You may not know it, but they are lurking everywhere. They live in our neighborhoods and work with us every day. They skulk around in garages, backyards, sheds and alleys. You can recognize them from the noises they make: power tools buzzing, hammers banging, pens scribbling, Lone Star tallboys cracking, Bjork singing on an old boombox.
I'm of course talking about artists.
For two weekends in November, the East Austin Studio Tour puts local artists on the main stage. This year, on November 15-16 and 22-23, almost 300 studios will be put on display. With that many artists and spaces, you are guaranteed to find something you will love. But just in case, we've picked out a few great neighborhood spots off the beaten path that are sure to please.
EAST #8 — 1804 Corona Dr.
David Leonard's paintings breath life and spirit into the mechanical structures and buildings that make up our cities. San Francisco streets swing and sway as if they were concrete rivers. Glassy skyscrapers glisten in the sunshine like colossal movie monsters while gas station signs loom on dusky horizons like ancient totems. After visiting David's studio you might never see the world in the same way ever again.
EAST #19, 20 & 21 — 3615 Oak Springs Dr.
The clank of hammers on anvils will greet you as you enter Sertodo Copper. This international cooperative metal studio produces beautiful copper goods ranging from cups and mugs to paella pans. The Sertodo Studio even landed a spot on Oprah's Favorite Things 2014 list with their gorgeous Moscow Mule set. As an added bonus, artist Brady Shae Foster will be offering forging demos.
EAST #37 — 1402 Concordia Ave.
"Bold," "energetic" and "dynamic" are all words used to describe Sarah Collins' work. But it's not a vibrant oil painting or a vigorous charcoal drawing she creates. Instead, her medium of choice is fabric. And as wild and lively as her compositions can be, you must look closer to appreciate the vast vocabulary of stitching over the pattern and lace.
EAST #66 — 701 Tillery St. A-6
"The starting point for a series is often an accidental discovery," says John Swanger in his artist statement. You might accidentally discover your new favorite artist when you walk into his studio. His mixed media paintings are experiments in color and form that seem to defy physics. The electrified canvases pop with colors that are sure to please anyone with an open mind.
EAST #78 — 3401 Govalle Ave.
It's hard to imagine that John Mulvany isn't having fun while he's working. His compositions dance with found imagery and a mix of beautiful color work. And even though you are viewing a scene of two dour Civil War infantrymen, they are adorned with bright halos referencing sacred geometry. Mulvany's paintings are a mix of references that span vast eras and he leaves it up to the viewer to decode the true message.
Mark Goodman/Wildfire Studio
EAST #111 — 916 Springdale Rd. Bldg. 1, #207
Author's note: Mark Goodman's studio was destroyed in the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire and he now works out of Canopy Studios. I have bent my rules to allow him into the small studio guide.
Mark Goodman is the kind of photographer who finds everything important. Not the kind to snap a pic for instant gratification, Goodman doesn't document the trivial for the sake of social networking. Instead he catalogues it within a larger timeline, often finding connections and relationships that don't appear on the surface.
EAST #274 — 1401 E. Fourth St.
It may be hard to get Sophie Roach's attention when you stop by because she will probably be busy doodling. Her pen knows no end when it comes to drawing. Her excessive style has been seen on guitars, music stages, shoes, skateboards, handkerchiefs, and even old black and white photos. It's easy to get lost in her maze-like illustrations, but the curious designs and pop colors will definitely leave you wanting more.