Keeping Austin Weird

Expression |

Words and photos by Adam Kingman. Read more of his work here.

Austin has been my home for a year now. As keen as I am on the candlelit mezcalerias and starry night swims in Barton Springs, it’s the people that keep me from wandering far from this place. The people of Austin emit an energy that I haven’t found anywhere else. In the words of David Byrne, this must be the place.

My curiosity for just about everything drives me to start conversations with new people daily, seeking understanding and expertise. Everyone’s an expert at something. Everyone knows something I don’t.

Here are three stories of skilled craftspeople that I look to for inspiration and good conversation, creatives that bleed that special kind of inclusive, creative energy that some say Keeps Austin Weird, but for me, makes it feel like home.

Brockett Hamilton

_brockett-476-Edit I met Brockett at a coffee shop. I overheard him talking about building chairs for a buddy’s restaurant. Lonely in this new city, I couldn’t help but jump into the conversation. I later found out that he had welded just about everything in the coffee shop that we were sitting in. Brockett is a wood and steel craftsman who’s created beautiful custom pieces all throughout Austin (swing by Suerte, Fleet, the Volcom Garden and you’ll see his work). _brockett-39-Edit

Smoke from the freshly lit Palo Santo stick faded into the air as Brockett gave me a tour of his workshop shop. I tested my tool terminology, pointing to machines here and there, Brockett correcting me where I was lost. He learned to weld watching his dad repair the ranch he was raised up on. Friends lived far away growing up, so he filled his time with building, playing guitar (putting on concerts for the animals around the barn), and building skate ramps for his friends.


Brockett wears the new Ember Moc Navy at his studio in Austin. 

Brockett quickly fashioned me a cutting board from a piece of scrap wood I found in the burnpile before returning to his studio to escape the midday Texas heat. Surrounded by instruments, some of his own making and most I didn’t know the name of, he played a slide guitar while sharing his plans to build a catamaran. Once his boat is complete, he’s off to sail the world with his fiancé and daughter, making music with locals at every stop along the way.


Best Austin Thinking Spot?

“My thinking spot is usually sitting under a shade tree in my 1990, big ol’ red Ford truck.”

Thoughts on the Ember Moc?

“The Ember Moc is a renaissance shoe.  From the comfort of home to the thickest of trails, it performs.”

Duncan Fellows


The guys of Duncan Fellows wear a range of new Ember Moc colors while getting weird in an Austin parking lot. 

“Cheesy gordita crunch pop” iis how the guys of Duncan Fellows describe their music. I sat in on band practice this week, where I could feel the bass in my chest as I sat at the empty keyboard next to the drums. The five band members— Collin, Cullen, David, Jack, and Tim — played in a circle, a huddle almost, watching each other play and making calls where necessary. They were communicating through rhythm and problem solving through experimentation. The songs were new to me, and I later found out they’re working on their second album. Both Sides of the Ceiling, their debut effort, has made it onto every playlist I’ve made this year. It never gets old.


I first heard Duncan Fellows on the radio. I may or may not have been a few beers deep, but I sent them a message on Instagram before the song was over. “I have this video idea…” I wrote. The next day we were riffing on music video plans at in a beer garden and exchanging stories behind the music.


The five members of Duncan Fellows shared a home on Duncan Lane here in Austin. For two years they dwelled and jammed together, naming themselves the Duncan Fellows. Fast forward to this June, which they spent touring the U.S. on their longest tour to date. They’ll be playing at Austin City Limits on October 12, and you’ll find me in the front row. It’ll be a party.


Best Austin Thinking Spot?

“We all agreed Barton Springs is the ideal place to clear the mind and simply be.”

Thoughts on the Ember Moc?

“We love our moon shoes. Great for kicking back and jamming. They pair perfect with watching surf videos and macaroni.”


Emily Eisenhart


The afternoon sun filled Broad Studios, a shared space for six Austin-based female artists. Pottery, silks, paints, looms, and palms surround us. Excitement and collaboration are a shared energy among the ladies, who host events and workshops for locals who want try their hands at sharpening their creative skills.


I was driving through Arches National Park when I first met Emily via a phone call. We had both been hired to work on the same team at a small outdoor company here in Austin and would be starting in a few days. We quickly bonded over design thinking and our love for Post-It notes.


Emily takes after her parents. Her mother was an artist and her father was an archaeologist. Her bookshelves and memories are filled with art history books and images of early cave drawings. Her mother always invited to her to help with whatever she was working on, and her dad brought her along to his outings in and around the Pacific Northwest.


When I walked into Emily’s studio this week, she handed me a thick, round paintbrush, an invitation. I moved the brush across the fresh paper we had just rolled out on the cold concrete floor. Bold black lines took shape, following suit of Emily’s familiar thick paint strokes. She poured a subtle orange hue for herself to join in the painting, noting she’s turning to sunsets for color palette inspiration these days.


Best Austin Thinking Spot?

“There’s a little dock on Town Lake that I visit often. I’m fortunate to live by the lake, and sunset walks on the Hike and Bike Trail have become a weekly routine for me. I love watching the ripples of the water, the colors of the sunsets, the rustling tree leaves. Natural color palettes and textures absolutely inspire my art.”

Thoughts on the Ember Moc?

“I slip them on and instantly feel more playful. The bright color, the fun shape and textures, the new bounce in my step. They’re lightweight and comfortable — it’s like the law of gravity doesn’t apply when I wear these shoes.”


Shop brand new Ember Moc styles and colors at Visit our Teva Explorer Collective page to find more of our favorite styles and stories from our contributors.

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