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EAST artists talk about buying art and where to go on the tour

Luke Quinton

We asked a handful of artists who are on the East Austin Studio Tour to tell us what to consider when buying art. And we also asked them where they would go if they weren’t on tour.

ERIN CURTIS, painter

Where: 1904 Pennsylvania Ave.; EAST No. 60

Information: www.erineliabethcurtis.com

How do you buy art/artisans’ work?

I am lucky to have traded friends for a number of art works; other than that I love collecting pieces when I travel. EAST is a great way to get out and see a lot of different kinds of studios but doesn’t always have to be about buying work but about meeting new people and enjoying the creative diversity of Austin.

If you weren’t on the tour, where would you go?

There are so many great spots to see on the tour, it is hard to catch them all. But I would definitely head over to MASS Gallery and check out their hands on collaborative drawing event (www.massgallery.org, 507 Calles St., EAST No. 149).

RUSSELL ETCHEN/Domy Books

Where: 913 E. Cesar Chavez St.; EAST No. 192

Information: www.domybookstore.com/austin

How do you buy art/artisans’ work?

When buying art, I always encourage people to purchase what they like over trying to follow any current trends. Limit your personal budget and don’t go over it unless you can’t live without it. Make sure you’re buying art for the right reason. Support your friends and your community.

If you weren’t on the tour, where would you go?

Make sure you stop at Co-Lab, an artist-run nonprofit space located at 613 Allen St. Sean Gaulager and his loyal crew are putting together some of the best shows happening in Austin right now (EAST No. 130; 613 Allen St., www.colab-space.org).

TINY PARK GALLERY (Brian Willey and Thao Votang, owners)

Where: 1101 Navasota St.; EAST No. 67

Information: www.tinyparkgallery.com

How do you buy art/artisans’ work?

We just look for art that is thought-provoking and/or beautiful to us in some way. We truly love to live with art, so we’re not overly concerned with art as an “investment.” If we respond strongly to a work of art and we can afford it at the time, we’ll buy it, regardless of the artist’s career status. Having said that, once we have bought an artists work, we enjoy following their career and development.

If you weren’t on the tour, where would you go?

Some of the furniture makers in Austin are exceptional. Michael Yates’ work is incredible (www.michaelyatesdesign.com, EAST No. 134). It has been on the wish list for years. Mark Macek’s work is really good as well (405 Springdale Road, EAST No. 127b).

WOMEN PRINTMAKERS OF AUSTIN

Where: Pump Project Satellite, 1109 Shady Lane; EAST No. 95f

Information: www.womenprintmakers.com

Answers by WPA members Carolyn Kimball whose husband, Bob Gee, is a metro editor at the American-Statesman, and Cathy Savage

How do you buy art/artisans’ work?

The secret to buying art is buying what you like; a piece of art is something you will enjoy for years. I usually respond to a color, medium or subject matter, the most important thing is to trust your gut. I like to ask about how the piece was made. Knowing all the details of the process and craftsmanship that goes into a work of art, or the inspiration behind it, helps me appreciate it even more.

If you weren’t on the tour, where would you go?

I like to visit some of the bigger complexes, Big Medium (5303 Bolm Road, EAST No. 96)and Pump Project Art Space (702 Shady Lane. EAST No. 116) for the variety of artists in one space, but I also like to look through the EAST catalog for individuals whose work I like and venture to places away from the crowds. You often have more of a chance to see an up-and-coming artist or have a longer conversation with the artist in some of the smaller venues.

RAD Furniture/RYAN ANDERSON

Where: 618 Tillery St., EAST No. 135

Information: www.RADfurniture.com

What should people look for or ask when buying art?

Besides asking the technical question of “how” they created something, try asking questions surrounding “why” they create things at all? If you can get an artist/artisan speaking candidly about his/her passion and inspiration, you’ll get closer to the true essence of any one of their individual works.

If you weren’t on the tour, where would you go?

I’d definitely be spending time at Red Bluff Rodeo (4809 Red Bluff Road, EAST No. H33). They’ve got great stuff from Agi Miagi, BBIITT, Jack Sanders and others. A super-talented bunch!