Category Archives: armadillo bazaar artists

Meet the Featured Art Artist

This year’s featured art is by Dan Grissom. Read our interview with Dan to learn more about the artist and work behind the featured art piece.

Tell us about yourself, your artistic background/career, where you are from and where you live now.
I grew up in very rural Louisiana. I was always drawing or doing something art related while growing up and decided to pursue a degree in graphic design. Once settled into college, I got more into the studio art classes and ended up going on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Studio Art (focusing on painting and printmaking) after getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Communication.

After grad school in East Texas, I moved to Austin in the Summer of 2006 because I had friends who lived here and I was also playing in some bands and it seemed like a good place to be for that. I worked as a designer at a sign shop for a few years and then got a job at the now defunct Sanctuary Printshop. There I learned more about screen printing and got my start designing screen printed posters, but I still hadn’t fully embraced illustration as my path. After a few years at Sanctuary, I left and got a job printing for Tim Doyle, who is also an Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Artist. Nakatomi, Tim’s print shop, tends to print posters that lean more toward hand drawn illustration and less toward traditional design and vector illustration, which is more what I’d previously focused on. Printing for lots of great illustrators at Nakatomi and seeing their work up close inspired me to get back into drawing more. I thought it might be a good thing in my tool kit as a designer. I took to it pretty quickly. For the next few years I created my own art prints and took on as much freelance illustration work as possible while still printing at Nakatomi. I tried doing a few craft shows and art markets to sell my prints and those went pretty well. At a certain point, I crunched the numbers and realized I could make enough with selling my prints and doing some freelance illustration work and that I didn’t really need to have a day job anymore. And without a day job, I could focus way more on my own work. So in the Spring of 2017, I left my job at Nakatomi and began the often wonderful and occasionally terrifying journey of being a self-employed artist. I have a fully operational screen printing and letterpress studio in my two-car garage in south Austin. I call that studio Biscuit Press and have now employed my friend Robert Steel to help with the printing of my posters as well as take on outside print work for other artists and designers.

What was your favorite part to create in the featured art piece?
When I was thinking about the direction I wanted to take the featured art this year, I thought about having some baby armadillos in there as well instead of just the adult armadillo often seen in the past. I did this not only because baby armadillos are pretty cute, but also because the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is very much a family environment. Not only are there always lots of people there with their families, but I’ve also met so many people for whom the Armadillo is a family tradition. So many people tell me stories about coming to the Armadillo with their parents growing up and now they are bringing their kids to see all the art and music. So when I was researching armadillos and specifically baby armadillos, I learned that 9-banded armadillos almost always have identical quadruplets. I love that little piece of trivia, and since I’m a stickler for details like that, I had to include four baby armadillos.

Tell us about your history with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.
My first real taste of the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar was when I was working as a printer for Tim Doyle at Nakatomi. The first year he was a part of the Armadillo, I worked his booth for a good bit of the show. Then when I started focusing on my own prints and doing similar shows I always had the Armadillo in the back of my mind as something I’d like to try myself once I felt like I had enough work to present and was ready. I knew from working Tim’s booth that it was a big commitment, but I wanted to give it a shot at some point. Then in 2017, since I didn’t have my day job anymore and could handle the commitment, I applied and got in. 2020 will be my fourth year. It’s a great show run by great people, so I’m really happy to be a part of it.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art.
It wasn’t a dollar, but the first piece of art I sold was to my Grandfather. I was maybe around 4 years old and I had told him I was going to be an artist when I grew up and he said he wanted to be my first customer. So I drew him two little drawings of flowers and he gave me a quarter for each of them. My Grandmother still has those two little drawings framed in her room.

If you were to work in any other medium, what would it be?
All of the above. I constantly see the work of other artists working in other mediums and want to try everything. I just bought the house I live in, so I’m currently thinking about trying my hand at some custom mosaic tile pieces and maybe even some stained glass pieces. I still paint sometimes as well, but one thing that really appeals to me about printmaking is that I think it sort of democratizes art in a way. Screen printing, in particular is sort of a mid-point between fine art and commercial printing. All of my colors are mixed by hand and every color layer is printed by hand, but since printmakers are making multiples, we can generally keep the price of our prints a bit lower than many other mediums. I came from a working class family so I really like that I can keep my art accessible to people from similar backgrounds. I’ve had many people buy my work and tell me it’s the first piece of art they’ve ever bought and that makes me feel great.

How did you get started creating posters?
I’m a musician as well, so my early posters were for the bands I was playing in. Mostly printed on copy machines that I had access to. Then as I started honing my skills with design, illustration, and printmaking, the possibilities opened up quite a bit. After creating posters for my own bands and working as a designer, I started getting hired by friends’ bands to create posters for them. Then the more I learned about the world of screen printed posters and the more I worked as a printer, the more I developed my own style. At this point I was still just thinking of myself as a designer and maybe a commercial illustrator, but eventually I started trying to create my own illustrations that could exist as art prints rather than being commercial projects for bands or businesses. Once I starting thinking about things in that way, my career really opened up. I’m now at the point where I’m taking on less freelance work and focusing on my own prints instead.

Is there any wisdom you would like to pass on to emerging artists?
I think my advice to emerging artists would also be my advice to everyone. Be very careful about debt. One of the biggest hurdles I had in trying to transition to being a full-time artist was that I had a big chunk of credit card debt from when I was in college and just out of college. Having that debt hanging over me made everything way more difficult when I started looking into becoming a self-employed artist. I’m out from under that now and life is much easier.

Meet the 2019 Featured Art Artist

This year’s featured art is by Lisa Morales. Read our interview with Lisa to learn more about the artist and work behind the 2019 featured art piece.

Lisa holding up 2019 Featured Art

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

I grew up on the performing side of the art spectrum. My aunt owned a dance studio so at three years old I strapped on my first pair of ballet shoes and I didn’t stop dancing until I was well into my 30’s. I graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and went on to dance professionally in the Houston area. It was not until much later in life that I made the switch to the visual side of art. I was in my 40’s when I took my first drawing class and it wasn’t too long after that I fell in love with mixed media. A few years ago I was signed with a licensing company that has allowed my work to be seen on products throughout the United States, without having to leave Texas. I even have a calendar coming out in the U.K. in 2020. I consider myself to be very blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love.

collage art of raccoon in headress

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

I always try to hide images in my work that relate to the subject matter. The feature artwork has armadillos hidden all through out the piece and the lyrics to “London Homesick Blues” which is kind of an inside joke to all the artist who participate in the show. This song is played every morning to start the show, and every night as the shoppers are leaving the venue. By the end of the show we know all the words by heart.

How did you get started creating collages?

I used to work in stained glass and mosaics which is just a different media for the same process I use now. Stained glass, mosaics, and collage all take tiny pieces that are used in a jigsaw puzzle fashion to create a larger image. Paper is by far my favorite of the three because I can paint it any color I need, it is lightweight, and never breaks like glass can.

Collage dog portrait

What are your favorite art supplies or tools?

Paper is my main media so I am always on the lookout for papers with interesting writing or graphics on it. I paint and texture the papers I use in my work with liquid acrylic paint. This paint is vibrant and translucent which allows me to use a lot of color that does not completely cover up the markings on the paper. Having both the color from the paint and the markings on the paper make for very intricate texture.

Collage art of a cheetah and zebra

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

I think a lot of people starting out in the business of art forget that art is a business. Talent alone is not enough. Take some business classes, learn some basic coding, make good choices with social media, network, be nice to people, work hard, think outside the box, be disciplined, and after all that, create good work!!

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

Gifts for Him!

Charcoal Soap by Black Hatchet
“Keep clean – stay rough” with this charcoal soap designed by husband/wife team Erez & Mazzi Peled. Black Hatchet is a line of natural and organic products made with unique blends of 100% pure essential oils and enriched with organic activated charcoal in Austin, TX. Find these “manly” soaps in booth K-3. PS – this is a fave at the Armadillo office.

Artist Bruce Reinfeld
High Fidelity Gallery – New to the show! Limited edition fine art photography on skateboards! Or think big, and decorate your walls with his vibrant images. Bruce Reinfeld’s mission is to direct us to see the beauty in unusual things, like the Lone Star Bus, Bull’s horn’s, a rusting Cadillac, or the palm trees of Coconut Grove. Find his photography works in booth R-4.

Flasks & Leather Goods by Espacio Handmade
Espacio Handmade‘s leather bound, hand-stiched flasks are the perfect gift for the man who has everything. Leather wrapped & handcrafted with style, these handsome, classic flasks have an air of rebelliousness. Pair it with the Leather Journeyman Pocket Notebook, for the perfect gift set. Find these gifty goods in booth D-1.

Head to our Facebook page for the whole gift guide photo album, plenty more to see there!

Gifts for Music Lovers

Musical Aspen Glen by Gregory Arth
Gregory Arth tastefully couples apsens and sheet music in this piece titled “Musical Aspen Glen”. You can find most of his work as originals or giclee prints in booth I-4, near the Armadillo stage.

Drawing the Line by Artist Clifton Henri
Clifton Henri‘s piece “Drawing A Line” gets us right in the heart every time we see it. Clifton affectionately describes his work as Film Stills of an ever-evolving narrative, his work is themed in the spirit of nostalgia where personal experiences, insights and cultural stances are reflected. You can find his award-winning photography in booth A-4.

Salvaged Wood Art by Brian Phillips
Brian Phillips pays homage to George Jones in a big way! His paintings are made from salvaged wood, this one is painted on a door. Excellent recycling! His artwork is represented in all price ranges and can be found in booth T-1. Head over to our Facebook page for the whole gift guide!

Gifts That Are Fun!

Our third gift guide teaser of the year is titled “Gifts That Are Fun!”. You don’t have to look too far to find fun gift options at the Armadillo. We embrace art that is fun!

Big World Photo's Gluten Free
Lorri Honeycutt of Big World Photo takes all her photos with a Nikon digital camera using a macro lens. None of her photos have been digitally altered. It’s a non-stop smile fest in her booth (N-3) Even her photo titles will make you smile, this one is titled “Gluten Free”. Find one or two to keep you smiling year-round.

Devil Girl by Dave Borba
Dave Borba‘s “Devil Girl,” is a three-dimensional interactive folk-art piece that must be seen and interacted with to understand his genius. This artist is a world traveler and avid outdoors-man, as well as just good people. Delight someone in your life with one of his interactive works, which can be found in booth O-1.

Lump of Coal soap by Latika Body Essentials
Do you need a “Lump of Coal” soap for the naughty person on your list? Husband and wife duo, Mazzi and Erez Peled of Latika Body Essentials might be able to help you out. Check out their super cute line of fun soaps, along with their luxurious line of bath products made with natural ingredients right here in Austin, TX in Booth J-9.

For our full “Gifts That Are Fun!” gift guide head over to our Facebook page!

Gifts to Light Up Your Life

Our second gift guide teaser of the year is titled “Gifts to Light Up Your Life”, featuring lamps and lighting to shiny things from the artists of the 42nd annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar!

Art Lamp by Artifacts by Nomad
New artist to our show, Mick Whitcomb of Artifacts by Nomad builds conversion light fixtures made from 19th century machines and scientific instruments. Each piece has been personally re-discovered, re-worked, and re-imagined by the artist to add new function to a past generation of machines. Find his re-imagined works of antiquity in Booth A-3


Artist Daryl Howard is a master Japanese woodblock printmaker and mixed media collage artist. This piece is titled “Where I wade into light”, the woodblock print making technique is part of her soul; it’s quite evident. Stroll through her museum-like booth (U-5) and revel in her world.

Luna Tigre Wood Wick Candles
Luna Tigre is new to the show this year. Jill Patton and husband Dan are the driving force behind these 100% soy candles hand-poured in Austin, TX in small batches. They’ll showcase their permanent fragrances and a nice range of seasonal scents, ranging from Bluebonnet to Tomato to their popular wood wick candle, Bourbon & Tobacco. Find the perfect gift for your candle loving family and friends in booth R-3

Find the rest of our “Gifts to Light Up Your Life” gift guide on our FB page.

Gifts that Inspire!

Welcome to our first gift guide teaser of the year! This collection is titled “Gifts that Inspire”, for those who want art as a reminder of the beauty all around them. Come back for daily gift ideas featuring the artists of the 42nd annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar!

"Lifeboat" by artist Michael O'Brien
Michael O’Brien is new to the show this year. This piece titled “Lifeboat” is made of cast bronze, steel, and wood. His pieces invoke an awe with the natural world. Truly inspirational, gracefully refined in form and movement. Find his work in Booth O-8.

"Light (for C)" by artist Brianna Martray
Brianna Martray Fine Art is returning to our show after a two year break. Brianna created this significant piece, “Light (for C)”, as part of her “Light” series of hand built resin clay and paper on a steel base. Stop by her booth to explore her organic and surreal works. She shares her booth (F-3) with collaborator and metal artist Matthew Naftzger.

Greg Davis National Geographic Photograper
Try to spend some time talking to this National Geographic Creative Photographer, Greg Davis. His photos and the journeys he’s chosen are truly inspirational. Piece: “Circle of Gratitude” Kenya. Find Greg Davis Photography in booth J-2.

Head to our Facebook page to enjoy our whole Gifts that Inspire gift guide.

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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Featured Art Throwback Thursday

After announcing our featured art piece for 2016, we thought it would be fun to share with you the featured art of year’s past. Last year we had an armadillo illustrated by nemo.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 2015 featured art

In 2014 our featured art was done by Jay Long:
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar featured art 2014

In 2012, our first featured artist was Terrell Powell, he’s been with the show since the 90s.
Guitar Tree

We love seeing how the show inspires the artist’s piece, and look forward to growing this list. Do you have a favorite featured art piece? Let us know which one it is!