About fifteen years ago, Austin artist Ethan Azarian started hosting an annual holiday art show. Appropriately called the In House Gallery, the show took place in Azarian's own home; toward the end of the year, he'd move all of his furniture into one room, turning the rest of the house into an empty gallery space. Then every available wall space would be filled with Azarian's (or a guest artist's) works, and the house became the In House Gallery.
After a few years, Azarian's wife Melissa Knight starting showing her art as well, and the two continued the tradition for the next several holiday seasons. Then they took a break from converting their home into a gallery every December, and that break lasted four years.
Now the holiday show is back, with a change in name and a slight change in venue. This season, Azarian and Knight will host the Blue Cow Studio Annual Holiday Art Show, which takes place not inside their house, but in the new art studio they've had constructed in their backyard.
"It's nice to have a little separation, that's for sure," says Knight, to which Azarian adds, "What's the word... better than nice, it's awesome!"
As in years past, Azarian and Knight are welcoming guest artists to the show. "We always invited a guest artist or two," says Knight, "but now it's... becoming a bit more of our focus." That community spirit is part of the goal of Blue Cow Studio. Azarian and Knight are planning to make their backyard studio a bit of a local art hub, offering it up as studio or workshop space for other Austin artists or art students. "We wouldn't charge rent, we would just do it for the greater good of the community," Azarian says. "We want Blue Cow Studio to be a destination. Once we had the studio built... all of these possibilities are on the horizon now, which is exciting."
There will be art both in the studio and in the yard itself. "Outdoors has been really nice," Azarian says. "We hang things from trees, there's a fence that I put all my paintings along so it's real colorful."
Knight adds, "And we hope the weather will be good."
This year's holiday art show will feature new works by Azarian and Knight, along with guest artists Jesse Azarian (Ethan's brother), Chris Chappell, and Stephanie Macias (aka Little Brave). The show is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin and by the Austin Creative Alliance.