Author Archives: Renée Rice

Passport to Art

Passport to Art graphics
Last year’s Passport to Art was so much fun, we partnered with Blue Genie Art Bazaar and Chula League’s Cherrywood Art Fair again to celebrate and promote the three big local art shows of the holiday season.

The Passport to Art is a little booklet you can pick up during EAST from some of our artists, at Triple Z Threadz on South Congress, at Blue Genie Art Bazaar, and at Cherrywood Art Fair. You take this passport to Blue Genie Art Bazaar and Chula League’s Cherrywood Art Fair to get it stamped. After you have those stamps you can redeem your booklet for free entrance into Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, and then we enter your passport in a drawing for a chance to win an art & gift “basket”—not really a basket, as Rory Skagen’s art piece is about 33″x26”. The prized basket features a jacket by Garzig Design, tea towels by Fisk & Fern, art by Rory Skagen, candles by Luna Tigre, and a journal by Iona Handcrafted Books, valuing the prize at over $400 retail. That’s a pretty great prize for supporting Austin’s art scene! Here’s a peek at the prizes:

Image of prizes from Luna Tigre, Iona Handcrafted Books, Fisk & Fern, Garzig Design, Rory Skagen

How to Enter:

Pick up your Passport to Art.
Attend all three events, and get your stamps.
Turn in your Passport to Art:
If you submit it to Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, you get free entry into the show, and it will be submitted into the drawing.
You can also submit it into the drawing at Blue Genie Art Bazaar, if you attend that event last.
One lucky winner will be drawn from the Passports with all three stamps.

Event Details:

Blue Genie Art Bazaar
November 23rd – December 24th | 10:00am – 10:00pm
6100 Airport Blvd, 78752
Chula League’s Cherrywood Art Fair
December 8th & 9th | 10:00am – 5:00pm
Maplewood Elementary | 3808 Maplewood Ave, 78722

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
December 13th-24th | 11:00am – 10:00pm
Palmer Events Center | 900 Barton Springs, 78704

Meet the 2018 Featured Art Artist

This year’s featured art is by Christopher Smith. Read our interview with Chris to learn more about the artist and work behind the 2018 featured art piece.

2018 Featured Art by Chris Smith

Tell us about yourself, your artistic background/career, where you are from, and where you live now.

I first studied Commercial Art at Austin Community College (ACC) from 1989-1991, there I had taken several drawing classes from the great Sam Yeates. I’m sure you know he was one of the Armadillo World Headquarter poster artists back in the 70s. Then 1992-1995 studied Visual Communications at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) and earned a BFA in Commercial Art. I’m so glad I studied at ACC first, because I perfected my illustrative drawing/technical hand skills there. SWT helped me strengthen conceptual ideas/design, so I could combine the two.

My first job out of college was working for the University of Dallas in Irving as a Graphic Designer for the University Relations Dept, a good 2 year stint. Afterwards 15 years of Graphic Design in Austin at Frog Design as an Interface Designer, 10 years working for Harcourt, a book publisher here in Austin creating cover designs for K-12 textbooks. Started creating my maps as a side business in 2007, was laid off in 2009, been creating my maps full time since then.

I had a fun childhood in Anderson Mill in NW Austin during the 1970s and 1980s. I went to Anderson Mill “Armadillos”, elementary school, Westwood HS, and Georgetown HS my Senior year. Have been living in Liberty Hill, Texas now for 3 years.

Map Art by Chris Smith

 

What was your favorite part to create in the featured art piece?

Creating the armadillo illustration, giving it an illustrative pen & ink look with the numbers 709 hidden.

Was there a challenging part to create?

The armadillo was the most challenging, trying to recreate an icon for the ‘Dillo that is “fresh” or has a new look from any previous ‘dillo designs.

Tell us about your history with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.

I did my first Armadillo Bazaar in 2010, when the Armadillo first moved locations to Palmer Events Center.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art.

In 2007 I sold my first print of my Republic of Texas map for $45 at a little Christmas show we had at Harcourt. Employees were able to set up and sell their goods at work for one day. I sold my first original map at Bayou City Arts Festival in 2008.

Map Art by Chris Smith

What are your favorite art supplies or tools?

I’ve been using Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph technical pens since my ACC days (over 27 years). Now I’m becoming more comfortable with acrylic paints with brush applications too, combining the two mediums more and more. Over the years I’ve been using more paint with brush and less technical pen.

If you were to work in any other medium, what would it be?

Definitely printmaking, I took one printmaking class at SWT and loved it, I could see experimenting with printmaking or combining it with the illustrative map idea. There are so many different types of printmaking, I just dabbled in it that one year.

How did you get started creating maps?

It started as an idea with several sketches back in 1998. Originally as a game board idea, like a “Texas Risk”. My first map was the Republic of Texas 1838 map; the other maps spawned from this.

Map Art by Chris Smith

Name your five favorite songs, albums, or musicians.

I love surf rock, garage rock, classic rock. Been listening to new Millennial bands such as Ty Segall, Mac Demarco, The Growlers, The Oh Sees, they are relatively new bands, but have the sound from the 60s-70s of course with a fresh perspective. Always been a huge Frank Black (Black Francis) fan, singer for the Pixies. He has a lot of solo albums after the Pixies. I’m always looking for new music for inspiration while creating artwork.

Is there any wisdom you would like to pass on to emerging artists?

I’m not good at giving advice, I never give it unless asked. Focus on one subject matter, and recreate it with a unique perspective. “​Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.​”​ Conan O’B​rien

Party at the Moontower Lounge Wonderland

Who doesn’t love a good holiday cocktail party? It’s the perfect excuse to don your best outfit. For any of you with parties on the agenda between now and the 25th,  we’re sharing a few ideas to step up the game for your holiday party.

Whether it’s a corporate affair or an intimate gathering of friends, Party at the Moontower puts together holiday lounge looks that bring an extra bit of pizazz to your party. Let your guests relax and mingle while sipping spiked eggnog!

Recreating a winter wonderland? This lounge set up was inspired by that feeling of fresh snow falling (though maybe not here in Texas!) But imagine being all bundled up, with string lights across the ceiling twinkling above your guests.
Winter Holiday Lounge
The concept of this party is a setup that’s refined without being rigid, sweet without being saccharine, cheerful, abundant, still festive!

This lounge is all about the golden details. Gold-rimmed coffee tables and accents make for a fancier soiree. The added faux fur will make it feel warm and cozy as you serve up hot toddies!
Golden Holiday Lounge
Another December, another company holiday party… and what’s a party without an open bar? If you’re treating your team to free beverages, you’ll need a festive bar to decorate with red berries and greenery. Add in cocktail tables for mingling and set them throughout your venue.
Holiday settings
We’re excited to be working with Party at the Moontower for our Green Room this year, they sure know how to set a festive mood. Let them elevate your holiday parties this year, you’ll be the toast of the town!

Meet the 2017 Featured Art Artist

This year’s featured art is by Robert Hurst. Read our interview below with Hurst to learn more about the work behind the featured art piece and his art career.

Tell us about yourself, your artistic background/career, where you are from and where you live now.

I’ve always been drawn to creating art and drew pictures constantly in my childhood. I would look at small photos of my classmates and render them larger to better know what my friends looked like, as I had awful eyesight. Finally at the age of 10 or so I got glasses, but still kept drawing. I lived in South Houston for my first 10 years then my family moved to the Spring, Texas area where I remained until moving to Austin in my 20’s. I visited Austin many times throughout high school and was definitely drawn to the city. I finally moved to ATX in 1985 with $50.00 and two boxes of clothes.

Throughout my life, most — but not all — of my jobs had some connection with art; picture framer, graphic designer, architectural illustrator, part time art show exhibitor, etc. My first job in Austin was at Ultra Art, a frame shop just purchased by the illustrious Dalhart Windberg. There I framed Mr. Windberg’s originals and prints. After 3 years of some much needed tutelage, I moved on to GoGo Studios where I worked for the most awesome Bill Narum doing album covers and music posters for Antone’s, Threadgill’s, and various band and events. I went from a fairly regimented work place to a fairly gonzo one. Both men (Windberg and Narum) are / were brilliant and I owe so much to them.

Throughout most of my life I’ve been active in sports (martial arts, motocross, football, baseball, rugby, volleyball), so I painted what I knew. In 1990 Earl Campbell commissioned me to do several pieces for him. Then I began doing sports memorabilia shows and found my niche. And, as they say, “The rest is history”.

What was your creative process for the featured art piece?

While meeting with the Armadillo team several ideas popped in my head immediately, and most were scuttled just as quickly. When I’m excited about a painting / project my mind often works this way, fast and furious. One image kept creeping in, however. An armadillo casually walking away from the viewer on a keyboard. From there I researched, then went to canvas with paints, as I do not sketch in advance.

What was your favorite part to put together?

This piece had a lot of the elements that I enjoy incorporating in my art: color, movement, composition, unusual angles, and creating an entirely new image.

Was there a challenging part of creating the featured art piece?

I often have a “finished” composition in my head before I start. Then it’s time to find reference material. That takes as much time as creating the painting.

Is there a 709 hidden in the piece?

There is a “709” in the headstock of the guitar.

Tell us about your history with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.

I’m not sure of the exact year I began showing at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. It was soon after it was moved from the Opera House to the Austin Music Hall. Mid ’90’s, I think. Chip and Debra Dupont lobbied for my acceptance. Bruce took a chance on a “sports artist” and we both think it was well worth it. My first year at the ‘Dillo was quite the learning experience. Although I had been to the ‘Dillo many times as a patron before my first year as an artist I had no idea the professionalism, stamina, dedication, and commitment the show requires. Bruce and many other artists offered suggestions that helped me become a better presenter of my art and helped ease the transition from a wanna be Armadillo artist to one in fact. What I learned subsequently affected every other show I did (do) in a positive way. Over the years, my work has expanded from almost exclusively sports themed to music, critters, and Austin-Texana. Much of my sports and music art is autographed by the subject. This is the biggest show I do and has been for 15 years. It was an honor to be invited and to now be part of the family.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art.

The first “dollar” I made was 50 cents for a colored pencil drawing of a deer jumping over a log in second grade to a classmate’s father.

What are your favorite art supplies or tools?

I’m almost exclusively an acrylic on canvas artist, although I am versed in watercolor, oil, pastel, inks, marker, and some clay sculpting.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?

I’m interested in doing more sculpture, painting more plein air, and travel subjects.

Tell us about being a sports artist.

I kinda got into sports art (primarily painting subjects related to sports) by accident. I always included one or two sports paintings in my early art shows, but never considered IT as my niche. After the Earl Campbell commissions my focus changed to sports. I began doing sports memorabilia shows. That introduced my work to many of the greats (past and current) in the sports world at the time; Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Ali, Earl Campbell, Bob Lilly and more. In 1994 I was invited to be one of the artists in the new Ballpark in Arlington Sports Art Gallery. It was the first exclusively sports art gallery within a ballpark. Soon I was in Minute Maid Park, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and a sports art gallery in Atlanta. At one time I was in more sports art galleries than any other artist in the country, albeit briefly. I became the artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, the artist for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, and artist for the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. What I do is paint each of the inductees. Prints are then made, signed by the inductees, and offered for sale. This is a fundraiser for the museums. I also did work for the College Football Hall of Fame for a few years, and from 2001 – 2009 created the artwork for Rodeo Austin (AKA Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo).

The inductee paintings are usually a single image. My favorite sports pieces to create are complex multi-image compilations celebrating a championship, a city’s history, an individual’s history, etc.

What are your five favorite songs, albums, or musicians?

Hmmmm, that’s a toughie. Nothing gets my air drumming “skills” hopping more than Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying”. Best concerts were Pink Floyd’s “Animals” tour and Bruce Springsteen circa 1975. I love live jazz, the purity of voice of Eva Cassidy, ELO, U2, B-52s, The Offspring, AC/DC, ABBA, and Linkin Park are great traveling music. Kate Bush is way up there, too!

Is there any wisdom you would like to pass on to emerging artists?

Always be lernin’.

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Far Out Fittings styles it up!

Artists Lounge
We’re loving the way Far Out Fittings styled our artists lounge. It’s been a cozy place for our bands and artists to chill out for a bit. If you’re in need of cool furniture for your place, definitely check out Far Out Home Fittings, located in the heart of South Austin. Their inventory is updated daily, they have negotiable pricing, and cheap delivery. They also currently have holiday season sales and can help you find that perfect inspired gift that will tickle your loved one’s memories and leave them with a Christmas to remember. Want a peek before you head down there? Their website has a Current Inventory page that is updated regularly!

far out sofa

Not sleeping so great? Far Out Fittings also has a sister company called Lunar Mattress. It’s actually located at the same place as Far Out, kind of a two-for one shopping experience! Let Lunar Mattress solve your sleeping problems with their bed offerings of innerspring, latex foam, and memory foam mattresses along with a variety of accessories. Start your new year off in a new comfy bed.

Far Out Fittings Bed

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Music Monday: Emily Gimble

Gimble at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

The three-time Best Keyboards Winner of the Austin Music Awards and former keyboardist for iconic Texas western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, Emily Gimble will be bringing her notable sultry, bluesy voice to the Armadillo stage for the first time this year. As the granddaughter of legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble and daughter of noted CenTex guitarist and fiddle player, Dick Gimble, Emily has music in her blood. With vocals reminiscent of Billy Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Norah Jones, we just know you’re going to love her soulful, thoughtful songs.


Emily Gimble will play the Armadillo stage Tuesday, December 20th at 11am

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New Artist Spotlight: Desarae Lee

Desarae Lee at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Desarae Lee’s work is intricate and whimsical. She creates her work using either pen and ink or a printmaking process called drypoint, which is an intaglio technique similar to etching. Her work makes a great gift for college students, young couples, and kids!

Let’s learn more about Desarae and her work…

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I’ve been creating since I was a child, but I’ve been doing art for a living for the past five or six years. I would hope that my work has become more refined over time. My style continues to develop as I try to add layers of meaning and complexity.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
I would love to work in a three-dimensional medium, like steel or wood.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
In Utah I live next to some of the most beautiful mountains on earth, so I spend a fair amount of my free time rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Desarae Lee at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I’m always excited to see my other friends who do art shows, and some of my favorites will be at Armadillo this year! I’m also excited to get my first year under my belt, to meet new patrons and get more involved with Armadillo.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
The first dollar I made selling my art in recent memory was at my very first gallery show. I only had five small art pieces in that show, and back then I was selling my work for practically nothing! Two pieces sold and I remember feeling amazed that I could make money with something I had drawn.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
I love the music scene in Austin so I’m just excited to hear a breadth of the local music!

Is there an artist at Armadillo you are looking forward to shopping from?
Too many to choose from! Among my favorites are Dave Borba, Shawn Harris, Vladimir Ovtcharov, Steve and Bonnie Harmston…I could go on.

Desarae Lee at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Find Desarae’s work in booth N-1

New Artist Spotlight: Van Horn Enterprises

Van Horn at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Van Horn Enterprises creates treasures from wood. We’re excited to have their wood writing instruments in our show. Principal Artist, Karen Van Horn, produces art that is both beautiful and functional. Karen travels extensively seeking out small sawmills that focus on producing high quality lumber from trees down by storms. Her pens will make the perfect gift for that pen collector in your life.

Let’s learn more about Karen and her work…

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
Approximately 5 years. Van Horn started making writing instruments and then extended my scope to include sculptured boxes. I’ve used my experience in finishing pens to support my creations of boxes with an exceptional finish.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Ride my road bike. I’m an avid cyclist completing 2300 miles this year to date including a MS150 ride in Texas and a 450 mile organized ride in Iowa (RAGBRAI). I also likes to camp either tent camping or camping in my 32 ft travel trailer.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I attended the Armadillo in 2015 and was very impressed with the environment and displays. I also visited with a number of the artists and was very impressed with their positive comments about the team work. During our meeting with the production team in Austin we gained a new appreciation of the learning opportunities with regard to lighting and display.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
My first show was a local show that were mostly vendors that sold purchased goods and a few with low end crafts. I sold pens at the time so my first sale was a $45.00 pen. We were trying our booth set up and credit card machine for the first time. We learned to focus on better art shows where all items are made by the artist at the show.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
I look forward to Asleep at the Wheel.

Van Horn pens Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Find Karen’s work in booth A-2

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Music Monday: Los Coast

Los Coast at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Los Coast’s music is a punchy, psych-tinged, lyrical variety of rock and soul. For the band’s three principals, Trey Privott, John Courtney, and Megan Hartman, this style of music is a uniquely efficient medium of communication—one that reaffirms music’s role as the universal language of the intangible.

Los Coast formed like Voltron, and Trey happened to be the heart. He is Los Coast’s “Stax-worthy” vocal feature. To put it simply, “there’s something about Trey’s voice that resonates with you.” He was introduced first to jazz—by his uncle Hiram Bullock—but Trey’s musical enthusiasm embraces gospel, punk rock, electronica, folk, and hip-hop, among other genres, and his eclectic songwriting style reflects his universal musical interests.

John is a multi-instrumentalist with a particular aptitude for keyboard and lead guitar. He is primarily responsible for most aspects of composition and production for Los Coast, and his creative impact on the band is significant. John’s style is deeply rooted in Americana and heavily influenced by an acute understanding of music theory, which he honed studying mood, texture, and composition at Berklee College of Music.

Trey and John formed Los Coast in January of 2015 and recorded their debut album “Voila” in Athens, Georgia with Drew Vandenberg. They subsequently recruited the talented Megan Hartman to join the band on electric and stand-up bass and feature several local percussionists and horn players in their live performances. They are sure to get everyone at Armadillo moving their feet!


Los Coast will play the Armadillo stage Monday, December 19th at 11am

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