There are oodles of reasons why Austin is one of the best places in the country to live, but for folks who just can't get enough art, the now-annual East Austin Studio Tour happening November 8th - 18th this year, is quite possibly the number one raison d'etre. This is the 11th time Austin artists have generously offered up their studios (and souls) for Austin residents to explore and marvel.
How it works (should this be your first time): All artist studios and exhibition spaces are free and open to the public on the weekends of November 10th/11th and 17th/18th from 11am - 6pm. In between the weekends are a ton of happenings, from shows, to parties, to interactive events and more. As the name might imply, E.A.S.T. is located on the East Side, specifically the area east of I35, west of 183, south of 290, and north of Ladybird Lake/Colorado River. You can find a pull-out map in the E.A.S.T. catalog, and you can find a free E.A.S.T. catalog at any Austin public library.
Whether it's your first time attending E.A.S.T. or your eleventh, it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what to fit in, when to fit it in and how to possibly fit it all in. We've made it a little easier for you by creating a few lists of our favorites.
We of course encourage you to grab a catalog to pick out the things that interest you and find more information on the official E.A.S.T. website, but if you don't have a ton of time or just want a little guidance, enjoy our E.A.S.T. what to see/do/watch advice. Absolutely necessary disclaimer: this was virtually impossible to narrow down because Austin is annoyingly bursting with talent.
Images courtesy of Big Medium (Artists pictured: Jason Webb, Jamie Panzer, Kenny Trice and Sarah Collins)
Sparked by an image in the catalog that caught our eye, these folks passed the "stalk all their websites and Facebook pages" filter, too. Basically these makers have us curious enough to go check them out, and we think you should too. You'll also find a variety of art types on this list, from eggshells to bird mobiles to trophies, in case you're having a little canvas overload. Numbers refer to the E.A.S.T. catalog.
#112 David Clark of Kartwheel: Furniture and tiny structures
#20 Katy David of Katyegg Design: Eggs and the ancient technique of Pysanky
#33 Sarah Collins of S. Collins Art: Textile collage
#106a Craig Newswanger of Resonance Studio: Art from an automated drawing machine
#95d Eva Schone of TROPHYOLOGY: Beautiful, architecturally designed awards
#62 Kenny Trice: Landscape and architectural photography
#56b Barbara Attwell of At the Well Studios: Monolithic outdoor sculptures that double as natural habitats
#28 Julio Carreon-Reyes of JCR / WORKSHOP: Cool laser-cut hanging bird sculptures
#101b Noah Marion of Noah Marion Quality Goods: Functional and modern leather goods
#143b Ender Martos: Geometric color study paintings
Image courtesy of Big Medium (Artist pictured: Ender Martos)
Though E.A.S.T. itself is quite the event, don't use up all your energy just on the weekends and at the studios; lots of happenings throughout the week continue to stoke the creative spirit of Austin, too. Below you'll find a list of happenings that either sound unbelievably cool or are being hosted by folks that we know will show you a great time. Numbers refer to the E.A.S.T. catalog.
#H3 Art Show Model Show, EAST weekends: 3pm-5pm: Ever wondered what it would take to be an art model?
#H14 Wendy Whatley Botanical Exhibit at Take Heart: The tiniest, most loveliest nature illustrations you will ever see.
#H29 Cobra Show and Party, 11/10: 6pm-11pm: Good group of fine folks and a fun space.
#H31 Molten Metal Madness, 11/11: 5pm-6pm, 11/17: 5pm-6pm, 11/18: 5pm-6pm: See sculpter Jose Acosta pour molten aluminum and bronze into ceramic shell molds.
#H36 618 Tillery St, 11/11: 6pm-10pm: The creative folks at these studios invite you to wind down for unhurried beverages and grillings.
#H53 Big Red Sun, 11/14-11/17: 10am - 6pm, 11/18: 11am-5pm: Contemplation of post-apocalyptic garden design.
#H57 GirlsGuild, 11/17 & 11/18: 11am-6pm: An artist-run community that connects girls and women with artists and makers in apprenticeship.
#H59 HOPE Campaign 2012 Annual Art Show, 11/11: 6pm-10pm: Live Art, video installations and special chef demos.
#H15a Victory Lap, 11/10: 6pm-12am: E.A.S.T.’s official after-event festivities.
Make. Eat. Drink., 11/13: 7pm-9pm: A blend of well-crafted craft, food and drink.
Image courtesy of Big Medium (Artist pictured: Erin Curtis)
There are a surprisingly huge number of artist clumps—studios or groups of studios all in one spot where you can see a lot of art without having to get in and out of your car a million times. Of the large number of these, we narrowed down a list of 12 spots. We chose these based on previous experience with some of the artists involved and based on the quality of art we see represented. It's not about the ones who stuffed the most artists in one gallery; we're suggesting clumps with tons of talent.
ArtPost, 4704 East Cesar Chavez Road
Tillery Street Bread Factory, 701 Tillery Street
Pump Project Art Complex, 702 Shady Lane
Big Medium, 5305 Bolm Road #12
Cobra Studios, 902 Gardner Road
Splinter Group North, 4709 E 5th Street
Splinter Group South, 405 Springdale Road
Tiny Park, 1101 Navasota Street Suite 2
618 Tillery Street
Resonance Studio, 1406 Smith Road, Unit D
East Side Glass Studio, 507 Calles Street
Super!Alright!, 301 Chicon Street Suite A
Fisterra Studio, 1200 East 2nd Street
Image: Joe Swec Sign Painting
These fine folks are either heavily involved in the community and have made quite a name for themselves, or are artists we saw last year that made a lasting impression. They're folks who consistently produce good work and we feel confident suggesting a visit. E.A.S.T. pro-tip: Ask any of these kind creators who they think you should make sure to see this E.A.S.T.; you might get some unexpected suggestions that lead you to new Austin art discoveries. Numbers refer to the E.A.S.T. catalog.
#60 Erin Curtis: Bold, bright, large, geometric and architecture-inspired paintings.
#117h Brooke Gassiot: Hard-to-pigeon-hole, installation-centric art.
#97a Jamie Panzer: Posing questions with art that makes you ask questions.
#89 Joe Swec: Austin's most famous sign painter. Spot his work on hipster havens like East Side Showroom, Easy Tiger and more.
#37 Jennifer Balkan: One of the busiest portrait painters in Austin, who puts a whimsical spin on everything she makes.
#97m Joseph Phillips: Simple and sleek place and architecture-inspired illustrations of made-up but perfectly-reasonable locations.
#117a Debra Broz: The stuff dreams and nightmares are made of—porcelain mash-ups of found figurines.
#117e Edson Enriquez of Limbo Jewelry Design: Modern jewelry from a future where folks recognize shape and materials as the loveliest form of adornment.
#119h Katy Horan: Dramatically colored backgrounds make delicate yet slightly disturbing creatures pop.
#119w Jason Webb: Photo-realistic, highly-detailed paintings of derelict, abandoned structures.
#140a Ryan McKerley: Swirly, emotional, engaging pottery.
#180 Barry George: Keeping Austin weird—step into a yard and workshop full of metal incarnations right out of this artist's brain.
Image courtesy of Big Medium (Kartwheel pictured)