Taking time to admire local artists

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul."  - Theodore Dreiser

There is no question about it, art inspires us, entertains us, engages us, consoles us. There is such a variety of art and artists and different media and finished art pieces speak to different people. 

The East Austin Studio Tour consists of over 400 artists who displayed a selection of their work for two weekends and posted a map making the general public aware of where to see some moving art.

The weather was cold and rainy yesterday and I thought visiting art would be the perfect thing to do...and evidently many others had the same idea.  My photographer friend, Marybeth, accompanied me and we set out first for the funky east 6th district where we found a lovely ceramic shop, Clayworks, that had gorgeous colorful sconces, tiles, murals and jewelry.  

We were invited to a behind the scenes look at the kilns and the workshop and I fell in love with their whimsical characters, rich colors and assortment of products. If only I had a budget to go with my cravings for beautiful art. 

We then headed to some photography exhibits. We began at Austin School of Photography (ASOP) where we saw some stunning student photography and had a long philosophical discussion with the owner, Andrew who takes an organic approach as he teaches his students to seek their vision and get beyond capturing a simple snapshot.

From there we found the Austin Art Photography Group Show held at a strip of stores near the train station on East 5th. Twelve photographers exhibited and their work was diverse - from a layering of x-rays and self portraits, to nudes to some photo realism.  Mark Heaps work has always appealed to me and he had an interesting selection of doorways from all over the world that worked well as a collection. He was also offering small prints for $5 that I felt was a great idea because it was affordable and, again, they worked as a collection, so you wanted to purchase more than one. Once again, I stopped to chat and had an awesome conversation about different opportunities on the photography horizon.

Marybeth and I both admired the work of John Steckl of nuderuins, not only for his daring in getting models to pose nude high up on roller coasters and in abandoned buildings, but also for his unique, fun framing using bright colors, metallic hinges and abstract patterns.

Marybeth Foley and Claudia Cobianchi admiring the work of John Steck

We headed north to have lunch and check out some group exhibits. Marybeth and I are both new to Austin, having moved here from the East, so we were selecting our galleries based on seeing and experiencing as many artists as we could. So we headed to the Austin Working Artists show on Thompson St.  This was a nice collection of very diverse artists and the setting was cheerful, welcoming and fun. A large hall owned by a classic automobile group, it was a great space for 25 very eclectic artists including a woodworker, several oil painters, ceramicists, several artist who worked with mixed media and a textile specialist.  We were greeted by the mesmerizing eyes seen below. 

Marybeth, with her organized, mathematical mind was drawn to the work of scultptor and designer Matthew Michael Warren.  He had an amazing portrait of Obama crafted out of plaster of paris and bubble wrap. He was happy to tell us how he crafted some of his very individual pieces.

We both enjoyed Eric Quinn's work - although she liked the abstracts and I liked the realistic portrayals of places.

Quinn is showing "Moulin Rouge" painted on a table top, with rich reds, oranges and golds. 

My favorite painting, by far, was this image by David Swantner. My photo does not do it justice - the colors were awesome and the detail and artists vision of a romantic, hip, chic, quieter Austin was just spectacular. Unfortunately, I will never have a budget to afford this, but I really did enjoy just staring at it, talking with the artist and enjoying all of it's rich details.

Our last stop was at Canopy - it was a very large group exhibit and it was mobbed. I personally found it overwhelming - too many things, too many people.

All in all, the day was a lot of fun and I am already looking forward to going next year and hopefully doing it for more than one day.


  1. great post! i got to visit with mark and claudia this weekend too


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