Published in late December 2010, Graphic USA is a city travel book written by artists and designers. I was asked to write and illustrate the chapter about my home base, Austin. You can see a selection of my illustrations here. It’s a great book, and available on Amazon, where Cicada Press was nice enough to list me as the lead author. It was really fun to write about Austin, and describe in loving detail all the bars, restaurants, shops and art galleries I frequent. Buy the book to find out what I recommend, but to give you a taste my chapter intro is after the jump. MORE+
I’m fortunate enough to call Austin my home. It’s where I’ve worked, played, gotten into trouble and grown creatively, personally and professionally the last six years. First, forget whatever notions you might have about Texas or Texans. Austin has always relished its role as the loud, snotty, strange and drunken member at the Texas family reunion. A generation ago, Austin was a home for hippies and weirdos and it’s evolved into a highly progressive, creative and laid-back city ever since.
I’m always wary of city branding (our official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World), but it’s really kind of true. One visit to showlistaustin.com reveals that bands really want to play and live here. Naturally, this multitude of bands (and bars that fuel every kind of creative endeavor) has attracted like-minded folks. People who want to screenprint posters, make art, make ‘zines, serve coffee, write software, whatever it takes to be a part of this place.
Geographically, Austin can be divided into several areas, each with a unique culture. Downtown Austin is the epicenter of live music (Red River District) and bars (6th Street). To the north is the University of Texas at Austin, the largest university in the state that continually brings an influx of culture and young people. South Austin (best represented on South Congress Avenue) perfectly captures the humble, relaxed vibe the city started out as. East Austin is the up-and-comer. The new bars, the new galleries, it’s the part of Austin that’s in the midst of an energetic revitalization. All of this is accessible by foot, on pedal or a quick cab ride.
Finally, Austin also has a reputation as a drinking town, which I think is a bit unfair. Austin is an exceptional drinking town.