November’s Featured Miller IDS Artist

2 foxes combined flat clean black crop 2This month, we are focusing on Flip Solomon, an Austin artist of many dimensions. Classically trained in graphite, she now works in pen and ink, acrylic, watercolor, batik process, jewelry and embroidery.

Flip was raised in New England, and received early artistic training at Hartford Art School and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, before finishing her degree at the University of Texas. Her interests in anthropology and travel are apparent in her art, as much of her work focuses on other cultures and both human and animal anatomy.

Flip currently works and shows in Canopy, an East Austin creative space. Her work, as well as that of the other artists sharing the space, will be a part of the East Austin Studio Tour.

Dreams are Flip’s primary inspiration for her art. Afflicted with narcolepsy, she has frequent REM cycles both day and night, which allow her to dream more than most people. She has trained herself to draw in dream states, which not only helps to ground her, but produces beautiful and deeply personal art. The “Fennec Foxes” featured here was inspired by her late mother, for whom fennec (desert) foxes served as a spirit animal.

You can view and purchase more of Flip’s creativity on her website, but we encourage you to visit Canopy on the East Austin Studio Tour and to drop by either Miller IDS location to see the ‘Fennec Foxes” print.

August’s Featured Artist: Ali Khataw

Ali Khataw - Kolmanskop - Namibia_300We are very proud this month to feature the photography of Ali Khataw, an accomplished entrepreneur, photographer and philanthropist.

The Central Texas business community knows Ali Khataw as the founder of Encotech Engineering Consultants, Inc. a leading engineering firm specializing in MEP, Structural, Civil and Transportation Engineering. However, Ali is also an avid artist and adventurer and is increasingly known for his insightful photography, which not only documents his extensive travels and experiences, but reflects the socioeconomic issues of the countries he visits and helps direct help to those issues through Photo Philanthropy. In Ali’s own words:

My desire to help others and use art to make a difference has inspired me to delve into the world of Photo Philanthropy. Images have an undeniable power, and I want to harness that power and use it to better the conditions of living for those in the world who are not lucky enough to enjoy the luxuries many of us have been blessed with. By means of non-profit organizations and charities, all the proceeds from this website will benefit those in need around the globe.”

Ali Khataw - Profile image - flipped-1Ali regularly donates his photographs to auctions supporting local charities as well and his photography website (www.khataw.com) is based on the concept of encouraging charitable contributions. All proceeds from his photography are given to organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. The stunning image featured is from Ali’s visit to Namibia. He notes, “We stopped at an abandoned Ghost Town in Kolmanskop. I saw a good composition through one of the broken windows. With a little assistance from a friend, I was able to climb into this abandoned house. The desert sand finds its way into these abandoned houses through open doors and windows. Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, the residents built the village in the architectural style of a German town. The town declined after World War I when the diamond-field was slowly exhausted and was ultimately abandoned in 1954.”

Published in National Geographic Magazine (2014), Ali’s work has also been featured in multiple galleries, exhibitions and the homes and offices of many lucky Austinites. Current list of Photography Exhibitions/Shows in Austin:

  • Monkey Nest Coffee Shop: July 2011
  • Serengeti Coffee at AIA Austin: April 17 –May 31, 2013
  • Lifescapes at Gallery at the J: March 3 – April 15, 2015
  • Faces of Humanity at the Asian American Resource Center: April 6 – July 31, 2015

A proud resident of Austin for more than 30 years, Mr. Khataw, his wife, Nahid Khataw, and their two children, Zain & Salva, are dedicated to making their community a strong, sustainable, family-oriented place.

Featured Artist July: Irene Strait

strait dancer ADJAs an Austin family-owned business, we are especially pleased this month to highlight a member of another Austin family-owned business: Strait Music!

Irene Strait, who partnered with her husband to build Strait Music, was a self-taught artist. She started painting as a young woman but gave it up as her family grew. Once the kids were grown, she began painting again, mostly in oil. The Strait home is full of her art and many of her paintings also hang in other lucky Austinites’ homes.

Extremely prolific in her last years, Irene did not let her illness (COPD) stop her, finishing her last painting just a few weeks before she passed away last year. Her family was amazed at Irene’s desire to keep creating. She would dream about what she was going to paint, sew or needlepoint and she would wake up ready to get at it.  Switching to water-based oil paint due to her sensitivity to fumes didn’t slow her down or faze her either. Nothing could interfere with her creativity or enthusiasm!

Irene’s passion for the creative arts clearly shows in this beautiful painting of a dancer, Flamenco, and the piece pays tribute to the 63 years that she and Dan danced together through life.

Chris Celusniak

Celusniak-Austin Texas-SCAN_250wFor June, Miller IDS turns its monthly Featured Artist focus on Chris Celusniak, a true storyteller through his intricate artwork. Chris’ art shows a hidden depth of stories within stories that come together to create the whole picture. The eclectic works derive their form from patterns, improbable vintage, and a world of endless color. Viewers look into the canvas and find the intimate spaces within the larger whole, to read the narrative of its inhabitants, each with a story to tell. Chris works to create a window on a feeling that both he and the viewer may share.

Recognized with multiple awards, Chris has exhibited across the country. The native Texan was born in Houston, is a member of the San Antonio River Art Group and now lives in Austin with his family. We will have a print of Chris’ Austin-Texas hanging in both our downtown and north stores for the month of June and hope you’ll come by to check it out and/or visit his website to see more.

Featured Artist: Mare Kretschmar

koi ADJ_300Each month, we feature one of the many talented Austin-area artists who use Miller IDS’ fine art scanning and reproduction services. This month, we turn our spotlight on Marianna (Mare) Kretschmar, a native Austinite who works in multiple media.

Currently favoring acrylic on canvas, Mare paints a very focused subject matter, resulting in a fanciful abstract canvas. You can check out more of Mare’s work on her website or stop by either of our two locations this month to see a reproduction of this featured painting.