Art And About

Navigating EAST: Our picks for the best of the big studios

Navigating EAST: Our picks for the best of the big studios

Peggy Weiss Day of the Bed
Peggy Weiss' Day of the Bed. By Peggy Weiss
Shut it Pecker Matt Mikulla
Shut it, Pecker by Matt Mikulla Matt Mikulla/
Sara Vanderbeek
Sara Vanderbeek Sara Vanderbeek/
Peggy Weiss Day of the Bed
Shut it Pecker Matt Mikulla
Sara Vanderbeek

Editor's note: Last week, local artist Matthew John Winters helped you navigate through the best of the East Austin Studio Tour's smaller spaces. This week, we're going big, selecting the can't-miss hot spots in the bigger studios.

Big studio complexes like Canopy and Pump Project are always big draws during the East Austin Studio Tour. They're like big delicious cakes packed full of tasty treats and wonderful surprises. There is so much to see at each one of these studio centers that it can be overwhelming. To offer some guidance, we picked a hot spot for each location. So seek out these great studios, but also stick around and do some exploring — because you never know what you’ll find on the tour.

Artpost: Sara Vanderbeek and Nola Parker  
EAST #202 and # 203 — 4704 E. Cesar Chavez St.
The fresh hues and blocky compositions will instantly remind you of David Hockney or Alex Katz when you step inside this studio. Beautifully balanced colors accompany Sara Vanderbeek's interesting portraits while lush foliage and architecture are treated with careful nuance in Nola Parker’s landscapes. These two artists complement each other perfectly, and a visit to their studio should warm your spirit. 

Canopy: Peggy Weiss  
EAST #113 and #114 — 916 Springdale Rd. Bldg. 1
If you find yourself growing weary from a long day on the tour, you should find your way to studio No. 209 inside Canopy. Taking common objects to a transcendent level, multidisciplinary artist Peggy Weiss and guest Robert Weiss have prepared a perfect tribute to the bed. The exhibition, cleverly titled Day of the Bed, celebrates a place where we spend a third of our life. Enter the studio and surround yourself with sculptures and paintings that celebrate the spirituality of relaxation. Just make sure to keep your eyes open. 

Cement Loop: Matt Mikulla 
EAST #4 — 5811 Berkman Dr. Ste. 140
Defining photographer Matt Mikulla can be difficult. Based on his strong, yet stoic, black and white building images, he could be easily classified as an architectural photographer. But with his penchant for capturing fading moments of beauty in the natural world, you could see him as a poetic and pensive artist. Or you could see him as a playful prankster, arranging and shooting toys and figurines to great delight. Regardless of which version you find, Mikulla will have you captivated.

Pump Project: Jeana Baumgardner 
EAST #175 — 702 Shady Ln. Studio H
Jeana Baumgardner’s newest work ventures far from representational art, but the playful patterns and amorphous forms never seem unusual. Big fun colors will greet you while graphical abstractions will tickle your fancy.You will subconsciously tilt your head to follow pastel caterpillars venturing around primed panels. While it's very possible you may find your new favorite painting, you might not be able to find the words to describe it.

Fisterra Studio: Jason Webb
EAST #278 — 1200 E. Second St.
Be careful next time you throw something away, it could end up being the subject of a Jason Webb painting. His “discard piles” series is a collection of works about objects once considered valueless. The objects in the paintings are presented with intricate detail on an ethereal white background. You might see a discarded hula hoop balancing on an old arm chair or a sun bleached pool noodle jutting out of a cardboard television box. One man’s trash is indeed Jason Webb’s treasure.

Pine Street Station: Hanuman Board Co.
EAST #271 —  1101 E. Fifth St.
It may seem a little unconventional but these skateboards are truly a work of art. Hanuman Board Co. handcrafts each board to unique specifications and then sources local Austin artists for designs and paint jobs. You could opt to get a simple wood stain finish, or get a psychedelic witch clutching a glowing power crystal. Skate or die, brah.

Co-Lab Projects: Andy Rihn
EAST #337 —  613 Allen St.
If the chilly fall temperatures are giving you the blues, then step into Co-Lab to get a taste of the Caribbean. On display from Andy Rihn’s Margaritavillage is the esteemed margarita cement mixer. This industrial grade lime green behemoth (complete with gold rims) will be churning out fresh margs for all those seeking a taste of paradise.