Leah Chyma All Over | Inspire. Change. Repeat.

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There are people that you come across that are always full of positive energy, but at the same time have a calming effect on the people around them.  Those would be the first words I’d use to describe Miss Leah Chyma of Leah Chyma All Over.  Not to mention creative, fun, and inspiring.

I met Leah last summer and have been lucky enough to have shared a number of experiences with her – everything…

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Leah Chyma All Over | Inspire. Change. Repeat.

There are people that you come across that are always full of positive energy, but at the same time have a calming effect on the people around them.  Those would be the first words I’d use to describe Miss Leah Chyma of Leah Chyma All Over.  Not to mention creative, fun, and inspiring.

I met Leah last summer and have been lucky enough to have shared a number of experiences with her – everything from her Camp Gladiator bootcamps, to co-working, snuggle puddles, concerts, lady chats… and of course brunch.  I first learned about Leah’s passion for art last fall.  Since then I’ve been inspired by her determination to shake away from the comfort of a steady paycheck in order to pursue her true love – Leah Chyma All Over.  I had heard our mutual friends bragging about their LCAO piece; once I saw her work with my own eyes though I was immediately drawn in.  The first painting of Leah’s that I laid eyes on was Sunbeam Prison – the layering of the paint on the canvas paired with masking tape and acrylic make the image pop in a 3D affect that made my eyes completely curious about every layer.   That canvas had it goin on.   Of course when I learned what this piece represented – “The overcoming of something awful… you can overcome a dark past and start a new positive path” – I was immediately hooked.

I wanted to hear more about where it all started.  Leah and I decided on Blue Dahlia Bistro for a lady date so that I could pick her brain.  (Enter delish wine.)  I listened as she described her first pieces of “artwork” – the everyday doodles of a young student distracted in class.  While Leah was simply trying to make the minutes pass faster like any normal kid, she was innocently creating her first pieces of artwork – pieces that would catch the eye of a teacher that saw her scribbles as much more than that.  Leah’s teacher recognized her potential and encouraged her to explore her imagination on paper even more.  That inspiration, along with years in other creative spaces – ceramics, the art of learning how to read music, and especially the inheritance of her parents’ vinyl collection – is what lead Leah’s path to the University of Iowa and later, a degree in Art and Creative Writing.  And eventually, lucky for us, to Austin, Texas.

With Leah’s focus centered on her artwork more than ever this past year she’s really made strides in Austin’s art community.  She’s featured in coffee shops and waiting rooms in and around the city and has had her art shown in some pretty fabulous happenings around town recently including Art Show at the Speed Shop, which took place last month at Pure Austin Fitness, and also in the well-known East Austin Studio Tour (aka EAST), where Leah’s art was hung alongside fellow artist Katy Hirschfeld of Collage Garage.  Not only that.  Leah is part of an awesome-ness initiative here in Austin – #besomebody.  If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen them around yet, #besomebody – The World’s Platform for Passion – helps people turn what they love to do into what they’re paid to do.  They live off of the belief that your personal passion is by far your most valuable asset.  How does it work?  Well you download the iPhone app obviously (if you haven’t already done this you’re late to the party), select what you’re passionate about (for me – running, writing, fashion, entrepreneurship, dogs… I could have probably kept going…), and you’re off!  The app automatically connects you to remarkable people in your area for one-on-one experiences with them, the experts.  I especially like that I can learn how to create my own acrylic layered canvas and I don’t have to bring anything but myself for a super affordable price, all while supporting Leah, who’s just doing what she loves.  Pretty cool, right?  I think so.

Leah’s art will be shown TONIGHT at the December ArTXplosion by  Mindzai Creative ATX.  From what I hear they’ll have complimentary drinks and screen printing, and of course local artists – my favorite combination.  If you can’t make it tonight be sure to “Like” LCAO’s Facebook page in order to stay in-the-know of her upcoming shows.  Leah’s available for commissions as well – if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for on her site fill out her Q&A form and she’ll make amazingness happen.  Trust me…  I’ve seen it. 

A Birthday Surprise on the Lone Star Riverboat

Last week I got the chance to surprise one of my favorite Austin ladies with a private boat ride on the Lone Star Riverboat.  Adrianne had been wanting to do this for a while now, and I still hadn’t been.  So when the opportunity presented itself I knew I had to take advantage.  I picked her up and blindfolded her once we got downtown… payback for my birthday surprise 6 months ago.  Getting her from the car to the boat was an event in itself, not only because she took approximately 47 minutes to walk 30 feet, but also because there was another boat full of passengers that we had to pass to get to ours.  Pretty sure they thought we were more than best friends… it’s fine.  We were their entertainment for a solid 4 minutes while Adrianne crossed onto the dock.  Small price to pay for a birthday surprise.

Captain Dave was awesome – not only did he help me plan the private boat ride, but he also set up a romantical table for us, complete with wine and relaxing music.  Once we were settled and enjoying our fruit, cheese, and bubbly, we realized that our setup looked like a date night pulled straight from The Bachelor.  Totally ok with it.

As we toured Lady Bird Lake I was once again in awe with the beautiful sunset here in Austin.  I’ve never seen such amazing skies before; it’ll never get old.  Captain Dave provided us with a lot of incredibly useful information throughout the tour.  For instance, I learned that mother bats can postpone the gestation process.  Obviously I’ll be using this information at the bars this weekend.  But seriously, that’s actually pretty crazy that they can do that.  Also interesting is the fact that baby bats are born at about 1/4 of the weight of the mom bat….. who knew?!

Seeing the famous Austin bats is something that I’ve kind of wanted to do since moving here, just to see what all the hype is about… but I can’t say that it was on the top of my list.  Bats are ugly.  If it were bunnies popping out of that bridge, I feel like that’s something I would have experienced as soon as I moved here.  (Also, that’d mean Austin had flying bunnies.. so yeah, obviously I’m going to go see THAT.)  But I have to say, given the knowledge from Captain Dave, the scenery, and being with one of my favorite people, I absolutely LOVED it and would 100% go again.  Not only did we get up close and personal with those furry fellas, but we also got to experience the massive art installation, THIRST, as well as some of the random Austin artwork that we all love… including one of my favorites – “Never Give Up”.

Another piece of knowledge that we gained was that the Lone Star Riverboat is the longest running boat operation in the Austin area, and that they actually give back a portion of their sales to the City of Austin Parks Department.  I’m pretty sure any Austinite would be into that!  I’m also pretty sure that this won’t be the last time we drink wine on one of these boats… we’ll need somewhere to celebrate the end of yet another fabulous Austin summer…  🙂