Austin’s focus on creativity changes with the seasons. This November the East Austin Studio Tour will highlight Austin’s art community and turn the sleepy streets East of I-35 into a bustling center that attracts patrons of the arts from all over the country. Art Alliance of Austin and Big Medium are kicking this event off with an official preview party unlike anything seen before.
Attendees of the Art Night Austin: E.A.S.T can stop at any one of seven art spaces from 7-10:30p for the opportunity to purchase works before the public opening the following day. Local eateries like East Side Kings, Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles, and Takoba will serve complimentary hors d’oeuvres alongside equally generous beverage companies including Alamos Wines, Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, as well as non-alcoholic offerings like Icelandic H2O and Sweet Leaf Tea. Addressing the growing concern of parking, Art Night Austin: EAST will provide transportation from one stop to another for a care-free night.
After party festivities begin at the Pine Street Station for a late-night party co-hosted by Landmarks, who recently commissioned special guest, NYC artist David Ellis’ latest work for the University of Texas, “Animal.” A special Q&A with Mr. Ellis begins at 9:45pm. Musical acts will be served up by DJS Orion, Tako and Mesanger, as well as live performances by BBoy Recon and The Austin Urban Dancers.
A brief interview with Meredith Powell, Executive Director of Art Alliance Austin, shed some light on the history and collaboration between Art Alliance Austin and the growing East Austin Studio Tour.
What is the history behind the collaboration between the East Austin Studio Tour and Art Alliance Austin?
M: Art Alliance Austin and Big Medium have partnered on a preview event for E.A.S.T. for the past 4 years. This is the second year that Art Night Austin E.A.S.T. is the official preview party for the tour open to the public. The relationship has been building each year and in 2011 will expand to also support the Texas Biennial produced by Big Medium.
The East Austin Studio Tour celebrates its 9th year of sharing East Austin’s artists with the rest of the city. Looking back to the history of Art Alliance Austin, which started in 1956, what parallels to do you see in the two organizations?
M: Art Alliance Austin and Big Medium share the goal of supporting the visual arts in Austin. Both organizations were founded by artists who deeply care about Austin and the artists who call it home. Art Alliance Austin has always sought innovative, accessible, and entrepreneurial methods of strengthening the local art ecosystem as a whole and Big Medium is also doing that now with EAST. Through this collaboration, we are able to create new opportunities to generate dollars that will be reinvested directly back into the local visual arts community. A stronger visual arts community is a shared interest we are working collaboratively to secure. Following the belief that joining forces with other organizations builds a stronger community, Art Alliance Austin also brought LANDMARKS to the table in order to engage new audiences and build curiosity for great works of art.
NYC installation artist David Ellis was chosen as the special guest for the Art Night Austin after party. How do you think David Ellis relates to the spirit of the East Austin Studio Tour?
M: In essence, it is the process of artistic creation that we are celebrating in Ellis’s work and this complements the spirit of the East Austin Studio Tour perfectly. This is also a unique opportunity for guests to see “Animal” and other works by Ellis.
David Ellis’s motion painting “Animal” was created in residence at U.T. The commission represents the first work of video art to be acquired by the University’s growing public art collection and initiates the only ongoing presentation of artists’ videos on campus. Ellis’s motion paintings have evolved from documenting graffiti works with the Barnstormers, an artist collective he founded in 1999. For “Animal,” he utilized a high-definition camera placed overhead to capture the process of painting and repainting a surface on the floor each day over six weeks. He then compressed that documentation into a time-lapse video that forms a narrative of creative impulses and executions. The resulting nine-and-a-half-minute video, comprising thousands of images including birds, landscapes, mythical creatures and other fantastical subjects, takes the viewer on an exhilarating journey into the process of artistic creation.
The 2010 Art Night Austin: E.A.S.T. is a unique collaboration weaving the city into a multidisciplinarity showcase of its own. Tickets can be purchased through the Art Alliance of Austin website. Prices range from $45 to $55 and include the preview tour, afterparty, and always spectacular East Austin Studio Tour catalog.