Twice a year an event occurs known as Antiques Week in and around the very small town of Roundtop, Texas. My mother and I just refer to the event as Roundtop. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it is said to be the largest antique show in the world. When describing how extensive the selection of antiques is I like to say, "just name it and they have it". I really mean this. It is unbelievable what you can find there. These are not your normal antiques. Of course normal antiques are available. You know normal as in stuff you see at grandma's house. The abnormal is what makes Roundtop really an awesome, in the literal sense of the word, place to go. My mother has been going twice a year for 20 years, staying for a week at a time. I was born and raised being dragged in and out of every antique and vintage store on this side of the Mississippi. Probably the other side too. I always resisted going to Roundtop. I finally went when I was 25. I've been back several times since and will continue to go every time I get a chance.
The people I have met in this tiny little Texas town are endlessly successful in very nontraditional ways. Some of the most boldly creative and hardworking people I have ever seen roll out for Antiques Week. I have made some great friends there that always inspire me. My friends Amy and Jolie Sykes a.k.a The Junk Gypsies have always made me feel at home during the show. These two lovely ladies started selling a few t-shirts in their booth about 15 years ago and now have created a Roundtop Empire which eventually led to their very own reality show on HGTV. Another "sort of" friend is Mr. Bud Royer owner of Royer's Roundtop Cafe. Those are just a few of the interesting people you might meet at the event, but the list goes on for days. I suggest you take a trip out to Austin, Tx during Antiques week and take the 60 mile drive out to Roundtop. Give it a try for yourself. Be sure to book your room about a year in advance. There are only about 100 rooms or so available in the area for the 200,000 plus visitors in attendance each session.
As you might imagine, going to the same place twice a year for twenty years leads to lots o' friends in that place. A friend of my mother, Donna Parker allowed us to stay on her property known as the No. 3. This roughly 3 acre property is adorned with some of the most unique decorations I have ever seen, or a least some of my favorites. There are farm animals everywhere. Sheep, goats, rabbits...except none of them are real. They're statues placed on the property as if they were actually alive. There is a 10 foot tall Faberge Egg in the middle of the pond. A 40 ft in-diameter corn crib, need I say more. The list could go on forever of weird shit you couldn't really imagine without seeing it. One more thing, there is a library and it has some of the coolest books that I never knew existed. One collection in particular is known as Visionaire. Visionaire is a publication company that quarterly produces art multiples. It has been around since 1991 and is said to be the most expensive subscription that there is. When I saw these publications I was blown away. They are some of the most well put together collections of art out there. One of them looks like something from space. I believe it issue #29 Woman. You have to press a button to open it. Please keep in mind these are books. You have to press a fucking button to open it! I love it. Their creativity never ceases to amaze. I just knew I had to had to have at least one of these issues some day. Recently I received the THE BIBLE ISSUE #28 as a gift from my mother, which happens to be my favorite issue I have seen. It is filled with images from Mario Testino, David LaChapelle and so many others. If you are looking for inspiration Visionaire is the place to get it; at least for myself anyway.
I won't show the the book open because it would lose its mystery. I want you to go out and find your own inspiration. Ill never forget the day I opened my first LaChapelle book. That's when I knew photography was IT for me!
So whatever it is you're interested in, I suggest you find the best or who you decide is the best to you and immerse yourself in their work. I don't care if it's antiques, carpentry, architecture, it really doesn't matter because there will always be someone that knows more than you do and the goal is to figure out why and one day be that guy or gal to someone else! Good luck out there!