After making our way through New Mexico into Texas we cut down from El Paso and headed to Marfa, TX to discover what everybody has been talking about in regard to this small little West Texas town of fewer than 2,000 residents. A few weeks before we arrived, 60 minutes did a short story on Marfa giving a glimpse into this small community that has become an official influence on the Art community. Watch it!
Marfa is a bizarre mix of a small old west town and a progressive NYC neighborhood. It’s kinda crazy, I’ve really never seen anything quite like it before and now I understand what all the fuss is about in regard to this town. The juxtaposition between the flatlands and the old town and the modernity that the NYC art world has brought in is quite unusual. At times throughout our stay, we would look around at the mix of cowboys and artists walking around and it felt a bit surreal. From the new stores that have found their way into town to the art galleries and the progressive restaurants and food trucks, Marfa is definitely making a mark in regard to the over-arching artistic movement that is happening across the USA.
Once again, the photo opportunities were amazing and it was hard not to take a picture of every building, sign, and skyline that we saw. This town and the area around it is prime for some serious photoshoots. Joshua Tree, be warned, Marfa will soon be taking your spot in all the latest denim and contemporary advertising shoots. It was surprising how such a little town with only ONE STOPLIGHT could provide such an endless array of photography opportunities.
Our digs for the next few days were at the El Cosmico, a great spot complete with teepees, safari tents and renovated airstreams. The property included a hammock grove, an outdoor kitchen, bar and outdoor showers all completing the bohemian camping vibe of the place. We loved the property and the whole aesthetic(we did some serious damage in the gift store!). The owner, Liz Lambert, also owns the Thunderbird in Marfa as well as Hotel San Jose and Hotel St Cecilia in Austin and she has done a great job targeting her customer.
Our walkabout through town…
Along the way we discovered some local artists and got a peak into their studios in town. First we met Lizzy from Snakeoil Magick whose hand-dyed Shibori garments I had spotted last year during my visit to Austin’s JM Drygoods(which actually used to be in Marfa). As we passed artist Lizzy’s house, she happened to be outside and showed us around her place. I absolutely loved the painting on the side of her place, and discovered that it was her logo. This is a great example of the quirkiness of Marfa and I loved the idea and freedom of an artist placing her brand on her home space signifying the lifestyle she has created.
Another find was The Wrong Store, a gallery owned by local artists Buck and Camp that have been living in Marfa for the past 11 or so years. (They were actually featured on the 60 minutes story, make sure you check it out!) A super fun creative couple, their studio gallery is in an old church while their house is the old rectory connected to the space. Camp is an amazing artist who creates unique objects out of carved reclaimed wood. I’m talking giant tequila bottles, boom boxes, guns and other wacky objects. Funny enough, I had seen some of Camp’s work at a gallery in Austin that I wrote about a few years ago. His wife, Buck runs the gallery space that had a great collection of local and global artists including Camp’s work. They feature artists monthly and are definitely a big contendor in the quirky perspective that Marfa has on the art scene. Their space was one of my favorites. Make sure to take a look at their website, they don’t allow pictures to be taken while inside the space.
Unfortunately we were in Marfa at the beginning of the week and the town is really only open from Wednesday through Sunday- good information to know if you plan on visiting! However, we were able to do some window shopping and got a glance into a few cool stores including designer Dosa’s gallery store Tienda M and local artisan boot makers Cobra Rock Boot Company. This small town is filled with artisans and I only was able to scratch the surface on the scene that is going on here. There is also a great store Freda that carries some really great independent artists from LA and NYC including artisan Adina Mills and many others.
I can’t wait to head back to Marfa in September for El Cosmico’s Trans Pecos music festival. Now that I am in Texas, visits to Marfa will be more frequent and I look forward to sharing more with you in regard to the artists and people that are living here. I only scratched the surface and I look forward to digging a bit deeper into the community and seeing how I can bring what they are doing to other parts of the world through The Sche Report.
P.S. Just this week I discovered a really great crew of creative folks that are producing a magazine called The Collective Quarterly. It’s a group of artists, photographers, and illustrators who have joined forces and are visually communicating the above referenced USA artistic movement via these quarterly magazines dedicated to places where this movement is happening. Their first issue is on Marfa. We happened to be there at the exact time they were and must have been a few steps behind eachother during the entire trip. Check out their amazing instagam feed of their trip to West Texas at @collectivequarterly and sign up to receive this first issue on their website.