Did you know we choose an Armadillo artist to create our featured art piece for the year for us to use in our advertising? Here’s a little bit behind how that came to be…
We really wanted something besides our logo that we could change every year. We wanted to showcase the creativity of the Armadillo and have a piece of art that represented our culture in a different medium. Chosen artists are not given any parameters, they are free to use any color and just be inspired by the show.
Our first featured art piece was by Terrell Powell, followed by Jay Long, nemo and now Aly.
This year we’re trying something new with our featured art piece titled “Home” from Aly by doing an auction.
Aly’s beautiful piece is 26″ x 47″, and it really captures the show (and Austin!) in mosaic form.
Let’s meet Aly, the artist behind our 2016 featured art!
Tell us about yourself, your artistic background/career, where you are from and where you are now.
I was born and raised in Houston. I come from a family of creative types and always knew I was an artist. It took me a while to find the medium I am in now. But I have been making mosaics for almost 20 years now.
What was your creative process for your piece, “Home”?
Well, I thought about what the Armadillo means to me, and I came up with the design. When I think about the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar I think about family, I think about connection to Austin and I think about music, art and self expression. Once I had the design I framed a piece of wood, sealed it with white primer and sketched the image onto the wood. Then, very meticulously, I began to place the glass, stone etc with adhesive often having to manipulate the item before placing it. Then I grouted the entire piece.
What was your favorite part to put together?
The stamping of a penny was a new thing. That was fun. I was surprised how easy it was to find super tiny high tinsel steel number stamps. I can’t even read the numbers on the rods with my readers.
What was the most challenging part of creating “Home”?
It actually flowed pretty well because I felt passion for it. Sometimes I struggle with commissions because I’m really having to dig deep but this was easy and graceful because I feel connected to it.
Is there a 709 hidden in the piece?
Why, yes. Yes there is. The last question may have given a little hint. Actually that was Bruce’s idea and it was a brilliant one.
Tell us about your history with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.
2010 was my first year. But I spent several years before that trying to get in! I would go to the show and talk to the other artists. I had many friends who were in the show. I was buying all my Christmas presents at the show. I felt connected long before I was invited in.
Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art.
Well, when I was 18 yrs old I took off to California in my VW camper van. I spent about 7 months living on the beach (somehow?) driving up and down PCH without a care in the world. When money was lean I was able to sell my hand painted clothing on the beach. I would use acrylics to paint on jeans or the back of used jean jackets. People paid for it. I was shocked at how much people would pay. My first sale was to this guy on a motorcycle. He gave me 100 dollars for this jacket I had painted a dragon on the back of. I was wearing it and he pulled over and said, “I will give you 100 for your jacket” and I was blown away.
What are your favorite art supplies or tools?
Glass, glass glass! It so beautiful and comes in so many colors and textures. And second to that would be stones. Semi precious stones.
If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
I would like to make tiles out of clay. I already fuse tiles out of glass. But glass is very expensive and limited in other ways as well. I feel like clay tiles is my next venture.
Tell us about your public art and large installations.
My first one was a private commission for Whole Foods Market in 2005. They hired me to install a “Candy Island” mosaic in and around the chocolate counter of what at the time was their new flagship corporate offices and store. The mosaic is still there and has survived many in store remodels. It’s primarily made of large chunks of ruby red tumbled glass chunks and scrolls of solid copper rods. I learned a lot on that job. You can see pictures of it on my website. From there my large installations have ranged from private residences to public settings both indoors and out. Some of my other clients include, Simon Properties, City of Austin and a handful of private architect firms.
What are your five favorite songs, albums or musicians?
Wow, well, lets see, I guess I’m a stuck in the 70s era kinda girl. Not that I don’t hear new music especially on KUTX all the time that I quite enjoy. But the stuff that’s closest to my heart is all the great 70s stuff, Supertramp, Fleedwood Mac, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, etc etc it’s really endless I’m afraid. Top songs, Toni Price – ‘Thank you for the Love’, Elton John – ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, The Beatles – ‘Dear Prudence’, 4 Non Blondes – ‘What’s Up?’, and oh I don’t know about 100 more.
Is there any wisdom you would like to pass on to emerging artists?
I would say that if I could go back and talk to my 20 something year old self I would tell her to take a deep breath and believe in herself. And just know that if you follow your true desires, in this case to live a life full of creative expression, that the world will provide for you. I love the quote “Fortune favors she who dares” because my years have proved to me this is very true. And sometimes having the courage to be ourselves in the truest sense takes more courage than anything.