So You Think You Can Paint?

Reality TV-style art competition returns for Season Two

So You Think You Can Paint?

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

That was the idea behind Eyes Got It!, the live art competition launched during the 2010 East Austin Studio Tour. Artist Salvador Castillo, who created the art blog 'Bout What I Sees, figured that as long as we're one nation under American Idol (and Survivor and The Bachelor and The Voice and Project Runway and Top Chef, yadda yadda yadda), why not embrace our fixation with reality TV for the benefit of the visual arts? So he put out a call for art and arranged for three Austin art professionals to judge the submissions and choose a winner just like they do on all those contest shows we TiVo, only do it live and in front of the public. In addition to capitalizing on our competition mania, Castillo hoped the event might help to demystify and illuminate the critical process, as well as draw attention to area artists. And it couldn't be worse than Bravo's Work of Art, right?

Last year's event drew 68 submissions, from which judges Sterling Allen (artist, Okay Mountain), Rachel Koper (program director, Women & Their Work), and Risa Puleo (assistant curator, Blanton Museum of Art) selected Chloé Yingst as the winner. The Texas State University art student was showered with gift certificates to art-related businesses, guest passes and memberships to area museums, and the big prize: her own solo exhibit at Pump Project Art Complex.

The event's success prompted Castillo to bring back Eyes Got It! for a "second season" at EAST 2011. Artist Jules Buck Jones (Boozefox) joins Puleo and Koper as judges, with this year's top prize being a one-person show at grayDUCK Gallery. This Friday, Nov. 18, 6:30-9:30pm, at art space 1319Rosewood – located, curiously enough, at 1319 Rosewood – the trio will make their picks in three rounds: first, an American Idol-style yes/no vote, where two yeas keep you in and two nays knock you out; second, a critique of the Top 10 semifinalists, after which six are eliminated; and finally, an art-school critique where the judges quiz the final four. Your DVR won't save this one. Better plan to be there in the flesh to see who's the last artist standing. For more information, visit

Download the East Austin Studio Tour map.

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Eyes Got It, East Austin Studio Tour, Salvador Castillo, 'Bout What I Sees, Rachel Koper, Sterling Allen, Risa Puleo, Chloe Yingst, Pump Project Art Complex, Jules Buck Jones, grayDUCK Gallery

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