ELEPHANT 6: Dozens of familiar faces from the Elephant 6 collective can be found condensed into a single 2-by-2-foot frame through a new painting by Jon Rundstrom. Photorealistic depictions of members from seminal bands including Circulatory System, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Music Tapes, Elf Power, of Montreal, The Apples in Stereo and The Gerbils float together in a collage of expressions. The painter, who works primarily as a mural and portrait artist in Connecticut, has been following the Athens-based music collective since 1999.
“My brother Eric first introduced me to E6. We would sit in the basement of the house we owned together, turn off all of the lights and listen to [Olivia Tremor Control’s] Dusk at Cubist Castle,” says Rundstrom. “Just staring at glow-in-the-dark stars scattered around the basement ceiling, we were whisked away. I never looked back. I needed to know more about this thing called ‘Elephant 6.’ It was a lot tougher back then. We had just got dial-up AOL internet—no Facebook or social media. Passion drove the mission.”
The portrait project began last December when Brandon Cole, admin for the “Elephant 6 Enthusiasts” Facebook group, approached Rundstrom about creating a “lyrical reference” design that could incorporate the favorite lines of members into one illustration. The artist painted a small portrait honoring late musician Bill Doss into one corner, which led to adding core members Will Cullen Hart, Jeff Mangum and Robert Schneider into the others, which suddenly snowballed into filling in the faces of 60 (and counting) musicians and artists who have contributed to the collective. The portraits were painted using photographs as reference, which gave the artist a platform to directly connect with many of the musicians he’s been listening to for so long.
“I have created amazing friendships with people who have been my heroes for years,” he says. “Such an amazing group of human beings. Sort of strange when your heroes are personified.”
Rundstrom intends to complete the portrait by the end of summer, at which point T-shirts and prints will be made with proceeds benefiting Nuçi's Space. Join the “Elephant 6 Enthusiasts” group on Facebook for updates.
COMMUNITY: For the past six years, local business owner Sanni Baumgärtner has drawn attention to the value and beauty of sustainable fashion through her boutique Community, quietly nestled above the downtown Jittery Joe’s at the corner of Broad and Jackson streets. As of this month, the shop can now be found in its more visible, street-level location at 260 N. Jackson St., which previously served as the home of Jackson Street Books for over 30 years.
Among a wide variety of locally-made accessories and gifts, you’ll find clothing created using vintage or sustainable fabrics from the shop’s own line, Community Service—designed by Baumgärtner and sewn in-house by employees—alongside pieces by other designers, including Untitled Thoughts and Tabitha Fielteau. A secondary focus of Community is to serve as a training ground for aspiring designers, offering classes in sewing, fashion illustration, modeling and presenting a collection. Keep an eye on shopcommunityathens.com for future unveilings of new fashion lines.
PIXEL & INK: Following nearly a year of operating out of the Chase Park warehouses, Pixel & Ink Studio (a slight rebrand from Pixel & Ink Photo Boutique) will move into Margot Ecke’s Smokey Road Press in the Leathers Building on Pulaski Street this weekend.
In addition to photo restoration, film processing and printing services, Pixel & Ink currently offers over 200 purchasable prints by local artists through athensartprints.com. Sharing the new space will allow the shop’s abilities to expand into including additional products such as high-end wedding invitations, business cards, art books and other collaborations with Ecke, whose own business specializes in letterpress, binding and design. Amelia Johnson will join current co-owners Carolyn Crist and Laulea Taylor as a third partner, focusing on textile and surface design services, and the team hopes to offer in-house fabric printing for custom dresses and drapes next season.
Pixel & Ink will host a grand re-opening party around its first anniversary, which falls on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Visit pixelandinkphoto.com for more information.
INDIE SOUTH: Renovations are currently underway for Indie South Fair’s new brick-and-mortar headquarters, housed in the former location of Double Dutch Press at 1377 Prince Ave. in Normaltown. For the past decade, founder Serra Ferguson has been at the helm of the DIY movement by spearheading the largest open-air artist markets in town, as well as several smaller-scale events throughout the year.
Indie South is currently in the process of expanding into a regional operation by organizing markets in multiple cities across the Southeast. The physical headquarters will operate primarily as a boutique space for handmade items and vintage goods contributed by a handful of vendors, and will also offer workshops and consulting services to help artists fine tune their businesses.
A grand opening for the retail shop will be held Saturday, Aug. 20. For a taste of what’s to come, check out the Midsummer’s Night Market on Friday, July 22 from 5–10 p.m. at Creature Comforts. For details, visit indiesouthfair.com.