Love is Color Blind
The “Hearts of the East Side” campaign, funded by the East Cesar Chavez Business District and the City of Austin Economic Development Department Souly Austin Program, involves 11 different artists creating their take on a unique heart sculpture.
Erin Ashley Shook is one of the participating artists. She’s an Austin resident of 20 years and specializes in woodworking. Her heart installation, “Love is Color Blind,” is located at Love + Roots salon at 1607 E Cesar Chavez St.
Shook has had a passion for design since she was very young. Always creating new things, what started as a hobby has blossomed into a full-fledged passion and career for her. In 2014, her woodworking business, Erin Ashley Designs was born in Austin.
Through a referral from fellow “Hearts of the East Side” artist and friend, Morgan Zator, Shook learned about the project and grew curious.
“As soon as she described the project to me, I was immediately interested,” Shook said. “After an interview with Selena from Big Red Sun, I was officially invited to participate.”
The process of creating her heart design was not an easy one and unlike anything Shook has done before. She followed her normal design process: drawing the sketch on an online design software, drawing the layout on two substrates, cutting and fitting the wood pieces to make up the heart, painting the different colors, and finally, gluing each piece.
“I rarely work with this much color. I prefer muted tones, so this was a little out of my comfort zone, but I’m excited I did it” Shook said. “It’s possibly one of my best pieces I’ve ever done.”
Aiming for a more organic approach, Shook decided to angle the installation, rather than placing it parallel or perpendicular. Her hope with this were to provide a better viewpoint for those driving or walking by.
When it comes to the inspiration for this piece, Shook noted the significant changes that have occurred during her years in Austin. Despite these changes, she feels like East Austin still embodies its original culture, and that’s what truly motivated her heart design.
“I still feel that connection to “old Austin” when I’m here,” she said. “The art, the music, and the overall vibe is what I’m connected to.”
The east side has long boasted culture, creativity, and color. Shook aspired to bring all three things out in the “Love is Color Blind” artwork.
“I created a heart that represents what love is to me,” Shook said. “Love is limitless. Love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Love does not discriminate. Love works together. I hope everyone can feel the love that I feel from doing this heart.”