Sunday, February 20, 2011

Injecting some color into this gray Sunday: Lisa Congdon.

Doesn't this picture look so Hitchcock?

I took this just now on my street.   Friends, it's quite a gray morning in Austin, Texas.

The very first year I was in grad school, it rained all of the time.  And in California no less, purportedly the land of sunshine and movie stars.  

I called home constantly, whining about the jip deal I got.  "Why is the weather so bad here?" I'd cry to Ross.  "It looks nothing like it did on my visit!  Everything is wet and nasty!"  

I missed Austin and I missed my friends and I missed having shoes that stayed dry.  I missed the parched grass and the sunburns when I forgot to wear sunscreen and the languid way we central Texans work through August, half unconscious because the heat has stalled proper brain function.  I'd cry to friends that I'd take all of that, with a broken AC unit, just to be out of this drizzly, cold California nonsense.

Finally, someone in my program suggested that I get in my car and drive to San Francisco, which wasn't that far away.  Because even if I was damp and shivering, at least I could be damp and shivering on the Castro.  And if Harvey Milk had overcome collective homophobia on the Castro, surely, surely I could overcome a soggy pair of socks.

On the way there I got a little lost (naturally) and wandered my way down Market Street.  That was where I stumbled into what appeared to be a brand new gallery: Rare Device, and once inside, I picked up a piece by artist Lisa Congdon

Her stuff was so goofy and delightful.  I couldn't afford anything, by I wanted it badly.  So after that day, I just sort of followed her online over the years, making her art my desktop wallpaper and following her site to see when she had new stuff.

So, imagine my delight when I was browsing through the Free People blog on Friday, and discovered a whole post devoted to Lisa!

(I realize how bizarre it is that I'm talking about her like she's my friend.)

Anyway, a few years after I walked into Rare Device, and first saw that little piece by Lisa, she went on to buy the gallery herself and run it with a partner.  They sold it this month to a couple in San Francisco ... so I wonder what Lisa is up to now.

Funny how long I've been stalking this person, eh?

As you may or may not know, Ross and I are house-hunting right now, so if we are successful I'm thinking I'll christen the new place with some Lisa's.  Here is her Etsy shop if you love her stuff as much as I do.


Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Ya bring on the sunshine already :)

Cynthia Wenslow said...

This is one of those tiny universe things!

Lisa's Mom, Gerrie Congdon, is also an artist (in Portland, Oregon) and is a friend of mine. Gerrie and I both have books in the Sketchbook Project coming to Austin on Saturday, March 12.

Lisa and one of her sites were mentioned in the NY Times magazine on 2/11. Her sister, Stephanie Congdon Barnes, is a photographer and does some great projects too:

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Tanya -- Right?? We got a little taste today.

@Cynthia -- WHAT.

I mean, seriously. WHAT?

That's so awesome that you are buddies with Lisa's mom! What a small, small world!

When and where is the Sketchbook Project? I'd love to write about it. This is probably just me fantasizing, but Gerrie won't be coming to that, will she?

I am amazed by this!!

Cynthia Wenslow said...

The Sketchbook Project is a truly amazing undertaking. Some 28,000+ artists created sketchbooks on a variety of themes and they are touring the US from now until the end of July.

They stop in Austin at the Austin Museum of Art (downtown) on March 12th, 10-6 p.m. in the Community Room.

Unfortunately, Gerrie won't be here for the exhibit, but loads of other artists will! It promises to be fascinating.

Dollface Creatures said...

I just found your blog through the flowerchild dwelling and I'm so happy to see a post on Lisa Congdon! I'm currently an online student in her Get Your Paint On class and she rocks! Love the blog btw :)