VanDwelling Travel Log: Second EAST (Sat, Jun 25, 2k18)
Choking and rasping on the threads of my own aspirations and ambitions. How very... Sith-like. I saw the cold coming, I even put out feelers on CouchSurfing in Miami and the Keys, but New Years was coming up and I was so excited about reporting and setting down goals and ambitions that I was blinded by them.. .

And on New Year's Eve day in Fort Myers, is reached a low of 51F (11C). There is is, the magic level, below 54F. How is that someone who is nigh impervious to jumping off mountains and cliffs, to extreme blasting conditions and storms across deserts and jungles and oceans, who can push for days at a time without sleep and on low sustenance, how can this same person have such a stupid and annoying weakness?

Every. Single. Time.

I've since moved on to Miami, and yes, I caught up with surfers here who are also hit by the cold, and who also got "the plague". Fortunately, once reporting and goals were done, I was no longer blinded and I realized what was happening, so I started early.

This time I think I might actually keep it from becoming bronchitis, and I'll definitely have no worries of pneumonia. I'm going to see if I can keep it less than two weeks, and I'm timing it. That would be a new record, but I started sucking on honey immediately and although I was delayed a day due to holiday pay delays, I've also worked on the nutrition side of things.

I'm thinking about actually removing all references to this weakness from the public eye, only loyal supporters such as you. It's an exploitable weakness and I don't exactly set out to make friends in the world.

In the meantime, with the cold and dreary rain, for the first time in weeks I have the opportunity to pull from older posts that haven't yet been published. Let's get back to the East Austin Studio Tour and wrap up other art from that weekend.

There was no plaque stating the artist for the bed that I posted at the very top, but the studios at Canopy were literally exploding with art... and everywhere. That brings us to something I never covered in the first article I wrote on EAST:

What is it?

I'd quite wrongly assumed that "it" had a central location, and was primarily a globular, possibly amoeba-like entity stemming from aforementioned location.

No. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I would quickly be corrected.

EAST has a map that covers nearly the whole of East Austin, centered near Texas Coffee Roasters (4th and Navasota), yet the center has almost no purpose other than as a starting point. Studios all over East Austin, and even quite a few homes of artists, are opened to the public for this two-weekend stretch in mid-November.

It's actually been going on for years and had completely flown under my radar. Then, just this year, everyone was talking about it. Most of these will be from Canopy -- a complex of hundreds of art studios that spans at least four buildings and two levels.

Now, let's get into why it flew under my radar. Firstly, it's terribly named. If someone says they're "hitting EAST", it's assumed they're just going to East Austin. Even if they add studios or more details, simply using the direction as a name denotes a location in space. Secondly, even when I did here about it, any online search for "EAST" and "Austin" brings up millions of posts that saturate the search itself.

So, to save those searches and shed some light on what it actually is, here is the official website, it's put on by an association or company called Big Medium (not related to the Medium micro-blogging site), there's an official book you can pick up to cover the entire tour and with all major artists, and you'll find the official map here on their site. Bam! All of that is info I wish I was given when it had been mentioned before, and now I've got the lowdown and I'm paying it forward as I'll be hitting EAST every opportunity I get going forward.

Let's break out some more art.

In fact, let's break out one of the big ones.

Journey V by Caroline Walker

You've just seen and scrolled over what is truly a beautiful multi-media surreal landscape. It is already a masterpiece what you have seen right here. It's size is almost your height, shy about one arm's length.

What you have not seen is the other world. I can't really show it to you, but what Caroline has created is actually a part of a world changing paradigm on a magnitude that the planet has yet to comprehend in totallity, nor even feel the impact of its strike.

Real quick, either check out this image from Caroline here on Facebook or watch the video here on her site. I have to state again that, even in these previews, it does not do it justice. You can't see the clouds moving in layers and how they change from different angles. You can't see the butterflies that are flapping nearby. You need to be there.

Where are you in the realization? I'm assuming you saw at least one of the previews, so you realize that this painting is actually the flat world that you see above, and it is also a living animated world that exists inside of the virtual, in the half-space known as augmented reality. I love that she cleverly refers to her own app as ARt.

The realization is still coming to fruition inside of myself. I've grasped a lot. It changes art forever. The time of day now matters. "Oh, you saw the Mona Lisa? Tell me you saw here near sunset when the clouds start to part."

Did you get that? Are you with me now?

"No, I barely made it in time for noon. I never even noticed the river behind her until I saw it flowing near the fields. Noon completely brings the background to life."

You've got it, right? I think you've got it.

The time of day begins to matter, the time of year, and of course personal touches by the artist, as well as even where you are standing... because the augmented aspects often change depending on your point of view.

And have no doubts that there will be underground "street" apps that run AR campaigns to tag and modify many existing works from "pop culture", or course simply drawing a mustache on most of them as a starting point. Because mustache.

I'm barely scratching the surface of the implications here, and with both Apple and Google releasing their AR SDKs to the world in 2k17, that means the real ripples of these will be felt over the course of this year and the next.

Alright, let's get out of the depths for a second and get downright fun...

Frankenbomber by Terry and Sarah Snow

These two make me so happy, and I love seeing all their crazy creations over at Chaos Woods. For once, I would actually suggest their main site over their official Instagram. Normally, it's Instagram that's more fun, but in this case they kind of get "blah" on their IG. Far too much process, not enough Frankie.

Alright, we've hit deep deep and shallow shallow. Let's swim towards a more middle-ish muddy area... that glows.

Except you won't see the glowie. Because Shane Moore (the name you can't read on the card) is an absolute ghost on the Internet. I even sent him an email about if there was anywhere I could send people, but no response. There's a phone number on the card, but it's a phone number. So, for now, just accept that these incredible illustrations you see are only a part of the story. If you were to turn around and see the wall behind, you would see about fourteen or fifteen abstract black light paintings.

Those black light paintings are how we got to talking, as I have had a LOT of requests from fans for fractals that are reactive to black light. Shane hooked me up, telling me the paints and types of paints to focus on for long-term art. There are differences in how long each one lasts, and eventually all of them will lose their shine, but at least some light will be held in the design and contrast itself.

I'm actually going to hunt down Shane inside of Canopy (Studio 219) and bring him a coffee in trade for the final details I need to make black light fractals a part of reality.

Now let's rewind a little, to one of the very first artists that I met at Canopy...

Eileen McKeon Butt

We had barely gone into Canopy, rounding the corner from the bed that I started this post with, when I saw these paintings that reminded me of fractals. I even said that out loud, "There are fractals inside these."

That's how I met Eileen, who immediately came up to me and said, "I'm so happy to hear those words. I love fractals."

This grew into talks about Mandelbrot, Julia, even Carl Sagan, and how her art connects the cosmic to the macro in similar ways as fractals, and with beautiful organic touches. She also pointed Debbie and I towards another artist who was intentionally painting fractals, as well as tributes to both Gaston Julia and Benoit Mandelbrot. The tribute got me fairly emotional, and I wish I knew the artist. I'll email Eileen. I bet she remembers. It really was a beautiful tribute.

While I linked to her site in the title, she's also active from time-to-time here on Instagram.

Austin Art Garage

Photo: The legendary Jason Eatherly at the Austin Art Garage

When we were wandering and wondering around Canopy, we passed the sigil of the vulture that both Debbie and I knew quite well -- Joel Ganucheau. Grrr... I keep forgetting his name, and yet I can spot his style and pieces from a mile away no matter where they pop up. Thankfully, Debbie is an even larger connoisseur and has one of his record player paintings hanging up in their place (aka, "Good Karma House").

Following the vulture, we were met by a closed door. Ah.... night owls. Joel is another nocturnal, just as I am, as well as Flip Solomon and quite a few other artists... and he wasn't opening the door before it was time to wake up. So we went around, met others, and came back when it was after high noon. Sure enough, the vampire had woken up.

Joel is one of the co-founders of the Austin Art Garage, a place that has become quite the heart for the ATX underground scene. In fact, I would place the hearts of the underground as HOPE, SprATX, and Austin Art Garage. No question.

I was so busy talking that I completely forgot to grab a portrait shot of Joel with one of his pieces, and I even knew the one that I wanted him to pose with. You're going to just have to click over to the garage and see his pieces right here on this page.

Whew! That covers the ones I wanted to hit in great detail. From here on out it's just links and eye-candy. Enjoy!

"Overgrowth" by Madeline Collins 

"Halley's Comet" by Brooke Gassiot

"WASP" by Kakii Keenan (aka, "Meddlesome Fox"; aka, "Tracy Mullen")

"Regarding Love" by Jean-Pierre Verdijo 

"Those Who Remember" by Terri McGee

I've heard rumors that there is a West Austin Studio Tour. While I doubt it could even come near to EAST, after the crazy amount of learning, inspiration, and energy from going to EAST and I am all about checking out what surprises could be found in the other hemisphere.

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