New Artist Spotlight: Tonya Engel

Tonya Engel
Tonya Engel Foster is the woman behind Tonya Engel Fine Art. She has lived in New York the last 9 years and recently moved back to her hometown, Houston. Foster’s work is perfect for children’s rooms, family rooms, and dorms.

Let’s learn more about her…

Describe your work:
Most recently, my work has become more detailed, but I’ve always been an intuitive painter. I like to meditate on my emotional state and in the moment let the painting guide me in the direction it wants to go. paintings often take shape without initial planning. What’s been forcing its way out lately are images of women in the natural world. they are surrounded by mysterious, creatively constructed gardens and greenhouses. The plants and insects themselves ( some of which are imaginary) are like subjects within the dramas that play out in the garden settings.

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I’ve been painting now for over 20 years! In the beginning, I thought I wanted to be an abstract painter, but after falling in love with narrative figurative artists like Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Stanley Spencer, and Gustav Klimpt, my propensity for drama on the canvas was awakened and I’ve never turned back. Also, In the beginning, I often only focused on children and a certain subtle humor in my work, in the last 8 years, the subtleties remain, but my children have ‘grown up’ and become women.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Assemblage or ceramics. I’d love to create 3 dimensional work!

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
My first dollar for my art was earned in Austin! I was involved in an art competition (my first!) and I actually won, which I was already thrilled about. Then when the organizer handed me a check, I nearly fainted. I had forgotten about the prize money. That was a fantastic day. At the end of that first show I also sold the submitted piece! It was life-affirming, to say the least.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I love to play in parks and/or be out in nature in some form or fashion.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I miss seeing all the wonderful people who have become my Armadillo family over the years as well as making new friends with new collectors who are coming to the Armadillo for the very first time. The Armadillo is everything about Austin that I love — great people, amazing music, appreciation for great art, and the artisans that continue year after year to create quality work.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
I can’t WAIT to see Ruthie Foster!

You can find Tonya Engel Fine Art in booth D-2!

New Artist Spotlight: ZZZ Threadz

Triple Z Threadz
Anne Rutt and Edson Enriquez are the people behind ZZZ Threadz (pronounced Triple Z Threadz). While they have had a guest spot in LaLa’s booth the last two years, this year they’ve graduated to their own booth.

Let’s learn more about them…

Describe your work:
At first glance, ZZZ Threadz look like classic quality embroidered vintage pearl snaps- until you notice a sasquatch wearing a wristwatch, “eagle bring me back my baby,” and the ever-popular Kong vs Jaws (aka the ulitmate battle of the universe).

We carefully select the coolest vintage, embroider them with our original designs, and make each shirt a one-of-a-kind. We are eco-friendly as we recycle or up-cycle each of our shirts. We also use eco-friendly SAKURA rayon threads!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
10 years and we are only getting more “bazaar” (haha get it?!!!). We are doing our part to keep Austin Weird.

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

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Hit up Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for some Chicken Sh*t Bingo!


Find ZZZ Threads in booth S-3!

New Artist Spotlight: Kate Harrold

Kate Harrold
Kate Harrold is from Nashville, TN. Her work is a digital collage. She photographs each element of the image she is creating (occasionally borrowing pieces from found photographs) and then digitally manipulates & merges them together to create new and unlikely stories. Often inspired by a building, character, or single detail, she enjoys the challenge of removing that element from its environment and creating a whole new space and story around it. Her desire is to create images that portray a child like imagination, with a balance of the dark severity of reality and the hopefulness and whimsy of a dream, and we think she’s doing that perfectly. Her work would look great on almost any wall.

Let’s learn more about her!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?

I have always been an artist. I went to college intending to be a painter and somehow emerged a photographer. Having received a more traditional training, I continued to shoot only film for years. It took time for me to make the switch to digital and even longer to allow myself to even consider manipulating my images. However, once I started editing and combining my photos, it changed the way I photographed and opened up endless possibilities. I now put together photographic images like I would a painting. My imagination and creativity continue to grow and evolve with all the possibilities of technology and technique.

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

Kate HarroldKate Harrold

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
I bought a table at the punk rock flea market in Philadelphia. I had my prints displayed in dish racks! I only had a few images available at that point, but I sold half my inventory in one day. It was the biggest confidence boost and exactly what I needed to begin the transition away from my 9-5.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
We travel a lot for art shows. My “weekend” is very rarely on a Saturday or Sunday. But, when my husband and I are in a new city for a weekend show, we love to take an extra day or two to explore, photograph, visit galleries, and eat good local food.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I love Austin! I’m excited to eat breakfast tacos, hear really good live music, see really great art, and spend Christmas with my husband, our artist friends, and my best friend from high school who just happens to live in town 🙂

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
All of them! I don’t discriminate.

Kate Harrold

Meet Kate at her booth M-2!

New Artist Spotlight: Beach Glass Bingo

Armadillo Stacked Beach Glass
Rex Nockengust and Gene Allen from San Diego, CA are the artists behind Beach Glass Bingo. They use sea glass and beach found objects and incorporate them with riveted, forged & twisted metals. Their work is perfect for women who love the beach, ocean, or just having a great time by the water.

Let’s learn a little bit more about them!

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
We started in 2000 in Hawaii. Our first work was very simple; beach glass drilled and strung on leather. After many classes and some mentoring by other jewelers, we found our niche using cold connections. We rivet and twist silver in ways to feature the beach glass trying to keep in mind clean lines and simplicity.

We are constantly reinventing and thinking of new ways to use beach finds. Our ultimate goal is to surprise people with what can be done with found objects.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Having been actor/singers most of our lives we feel like this is the best place to be. Still artists and having our voices heard through our jewelry. So we are happy to work in this medium.

Beach Glass BingoStacked Glass and Wood Necklace
Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
We were at show in Hawaii for a local museum. A lady bought something from us and said “Oh, what great things you do with the Opala.” So sweet we thought only to find out later that in Hawaiian Opala means trash. However, we realized that it was a compliment saying that we could take trash from the beach and make something wearable.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Sounds funny, but we love to be in the studio making jewelry. We do love going to farmers markets and the beach, too.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
Being in Austin, meeting a lot of new people and being surrounded by so many talented artists. Also excited to hear all the great musicians throughout the show.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
All of them.

Find them in Booth U-1!

Music Monday: Michael Fracasso

Michael Fracasso is not only an artist on stage, but he’s an “Artist in the Kitchen” (as his book is titled) as well. This Austin singer-songwriter/chef can work his creativity in multiple arenas.

Upon arriving in Austin, TX in 1990 from New York City, Michael Fracasso was promptly voted Best New Artist in Music City Texas ‘Insiders’ poll and was able to record his first CD, Love & Trust which features a duet with Lucinda Williams. He was short listed for the Austin Public Library Award for literary achievement in 2011 and was on the “Best of 2011” list for several publications including Third Coast Music, San Antonio Express News and Austin Chronicle.

Fracasso has this magical way of weaving Americana, folk, country, and rock with his smooth tenor voice in a way only he can do to best sing his stories. While “Gypsy Moth” has quite a beat, the slow and soulful “Saint Monday” tends to be a crowd favorite. Fracasso has been working on a new record, “Here Come the Savages,” that’s tentatively due out in January of next year, and we can’t wait to hear it.

Michael Fracasso will play the Armadillo stage Tuesday, December 15th at 3pm.
michael fracasso

Music Monday: Jackie Venson

Jackie Venson picked up the guitar and made the giant leap from the tradition of classical music to the raw and gritty blues. She is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter with an amazing voice that we are looking forward to seeing on the Armadillo stage.

Venson spent her college years at Berklee College of Music where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Composition and Studio Production. In recognition of her dedication to her craft, said “Venson is no dilettante, wannabe performer, however a real staple of what a musician can achieve when they put in their 10,000 hours for both musical schooling, and late night pub sessions for practical honing.”

Compared to the likes of Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and fellow Austin native Gary Clark, Jr., this blues influenced singer and multi-instrumentalist will give you a show full of emotion and passion, and a meaningful connection with her audience. Come out early and see her where she belongs, on stage.

Jackie Venson will play the Armadillo stage Thursday, December 17th at 11am.
Jackie Venson Photo credit: Pooneh GhanaPhoto by Pooneh Ghana

Weird Fact Wednesday

In honor of our 40th season, we’re kicking off a series of “weird facts” about the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This is my personal favorite… Every show starts and closes with the sounds of ‘London Homesick Blues’ by Gary P. Nunn playing overhead. I drive home from the show singing this song and wake up every day during the duration of the show with it stuck in my head. It’s a good thing that this is a great Texas song. This is the version we play at the show, but here’s a live performance for your viewing pleasure.

You can see another version here with over 1,000 other people playing guitar along, too.

For more “Weird Fact Wednesdays” follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Music Monday: John Fullbright

Hailing from Oklahoma, Grammy nominated John Fullbright will be gracing our intimate stage for the first time this year. Fullbright’s sincere lyrics and heart shines through in his music. His story-telling magic will have you feeling every thing he sings, from the ballads to the more upbeat songs. Fullbright is sure to take you on a journey you don’t want to miss.

John Fullbright will play the Armadillo stage Wednesday, December 16th at 7pm.

Photo by Vicki Farmer

Music Monday: The Mastersons

The Austin, TX-based husband/wife duo’s lilting songcraft and charismatic chemistry have already won over listeners around the world, thanks to the couples ongoing status as members of Steve Earle’s band The Dukes, their frequent opening sets for Earle, and their critically-lauded 2012 debut album, Birds Fly South.

Denton, TX-born Eleanor and Houston-bred Chris have both been making music for most of their lives. Eleanor, the daughter of an opera-singer mother and a folk singer/airline pilot father, began playing fiddle at the age of four and studied with legendary Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble, and she and her sister Bonnie (now a respected singer- songwriter in her own right) played in the family band. Chris, meanwhile, was a teen guitar prodigy, playing the blues in Houston clubs by the age of 13.

We just know you’re going to enjoy their special indie pop-folk music vibe. You can hear more from The Mastersons here.

The Mastersons will play the Armadillo stage Friday, Dec. 18th at 3pm.

Music Monday: Gina Chavez

We’re kicking off our “Music Monday” series showcasing the musicians that are new to the Armadillo stage this year. First up, the award winning Gina Chavez.

Backed by a six-piece band, Chavez has claimed a prominent stake in the Live Music Capital. An eight-time Austin Music Award winner, Chavez and her band swept the 2015 awards, winning Musician of the Year, Album of the Year (Up.Rooted), Song of the Year (“Siete-D”), Best Latin Band, and the Esme Barrera Award for Music Activism and Education, while placing in six other categories. Aside from making a mark on the local music scene, Gina Chavez is also a philanthropist. Chavez and her partner, Jodi Granado, co-founded Niñas Arriba, a college fund that offers full scholarships to a private, Catholic university for girls in Soyapango. Southern Living and Olay named Chavez one of 11 “southern iconic women who have left a beautiful footprint across the South,” for her continued work in El Salvador.

We are honored to have her collection of bilingual songs that includes cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton and folk on the Armadillo stage. You can hear more Gina Chavez in this NPR Tiny Desk concert.

Gina Chavez will play the Armadillo stage December 16, 2015 at 3pm.