Austin Way “Art of the City”
NO ONE UNDERSTANDS AUSTINITES’ PASSION FOR PLACE LIKE THIS VISUAL ARTIST, WHOSE XYZ ATLAS SHOWS WHERE LOCALS HAVE EXPERIENCED THEIR HIGHS AND LOWS ACROSS THE CITY
BY KATHY BLACKWELL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNY SATHNGAM
Over the course of three years, more than 500 Austinites responded to Chenoweth’s surveys. Based on a color wheel inspired by psychologist Robert Plutchik’s theory of emotions, (lemon yellow for joy, dark green for terror, and so forth) and employing GIS (geospatial information systems) technology, she created The Hedonic Map of Austin, depicting our emotional connections, good and bad, with places that matter to us. From her first version in 2013 through the final 3-D map she unveiled during May’s West Austin Studio Tour, Austinites’ happiest place has never changed: It’s right there in a lemon-yellow peak over Barton Springs and Zilker Park.
“I thought people would just answer with two-word locations, but they told these rich stories,” says Chenoweth, 47. “Newcomers got to say why they picked being here—they came for an event or a vacation and they had these life-changing events.” For natives and longtime residents, their answers were “a way to commemorate the spots where they’ve experienced their whole lives.”
Greengale Publishing also featured their cover artists, including Jennifer Chenoweth and the XYZ Atlas, in their 10 national issues: