Austin Artist Ysabel LeMay

Stillness, by Ysabel LeMay
Stunning Collision . . . French Canadian photographer Ysabel LeMay—who moved to Austin a year ago—produces dreamy, large-scale works of flora and fauna by combining hundreds of photographs into a single, arresting composition in a process she calls "photo-fusion". Each photo is painstakingly lighted and composed, then assembled one detail at a time into a collage so beautiful it might as well be a painting. If her work has painterly qualities, that's because she was a fine art painter for 12 years before turning to photography. 

She's under the radar in Texas—this is the first publicity she's gotten she says—but not for long. LeMay is a star on the rise—In 2011, she was chosen for the Kipton Art Rising Star program in New York, and has exhibited throughout Europe, Canada, The Netherlands, and in the U.S. in New York, Santa Fe and Palm Beach. Recently, she was picked up by prestigious Chicago art gallery Catherine Edelman and her works were shown in April at AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers).

Her work has a mysterious, dreamy quality that's utterly transfixing in such a large scale—some of her works are reproduced onto reflective surfaces such as aluminum, which give them luminosity. Her technique is proprietary, but she did reveal to me that to get some of the pure white "water" bubbles and waterfalls, she photographs spilling and splashing milk. Can you imagine how hard that is to capture, let alone make it beautiful? 

Bloomingdales in Los Angeles commissioned her to do an animated work that should be ready this fall—if you're in LA, check it out. Also, she's just completed prototypes for tables bearing her works (at the bottom, below), which she hopes to market soon. 

Her works are sold in Texas only at Smink in Dallas, which if you didn't realize, has begun to represent fine artists along with importing Italian luxury furniture lines. LeMay's works are on the walls at Smink, which is where I first discovered her. They really need to be seen to be appreciated—the level of refinement and detail is extraordinary. I have to hand it to the Smink sisters for bringing LeMay to Dallas first.

Circa 1930 by Ysabel LeMay
Metamorphos, by Ysabel LeMay
Venus, by Ysabel LeMay
Whispers, by Ysabel LeMay
Les Naturalistes, by Ysabel LeMay
The Mystics, by Ysabel LeMay
Tables, created by Ysabel LeMay
Ysabel LeMay photographing snow

Holly Hunt's Glam New Dallas Showroom!

Holly Hunt showroom in the Dallas Design District
ON THE HUNT . . . She's one of the best-known names in luxury furniture design, and Holly Hunt's roots go deep in Texas. Raised in San Antonio, she studied English at Texas Tech, and went through the executive training program at Foley's in Houston before a fortuitous transition to design, when she bought a small furniture showroom in Chicago. That one decision changed everything for her—and the direction of design—spurring on a sleek yet glamorous look that keeps going strong. Hunt has since opened eight showrooms—including a multi-story one that just opened in the Dallas Design District—and two in the works in London and Houston. (Hunt's exquisite detailing and a demand for perfection were noticed by Knoll International, which recently bought her company for a reported $95 million.)

Like boutique hotels and well-designed building lobbies, showrooms are becoming great places to snag ideas for residential decorating, including current color trends and furniture placement. Here are some of my favorite shots from the newly opened Dallas showroom. The multi-levels are dramatic, and I especially love Hunt's color sense and her fun vignettes.

The showroom's grand staircase with Stilt Coupe chair and ottoman
Holly Hunt's Arthur cocktail table
Holly Hunt's Reve occasional chair
Holly Hunt's Barbarella stools in yellow
Barbarella stools detail

Holly Hunt's Fortis bed
Holly Hunt's Spectacles table

Holly Hunt's leather studio
Holly Hunt's leathers
Holly Hunt; Photo by Anna Knott