• Caitlin Gomez

Planting a Seed of Love on the East Side

The east side boasts culture, art, and love, and recently got more of these elements. Eleven artists created their spin on a metal heart sculpture for the “Hearts of the East Side” project. Ranging in color, medium, and inspiration, each heart has one commonality: love for the east side.

Artist Morgan Zator has a deep connection with the east side. She’s worked, lived, and found love in the area.

“I fell in love with East ATX when I started working with Selena at the original Big Red Sun. It was edgy and considered avant-garde at the time,” said Zator.

Approached by longtime mentor and friend Selena Souders, Zator jumped at the opportunity participate in the “Hearts of the east side” campaign.

“I’ve also been blessed to be either friends and/or acquaintances with a handful of the other artists,” said Zator. “Austin used to be a small world and I think it’s fair to say we’ve all inspired each other at some point or another.”

Zator’s heart, titled, Plant a Seed of Love, rests at the site of Mr. Natural at 1901 E César Chávez St. 

The inspiration for this piece stems from Zator’s desire for everyone to spread more love in the world. “In life we have a choice each day to plant seeds of energy that can grow and blossom into beauty or pain. They can create a positive or negative effect on the world. We have a choice each day to be impeccable with our words, actions, and energy. My hope is that it inspires people to plant a seed of hope and love.”

The design and installation process for Zator’s heart involved several players. Zator’s love and fellow hearts artist, Todd Campbell, assisted with the installation of a middle support and redolent wood.

“I then reached out to fellow artist, Chris Levack, to chop this massive amazing cedar branch I foraged for in Smithville at my best friend’s ranch. These cedar chops would be the seeds,” explained Zator.

Upon completion, Zator didn’t realize the back of her heart would be visible. She filled it with the word “love.” However, after recent events and inspiration from a fellow artist changing their heart design completely, Zator made some adjustments.

“I felt the need to reignite awareness to color blindness, connection, and universal love and acceptance.”


Following her heart installation, Zator has been up to a variety of other projects. She’s returned to large scale painting, created a line of ceramics, fine arts, and botanical inspiration. In addition, she is in the process of yoga teacher training.

“Times are uncertain, and they have enlivened this spirit of Carpe Diem,” emphasized Zator.

From riding her bike each day to work, stopping by Mr. Natural for a spinach pineapple juice, to crossing paths with her love, the east side has left an impact on Zator’s life. And she’s proud to have a heart planted in a place that means so much to her.


“The east side shaped who I was and who I have become,” said Zator. “I’ve had a love affair ever since with the potential of East Austin.”

 

Cheers to Austin, One Tour at A Time

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