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"It came from a desire to be more collaborative," says Jonathon Zemek of his new multimedia project Hillcrest. "You know, [to] work with artists locally that I just adore. So that was kind of the fundamental root of it."
Hillcrest started with a couple of songs that Zemek wrote after his former band Soul Track Mind came to an end. "The first couple of songs that were written... started to lend themselves more to this... enveloping story," Zemek says. Along with producer Matt Smith, Zemek developed that emerging story into the concept for a graphic novel that would accompany the new album.
Zemek and Smith enlisted local artist Chris Rogers to create the visual art and gathered together a host of Austin singers to provide vocals for the tracks (each singing the part of a character from the graphic novel).
The City, by Texan artist Vincent Valdez is presented in two parts. The smaller of the two pieces, The City II, depicts a pile of mattresses and garbage in gray scale. The larger, less pedestrian, piece is a 30-foot-long mural, sprawled across four canvases, depicting a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.
The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.
Pilar Sanchez was joined in the mobile booth by her husband, John Hernandez. They talked about the different ways they raised and how they’re raising their eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, who joined them in the booth. They all also weighed in on the correct pronunciation of Pilar’s first name.
"I hadn't painted in almost twenty years," says Robert Kane Herrera. "[For La Raza] was.. one of the last murals I ever painted." Together with fellow artist Oscar Cortez, Herrera created For La Raza in 1992. This year, the two were hired by Austin's Art in Public Places Program to restore the beloved eastside mural.
Twenty years ago, with a young but growing family, Herrera stopped painting to pursue steadier and better-paying work as electrician. Now that his kids are older, he's got a little more time in his schedule to get back to his artistic roots. "I get to be me again," he says. "Or at least who I thought I was."