintings in his brand-new Eastside studio. Galleria Las Americas has long been a Peruvian painting stronghold in East Austin. Owner Augusto Brocca was one of the first artists to start having openings on the Eastside way back in the Nineties.
Another studio and gallery run by friend-ly South Americans is ArtAmici, where you can practice your Spanish, kiss cheeks, and look at some great paintings and sculpture. Amici will show Alejandra Almuelle's haunting half-animal, half-person clay sculptures. Unique among ceramic artists, she uses photo transfers, airbrush painting, and graphite drawings to give her magical figures amazing surface details. Oscar Riquelme is always worth dropping in on. He has been using water as a metaphor for movement and multiculturalism, but frankly all his paintings just look good boats, fishes, anything this guy makes is basically smoking. The dreamy and poetic Jennifer Balkan (USA) will show paintings, as will the classically strong Pablo Taboada, whose traditional still lifes are solidly grounded in studies of the European Masters, as are the works of José Acosta (USA). Acosta is an interesting sculptor, his large-scale figurative series is classically beautiful, and his use of the Venus archetype is well thought-out.
The strength of new architecture and contemporary building practice in Travis County has led to a crisp regional style. Leading the trends in rad furniture are the super-svelte clean maestros at work here: Hawkeye Glenn, Brian David Johnson, Joseph Zambarano, Mark Macek, of the Splinter Group; Dylan Robertson of the Nest; Littlebird Studios; Michael Yates; Dusty Whipple; and Vintage Material Supply Co. Entire articles could be dedicated to describing their streamlined and functionally efficient works.
Excellence in woodworking will never go out of style. Attention to and knowledge of materials is key here, and these builders have access to the finest products on the markets. Designers on the tour will showcase new fabrications made out of everything from recycled barn woods to fine lumbers and the latest wood veneers; concrete molded forms to limestone; coated Styrofoam forms to steel, aluminum, and glass. The tour boasts something for everyone, including ornamental metal work and a variety of mosaic art. In addition to the works they show in their studios, these artists are available for custom job orders. Spice up that sink backsplash with your choice of hand-painted ceramic tiles or a glass mosaic. Don't swap out Home Depot kitchen cabinet handles each year. Get some custom ones and keep them for life.
Painting is alive and well in Austin, and it's exciting to see new works coming fresh from the easel. The Art Palace, one of the newest galleries in town and an excellent venue, will feature the large-scale paintings of Ali Fitzgerald. Her hilarious pieces deal primarily with gluttony and overindulgence, using drooling, overweight people to comment on wealth and capitalism. It's the kind of painting that gets stuck in your head after you experience its overwhelming scale and plentitude.
Completely inspiring are the photo-based paintings by Katy O'Connor. Her assured, energetic strokes give them a freshness and vitality that is difficult to achieve. Andrew Long and Andrew St. Martin are at different studios but share awesome skills at creating soothingly beautiful abstract works. To highlight all the painters would take a long time. Suffice to say that I have generally high expectations for Karen Maness, Angel Ortega (Dv8), John Mulvany, Channe Felton, Scarlette Olson, Dan Burns, Ethan Azarian, Eric Mills, Rob Harrell, and Chronicle Arts writers Jacqueline May and Benné Rockett. These gifted painters all look very promising this year.
Speaking of printing, Austin has some of the best printmakers in the South, much touted nationally but sometimes overlooked locally. In addition to currently popular silk screens and stencils, important studios for lithography, etching, and serigraph are alive and well here. Visit our local institutions such as Flatbed Press, Slugfest Printmaking Workshop, Coronado Studio, and the artists they've helped train, such as Veronica Ceci and Sharon Bright. Bright, a part-time antiques dealer who makes prints at Flatbed Press, is well regarded by area artists. She has access to the choicest found objects, which she uses to create very focused assemblages. She knows how to limit her palette to let the content and textures shine through.
Related to printing, Iona Handcrafted Books is a unique community resource that will be exhibiting new mixed media works by Cherie Weaver that feature deer with spindly legs and other animals. Weaver combines drawing in pen and ink on interesting collaged paper and sometimes on handkerchiefs. Her attention to texture and surface and great drafting style relate to the loving care that goes into hand-bound books.
While the EAST Web site is informative, some curating will continue right up until tour day. Venues will hold surprises and some will totally defy categorization. Wade Beesley has a vigorous and lively crew of artists at his home, dubbed Gallery Dv8 for the tour. Get it? Like deviate written in sk8-or-die speak. Beesley has a reputation for darkly provocative exhibits at Mojo's Daily Grind and for supporting Austin's street mural scene. This is his first year participating, and his list of guest artists grows by the day: Angel Ortega, Matthew Rodriguez, Hope Perkins, Whitney Lee, Joey Marez, and others are all signed on. Beesley will have large-format aerosol graffiti paintings as well as mixed media, sculpture, and oils on canvas. Perkins has a growing fan club as she continues to paint rappers over pastoral found landscapes. They are generally hilarious as the urban personalities overshadow the kitschy landscapes. This is a great opportunity to see some underexposed artists with loads of talent.
Getting artists to talk about their work can be difficult. I'd like to highlight some of the various personalities on the tour by picking a few of my favorite quotes from the tour catalog:
"Mr. Schoenig is as well known for his hermitish reluctance to allow anyone in his studio as he is for his highly detailed metal creatures. ... See it now or never. ... This is a serious working art studio, and he will be demonstrating a variety of techniques. ... Not being a naturally friendly person, Mr. Shoenig reserves the right to throw anyone out that irritates him!" metal artist Art Schoenig
"I make art to basically entertain myself and keep myself out of trouble. So far, it's working."
ceramic artist Edmund Martinez (Edmo) at Ryan McKerley's studio
"Don't be scared. Stop by anytime for your new favorite tattoo. Fifty-plus years combined experience. Everybody welcome. We tattoo real people, movie stars, gangsters, doctors, lawyers, professors, students, dropouts, bums, loose women, artfags, critics, curators, sports legends, comedians, musicians, freaks, monsters, punks, hippies, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, feminists, anarchists, peace officers, politicians, preachers, wizards, warriors, metal heads, rappers, Texans, foreigners, patriots, terrorists, straightedgers, wastoids, moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas." Telepathic Tattoo
Do you watch those shows on TV with various guys welding choppers and cars? Well, come out to the Eastside and see the real thing. Do you watch these home makeover shows on HGTV and elsewhere? Well, some of the artists here have been featured on them. Do you like to meet interesting, creative small-business owners? Now you can get inspired on the East Austin Studio Tour. Do you like to shop? This is it.
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