Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Only In Austin

I've thought for several years now that Austin has jumped the shark.

It's crowded. The traffic is terrible. Housing prices are ridiculous. All similar features to parts of California, with the exception that it's one billion degrees here in the summer.

Plus, on the traffic side, there's no place to build new roads. We've built them all, basically, and it's just getting worse.

However, Austin still has a remarkable mix of creative people. Everybody has a day job that funds their night job, which will become their day job as soon as they can make a living from it.

Case in point. There's a casual restaurant within walking distance of Eli's school, and sometimes I hang out there, particularly if I want to do Gridiron Solitaire testing. Eli also likes this place, so sometimes we eat here if we're on our way to hockey.

Over the months, we've become friendly with one of the employees. He's a genuinely nice guy who likes Eli and seems like an interesting person.

Last month, as I was getting a drink at the counter, somehow the conversation turned to the weekend, and I asked him what he was doing. Well, he was going to be in an art show, and he wrote down the link to his website, where he has all kinds of cool and interesting pieces (look for yourself). Then he said that his girlfriend--of course, because this is Austin--is an even better artist, and she also does all this whimsical crochet stuff as a business. That's here, and if you go to the second page, there's this crocheted owl purse, and seriously, who doesn't want a crocheted owl purse? There are a few nude sketches and stuff, too, so I don't know how that falls in the NSFW spectrum. The crochet is great, though.

Last week, he asked me what I was doing on the ultrabook, and I told him about the game. He was as surprised as I was when he told me about his art. Then I asked him if he grew up as a conventional artist or a digital one, and he said he had Photoshop when he was 12 and got serious about it very quickly. That turned into a discussion about how our conception of what constitutes art is changing, and how it's becoming less and less tactile as digital art becomes more and more prevalent.

That's the thing about Austin that's still very cool. There are all these amazing conversations to be had with people that seem relatively ordinary, except none of them are ordinary at all.