An Austin Artist's E.A.S.T.

An Austin artist's best bets for E.A.S.T., on and off the beaten path

Austin artist picks best bets for E.A.S.T., on and off the beaten path

Mystery wolf ceramic, EAST
Severed Head and Hand by Tamara Rodriguez Photo by Ellen Gibbs
Gayle Sterling EAST
Class of 1968 (Dallas) by Gayle Sterling Photo by Ellen Gibbs
Philana Brown EAST
Extended Childhood 1 by Phllana Brown Philana Brown/Facebook
Howard Rains EAST 2013
Dwight "Red" Lamb by Howard Rains Howard Rains/FB
Travis Seeger Linear EAST 2013
Linear by Travis Seeger Travis Seeger/Facebook
Mystery wolf ceramic, EAST
Gayle Sterling EAST
Philana Brown EAST
Howard Rains EAST 2013
Travis Seeger Linear EAST 2013

Editor's note: The East Austin Studio Tour is a wonderful chance to discover the artists — and the workspaces — that serve a critical role in our city's creative scene. This year, we asked local artists for their can't-miss-picks for the 2013 E.A.S.T.

Ellen Gibbs is an Austin artist working with paint, plaster, concrete yard art, silkscreening, and the occasional decorative sticker. You can see her “Grackle Chee-to” T-shirts on Austinites all over town. Learn more about her work here.

1. John and Chris Gray
1209 East Sixth Street – E.A.S.T. #85
I began on the beaten path with Clayworks Gallery, a family business supplying all your architectural ceramics needs: sconces, scuppers, story tiles depicting Texas folklore subjects. Chris and John Gray are always welcoming and happy to talk about their wares. During the tour, there is usually a demo of some kind going on downstairs.

2. E4 Gallery and Art Studio
3307 East Fourth Street – E.A.S.T. #146
I felt like I’d hit the jackpot with the new E4 Gallery, next door to (and run by the owner of) Armadillo Clay, another beloved Austin establishment. Among varying styles, mostly ceramics, the delicate and pastel (Karen Bolton) abut the bright and pointy (Julie Isaacson) and Gayle Sterling’s (super affordable!) wall pieces depicting the Class of 1968 (Dallas). Any Texan who rode the school bus as a kid in the ‘60s will remember these scary teenage bouffy hairdo girls.

In the wood department, Griselda Elena Peña has transformed slices of tree branches into amazing bracelets. I wish I wore bracelets. Her wooden vest is also on display, as well as a hilarious photo of a guy wearing it.

3. Aldo Valdés Böhm/Delta Millworks
4701 East Fifth Street – E.A.S.T #155

Speaking of wood, I love the chance to wander around Delta Millworks. Here are beautiful, nature-shaped tables by Aldo Valdés Böhm, whom I overheard describing how to make alligator-patterned burnt wood (a Japanese technique called Shou sugi ban, which Delta Millworks began producing almost five years ago): “You burn it twice.” I imagine there is more to it than that.

4. Splinter Group
4709 East Fifth Street – E.A.S.T. #154, 156
Delta segues into the Splinter Group: I lost track of where I was, but I was never out of sight of beautiful furniture and wood and mixed-media art.

5. Travis Seeger, Nimer Aleck, Paul Oglesby (at Artpost)
4704 East Cesar Chavez Street – E.A.S.T. #158.1r, #158.1w, #158.1y
Wander farther, and you’re at Art Post, host of two of my favorites: Paul Oglesby, whose concrete forms (cast, arranged and combined in different ways) I have admired for years but only now have learned are not from rubber molds. I was dumbfounded to learn that he uses found and cheaply bought items and casts directly from them, some objects yielding multiple hollows in which to dump the concrete. When he is collecting objects, he must “look for negatives, which is hard,” he said. He might make his first rubber mold soon, from a piece he really likes.

Here also is Nimer Aleck, who appears to be obsessed with hammers. He makes, among other things, gorgeous knives whose blades he cuts from old saw blades. With a hacksaw! Delightful and strange. His business cards are wooden.

I also liked the steel work of Travis Seeger — such a wide variety of strikingly different textures.

Artpost gets props, too, for their elderly striped studio cat.

The upcoming weekend promises new artists to love, as well as some repeat visits to places I try never to miss:

6. Ethan Azarian, Melissa Knight and Howard Rains (In-House Gallery)
2514 E 17th Street – E.A.S.T. #33
In-House Gallery, home and studio of Ethan Azarian and Melissa Knight, with guest Howard Rains, among others. Bonus: Accomplished musicians as well as artists, Howard and Ethan (and perhaps “special guests”) will be fiddling starting at 3 pm here, providing the perfect linchpin for Saturday (Nov. 23).

7. Sunyong Chung, Philippe Klinefelter (Ginko Studios)
800 Gullett Street – E.A.S.T.  #54.2a, #54.1
Sunyong Chung’s Ginko Studios and the treasure-filled studio of Philippe Klinefelter showcase a lot of amazing work. These two recently collaborated on the sculpture Lotus for the City of Austin Art In Public Places program, Klinefelter providing the seven vertical granite “lotus petals” and the fountain and Chung the floor tile portion. During the tour, the two will share the project’s progress documentation. (A visit to the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road, where the piece has been installed, may be in order beforehand.) Their guests will be well worth a look, too, if Jung-ok Chung’s astonishing embroidery in last year’s tour is any indication.

8. Federico Archuleta (Grafitti Western)
4609 Lyons Road – E.A.S.T.  #55a
Graffiti Western is the home studio of Federico Archuleta, aka Fe De Rico, of whose graffiti stencil murals I am a big fan and whose unmonumental works I am curious about, especially the velvet paintings.

9. Ryan McKerley, Edmo Martinez
2710 E Cesar Chavez Street – E.A.S.T. #128a
The porcelain objects of Ryan McKerley always merit a gander, as do the works of his guests, especially the engagingly nasty Edmo Martinez.

10. Philana Brown (Pump Project)
702 Shady Lane – E.A.S.T. #53.1d
Pump Project never disappoints, and I especially look forward to the creepy ceramics of Philana Brown there.

11. Blue Genie (916 Springdale Road, Bldg. 4, Ste. 102 – E.A.S.T. #57.7a) and Canopy studios (916 Springdale Road, Bldg. 1, Ste. 102 – E.A.S.T. #57) are sure to be worth a visit, as well as:

12. Laura Sturtz (2326 East Cesar Chavez Street – E.A.S.T. #131k)
13. Dan Burns (1916 East Fifth Street – E.A.S.T. #74)
14. The Kincannon Stonecarvers (2601 East Fifth Street – E.A.S.T. #137)

and, of course
15. Okay Mountain (1619 E Cesar Chavez St – E.A.S.T. #109)

l’m left with a couple of unanswered questions, to wit: “Where and by whom was that white stoneware (?) wolf head with a severed arm in its mouth?” and “Who had the black studio cat?” The answer may be Co-Lab (613 Allen Street — E.A.S.T. # 151a-b) for one or both questions, and in any case Co-Lab is always worth checking out.

Regrets: I’ll have a few, mainly of who-all I forgot to mention here. And I am sad that Susan Wallace, the queen of the custom aluminum screen doors, from whom I like to steal art and landscape ideas, was not in the tour this year. Also that the extraordinary reclaimed-metal artist Barry George didn’t come back to be part of E.A.S.T. like he promised he would, having moved to Fort Collins, Colo., last February or thereabouts.

Maybe next year.