May 22, 2017
By Kathy Blackwell | July 7, 2016 | Culture
Since opening in 2013, the 40,200-square-foot complex of renovated warehouses aptly called Canopy (916 Springdale Rd.), which is anchored and run by the veteran Austin arts nonprofit Big Medium (creators of the East Austin Studio Tour), has attracted a whole palette of tenants to its 45 studios. Here, we look at five innovative members of the Canopy community.
Keith Kreeger’s dishes can be found in some of the best restaurants in Austin as well as around the country.
Background: Savvy Austin diners can easily spot a dish by porcelain artisan Keith Kreeger, who supplies pieces to Austin restaurants like Uchi and Olamaie as well as those in other culinary capitals. This spring, Kreeger and his team kept his kilns fired up as they completed 3,800 pieces for a new upscale New York City eatery. Now president of the board at Big Medium, Kreeger was among the first to sign a lease at Canopy; his multi-room space includes a workshop with a garage door for letting in the light and letting out kiln heat.
Background Music: Leon Bridges on his vintage stereo.
The Canopy Effect: “Before signing the lease, I wouldn’t have believed how big things would get.”
Diana Greenberg’s “Splintered Sunlight” painting was inspired by lyrics from The Grateful Dead’s Box of Rain album.
Background: The abstract artist, known for her paintings with circular pops of color (such as those on display at South Congress Hotel’s Café No Sé), has been at Canopy for a year. The former Dell employee likes to tell “a color story,” and is inspired by objects like an Hermès scarf or a dress. Although windowless, her small studio feels light and airy.
Background Music: Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, and The Band (she cherishes a photo of the group she purchased from her neighbor, Modern Rocks Gallery).
Quote: “I was drawn to Canopy by EAST [the East Austin Studio Tour] and the collaborative nature. It’s a true working space.” Greenberg’s solo show is July 7-25 at the Wally Workman Gallery, 202 W. Sixth St., 512-472-7428
Modern Rocks Gallery, owned by former Modern English guitarist Steven Walker, has received international attention for its collection by photographer Kirk Weddle of underwater outtakes from Nirvana’s shoot for their Nevermind album.
Background: Steven Walker, the lead guitarist for Modern English for 15 years, is surrounded by music legends every day at his storefront, which features limited-edition prints of photographs of everyone from Bob Dylan to Guns N’ Roses. He’s attracted worldwide attention with his exclusive collection of never-before-seen outtakes from Nirvana’s Nevermind shoot, and he also works with local legend and Austin City Limits photographer Scott Newton to sell some of his rarely seen work.
Background Music: David Bowie.
The Canopy Effect: “Canopy is wonderful. I’m proud that I was a part of the start of it.”
For her moving work, “Borders,” Jenn Hassin used rolled-up Israeli newspapers—the piece was showcased at the recent AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Background: The Air Force veteran and 2012 graduate of St. Edward’s has a gift for inducing chills with her statement-making pieces using rolled pieces of paper. For example, her “Letters of Sacrifice,” a memorial on display at the Pentagon, is made up of condolence letter for each of the 6,858 servicemen and women killed in action since 9/11, and “A Battle Lost,” featuring rolled paper made of uniforms to represent veteran suicides. Hassin works out of her Canopy space but also holds paper-rolling events at other locations, working with veterans and other people connected to her art.
Background Music: Hassin likes to balance her solemn topics with upbeat music by artists like Taylor Swift.
The Canopy Effect: “Being around other professional artists at work helps me think.”
Artist and gallery owner Bale Creek Allen’s “24 Karat Gold Tumbleweed on Car Hood.”
Background: Allen, who comes from a rich Texas legacy of musicians and artists, is a successful visual artist who has exhibited all over the world. He opened his gallery in March with a highly successful solo show by musician and artist Daniel Johnston. Behind the compact 400-square-foot gallery space, his private studio and office space is decorated with his art—and his drum kit.
Background Music: John Prine and Townes Van Zandt.
The Canopy Effect: “I love having a place where I can do whatever I want and [showcase] the artists I want.” The gallery in July will feature Boyd Elder, known for the painted skulls on many Eagles albums.
KirK Weddle/Courtesy of Modern roCKs Gallery (nirvana), Kate lesueur (KreeGer)