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The Art of Celebration

  • Art for the People Gallery 1711 South 1st Street Austin, TX, 78704 United States (map)

Featuring 21 Artists

Exhibition: Wednesday, January 18–Saturday, April 18, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, February 3, 6:30–9:00 pm
Celebration of Art Fundraiser: Friday, March 24, 6:30–9:00 pm

It's 2017! Let's Celebrate & Support the Arts!

Come and discover the exhibition known as Art of Celebration, co-created by Art for the People and Austin Blanks. Explore with us the power of twenty-one artists and their unique interpretation of celebration. In our excitement, we will be giving a percentage of sales to support local art nonprofits; Hope Outdoor Gallery and Share Art Heal.

Who are the artists?! We have personally selected; Brian William Kirchner, Chloé Jane, Clinton Millsap, Dave McClinton, Doc List, Dréa Peters, Emily Michele Berry, Emily Mercedes, Hallie Rae Ward, Heidi Miller Lowell, Jet Baker (director of Share Art Heal), Jason Jones, Karen Woodward, Keri Anderson of Slavonk & Hortus, Kyle Pitts (owner of Austin Blanks), Helena Martin, Lurissu, Miles Starkey, Nathan Wood, Niz, and Stellar Roz.

We are so enthusiastic about the Grand Opening on Friday, February 3rd, and mark your calendars for our second event, Celebration of Art Fundraiser on Friday, March 24th at Art for the People.


Austin Blanks

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Austin Blanks started in 2008 as a greeting card company with a blank interior for personalization of our cards. We began with the idea of sharing the art of Austin, TX (through digital and film photography), we have succeeded in showing the residents of Austin (and the rest of the world) some of hidden and iconic parts of our much loved ATx. The beautiful images and designs created are a reflection of our dedication and collaborative effort with local artists. Every image, design and photograph has a story, a trail of breadcrumbs that benefit the artists, the local community and various non- profits.

From Dubai and New Zealand, to Iceland and the United Kingdom, Austin, TX has made its presence known. As we venture forward, Austin Blanks continues to seek out new ways to communicate with the rest of the world and those that call Austin, TX home.


Share Art Heal

Share Art Heal is bringing Central Texas communities together with art. Half our donations are art supplies like canvases, brushes, etc, and half our donations are our Art Experience Kits. Our art kits are assembled by community partners and delivered to other community groups. Our partners include Dell Children’s Medical Center, AISD, Austin Police Department, Arc of the Arts, AGE of Central Texas, VSA, Mobile Art Program, Safe Place, Ft. Hood, Art from the Streets, Brock/Allen Casting, Art for the People Gallery, Treehouse gift shop at Dell Children’s, Whole Foods Market, Operation Blue Santa, DePelchin Children's Center, and more. Last summer we began our art education program bringing local artists to work with the students at APD’s Summer Youth Leadership Program and because of that success we are expanding our art education program this year.

The funds raised during this exhibition will go towards making art kits for the DePelchin Children's Center and the Austin State Hospital.

the artists


Mixed media on repurposed lumber from ATX build sites | 26.5" x 26" x 3.5"

"Eternal Contrast" is shaped like a wreath painted in bright contrasting colors. It's circular shape represents eternity and it's vivid colors with vines painted on the blue panels illustrates the celebration of growth. This piece reflects the eternal knowing of the never ending and unfinished unfolding of life.

ARTIST BIO: As a graduate of The Art Institute of Houston, Brian William Kirchner studied visual communication which guided him to become a mixed media fine artist and pen and ink illustrator of trees. His mixed media pieces are made from re purposed discarded lumber plucked from Austin build sites. The discarded wood is re imagined into complex wood block compositions with the help of resin, acrylic paint, and inventiveness. Nature, the cosmos, and the law of attraction inspire the creation of each BWK piece and as a result you will find the intricacies of a tree to the expansiveness of celestial objects as a reoccurring theme in Brian William Kirchner’s art.


Watercolor & graphite on paper | 12" x 10"

Although piñatas are most commonly associated with Mexican culture it’s possible they originated in China. Legend has it during Marco Polo’s exploration throughout Asia he observed the Chinese celebrating the lunar New Year by creating figures of cows, buffaloes, and oxen out of colored paper. The figures were filled with seeds and when broken the seeds rained down upon the celebration symbolizing good crops and prosperity for the new year. The remains were burnt and the ashes gathered for good luck.

Due to Marco Polo and other explorers and traders of the time, piñatas were brought to Europe in the 14th century and eventually made their way to the New World at the beginning of the 16th century. Spanish missionaries discovered that Mesoamericans had similar piñata traditions. The Aztec celebrated the birthday of their god of war, Huitzilopochtli, by hanging decorated clay pots full of tiny treasures in their temples. When broken with a stick the treasures would fall to the feet of their god’s image as an offering. The Mayans, known for loving sport, played a game where the participants were blindfolded while they hit at a clay pot suspended by string. The Spanish missionaries took these similar piñata traditions along with their own as an opportunity to attract indigenous peoples to religious ceremonies and try to convert them to Christianity.

Today piñatas are mostly void of religious symbolism but are widely used at celebrations.

ARTIST BIO: When Chloé’s nose isn’t five inches away from a piece of watercolor paper–with tiny brushes in hand and enthralling audiobooks in ear–you can find her consuming entire bags of goldfish crackers or watering plants or wrestling her Sheltie River.

As a youngster she moved every couple of years. She’s lived in Ohio, the Mojave Desert, Washington DC, Okinawa, and on 3 different occasions, Texas.

She has a great appreciation for the art of storytelling. She strives to produce beautifully detailed images that encourage close examination. She hates eggs, static electricity, and being late.


Mixed media on paper | 19" x 15"

ARTIST BIO: Since I can remember I have made marks, all kinds of marks. Utilizing any and every tool to make art. Crayons, pencils, pens, markers, paint, metal, glass, stone, photographs and even written words. I spent much of my life confused as to what my work was trying to say. Attempting to discover what is it that I am trying so compulsively get out into the world through images. I only just recently discovered what “it” is. I simply love the act, of mark making. I appreciate each medium for what it can offer me with each individual image I'm in the mood to construct. I am always happier with the process of mark making, than I am in the result. Once the image is completed the excitement of almost getting to the top of the hill, turns into tumbling down the other side. I enjoy, watching others see what I have made. Relishing in true reactions, the mark I am making on someone. Again, I enjoy watching the process of someone interpreting what they see. I am a mark maker.


Digital Collage | 17" x 21"

"The acknowledgment and the celebration of decay and it's direct and immediate role in renewal." I build the faces from different sources, found images, family photos and self portraits. I obsessively take photos everyday, of textures, the sky, stains, natural surfaces, etc. These textures find their way into my art.

ARTIST BIO: My work is under the direct influence of my 20+ year career as a graphic designer. I'm either decorating with landscapes or speaking on cultural issues with human figures and faces. I want to show you something familiar and then alter your perspective. This isn't to be dismissive of your own opinion but to enhance how you might perceive the subject matter.


Photograph on canvas gallery wrap | 16" x 20"

Alicia Lyn Cornwell is an actress, singer, and dancer (“triple threat”). I asked her to come dance for me. No choreography, no planning, just her dancing in her celebration of dance. This is one of those moments during our time together that struck me as being beautiful and expressive. Celebratory.

ARTIST BIO: I love photography and I love people. While I’ve been known to photograph trees and buildings and flowers and the like, most of my time is spent with people. The joy of getting to know someone and then to reveal that person, to share what I’ve learned in a photograph so that others can see what I see… THAT is the joy. I work in the studio, outdoors, at theaters, in churches, wherever there are people. One of my great joys is photographing dancers. Dancers are amazing, even in the static medium of a photograph. If I can get my viewers to feel a sense of the movement and grace and joy that I see while capturing the image, than I am happy.


Wool & driftwood | 24" x 18"

This weaving is a departure from my usual style.

When contemplating what celebration meant to me, a single question kept coming up for me: what is the most important thing we should celebrate as a people?

Our planet was the only answer that kept floating to the surface. I wove the layers representing the sun, animal life and plant life (in that order) and then the glorious ocean was the final layer.

All of this yarn is small batch, handwoven and hand dyed by women owned, small businesses. The naturally smooth dowel is found driftwood, created by our beautiful ocean and found on the coast of California.

ARTIST BIO: I moved to Austin to pursue my independent interior design business and even more so because of the prevalent sense of community & support for local artists. My weaving experience here has been a manifestation of just that. I started weaving as a moving meditation practice a few years ago. Shortly thereafter I was asked to teach my 1st workshop. That has turned into 1.5 years of sold out workshops at multiple locations and part taking in various art shows such as EAST & WEST.


Watercolor on paper | 13" x 10"

I play with the juxtaposition of women interacting within water, learning more about themselves and their natural surroundings, and finding empowerment through this personal process with the help of a spirit animal. Water is a sacred resource needed for survival, and most of our bodies and outer world are made up of this powerful life force. There is a connection that women have to this element within their wombs that is always a part of them available for creation, but perhaps this bond remains hidden or pushed aside. These women are able to bravely examine their own darkness and divinity while having the strength to grow beautiful things from this journey of self discovery and healing.

ARTIST BIO: Inspired by the divine feminine, Emily likes to explore how women interact within nature and create stories of beauty and empowerment through her artwork. She enjoys viewing the world through rose-colored glasses and her mission in life is to help people do the same. Emily Michele Berry is an artist, energy healer, and licensed massage therapist who deeply honors the creative and nurturing aspects within these expressive outlets.


Watercolor with pen & ink on claybord | 16” x 20”

This piece is a celebration of color. Mixing colors to adorn the claybord is a special treat for me. I took delight in making line after line of this candy colored sky.

Cupcakes are the life of any party. These confectionary delights would not be complete without sprinkles. Small bits of confetti break loose from this compounding rainbow and rain onto icing down below. Hungry yet?

ARTIST BIO: Emily Mercedes is an artist living and working in Austin, Texas.

Mercedes grew up in Indiana and lived all over the US after graduating from Indiana University. From Chicago to Nashville and Atlanta, across to Venice Beach and down to Austin. Each city provided new and exciting creative awakenings and motivation.

She works primarily with watercolor paint adding pen & ink details. She loves the variety and vibrancy of color choices. The stark black lines and dots of ink make the subjects in the painting stand out. This style is often found in children's book illustrations. She hopes that this combination will invoke a sense of nostalgia for viewers.


Mixed media | 12" x 12" each

I love celebrating! Celebrating the little things, celebrating the big things, celebrating everything! YOU can create the celebration atmosphere. Be the party. Be the energy that shifts a rooms. Just burst out and dance. Surround yourself with what lifts you. Add a burst of fireworks to your life.

ARTIST BIO: I grew up here in Austin, Texas. My motto is 'life is good', and my goal is to be a full-time artist with my fine art and HRW Designs line, bringing a positive pop to the world. I am inspired by my environment, experiences, and the people that I meet. What you surround yourself with is what you internalize and put out into the world. I like capturing the feelings and energy I experience throughout my life.


Watercolor on wood panel with a wax treatment | 16" x 20"

New Skin is watercolor on archival watercolor paper. Behind every beautiful outcome and celebration, there is a process. New Skin is a reminder that the process warrants as much celebration as the final outcome.


Acrylic on wood panel | 11" x 14"

It's often forgotten that our experiences and life itself, is a gift, not a given. When we are grateful for this fact, life shows us many more treasures than we noticed before.

ARTIST BIO: Austin based artist Helena Martin's colorful drawings, paintings and murals depict figures nestled inside abstract, ethereal environments. Navigating through menacing triangles, soft silken swirls and glowing orbs, the people and animals enchant the viewer with their various vulnerable moments. The theme of sleep, or trying to wake up from a material state is paramount. Animals (especially dogs, goats and horses) populate the worlds her brushes create as a nod to nature and our place in it. Trained in medical illustration, her paintings also contain gooey internal organs and dried-out bones whose gruesome appearance juxtapose the soft feminine forms. Enchanting and weird, Martin's work confronts the viewer on a deep emotional level.



mixed media- marker, watercolor, colored pencil | 15" x 20"

ARTIST BIO: San Diego born military brat with 12 years tattoo experience, with B.F.A. in illustration and sequential art. I like puppies, robots and spaceships.


Acrylic on canvas | 12" x 16"

I begin with love, literally. The word love was the first thing painted on this canvas and every canvas I paint. I figure love is a good place to start

ARTIST BIO: I am an actor and artist living and loving in Austin. I started to paint to help my deepen acting. Now not only am I a more expressive actor I remembered I love to paint! Art heals the people who interact with it in a way the artist may never know. Art heals the artist in a way the people who interact with it may never know. Art heals I wanted to hare that. In 2014 I founded Austin Texas based 501c3 non-profit Share Art Heal. We provide art supplies and instruction to people of all ages with the intended purpose of exposing them to the healing experience of creating art.


Flameworked glass sculptures with steel pedestals | varying sizes

Flameworked glass effigy sculptures with cheerfully unique attitudes. Each piece celebrates life in its own special way

ARTIST BIO: My work is a colorful exploration of the absurdities of life and self. Each piece is either displayed as an individual work or is exhibited within a narrative group. At the individual level, these sculptures can be examined in terms of personality, expression, and infinite detail. While some sculptures appear comical and ridiculous, others appear more introspective. Optical properties of transparent glass aid in the magnification of encased elements. The notion of memory, thought, and mental clutter are important aspects of this work. When my work is displayed in a narrative group or installation it takes on new meaning as pieces relate to one another. Sculptural elements float through space and time, loosely associating with one another to create new works.


Cacti, stones, sand & succulents | 12" diameter

Nature has always been a true form of celebration for me. When I think of the first thoughts of discovering all the new surprises Mother Nature presented in childhood....discovering the blackberry tree on my often questionable independent hikes in the back land behind our house. I see mother nature as a learning curve to design, to life. The lessons to live are all there. See the spider's masterpiece, see the fruit slowly grow to fruition, see the leaf pattern of the consistent tree -grow into a large piece of art. This piece displays colors of blackberry, sprites of sansevieria for spirit and lots of cacti pattern to excite.

What's the first memory of nature's gifts in your childhood? Do you still believe in her, celebrate her?


Digital photography | 16" x 20"

For solitude is welcomed
With celebratory ties
Wealth in memories
Of yours and mine

ARTIST BIO: I love all forms of artwork, but mainly by other people. I'm a Texas Native who's tried LA and Seattle but can't find myself anywhere but here.


Acrylic and colored pencil on panel | 16" x 20"

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of celebration is a gathering of friends, with people letting loose and dancing. This scene was inspired by a memory I have of going to a bonfire on Galveston’s East Beach in my teens. In my mind, the way the light of the moon strikes the sand and the gulf breeze wildly whipping through everyone’s hair is an immediate reminder of younger, more carefree nights. In this painting, my intention was to capture the otherworldly feeling one may be stricken with when completely immersed in the act of celebration. The earth can be seen in the distance, suggesting that they are elsewhere. The mountainous terrain was painted from a photo reference of the island of Kauai, HI.

Is it a vision of the far future or of the ancient past? Who are these people? Are they human or alien? There are so many ways that gatherings reflect interpersonal relationships – there is attraction and flirtation, but between who may not be clear. Is it defined by gender? Can their gender(s) be defined? I also wanted to introduce dynamics of introversion. The character in the lower right of the painting is illuminated by the light of a device, while observing the more outgoing behavior of their peers. Celebration looks different for everyone, and Lunar Gathering is a depiction of its varied forms.

ARTIST BIO: Larissa Stephens (AKA Lurissu) is a queer, mixed-race Latina illustrator, graphic designer, and muralist from Galveston, Texas. She now lives and works in Austin. Her work has been described as fun, weird, and a "wonderful meaty stew of alternative comix makers (a garbage pail kid with a third-wave feminist perspective.)" Larissa believes in the power of representation and strives to depict people from all walks of life in her pieces. She also enjoys painting lumpy creatures from alternate universes. Street art has been a love of Larissa's since she was an angsty middle schooler, and as of 2016 she has begun to pursue her dream of painting murals at spaces like Austin's HOPE Outdoor Gallery and was recently a contributing artist in Houston's HUE Mural Festival.



The government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens.

ARTIST BIO: A jack of all trades, master of some and Programs Manager to HOPE Outdoor Gallery.


Acrylic on paper | 18" x 14"

Feeling like we are in a parallel timeline that split off back in November this patriotic icon had taken on new dimensions. I wanted to show how I felt it has become a new creature transforming and expelling the best and the worst of itself. At the top of the flag staff is the anti-fascist Iron Front symbol and the 50 stars are made up of Hindu 8 pointed stars representing duality, wealth, the elements and the 8 pointed compass rose star noting direction.

ARTIST BIO: I grew up outside of Boston in a family of artists, we always had art supplies around and were encouraged to create. Later in life I had studied audio production and became immersed in electronic music and recording. In 2008 after years of inconsistently drawing in sketchbooks an old friend asked me to illustrate a series of books for him, I have not stopped drawing and painting since. I have always been fascinated by the cultural and psychological constructs we live in, I feel like the creative process is a way of examining and representing this.


Spray paint on canvas | 16" x 20"

When your enemy shows up to the party with 2 of your favorite things. Enemy shmenemy. Let's party!

ARTIST BIO: Niz is a female stencil artist from Lima, Peru that specializes in mythical photo realism. She got her start in the world of skateboarding and hip-hop,hand painting and stenciling iconic figures on skateboards and grip tape. Niz fuses multi layered stencil art with watered down house paint to create ethereal portraits that are meant to connect us with the magic in nature and the mythos in everyday life. Recent clients include REI and XX. Niz lives and works in Austin, Texas.


Spray paint, acrylic & ink on wood panel | 16" x 20"

"His potion crawled into the hollow of my heart"

This painting represents the feeling of loving someone so deeply & holding them so closely, it's as tho they become a part of you; filling up the recesses of your heart. Love is the inspiration for this piece of celebration.

ARTIST BIO: I am a visual artist/street artist living & creating in Austin, Tx. I've always been an observer of the beauty around me, often in search of an escape from the realities of life. It's this search that led me to discover the lovely & often misunderstood world of graffiti & street art. I adopted the name "Stellar Roz" & began creating my own street art, with characters that were meant to inspire a sense of curiosity & provide a little beauty to the spaces around me. My daily mantra: Exist to inspire & when in doubt, purr. . .