Austin, Texas… land of the queer, home of the strange... and birth place to the infamous slogan "Keep Austin Weird." Nestled ironically amidst the mostly conservative state of Texas, Austin bravely boasts a unique identity. A self-proclaimed capital of music (and arts in general), this eccentric town is a well-known hub for creative expression, counter cultures, intellectuals, the LGBT community, naturalists/environmentalists, nudists, and other people(s) who lean more than slightly left of center. Although "Keep Austin Weird" appears as a superficial marketing phrase, this phrase reaches far beyond a slogan and reflects the insteresting dynamics that encompass Austin and Austinites. And.. admittedly, Austin's peculiar, yet remarkable personality played a definite role in our light work there. If Dallas was serene, then Austin was psychedelic… and… of course… weird.
We arrived in Austin on a mild February day to a partially secluded, colorful Airbnb property run by a delightfully laid-back, old-school hippie name Tamara. Although the cabin was quaint, the property seemed vast and whimsical. We counted at least three outdoor chill spaces all equipped with the ever so crucial fire pit- perfectly curated for the procurement of nostalgic memories. Immediately, we felt this was a fertile space for creating.
Tamara was open to alternative forms of currency and agreed to barter two nights of lodging in exchange for unique photos of her property and a copy of our art book. Unlike many who are afraid of the uncertainty accompanied by a bartering system, Tamara readily embraced the idea, excited to be involved in something unexpected. Upon meeting Tamara, one could tell that she was a bit of a free-spirit- fun, friendly, and compassionate. It was clear that Tamara unequivocally supported the harvesting of art and creativity- especially in her own backyard.
So, on this very rare occasion, as the forces of art would have it, we created a light installation that was not public. With the whimsy and eclecticism of Austin in mind, we placed color-blocked groups of lights around trees.
We experimented with color.
Interested in participating, Tamara began to light and place candles and torches in the scene. The installation morphed into the realm of the mystical. As the night wore on, the fire revealed itself as an ephemeral mark-making tool.
We drew with fire.
The warmth and glow of the fire and lights kept us working late into the night- far longer than we had ever expected. While we had arrived earlier in the day as complete strangers, by the close of the night, we had forged not only an unforeseen collaboration, but also a highly unexpected friendship.
Hey… chalk it up to Austin- and the agents of weird!!
As always, we would like to thank you for following along and lending your support to this body of work. We really love Tamara's Airbnb space and want to take this opportunity to highly recommend it to any person(s) planning a trip to Austin, TX.
For more information, visit her profile on Airbnb- A Cozy Austin Cabin!
Our travels are slowly coming to a close, but there are wonderful things still to come. Stay tuned for our next blog post- we explore the picturesque landscapes, artful ways, and colorful surroundings of Albuquerque, New Mexico.