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Friday, June 24, 2011

Just the kind of week that makes you love life in Austin

Vanishing Austin / Moody Blues by Jann Alexander

IT WAS A WEEK THAT BEGAN with breakfast at Austin Java with a longtime friend, colleague and photographer (and a Texan living in Washington, DC), Molly Roberts, allowing us to catch up on photography, the great outdoors, people, Texas roots, kids and life. A major influence in turning me towards Austin, Molly remains in DC as connected to the photojournalism world as ever, now adding writing and publishing to her photography and picture editing and social media skills at Smithsonian magazine.

Then a little reception at Austin Details Art + Photo to talk photography, printing and the gallery scene led to drinks at Manuel's that same evening, pre-bat flight, with Molly and her friend Ray--and we added Austin photographer Lance Rosenfeld, who's got DC roots too, talking photography once again--where photodocumentary work is heading (towards collectives, Lance and Molly feel; and for Lance, back to the East side, where "all the young creative people hang out").

Walking to Manuel's along Congress Avenue with Molly, Ray and Lance, we'd waited with a cyclist at a stop light who was heading west on 6th Street on a very special one-of-a-kind Trek bicycle, wearing just what you'd expect another Lance--Armstrong, that is--to be wearing. And looking a lot like Lance Armstrong, too.

Another day, lunch with two AIGA board members, a senior art director and a marketing/graphics professional, talking about coworking and our new collaborative space for creatives, CoCreate, and the Austin AIGA, the world of advertising I came from and the one they're in, and life in the new Austin. Whatever that is.

When a developer/designer named Jason arrived to use our CoCreate space thanks to a story in the Austinist, we were delighted to make a new connection from New Orleans, and hear his take on his former city's similarities to Austin. That puts Austin in good company.

Then another lunch another day, at the Roaring Fork, where the waiter mistook us for tourists. Our table included good Austin friend Alison Beck (with UT's Center for American History) and Susan Antone (Cilfford Antone's sister and Antone's club partner), blending a conversation that encompassed the Austin that was, inspired by my Vanishing Austin series; photography collections and archives that Alison is responsible for at the Center; and the amazing 30 years of Antone's musicians and performance photographs that Susan Antone has made. Which is headed to the Center for American History, along with many other notable photodocumentary collections already archived there.

At another meeting, hosted by the Downtown Austin Alliance, a driven former astrophysicist named Torvold Hessel presented his starry-eyed vision for a yet-to-be-built Austin Planetarium. Right here in downtown Austin. Really.

As if those weren't enough heady Austin contrasts, Thursday's behind-the-scenes tour of the newly restored and now reopened State Theatre by new exec director Jim Ritts revealed a very old Austin tidbit rarely seen now: the old movie marque alphabet collection, dusty black letters that once announced a new Clark Gable movie playing, or a new variety show coming to the old vaudeville house.

At last glance, the Paramount marquee showed Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt coming next week. I'll be there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Rare Treat: an all-art issue from Rare magazine, featuring my photography and paintings

Featured in the Art issue of Rare this month, my work (including Vanishing Austin) is in good company with many notable Austin visual and performing artists:

Rare Magazine :: August/September 2009 :: Art

'Vanishing Austin / Frisco Gold' by Jann Alexander (c) 2009

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Austin becomes Art City for one weekend



F E A T U R I N G fine art photography and paintings by Jann Alexander, including new images from my Vanishing Austin series and new work from my Mission: Mexico series and from my Pattern & Light series, among other prints and paintings

VISIT MY BOOTH # 223 on Cesar Chavez near San Antonio Street
HOURS Saturday April 25 from 10 am-6 pm, Sunday April 26 from 11 am-6 pm
MORE DETAILS about Art Week and Art City at Art Alliance Austin Events

© Content and Original Images copyright 2009 Jann Alexander,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How does art connect us?

Mocha Madness (above) connected me to Ryan at Thunderbird Coffee, a barista who put his all into this mocha art, inspiring me to admire and photograph it before drinking it. © Jann Alexander 2007

ART CONNECTS ME to the whole wide world. It's in the details of everything I see, be it a painting in a gallery window, a pair of earrings on a friend, a stranger's chic shoes, a shadow cast, a colorful guitar on Congress, a paint-worn doorway, a well-designed typeface or a fine contemporary building arising above a 1950s neon sign, or the color in the sky--the art of it all connects me to everything my eyes can take in. So all of this becomes part of my world, and I'm part of it all, and more inspired and energized because of the connection.

Art connects us all, though we may not think much about it. I've been giving it some thought lately, thanks to Art Alliance Austin's 2009 campaign, ART CONNECTS. You can share your story about how art connects at

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Art Festival Kicks Off the Holiday Art Festivities December 6-7

Above, Sundown at Mayte's by Jann Alexander ©2007, on exhibit this weekend at Laguna Gloria, Austin

OUTDOORS ON THE BEAUTIFUL GROUNDS OF Austin Museum of Art-Laguna Gloria in central Austin, from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, some 60 regional artists will exhibit art in a range of media, including my photography. The Vanishing Austin series, some 50 images to date, will be on exhibit there, along with new work in the Pattern & Light series, my Mission Mexico series, my Natural Details photography and more.

My new poster, Endangered Species of Austin, debuts there, too. The poster is a 24 x 36" signed, custom print featuring Austin architecture, and is available to order for holiday delivery (email me at for more information).

There's lots more holiday art opps all around Austin and online--see more at on exhibit at my website,

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Typical Austin Day

A woman you meet at a gallery opening has had a varied career as a founding designer for Texas Monthly, an LA Times art director, a NY restauranteur and now is becoming a screenwriter. The temperature soars to near 100 and locals tell you that's about 20 degrees hotter than June usually is. You cross the bridge over Lake Austin and its shimmering blue water takes your breath away. A hot band with a cranked-up female singer-songwriter plays for two hours for a $5 cover to a full house in a place that doesn't even demand you buy drinks. The illuminated tip of the Frost Bank building follows you everywhere you go in and around the city. Yellow, orange and pink lantana burst out and are covered with mammoth swallowtail butterflies. You strike up a conversation at a restaurant with someone and suddenly you've made three new friends without hardly even trying. You agree, someone should keep Austin weird.