Austin Art Trip

My Austin Art Trip

This year for my birthday I visited my son Scott in Austin. While there I got to explore some of the art around town. I arrived early on Friday, so I took in the Blanton Museum in the afternoon. I plan to write about the art I saw at the Blanton Museum in another article.

Scott and Jenny
Scott and Jenny

Friday night, Scott, Jenny, his girlfriend (my social media assistant), and I went to the Creek Show. The next afternoon Scott and I explored the East side of Austin by participating in the Austin Studio Tour. We visited artist studios in the neighborhood, in small studio clusters, a woodworking coop, and a larger studio called the Canopy.

That’s a lot of art to take in, but I was able to contemplate the whole experience during my six-hour drive home the next day. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and the photos from my weekend. I also wanted to give you some background on the events we participated in.

The Creek Show

Austin’s 7th Annual Creek Show was a 10-day event that ran from November 12th to 21st at Waterloo Park in downtown Austin. It coincided with the Studio Tours. Waterloo Park has been recently renovated and  the event featured five illuminated art installations, live music, activities, and food vendors.

I had nothing to compare this year’s Creek Show to, but my son was disappointed with how the event had evolved from an immersive art experience to more of a family-oriented event. It did feel a little more like Disneyland to me than an art exhibit. It was very crowded which made it difficult to fully appreciate the art there. The best piece, I thought, was the illuminated Teepee art called HIGH LIGHT. People gathered all around and within the sculpture. They were able to walk through the art. I think because of the interaction with the installation, it resembled past exhibits the most.

HIGH LIGHT by Chioco Design + Drophouse Design
by Wevolve Labs

Another interesting installation was what I called the Illuminated Agave. (si-glo by dwg) They were beautiful from a distance but more like blown up Christmas yard art close-up. It made me wish I hadn’t made the effort to see them so close, because it really was a real let down. But when, I photographed them really, really close-up, I liked them again.

Illuminated Agave
Really, Really Close-up

What is Immersive Art

Immersive Art is art that brings the viewer into the art and gives them a new sense of reality. The viewer is not passive because they are invited to participate in the art.

Studio Tours

The next day we went on the Studio Tour. Studio tours are an open invitation to visit artists in their studios to view their work. The tours are organized events and often artists share their space or in the case of the Austin Studio Tours, artists set up displays outside on the grounds of a studio. This cooperative effort made visiting studios easier because you can find groups of up to a dozen artists all together.

The Austin Studio Tour was citywide and took place over three weekends in early to mid-November. The artists were there to talk with you. You could ask them questions about their art or just admire it. I collected a lot of business cards and then later that evening I looked the artists up on social media and started to follow them. What that means is, I am interested in what they are doing, and I want to be connected to them. I want to be able to see their art as it is finished and displayed.

A Wide Variety of Studios

Courtyard of Artist Tents

The variety of studio setups was interesting to me. We visited several areas where groups of artists had set up outside in a yard. There was a central courtyard-like place where several houses came together. It appeared as if all the houses around the courtyard were studio houses where the artists lived and worked.

Then we found a street with metal buildings that looked like military bunkers where dozens of artists had studios. The studios looked more like a gallery inside. Then, we found a woodworking coop where all the artists worked in wood one way or another. Next, we stopped at an artist studio complex called the Canopy. Again, the studios had workspaces but also gallery spaces in each room. Click here to see what The Canopy looks like.

What is Contemporary Art

The art we saw on the tour tended to be contemporary art, some of it with a Texas twist. Contemporary art is simply art that artists are creating today as opposed to art that follows a tradition from the past. Contemporary artists are encouraged to explore and create art that is meaningful and unique to them. There is a great freedom of expression in the art produced today.

Below is a list of artists whose works we enjoyed and links to their Instagram feed.

Rebecca Bennett

Keva Richardson

Elizabeth Chiles Studio

Lucy MacQueen

Wendy Rhode

Angela Navarro

If you live in a city that organizes artist studio tours you should seriously consider attending some. I have to confess the Austin Studio Tours was my first event. Often studio spaces like the Canopy have regular visiting hours that occur on a monthly basis. I am already planning my next tour. There are several in the DFW area where I live and even one in my North Dallas neighborhood.

Thank you for being a part of my art journey and as always, Be inspired!


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