regional roundup by 9

regional roundup: austin – part 3


if part one and part two of the austin regional roundup were not enough to prove to you that austin has a fun and vibrant design scene, perhaps hey cupcake!, an airstream tuned cupcake stand with rotating cupcake on the roof, is the proof you need. one thing is for sure – austin has a very “go local” flavor, with chain restaurants replaced with local favorites, and shops like parts & labor, devoted to showcasing local designers. there’s tons to explore this wonderful city (you can find the d*s city guide here), and today our exploration ends with part 3 of our look at austin. Click HERE to learn about final installment of all-star designers: illustrator victoria corbett, textile designer nancy mims {mod green pod}, illustrator shannon lowry, hotel san jose landscape designer mark word, interior designer adrienne breaux and card designer cindy bell morgan. stay tuned to find out where our next regional roundup takes us. . . [thanks, austin designers!] -anne

CLICK HERE for the full post and to view all of the designers!


Victrola Studio

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I’m from Windsor in the UK but have lived in Austin for over ten years

2. Describe your work
Well I started out as a traditional illustrator, making individual cards and illustrations along with Fine art illustrations and abstract multimedia pieces. Two years ago I designed a tee that sold out a couple of hundred pieces in two weeks so I decided to start a line of screen printed items which included shirts, bags and accessories. Currently I have gone back to my roots  and have been concentrating on illustrations  and mixed media pieces again. Also collaborating with an Austin photographer who is amazing.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
The  great thing about Austin is its creativity, there are lots of amazing working artists here which can be very uplifting and encouraging. Also its a laid back city which enables you to search out and find who you are and what you are about as an artist. The environment, nature and interesting creative people help me push through the hard times.

4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?
When i want to feel inspired i often look to international design magazines and the work of different people i love, not necessarily Austin artists. To be honest i still look back to my roots in England to get my design ideas. I do love to visit remote areas of Texas when needing inspiration or time alone. Nothing  beats a trip out to Big Bend National Park its amazing.


5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
The Austin design scene is very vibrant and ever changing,  never short of new talent as there are new people moving here from all over the world.

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
If I could go anywhere I would want to visit either China or Japan as I love Asian design and aesthetic.

Click here for more of Victoria’s work.


Mod Green Pod

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Florida and now I live in Austin, Texas.

2. Describe your work
I design textile and wallpaper prints for my company, Mod Green Pod.  My prints are simple, modern and fun; I aim to create patterns that make people feel happy and peaceful.  I also strive to create products that are safe for people and the planet, which is why Mod Green Pod textiles are 100% organic cotton and chemical free.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?

Austin celebrates and attracts an independent spirit and creativity.  Being surrounded by so many smart, creative people keeps me on my toes and provides me with endless inspiration.  Austin is also a very environmentally conscious city.  All of these factors make Austin the perfect setting for Mod Green Pod, which is part of why we are moving our headquarters here next month, coinciding with the launch of our completely new line.

4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?
I’m most inspired by things new and unexpected and Austin is a never-ending source of both.  I have favorite haunts like Barton Springs, Town Lake Trail, and Boggy Creek Farm, but often just a stroll around my neighborhood with my family will yield a moment that leads to a great idea.

5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
Eclectic, witty and full of surprises.

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
I desperately want to go back to Japan for print inspiration and to check out some Japanese mills.  The most luxuriously soft organic cottons I’ve ever felt are woven in Japan.

Click here for more of Nancy’s work.


Shannon Lowry

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in Santa Monica, California but grew up in Austin, Texas. I returned to Austin about 5 years ago after living in Los Angeles and Chicago.

2. Describe your work
I create letterpress cards, custom work, illustrations, and children’s books with an emphasis on eco-friendly. My work has been described as modern, whimsically organic, and humanistic. Currently I’m excited about a collaborative work-in-progress; a children’s book called Ruby and Esme.  My partner Kathie Sever and I are exploring the world of collaboration, friendship, and connection on the book’s companion blog, backandforthproject.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Austin influences my strong connection to being environmentally minded in my business and life. I have a host of artist friends that live within walking distance from my home studio giving me support and escape from isolation when I need it. I have a resident squirrel, a neighboring cat who thinks he’s my assistant and This American Life to keep me company. All of the above grounds my work.


4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?
Restaurants, coffee houses, vintage stores, galleries, and book stores fill my cup.  I love driving around looking at residential architecture and landscaping and I always feel  inspired at our local spring fed pool Barton Springs.

5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
Austin has a lot going on right now in music, craft,  architecture, and arts. I love how many grass roots efforts have turned into successful yearly events making art/design accessible like East Austin Studio Tour. Austin is a mix of everything,  a city full of talented people and enthusiastic support with the common thread of everyone doing their own thing without pretentiousness.

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Asia and the Galápagos Islands

Click here for more of Shannon’s work.


Mark Word

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I’m one of the increasingly rare native Austinites.

2. Describe your work
The focus of the work is on lush gardens with good bones – creating site specific and architecturally specific landscape design with a graphic clarity.  In terms of palette I favor old fashioned southern /naturalized natives mixed with new introductions from the plant world.


3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
Austin is a great city with a wide range of creative professionals.  We have strong architectural talent that is constantly being enlivened by new graduates from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas.  We have great graphic design firms and flocks of artists.  So the critical eye is everywhere—there is enough talent to keep us on our toes.

As for the climate, we take advantage of reasonable winter temperatures.  It freezes but it isn’t bitter, so we get to work with a wide range of plants like russian olives, agaves, yuccas, and plains grasses at one end of the spectrum with palms and bamboos at the other.  We enjoy a long growing season.

4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?Other than the New York Times?  I head out the back door of the office and fish the Colorado river.  There are also trips to McNeil Growers: a great collection of esoteric grasses and uncommon plants.

5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
The community is still emerging; it’s energizing and youthful.  The focus here is really still on music but the demand for design is picking up momentum all the time.


6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?

I’ve always been interested in places like the Iberian Peninsula that share a certain climatic kinship with Austin.  Originally, gardens in the Islamic courtyard house functioned as a passive climate control technology.  The tiling, the central fountains, and other heat related design strategies are even more fascinating when you get to experience them working.

Click here for more of Mark’s work.


Adrienne Breaux

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I’m originally from Louisiana. I went to school for interior design at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and never thought I would live anywhere but in Lousiana! I love that state. My boyfriend and I came to Austin about a year ago on a vacation, but then we never left! True story. We are lucky enough to live right off of South Congress, right next to downtown. Being able to step outside of my door everyday and right into the Soco area, or ride my bike over to Zilker park or downtown is such a treat each day.


2. Describe your work.
My work is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional styles. I love working on a variety of projects: office spaces, modern lofts, traditional homes—even in furniture stores helping remerchandise displays. I definitely tend toward simplicity in my work: I strive to help my clients find the perfect designs for their specific lifestyles and needs and don’t like filling spaces with unneeded furniture or accessories.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
All designers here in Austin are so influenced by our gorgeous surroundings, from the amazing Hill Countryside to the hip urban Austin side. Colors and textures are borrowed from nature, like hip agave greens, clay reds and dirt yellows. Certainly modernism is on the rise here in Austin, but there are definitely exceptional mid-century and older architectural examples that continue to influence my work today. There’s just such a sense of creativity here in Austin. So many artists working on art of all kinds. I myself caught the bug and have been working on an accessories line but there are tons of amazing examples of artists really pushing the envelope of creativity in painting, sculpture, music—you name it.


4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?
Without doubt it’s Austin’s numerous hiking trails, like the Hike and Bike trail around Town Lake or the numerous Green Belts. It’s so amazing to me that I can be in such a hip and active urban setting one minute, but then after a short bike ride be surrounded by such natural beauty. I go running in the mornings on the trail and it’s so wonderful to greet the day with the sight of the river and Austin’s downtown skyline complimenting each other.

5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
Austin is home to some AMAZING talent. Truly. Jaime Chioco, Michael Hsu, Loren Jacobs, Misty Adair, Tracy Overbeck Stead—those just a few of my favorite designers in Austin. Austin designers are producing not just beautiful architecture for Austin, but really work that can compete on a global scale. My only complaint is it sometimes feels like we’re not as connected as we could be. Everyone here is friendly and works together when possible, but there does seem to be a need for a greater connection within the community. AND we’re also lucky to have amazing design resources right here in the city. Most people think about Houston and Dallas as the places to go for design in Texas, but I would choose our furniture stores and design resources any day!

6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?
Anywhere in the US. Grand Canyon, Alaska, New England in the Fall, I want to see it all. We live in such a diverse country it’s truly amazing.

Click here for more of Adrienne’s work. You can also find her as a contributor on Apartment Therapy LA, 2Modern and All Things Austin.


Unusual Occasions

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Born Rapid City, South Dakota 1953. Father stationed at the Air Force base there. My father moved us to Austin in 1957. He went to UT on the GI Bill. I have wonderful memories of Old Austin, pre Mopac…old neighborhoods and football games. My mother, sister and I wore matching white silk pleated skirts with burnt orange silk blouses to the games. My father featured a cow bell. That touch of glamour has left an impression.


2. Describe your work.
I have for about 15 years in addition, produced art piece invitations for clients. Holidays, weddings, Debs, birthdays etc. People wanting something highly unusual for fab events contact me. How fun is that to stoke my creative flow. My work sets a tone or strikes a theme for clients with wit, humor and detail. Every piece is unique and I get lots of leeway.  Laura Bush’s private birthday party in Washington and Ben Crenshaw’s 50th are some of the most notable.

3. How is your work influenced by where you live?
My home is my sanctuary in Austin. I am reminded every day as I wind home,  to take The High Road. I live in the old, original part of Westlake, on Ridgecrest at the top of The High Road. There is no place I’d rather be. I look out over the hills at the Zilker Xmas tree during the holidays, I have deer and lots of wild life-changing experiences. Last year I woke on Mother’s Day, walked in my kitchen, to look out the window and see a fawn being born.  I feel connected here not to just the art, music scene and the diversity, but to the consciousness, the outdoors and the universe.


4. Where do you go in Austin when you want to feel inspired?
My favorite places are still the old neighborhood areas in Austin. I gravitate to West Lynn. I shop at the Fresh Plus, it used to be Cash Carry. The man, whose family started it, was my next door neighbor for years.  I am a regular at Naus. Jeffery’s is a favorite haunt. I did the display windows there for years. Cafe Medici is a great new addition for that neighborhood. I looks typically like an Austin place. The quality, that it was always here, not trendy, but trendy, for the profound, real, not in a time or place quality that Austin owns as its unique style and appeal. We are not cosmopolitan and it has been to our advantage to remain so. That separates us with regard to intention as a growing city and balancing our diversity as an asset creates huge appeal as alternative. it is my hope that we can walk the line, as WEIRD as it sounds, IT GIVES US AN EDGE, a plus so to speak, in creating a reality for being creative and inclusive. Austin remains an oasis in Texas for liberal view point.


5. How would you describe the Austin design scene?
Kut radio is a lifeline for it’s eclectic, noncommercial waves. I even did a radio show called Art Yucko in ’78.  It was a time when Texas Monthly was coming about. Again opportunity abound. It was a time and a place where you could land a job, write a far-out conceptual piece and end up with a 6 page article published in a major, new publication where they would let you shoot and style an article that would win an award for the mag and lead to a book offer. That was Austin then and with national eyes still turning to Austin, my hope is that, it is still the Austin of now.

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9 Comments

Paige

I have several of Cindy Bell Morgan’s cards framed and hung in my house. They are a real conversation starter and make me laugh every single time I notice them.

Julie

I love living in Austin. Just being here for the past 5 years inspired me to start my own business. The mantra to “buy local” is a huge influence in the Austin scene, and I’m continually surprised by the outpouring of support for local creative businesses.

mal

too bad austin is not exactly the crafty oasis everyone thinks it is. the people you hear about in austin are the only ones actually doing anything – you have to fish through a MILLION people to find anyone who isn’t a slacker loser. The art scene as well as film are clique-ish – you can’t get in unless you know someone!

lived there for 20 years – moved to LA and have been ever so much more creatively fulfilled.

Aaron

Damn mal! That is one caustic diatribe. Please share it with everyone you meet in California. Maybe it will dissuade any more Californians from adding to our sprawl.

Bernadette

Fantastic selection of artists/designers. I love Shannon Lowry’s cards. Mark Word’s landscapes. Cindy Morgan’s illustrations. Nancy Mim’s prints. I’ll look for the rest without a doubt.

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