The Austin Studio Tour is a combination of the pre-pandemic West Austin Studio Tour and the East Austin Studio Tour, all sponsored and presented by Big Medium and their many community partners. The first weekend covered the West; the second weekend covered West and East; this last weekend (Sat-Sun, November 20-21, noon-6 p.m.) ends with just the East. (You can pick up a free studio business card at any branch of the Austin Public Library while supplies last; but you must become a Big Medium member to get a copy of the Austin Art Book. Studio Tour.) For those last five recommendations, we’ve focused on studios and galleries that also offer, among their larger art pieces, smaller items that can be carried in luggage – ideal for gifting your family or to your lucky friends, for example, when you go on a visit towards the end of the year.
He is a former master, as they say, of the art of pottery. But Ryan McKerley is also, we will insist, a future master of the same practice: Man has been practicing his profession in this city since 1995, and whether the pieces are functional or purely aesthetic – or, more often, a superb combination of two – they will certainly be among the most beautiful items in your home. And of course, a thing of beauty (thank you, Mr. Keats) is a joy forever. Cups, bowls, saucers, platters – you name it, McKerley’s has elevated its utility into a sophisticated style that will still be appreciated for decades to come. Which, as it stands, could well be post-apocalyptic; but at least the motley survivors will dine, when possible, on the finest porcelain there is. 1027 Arthur Stiles, ryanmckerley.com.
Brian david johnson
Wood and resin earrings by Brian David Johnson (Courtesy of the artist)
You would think that everyone and their cousin would infuse brightly colored resin into panels and discs and natural pieces of reclaimed wood. Surely the process can’t be that arduous, can it? But maybe it’s just that this Johnson guy does it so well, which is why his simple flower stands, jewelry trays, and exquisite earrings (not to mention his more complex, non-functional creative expressions). but beautiful and intriguing) can be found in the best homes and gathering places in our growing city. Either way, discovering this work is also a good excuse to visit his Cloud Tree studio with its shopping arcade which has an array of unique qualities and gifts from other, perhaps equally skilled locals. 3411 E. Fifth, bdj.gallery.
Blackfeather Vintage Works
Jessica Nieri’s Wonderland, located just behind Dimension Gallery on Springdale, is like a miraculous junction of time and space where nostalgia meets elegance, where funky is never junky, where you’ll find a constellation of old and new creative works that include jewelry, clothing, antique art and other stellar items that you can’t find elsewhere without 1) a time machine and 2) good social connections. This place is one of the Austin Studio Tour’s business partners and an art space in its own right, and it’s adjacent to Dimension Gallery and Ghost Pepper Glass – making it a kind of unique hat-trick for your weekend of sightseeing and shopping. 979 Springdale # 98, blackfeathervintageworks.com.
Aunt Marge plays bingo by Janna Garza (Courtesy of the artist)
She is “a storyteller, writer, performer and creator of self-portraits”, this talented local. But the selfies she produces are not by the same person: they are portraits of the diversity of characters that Garza embodies in an ongoing narrative revealed through text and photography, an evocative gallery of the self interpreted in the sense of what, say, Cindy Sherman could do if Cindy Sherman had been carefully marinated in the essence of Frida Kahlo and William Faulkner. But why does this artist’s display fit well with our putatively wearable / gift recce set? Because Garza’s long-awaited book compilation of his photos and their stories will also be available this weekend. 5305 Bolm, Bay 2; jannagarza.com.
This woman carves creatures – incredibly lifelike, but unusually large – from recycled cardboard, and the carved cardboard is often accented with similarly carved paper for the more delicate parts. Bonus: most creatures are insects. A wasp, for example. A dung beetle with its rolling burden. A beetle for which a collector in Tokyo could pay a month’s rent. A cicada whose shrill cry one could almost swear. An ephemeral that would make Bryn Oh proud. She is also working in other mediums, this Keenan – paintings, stained glass – but it is the recycled cardboard and Our Diversity of Arthropod Friends in her exhibition at Springdale General that currently brings the most joy to the artist and visitors to the visit. 1023 Springdale Bdg. 10-C, kakiikeenan.com.
A version of this article appeared in print on November 19, 2021 with the title: Five things …