2019 EAST Studio Tour – Canopy

The first Saturday of EAST this year enjoyed spectacular weather, sunny, crisp and for a change, no rain.

Local Japanese Cafe

Be forwarned, if you are coming to EAST very hungry, it may be worth grabbing a bite beforehand, because the lines and wait at Sa-ten were long. The offerings are always unique (I had the Sriracha Mayo Smoked Salmon on Toast), however it took 40 minutes. I did enjoy a nice cup of Lavender Earl Grey while waiting. 

Japanese decorative wooden plack Art piece of a aquarium inside a vintage TV set Salmon toast with lavendar earl grey tea Sa-ten tshirt with katakana script

Sa-ten also offers a grab and go station out front serving baked goods and coffee from a carafe. There are also some trailers offering hot dogs, gelato and tacos, and these did not appear to have long waits. Alcoholic drinks are also available at Canopy for sale (and if you’re lucky some of the art studios may offer wine and/or snacks).

Shop unique used books

I was happy to run into Travis Kent of the late Farewell Books. He is setting up shop at EAST, selling a variety of books from Foucault to Anaiis Nin to Burroughs. If you were a fan of their old store (or an older fan of the late Fringeware or Desert/Europa books), you would recognize many of the critical theory or postmodern classics. I picked up Minima Moralia by Theodore Adorno, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, and a book on Wim Wenders. Travis tells me that he operates these pop-up bookstores around town from time to time, at art and music festivals. Sometimes he takes them to punk shows, and while the kids don’t often buy much he enjoys talking to them and broadening their minds with the works of intellectual proto-punks.

Canopy Art Gallery

Armed with new reading material I then went to check out the art. I collected the EAST art guide, donated $5 and started wandering the studios. 

Caroline Walker

Caroline Walker’s art has the fanciful quality of children’s storybook illustration. It invites you to imagine you are climbing ladders toward some magical summit or hiding out in secret caves.  

Caroline Walker

Gert Johan Macschot from the Netherlands now lives in Dripping Springs. His work evokes both Zen painting and Abstract Expressionism. 

Gert Johan Manschot


Gert Johan Manschot

One of my favorite artists from this weekend was Rehab El Sadek. Originally from Egypt, she is a conceptual artist who works on themes of space, architecture and social issues. I found her work to be immersive, glowing with earthy and time-worn textures. 

Rehab El Sadek


Rehab El Sadek


Rehab El Sadek

Today is the last day of the EAST Austin Studio tour – please check it out and support our local artists and businesses.

East Austin Studio Tour Survival Guide

The first weekend of EAST is over but you have one more weekend to check it out! Perhaps you didn’t get a chance to go or perhaps you went and weren’t able to see all the galleries.  I recommend heading out early to beat the crowds.

Stack out a spot at Sa-Ten, the amazing Japanese fusion cafe inside the Canopy art complex where you can enjoy your cappuccino with a breakfast of smoked salmon with sriracha mayo, nori, mozzarella on toast. That’s just one of many offerings, in addition to everything from oatmeal to allegedly the famed Red Rabbit vegan donuts.  But wait, you say…Red Rabbit vegan collective closed, how is it I can get my vegan donut fix on?  Wheatsville Co-op came through and saved the day. Point is, when EAST is happening you don’t want to spin your wheels elsewhere in town doing brunch, you need to get out into it early.  As the day progresses at Canopy you can enjoy the best teriyaki gluten-free fried chicken with a side of kimchi, and some of the galleries offer free beer (sorry not gluten-free).

This is the 14th annual EAST that Big Medium and the Austin art community have put together.  Featuring 287 artists, 152 exhibitions and 7 happenings there’s more than enough for everyone. They’ve even put out a handful of different guides to curate and help plan your attack.

Taking kids? Check out the events in their family-friendly guide, like Austin’s Tinkering School, Austin’s own Maker Space, for hands-on art-making activities.  Or Creative Action‘s Community Art Sunday on Nov. 22 where you can enjoy dance, music, food, art and inventing.  Or perhaps you and your kids would like to check out kinetic steel sculptures inspired by Jean Tinguely. Your purchases will go to Save Our Springs Alliance at Barry George’s collection at 204 Attayac St.

I went to EAST last weekend and was impressed with what I saw from the following artists.

  • Diana Presley Greenberg‘s delicate abstracts are like viewing a gentle bouquet of flowers through a soft curtain of linen.  Other examples feature bold splashes in complex relationships upon white canvas, bringing to mind Swedish interiors.
  • Gert Johan Manschot produces dramatic works resembling Japanese Zen calligraphy.
  • Alex Diamond‘s work was a personal favorite of mine, for his fantastic sense of texture, line and intensity, with a cartoon/graffiti edge.  He produces woodcuts, photo paintings and installations.
  • Chun Hui Pak creates gorgeous geometric abstract works inspired by the structures of origami.  Her pieces serve as 2-D interpretations of the ancient art of paper-folding.
  • Ann Fleming produces vibrant abstractions with bold punches of color that relate to each other in surprisingly ways.
  • I was blown away by the assemblage work of Janie Milstein.  Inspired by cityscapes her textured work features architectural abstractions, layers of material and an industrial palate that will leave you speechless.
  • Rothko Hauschildt is a budding encaustic artist whose pieces communicate intensity and release.
  • Flip Solomon is an incredible illustrator, her drawings are eclectic and full of wonder.

So get out there and see these and other artists. And if the crowds become too much, escape to the quiet retreat of Zhi Tea on Bolm. If the weather is fair they have a beautiful garden patio under the trees.