E.A.S.T. East Austin Studio Tour – Canopy round-up

Indulge me a complaint. Every time the East Austin Studio Tour rolls around I never see everything I want to.  Between crowds, traffic, sometimes rain, poor signage and impatient drivers, I end up focusing only on large studio warehouses where I can see many artists on foot. I really wish the tour was seasonal. Right now there are 277 Artist studios, 67 Galleries, 185 Exhibitions, 42 Happenings and 10 Libraries. It’s too much for just two weekends.

Update: thankfully Big Medium and other galleries/non-profits like atxGALS are leveraging platforms like Instagram to show video stories of many of these galleries. Two to three seconds of video scanning art overlaid with the artist’s own instagram clickable address does wonders for those of us at home (or in our cars) pausing to create our strategy.

Maneki neko welcoming you to Sa-ten

Canopy houses 45 small studios, three galleries, a number of offices for local creatives and the Japanesque cafe Sa-ten.  At Sa-ten I enjoyed a grilled vegetable Japanese curry with a homemade Japanese pumpkin syrup Pumpkin Latte. My curry seemed lacking in actual curry sauce however, but it was still tasty.

Grilled vegetables and Japanese curry

Grilled vegetables and Japanese curry

Visiting E.A.S.T. at Canopy offers up the chance to enjoy local beers and harder drinks from vendors out on the patio, and food from trailers including Mmmmpanadas. The crowds are always thick and touring the many galleries reminds me of arts college many years ago, down to the small cement rooms and industrial staircases. Wandering narrow hallways peeking into everyone’s individual studio spaces, each with different lights, smells from candles, oils, and tables with wine, beer or snacks, it all reminds me of warehouse parties back in the day.    Demographics have shifted however, older patrons of the arts, young families with toddlers, visitors in wheelchairs, this scene is accessible for everyone.

Artists whose work I admired include Soña Holman, who creates abstract pyrographic art using woodburn on wood. Soña is a native of San Francisco who has traveled to many countries and states as a child and young woman. She moved to Austin in 2011 and has exhibited in California, elsewhere in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Tree Breath#2 by Soña Holman -pyrographic painting – wood burn on wood panel 10″H x 8″W – 2016

Flip Solomons work never fails to impress me. Informed by vivid, narcoleptic dreams, her pieces are symbolic and complex in their geometric design. She creates large scale pen and ink drawings that are available in all sizes of prints as well as on clothing from dresses and leggings to t-shirts and tote bags. She was just recently awarded the Best Artist in Austin by the Austin Chronicle. I picked up a couple of her pieces as a print and a card.

Earthling 2

“Earthling 2”

Lastly, the artists whose work really grabbed me this year, was that of the couple Jamie Lea Wade and her husband Jess Wade.  Jamie is a curator and ceramic sculptor whose work calls to mind Guillermo Del Torro and Matthew Barney, yet exemplifies a serene, feminine sense of the grotesque. Her work is uncanny, other worldly, surreal, with a gentle, loving quality, evident even in her ‘creatures’ that resemble alien parasites or tumorous organs.


Her husband Jess Wade‘s paintings, drawings and ceramic sculpture appear to contain a similar quality as Ralph Steadman, with yet a darker and more surreal humor, if that were possible.

The Wade’s work can also be found at the Eye of the Dog Art Center as well. http://www.texasclayfestival.com/wade/

East Austin Studio Tour continues next weekend November 17-18. So please come on out, enjoy some great food, drinks and explore the dreamscapes of all these fantastic artists.