Sign In
© Arielle Austin /
© Arielle Austin /
Save to wishlist

10 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Austin to Know

Picture of Sarah Karney
Updated: 6 March 2017
Austin is known as the “live music capital of the world,” but it also boasts one of the most prominent contemporary art scenes in Texas. The city’s collaborative community of all types of artists means there are many opportunities for growth, self-expression, and entrepreneurship for up-and-coming artists to experiment and showcase their work. Here are 10 emerging contemporary artists from Austin you should know.

Scott Locke

Scott Locke creates handcrafted collages and digitally manipulated art, often highlighting electronic artists. He cuts each paper collage by hand and uses recurring imagery of galaxies, landscapes, and symmetrical structures, resulting in surreal and psychedelic pieces. His collages are reminiscent of your strangest, most vibrant, and utopian dreams.

Starla Halfmann

Texas native Starla Halfmann creates vivid oil paintings, often combining radiant patterns with lively animals. Her passion for art began when she was four years old and living on a farm in West Texas. Growing up surrounded by natural beauty and her grandmother’s antiques heavily influenced her whimsical style, and her childlike wonder from those early days endure in her pieces. You can add one of her artworks to your home through her online store, or pick up one of her houseware items from her collaboration with Anthropologie. © Starla Halfman | © Starla Halfmann

Micah Evans

Forget everything you thought you knew about glass – Micah Evans’s detail-oriented flamework ranges from functional to ethereal. His teapots and drinkware are the opposite of kitschy, but it’s his impossibly delicate large-scale sculptures that put his work in a league of its own. A few standout pieces: his layered glass topography map, magenta Singer sewing machine replica, and one-of-a-kind decanters that could double as a room’s centerpiece.

Arielle Austin

Arielle Austin works with layers of varying mediums and overlapping textures to create delicate works of art. She often uses flower petals against abstract backgrounds or within a silhouette, romantically bridging the gap between nature and human life. One of her most fanciful collections based on this technique, Their Garden Series, was one of the first she created after moving to Austin from California. The move brought the inspiration of incorporating dried flowers with bright colors, which symbolize the bringing of her comfort zone into a new city, creating harmony between the two.

Arielle Austin © Arielle Austin
© Arielle Austin /

Ty Nathan Clark

Though Ty Nathan Clark is well known for his abstract pieces, he is also a devoted activist, writer, cinematographer, and philanthropist – and his deep connection to civil rights, literature, and the human condition carries over to his visual art. He uses a variety of mediums and textures to create simplistic and dismantled imagery, representing the incomplete bits and pieces of personality and memories that make up each human being. He has traveled the world, exhibiting his work for the past 15 years while also diving deep into each culture to collaborate with other creatives and leave a positive lasting impression through his art and film. © Ty Nathan Clark | © Ty Nathan Clark

Gracelee Lawrence

Though sculptor and entrepreneur Gracelee Lawrence is currently out of town, visiting as an artist in Chiang Mai, she earned her Master of Arts from the University of Texas and numerous local awards ever since. Gracelee is also an advocate for the Austin art scene as a whole. She contributed articles promoting other Texan artists to the International Sculpture Center, and also served as co-director at Pig & Pony, an intimate gallery bringing unique exhibits to Austin. Her work draws inspiration from mid-century design, focusing on representations of feminism and sexuality, using light monochrome colors and food as a euphemism. © Gracelee Lawrence | © Gracelee Lawrence

Vy Ngo

After working in the medical field for 15 years, Vy Ngo sought to recreate the range of emotions she encountered on a daily basis, from pain and suffering to unconditional love, through art. She not only accomplishes this through her mixed media tender, realistic portraits but also through muted abstract pieces and lifestyle scenes.

"Lost in Thought" © Vy Ngo,
Lost in Thought | © Vy Ngo,

Hallie Eubanks

Hallie Eubanks’s bright oil paintings, charcoal figure drawings, and lifestyle photographs have traveled with her all around the state of Texas. She began with a focus on realism, but her work has grown increasingly abstract as she has grown as an artist. You may also see her oil paintings in the form of pillows; she has a deep interest in interior design, collaborating with Molly Graham Design to turn her paintings into textiles. © Hallie Eubanks | © Hallie Eubanks

Adam Crosson

Since emerging in 2012, Adam Crosson has been unstoppable in terms of his growing list of scholarships, awards, and exhibitions. A semester in college spent studying European art and history in London heavily influenced the literary and philosophical themes seen in his work today. He creates large-scale installations that contrast with the architecture of the spaces they occupy, often using rigid materials ranging from metal to fluorescent lights to shipping containers, with the hopes that viewers will form their own ideas and revelations about how they interpret the pieces.

Ryan Hawk

Though Ryan Hawk is still in the process of obtaining his Master of Arts from the University of Texas, he already has an extensive and impressive list of awards, exhibitions, and residencies under his belt. Ryan is versatile and comfortable expressing his ideas through a variety of techniques, including sculpture, drawing, performance art, video, and installations. Though current events influence much of his work, he also acknowledges the responsibility he has not only as an artist but also a queer artist – and works to create a space in the art scene with which queers can identify.

"Untitled (GAK Portrait #1)," Production still from HD video, 2014 © Ryan Hawk
Untitled (GAK Portrait #1), Production still from HD video, 2014 | © Ryan Hawk

Find more emerging local artists at Austin’s best galleries. Or get a firsthand glimpse at Austin’s immersive art scene by checking out the top contemporary galleries in the city.