Category Archives: streetart

My time at SXSW 2016

Johnny Cash and June Carter

Drawing of Johnny Cash and June Carter

I drew the truest sound couple I know, Johnny Cash and June Carter. Austin is flooded with artists who draw their imagination and paint murals that lightens the day for us. This power music couple has stood within the test of times through our headphones and speakers. The murals we see now but one day may be a ball of dust but will carry the music on by these artists and so many more.

Mural of Willie Nelson (Austin,TX)

Mural of Willie Nelson (Austin,TX)

The Willie Nelson mural was created just before this year’s SXSW. He was the first to showcase his music on ACL, Austin City Limits Live television show in 1974, paving the ways for others to shine their music unto us. He is like the logo of Austin, Texas. This mural stands bright over downtown welcoming all who come forth to feel the music in their bones.

SXSW comes and goes every year but I never grow weary of it and think I never will. I hear the grunts and complaints of people who work downtown, the locals avoiding this area when this music celebration spills over.

SXSW 2016 Crowd (photo by me)

SXSW 2016 Crowd (photo by me)

I welcome it though, I welcome the hustling bustling of crowds, the music pounding through the bars, authors speaking their hearts out. I welcome the free drinks, the free sunglasses, the free totes, the free coffee and free performances to watch.

I didn’t snatch a SXSW wrist badge, didn’t take off from work but took advantage of my lunch times, mini breaks and stayed after work when I could to catch the festivities. Tied to my desk, staring down my computer, I accepted this dance with music downtown. It was a breath of fresh air to see new people flying and driving in to hear music from all over the world.

SXSW sign

SXSW sign (photo by me)

There was no itinerary but instead I decided to go by the seat of my pants wonder out with coworkers to discover what was a few blocks away, what rabbit hole I could fall into.


Taco Truck (Austin,TX)

Taco Truck (Austin,TX)

First of all there was the food! Need fuel for this event so what better way than to have the staple of food trucks all along the downtown streets. This food trunk in particular had a cute sign reflecting the actual “I Love You So Much” mural we have on South Congress. Not only that but I managed to snatch free Chick-fil-A burgers at Pandora event along with hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches at the Videotape recharge your phone event.


Cafe Bustelo provided free coffee of your choice for their grand opening during the festivities straight in the heart of 6th Street. Their coffee and their ambiance setting made a strong impact.

What better way to pair coffee than with donuts? After the fast pace walking along the streets we decided to stop at Voodoo to snatch donuts. Our good friend coworker was so kind to give us each one which was enough to give me the greatest sweet tooth I ever encountered but so worth it.




Autographed “Born For This” Book (photo by Rafael Marquez)

The first day of the week we managed to sneak into the event where we caught a free presentation from the author, Chris Guillebeau. It was a serendipitous moment all falling into place perfectly to find this gem of a guy who I had heard on various interviews one held by one of my favorite YouTube star, Marie Forleo. I was inspired by him because he traveled to every single country, headed his own business, found his joy, and interviewed people across the globe of how they found their joy that lead to their calling.

Netspend Local Artist Gallery (photo by me)

Netspend Local Artist Gallery (photo by me)

Netspend Local Artist Gallery

Netspend Local Artist Gallery (photo by me)

Right here at my job was an art gallery for anyone to walk in and enjoy. The event was held by Netspend, another company that shares the building with us who shared local artist’s pieces for the public to view. I feel it was a way for travelers to get to know Austin better and for the chance to buy these works of art to share the beauty of them to others.



During Saint Patrick’s Day we caught a band representing the history of Ireland, walking along the streets going in and out of bars playing the traditional Irish music dressed to the nines in kilts.

St. Patrick's Day SXSW 2016

St. Patrick’s Day SXSW 2016

Grabbed green beer on 2nd street where people in green were in rows of crowds mingling. The place was a cute quaint outside venue for free where right next door, the Irish pub was charging $15 to get in. I was on a streak of free events and wasn’t going to break it.


Street performers filled us in awe of their talents and street wear. One that stood out among the crowds were the Ninja Turtles. Their sign read, “Need Money for Pizza.” Almost every day I would see them along the streets giving people a ride down memory lane.



And had to end on a high note, the main reason SXSW happens, the music. I didn’t catch any big name bands but finding hidden gems made it just as special. For the Pandora event, a Canadian band, The Strumbellas was about to perform during my lunch break and so I spent filling myself up watching their performance. Their music was delicious along with their lyrics that fueled me to feel the love of music.

Not only were there big bands but small street bands that made just as big of a crowd. There were jazz street bands, drummers using buckets and sole singers. Below is a compilation of the music I videotaped along the way.

Hope you enjoyed my mini sound bites of SXSW. What type of music drives your soul, gets you going?


With TLC,


InspireShot #5 – You’re Butter Half

Mix media by Elisa Prell

Mix media by Elisa Prell

I pass this mural every day and each time I stare at it in awe as if it’s my first time to see it. The message surrounded by the bright old fashion images just makes me happy. It’s as if I have had breakfast to energize me for the day ahead in cubicle life.

Instead of capturing people against this mural I decided to draw Julia Child and her husband, Paul as if they are posing against this backdrop that defined them. She was one of the first women to make a mark in the culinary world. Her husband helped her see what was there all along in herself, a chef. Julia Child hadn’t realized her full passion until she started cooking for the first time for her husband. He was there, every step of the way in helping his love achieve her dream, even created a kitchen for her as the vessel that would take them on the journey of food.

Food is vital to us living, brings people closer together than anything else can. Just the act of creating a meal for someone can bring pure joy. The drawing I did of Julia and Paul shows one of their traditions they did on Valentines day. They would cut out paper hearts to wear as they hosted a dinner party. I decided to do something similar but with actual food. Below is a piece I made with reused eggs that spell out the word, love. Break yourself open to spill the love over unto others.


Mixed media piece by Elisa Prell

Society still places a stigma that we need to get married at a certain age or we’ll be old spinster maids. She met him at age 31 and didn’t start her full blown chef dream until she was in her 40’s. See it is never too late to find the love of your life and the love for yourself.  Take each moment as a precious gift for you to use the best way you can. Why not take the risk of finding our-self, our butter half into achieving our dreams because what’s the worse that can happen?

I have always loved food, all and any kinds of food. Most of my baby pics are of me stuffing my face with food in pure happiness. Food is a key ingredient in our lives. If we enjoy and appreciate each bite then food will be our friend who in turns makes our soul and body healthy. Just being conscious by listening to what our body needs as fuel will take us to the right direction in finding the best food for us.

FullSizeRender (2)

Me as a baby stuffing my face in pure joy!

Bread has been a key ingredient since the beginning of time. Just look to the bible and you will find verses about bread;
Matthew 26:26 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

1 Corinthians 10:17 – For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

I end with a couple of quotes from Julia and Paul Child and a Smithsonian article that sums up what love is when finding your butter half. Also can’t end without mentioning the Julie & Julia movie along with a love song! There are so many love songs containing lyrics about food but I think The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself, song wraps it up the best! Sugar Pie Honey Bunch….I can’t help myself…I love you and nobody else!


“For us the kitchen is the soul of our house,” Julia Child

“We had a happy marriage because we were together all the time. We were friends as well as husband and wife. We just had a good time.” — Julia Child

“How fortunate we are at this moment in our lives! Each doing what he most wants, in a marvelously adapted place, close to each other, superbly fed and housed, with excellent health, and few interruptions.”Paul Child

The movie, Julie and Julia starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child did a good job of depicting her aspiring life along with the love she and Paul had for each other. I love Meryl Streep! Should definitely check it out if you haven’t already 🙂


InspireShot #4 – Owlright in the Night

Photograph by Elisa PrellI

I was inspired by this smiling little boy running against the stark graffiti. Part of the graffiti has an eerie hand as if hovering over him but he is a step ahead and in front are cartoonish owls happily watching over him. He in turn is smiling as well as if knowing he will be alright, is taken care of and just keeps running freely.

There may be times when everything seems to be falling apart but know that this moment in time will pass. But accept the moment for it may be showing you the way, showing you to be stronger,  teaching you a lesson that will lead you to the light at the end of the tunnel all the while the birds/angels will be watching over you. These misfortunes may come to you so you in turn can show others the way. I believe the saying that God only gives us so much that we can handle. If we are faced with a hardship stop to think what you can learn from it and how to overcome it. I find when asking out loud for help, that a way will be shown for us.

I’ve always liked to scribble down rhyming poems (which helps to spill out my jumbled thoughts). Writing I find is a good source of letting out those bottled up misfortunes. I suggest to write down at least three things you were grateful for the day and also write down what obstacle you overcame or need to overcome. For extra bravery show it to someone or post it up for others to read. My photograph inspired me to do a drawing poem of owls made with recycled food items who are there for each other in the darkness.


The Owlright Poem:
When darkness seems to creep upon your heel, keep going.

When you are left with nothing to feel, keep going.

When there seems nothing left to see, keep going.

When you think of giving up a plea, keep going.

Keep going with your friend to lean on to see the light for your will find everything is gonna be Owlright!

And because this photograph with the little boy and cartoonish owls remind me of childhood, I would like to provide a couple of children’s books worth reading yourself or reading to a child you have or know.

The first book I would like to share is,  Owl Moon which you can also listen and watch on this you tube video, enjoy! This is a classic that I remember having read back in my kid days.  I loved that it contained my love for animals, the outdoor adventure and a father/daughter bonding time.

The second book, or I should say series is the Harry Potter book series. I do have to admit I have not read them all but just by reading and watching a few of the movies I have enjoyed the fun magic adventures that someone of any age can read/watch. Harry Potter has an owl pet named Hedwig who not only sends letters to him but also is a close confidant that he finds solace in when at times there is no one else. I just love animal and human relationships because they are so honest and show pure love.

Also the theme song for Harry Potter is called the Hedwig theme and I think it is great to listen to for when you are working, studying or just wanting to relax.

And I end with a National Geographic documentary about the Snowy Owl which is the type of owl that Harry Potter had. It’s a great video showing the bond of an Owl family who seem to survive through magic! They show the will to live in sometimes a bleak dark setting but no matter what circumstances come their way they survive through courage and determination. Which I hope you do the same in your life. We are all a part of this intricate web of life connected to each other. I hope you enjoy!

With TLC,

Elisa Prell



InspireShot #3 Find What You Love


Photograph by Elisa Prell

As kids we were full of carefree moments. All we knew was going after what we love. Whether it was skating around an empty parking lot, swim racing, bike riding recklessly to the corner store, painting murals of rainbows or jumping into a muddy puddle covering yourself from head to toe.

These were fond memories of my childhood but slowly I have realized these times are slipping away because of my “be safe because we are suppose to do” choices. I had come to the point of becoming numb that it startled me into thinking what I was really here for. So I started to question what I really loved and think of all the possibilities to express this love. I suggest to write a list of what you love and next to each write actionable ideas that can be done to express this love.

Taking this photograph at the right time when this little boy was in between the two helmets was perfect timing. What drew me at first were the words, “Find What You Love”  drawn across the forefront helmet. It’s as if this boy’s future is shown before him either to ride the road finding what you love or ride the road that engulfs your love into flames like the second helmet. If not taken your mission will become ancient like the canvas of the motorcycle that lays in front of the two helmets.

Reminds me of a recent book I read, The Alchemist. This book is filled with adventures like a gypsy interpreting dreams, a spirit appearing as a guide, enemies in pursuit, nature talking, searching for treasure and above all else a heart leading the way.  I had an aha moment when right after reading this book I had received my daily Oprah newsletter notifying me she would be interviewing the author that Sunday. She had been trying to get an interview with him over 10 years and it was his first in America! It seems it was meant for me to read this book, correlate it with my life and recommend it to others 😉

As a kid I loved the writing portion of the yearly testing at our school. My 4th grade year is when I gained all stars on the fiction story portion and so was read out loud in class. I was terrified but thrilled at the same time to accomplish such a feat. The story was about a kid finding a secret attic filled with diamonds. I have decided to relive my childhood and write a little fiction story below. I challenge you to relive a fun childhood moment like skating, painting a self-portrait, writing a book, etc.  Share it with others and see where it leads you.

A story about a Superpower Helmet

There was a child who loved adventure. They dreamed big dreams. Blasting off to the moon, finding world peace, drawing a masterpiece….the dreams were endless. They played these dreams out wearing their super powered helmet. But as this child grew, their helmet was used less and less until it was tossed aside. The helmet asked one day, “Why am I being left behind?”

The child answered, “Well no one else uses one anymore, besides I have to grow up.”

The helmet protested, “But there is no such thing as growing up for growing up means growing into nothingness.” The child laughed it off and tucked the helmet into the darkest corner of their closet.

Their helmet was alone only having the child’s dreams to hold on to keeping hope that one day they would return.

Years and years past and soon this child was a grown person. They slowly started to feel sick inside. They visited many doctors but no one had the cure. In their darkest moment they suddenly heard a tiny voice.

It softly said, “before you lose everything reach out to me. Try me on no matter how afraid you are. For facing fear head to head is the source to becoming a superhero.”

They were at the brink of losing it all so they took heed of this voice and thought of their helmet.

They reached far into the darkness, dusted off the cobwebs and plopped it on their head. Together they pursued the highway of life. Discovering doing what they loved was the mission of life.  And the helmet thought to himself, “love wins.”

*Bonus audio episodes:

This Chalene Johnson show is about recovering from setbacks and disappointments. She starts with a story about a man’s love for motorcycle riding and how he started living because of this.

As well as the James Altucher episode of how to turn fear into money where he and his wife (who I love!) mentions the Alchemist book.


With TLC,

Elisa Prell