Shop owner showcases local graffiti art


Amber Abranson, owner of the Busy-Being, recently opened her shop located on Cesar Chavez. Her store brings together pieces of clothing, jewelry, and artwork from artists around the world.

Photo Credit: Kiersten Holms | Daily Texan Staff

[Corrected at 4:35 p.m. on Nov. 29: Changed "state capitol" to "Austin" in the eight paragraph.]

There is a giant wooden chest along the whitewashed wall, a piece that could fit in a Western film. The rustic chest exhibits moss-filled terrariums, and nestles unique pieces of brass and pyrite jewelry. Because of their intricate detail, it is easy to tell the items are handmade.

Graphite drawings of voluptuous gangster females embellish the room with bright shades of magenta, royal blue and yellow. The drawings are among Amber Abramson’s favorite items.

“I love these images of big booty tough girls,” Abramson said. “Growing up, I was always friends with graffiti artists, and in my teens, I was friends with a lot of gangsters, so I really identify with a lot of this imagery.”

Abramson is the owner of Busy-Being, a brick and mortar shop that opened Oct. 29 at the corner of San Marcos and East Cesar Chavez. The shop owner is currently using a 10-by-10 space at the back of Domy Books, a bookstore featuring editioned books, periodicals, video and product lines that concentrate on contemporary art and culture.

The Busy-Being back room showcases works of artists whom Abramson has worked with during the past 10 years. Abramson has handpicked the items featured in the shop, 99 percent of which she says cannot be found in other Austin venues. This includes apparel, accessories, books and zines.

“I wanted novelties that were special and that you couldn’t find here,” Abramson said. “There are a lot of things that I think Austin hasn’t seen yet.”

The shop is a reflection of her personality and her artistic style, she said, but some of the shop is a culmination of the different artistic personalities she’s met throughout her career.

After a visit to Austin in 2008, the shop owner “really fell in love with the city.” A single mother, Abramson raised her son, Angelo Abramson, in Los Angeles. She decided they would move when it was time for Angelo to attend high school. That time came this summer and when Angelo, now 15, kissed his middle school days goodbye, the Abramsons relocated to Austin in late June.

Abramson, who had been working as a curator at different galleries in Los Angeles for the past 10 years, continues to work as associate director of New Image Art Gallery. She has maintains her position with the gallery from her computer in Austin.

As of June, Abramson was working two jobs: her remote position at New Image Art Gallery and an assistant position at a local corporate company. However, in early October, Abramson lost the corporate job that made it possible for her to move in the first place.

Regardless of the crisis, Abramson got to work, and what could have become a disaster became an opportunity for creative entrepreneurship.

“I had this moment where I was like, what am I going to do here?” Abramson said.

The art lover decided she would open a shop as an extension of her online store, Busy-Being, which she started in 2004.

“It’s been a store all this time, but in the last couple years I was so busy running the gallery that this has been on the back burner for a while,” Abramson said.

The online store sold more design-driven and limited edition novelties, different from the shop, which emphasizes craftsmanship, she said.

“Like mother like son,” Angelo Abramson also shares a love for graffiti art.

“My whole life has been centered on graffiti art and my mom’s field of work,” he said. “I actually enjoy all these different styles of art and media — I think it’s really cool.”

Angelo Abramson dabbles in the creative side himself, making short films in his spare time.

Abramson says that for the long run, she would like to continue on the retail side of the art world.

“I want to keep running my shop, and when it’s viable I’d like to expand it,” she said. “I can’t really separate my career goals from my personal ones. I’d like to own a house one day, I’d like to put my kid through college, you know, those sorts of normal goals that people have.” 

Printed on Monday, November 28, 2011: Shop owner showcases local eclectic art