EAST (East Austin Studio Tour) is one of my absolute favorite events of the year here in town -- but to do it right takes a little planning, as there are literally hundreds of studios and galleries to pop into. It's open two weekends this year, so if you missed it last weekend, go this coming one (Nov. 17 and 18) -- and check out my top five artsy EAST stops.
Though you'll find art hanging on the wall here, Blue Genie's bread and butter is huge, three-dimensional creations of everything from dinosaurs, to giant Pez dispensers, to chia heads (just like the picture above). On Springdale Road just next door to the Blue Theater, it's a classic stop on EAST, one where you're just as likely to commune with delighted children as you are serious, art scrutinizing grownups.
Cross over to east 2nd Street from Big Red Sun, and waltz into the studio of Jennifer Chenoweth: Fisterra Studio. Jennifer is not only the founder of Generous Art, a nonprofit that donates a portion of art sales to charities of the artists' choosing, she is also an accomplished artist herself. Here you'll find Chenoweth's abstract work using a variety of materials, from suspended, cut aluminum, to painted steel, to flat canvases flush with deep oils.
So much more than a bookstore, Domy is. Part miniature art gallery, part handmade paper store, part vintage clothing racks, part gift shop, and part honest-to-goodness bookstore, Domy is an east Austin mash-up of the weird and wonderful. I typically make this my first EAST stop, where you can pick up a map, grab coffee across the street at Cenote, and be on your way.
An outdoor playground and accompanying, airy shed of landscaping magic, Big Red Sun is just up the street from Domy. Here you'll find furniture, housewares, whimsical plant holders (there's even a garden growing out of a rusty car in the backyard), and inspiration for turning your outdoor spaces into green zones of wonder.
A gallery and workshop of original etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and monoprints, Flatbed Press is a 20+ year-old studio focusing on eye-catching and artistic printmaking. Come here, and get inspired to seriously dress up your walls.