The Austin Chronicle

Local Art Gifts for Discerning Geeks

By Wayne Alan Brenner, December 13, 2017, 11:59am, All Over Creation

So, you want to give a gift to your favorite geeky friend this holiday season? And you want that gift to be a creative and locally made sort of thing? But still, like, geeky? To whatever value of “geeky” the gift and the friend might embody?


Or maybe you just wanna buy something really cool for yourself or any number of your friends or family, and never mind the damned pigeonholing of cultural interests?

Scroll right this way, citizen: We’ve got three suggestions for your local shopping pleasure.

1) Squid Friends Word on the street says that the half-elven Austin seamstress Kristin Hogan just about sold out of her colorful marine-life wares at last weekend’s Cherrywood Art Fair. Well, of course – when squids and skates and herring and octopodes and even a nautilus or two are so precisely rendered in natural-look (or, sometimes, polychrome discotheque) fabric, just about everybody wants to take one home to display and/or cuddle with. But another source, this Irish selkie who’s a friend of a friend, she let us know that Hogan’s uncovered a secret stash of her plush creatures (and sewn up some fresh-this-week varmints as well) and will be hawking them at, you may have heard of this place? The Blue Genie Art Bazaar? Yes, that’s it! You’ll be distracted by all the other art for sale, too, we’re sure … but resist where you can, stalwart shopper, and, like an evangelical marine biologist, keep your eye on the sea-sparrow. [Note: We can neither confirm nor deny that the Squid Friends’ product line includes a sea-sparrow. We were merely alluding to the Bible. Or, tbh, to the theme song from Beretta.]

2) Guzu Gallery Yeah, you know: This is that shop right next to Austin Books & Comics. Its bright elegance is stocked with all manner of limited-edition sculptural figurines, all the gorgeous dunnies and munnies and whatnot – tiny ones and giant ones, some as simple as plastic candy and others so macabrely ornate that Hieronymus Bosch would’ve gone squeeee if he’d seen them – and a stunning array of some of the finest perfectbound volumes of illustrative and genre-based art available on the planet. But what’s especially cool is the gallery of original works and prints in the back, currently improving the walls and floor with a graphic horror theme. Like, you know a show’s worthwhile when that Chet Phillips’ work is part of it, right? But, hell, don’t even take this reporter’s word as to the horrifying goodness available: See Richard Whittaker’s review of the exhibition right here. Money well spent, we suggest, on the local and weird – just head on down to the Center of Austin Fandom today.

3) Nakatomi Inc Sure, that Tim Doyle and his cabal of graphic savants have been busy doing VIP posters for the Metallica tour, busy working up new print editions with the Frazetta estate, busy fomenting a scrappy-yet-effective global expansion of high-end product coverage. One of the prices of success, after all, is success. But it doesn’t mean that what Doyle and Nakatomi are doing now is any less vivid or engaging or clever or brilliant or, or, or, well, any less geeky than what they’ve been doing all along. You want pop-culture representation of any number of televisual, cinematic, or musical franchises, and you want it looking professional enough to enhance the verticals of your house or apartment or Secret Lair? Or you want the same goodness, but non-genre, and depicting local architectural icons? Then Nakatomi is your hand-printed huckleberry. We mean, just look at that taco-mongering bat up there. You can order Nakatomi merch online, yes … or make your ATX way to Parts & Labour (or the aforementioned Blue Genie) for some sweet bricks-and-mortar action before it’s too late.

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