Featured Artist, Lavanna Martin – Austin Guerilla Coffee Shop Portrait Artist

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Featured Artist, Lavanna Martin – Austin Guerilla Coffee Shop Portrait Artist

This is a guest post from new featured artist on display at Conjunctured, Lavanna Martin, who was featured in the Austin American Statesman, Artist devoted to ‘guerrilla’ coffee shop portraits.

I started painting “live” in coffee houses in Austin in the spring of 2008. I had thought about doing it for years, and had always drawn people with my mind’s eye in public.

After almost a year of terrible stagnation in the studio, I began formulating my first attempts at “live” painting. I chose the coffee houses because I knew that the bohemian “anything goes” attitude would afford me the comfort and cover that I required. (I had worked at the legendary, original coffeehouse, Les Amis, profiled in the movie, “Slacker”).

The first day, I set out for Epoch Coffee, the 24-hour hipster hang-out closest to my house, and painted until time to pick up my daughter from school. I went back that evening. I was hooked. The first day, I did 9 paintings. I was in my element.

By August, I ran into another former Les Amis waitress at the Spider House. She got a kick out of what I was doing, and told me to start a blog. I didn’t know the difference between a blog and a website, and didn’t have a clue how to begin. While researching places to practice my “guerrilla painting” (a moniker given to me by local graffiti artists that thought I was their age), I found out about Cafe Caffeine, and the “jelly”, originally started by the Conjunctured boys. Well, I went there, hoping that they could hep me start a blog. From there, I followed the trail over to their new location on East 7th.

David Walker helped me set up my blog “I Stare At People” on WordPress, . Since that time, the blog has grown “organically” to a Page 4 ranking – pretty shocking for just a local art blog.

I’m still doing it – painting live. I keep a record of everything that I paint. At first, by journal entries pasted on the backs of the paintings, and now, my blog serves this purpose. I even record my color palette for every painting.

The paintings are all live, with no touch-up or re-dos in the studio.

I would really like to branch out of the coffee house to do “guerrilla painting” anywhere.

In the past, I have refused to sell them, or give them away. I’m rethinking that.

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If you’d like to come view Lavanna’s artwork at Conjunctured, swing on by 1309 E. 7th Street M-F 9a-6pm.

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