Cover Illustration by Mika Locklear
A Peek Inside December 2014
3 Fashion: Cheap Thrills
2 Meet the Team 9 On the Rise 12 Sites & Bites 15 Music 17 Tech
Get a thrift shop fashionista's best tips for Austin's shops.
5 Person of the Month
20 Find Us Discover more about how this Urbanite is changing the street art scene in Austin.
The Urbanite team is just like you! We love all the things that make Austin unique. Each month we’ll have a question for you to get to know our staff a little better. This month’s question...
What’s your favorite
“I love the international flare that Verts brings to Austin. I remember having kebaps in Germany last summer, so when I came back to ATX Verts was a great flashback.”
“Despite the long lines that start up before the restaurant even opens, you’d be heart-pressed to find a better piece of brisket in the hill country.”
“There was a time when I went to Buenos Aires like five times in a two week span. Their empanadas are delicious, but I could eat the cheesecake everyday.”
Favorite Dish: Beef and Lamb Kebaps
Co-Publisher Franklin’s BBQ
Editor Buenos Aires Cafe
Favorite Dish: Brisket
Favorite Dish: Cheesecake
“It’s not your average fried chicken.”
“The location itself is an experience. Do yourself a favor and go at night. Perfect for a date or a night out with friends.”
“I love Green Mesquite BBQ! A great place to eat that’s near some iconic Austin scenery!”
Marketing Director Lucy’s Fried Chicken
Favorite Dish: Austin Oysters
Digital & Social Director Shady Grove
Favorite Dish: Green Chile Cheese Fries
Creative Director Green Mesquite
Favorite Dish: Loaded Baker Team | 2
Cheap Thrills “Explore!
Photo Credit: Mika Locklear
By: Anthony Green
ince she can remember, Valerie Gonzalez-Vega has always been keenly interested in fashion. Currently representing Texas State University as a contributing blogger for outfit blogging site College Fashionista, Valerie hopes to branch off one day and start her own fashion blog. For first time thrifters, Valerie advises not to fear the large assortment of items or the possible crowds—thrifting is all about the experience. According to Valerie, you should also have the patience to understand that you may not find all you’re looking for at once. Mostly, Valerie says thrifting allows you to be adventurous and take a risk. “Explore! Be brave,” Valerie said. “Pick something that you may not think is totally in or the norm. Even if you follow trends, everyone ultimately has their own unique style.” A $10 dark-brown wooden record player Fashion | 3
belonging to Valerie since middle school is amongst her favorite thrifted items. Though she is originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Valerie calls the small border town of Laredo, TX home and said her favorite thrift store, Paca’s, is located there. “It’s basically a huge warehouse filled with mountains of clothes,” Valerie said. Compared to other cities, Valerie said Austin’s vibrant thrifting scene caters to a market of eclectic Austinites but worries that the trendiness of thrifting could result in a spike of thrift store prices. Valerie loves that fashion can be represented by anything influential in a person’s life. “I’m constantly inspired by things around me,” Valerie said. “It could be the color of my coffee cup or a certain song or smell that gives me the inspiration to dress a certain way or find certain things that make me unique.” Valerie said deep emeralds and maroons (sorry UT) are some key colors to watch out for this fall. You can follow Valerie’s fashion journey on collegefashionista.com
Find the look
Shirt: Desert Industries (It's like a Utah version of Goodwill)
Shorts: Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: Urban Outfitters (on clearance!)
Goodwill Blue Hangar For our more adventurous thrifting audience, this massive Goodwill outlet center at 6505 Burleson Road is all about the hunt for the perfect item. The store clerks manage the different lines where costumers await the opening of the next giant batch of unsorted clothes or small household items. The best part about the experience is getting to pay for all your finds by the pound in a weighed basket. At prices starting at $1.39 per pound youâ€™re sure to save on the holiday shopping funds.
Buffalo Exchange Clean out your closet of those extra high-waisted shorts and crop tops just in time for winter when you sell your old stuff to this thrift store. Nestled on the corner of 29th and Guadalupe streets, this store curates all of its secondhand apparel and goods through buyers. That means you can expect a more trendy variety of clothes than your average Goodwill. In lieu of giving out bags, the store hands out a token that you can use to make a donation to one its local supporting charities like the Austin Sustainable Food Center. Fashion | 4
Truth traded his canvas for city walls and is discovering how to pursue his passions full time.
Photo Credit: Mika Locklear
“I think any time that you have to step out and take a risk, it’s gonna make you a better person, regardless.”
POM | 6
By: Anna Daugherty
ith a film crew capturing each stroke he makes on Castle Hill’s walls, it’s clear that Mike “Truth” Johnston is no amateur. Blue specks dot his face under his already pale-blue eyes as Truth tags his latest work and the SprATX film crew wraps up their video. Despite the entourage, Truth has only been creating art full time for less than a year. Truth taught art for twelve years, four of which he spent overseas in Shanghai and Kuwait. This year, the 35-year-old decided to stop teaching it and start doing it for himself. Since then, he’s completed artwork for Paramount, Google, the X-Games, and Austin City Limits. Though he remembers doing art at home since he was a child, Truth’s passion for art was ignited while he was abroad. “I felt like that was where I really, really got passionate about it. Cause that’s when art was like my comfort zone, over in a foreign place it was the one thing I could on,” he said. While overseas, Truth’s art was limited to the canvas. In more restrictive governments, he had less freedom to do street art. When he moved to Austin four years ago, seeing the tags around town gave him the green light to add his own to the scene. And it’s that scene which has fostered the style he has now. “I was doing murals and smaller painting for little art shows at coffee shops, stuff like that,” Truth said. “I felt a little bit restricted, like I was trying to do a certain thing that I thought would sell. And when it came to street art, I was doing things I loved like a Michael Jordan, a Boom Box Jesus, dinosaurs; things I liked, regardless of people liking it.” Truth says it worked. Those images turned out to be his most popular. “People were excited about the same stuff that I was excited about,” he said. It’s hard not to get excited when you’re talking to the energetic artisan. His relaxed yet passionate voice sounds better suited to graffiti than the classroom and it’s hard to picture Truth as “Mr. Johnston”. But taking that jump wasn’t easy for Truth. POM | 7
His wife didn’t think he was established well enough to quit his job and it took a while for her to warm up to the idea. Truth admits there were tense moments during those first days, and at times he’s wondered where the next paycheck will come from. “I’d say that’s the hardest thing, just not knowing exactly when the next big job’s gonna come through,” he said. “But I think any time that you have to step out and take a risk, it’s gonna make you a better person, regardless. And a lot of times failures are just a couple steps closer to succeeding.” He has made those couple of steps. Truth says his dream has become a reality; in fact, he makes more money now than he did teaching. “It’s nice to be able to, you know, create things and people appreciate it and get paid to do that. Cause as a kid, you know, I loved art, I never would’ve guessed that I’d be able to do it as a job,” he said, obviously proud, yet he still seems somewhat surprised. Now that he’s finding success as a painter, his wife is there to remind him to stay focused. Truth laughs under his breath as he talks about his tag name. “My wife has called me out on times if I’m not being truthful or having integrity, like how can I call myself ‘Truth’ if I’m making those poor choices?” he said. “So in a way now I see it as like a challenge. Like if I’m gonna put ‘Truth’ on it, that means it’s gonna be my best, it’s gonna be like a standard that I’m gonna live up to.” And for other Urbanites, those who are still trying to pursue their passions full time, Truth has one piece of advice. “You have your days where you’re just not feeling confident in yourself. But that’s something that, you know, you just gotta push past and just go for it. That’s my advice. Just go for it.” Check out more of Truth’s work on his website: mikejohnstonartist.com
"When it came to street art, I was doing things I loved"
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