A Local’s Guide to Austin with Photographer Alexandra Valenti
Alexandra Valenti is a wildly talented commercial photographer and artist who splits her time between Los Angeles and west Texas, calling Austin home. What keeps her connected to her hometown? The incredible community around Austin, and her friends. “They’re smart, funny, wildly creative, and pushing boundaries with their work. It inspires me every day!”. Her unique point of view comes alive in vibrant images, which sometimes combine everyday photography and dream-like painting. Here, Jetsetter picks her brain for the best outdoor spots, places to shop and eat in town.
Tell us – what are your favorite places to photograph and draw in your art?
Oh So many places! But I keep coming back to West Texas as one of my favorites. That sky. The clouds. The earth tones. It’s hard to not love every photograph taken there. It feels timeless to me.
I went to The Canary Islands for a job one time and I’d never seen a desert that ended at the ocean. There were black cliffs and the bluest water. There were no trees anywhere. It was a strange and magical place to photograph. I also, am completely and madly in love with Barcelona. I could photograph the people and the narrow streets every day. I’m going to Puglia (per Monica London’s suggestion!) with a bunch of friends this October for my birthday and I have a feeling this will move to the top spot of favorite places to photograph.
What do you love most about living where you do?
The people. My friends are what keep me in Austin. I have an incredible community. They’re smart, funny, wildly creative, and pushing boundaries with their work. It inspires me every day! I don’t think Austin is the most beautiful city by any stretch, but it’s the feeling I have being here that makes me feel like this is home. My parents are Texans. My mom is from Austin and my dad is from Houston. So I have deep Texas roots. My house is 1 mile from my studio (where I spend a majority of my time). And my friends live within 5-10 minutes. There are amazing restaurants within walking distance. There’s a trail 3 blocks away to go run around the lake. My yoga studio and spin studio are within 10 minutes of my house. So I’ve created a convenient, livable and fun life here.
Where do you love to shop?
Kick Pleat is wonderful. It’s an incredible curation of a muted palette and timeless pieces. I’m the art director over at By George, so I’m partial to this store. Not only does it have the best curation of high end designers, there is a great selection of home goods, and cookbooks. Feathers Boutique and Garment Modern are for the best curated vintage pieces. I also know the owners, so I love to go in there and chat with them while I’m shopping. South Congress Books – I have always loved spending an inordinate amount of time in bookstores, and this spot has an incredible selection of first editions.
What kind of outdoor experiences do you recommend for visitors?
Austin has so many outdoor gems. Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs, running around Town Lake – basically anywhere on the greenbelt where all the swimming holes are. Also, there are so many small towns outside of Austin that are so wonderful. Small Texas towns are full of history and charm. And Antique Stores. If you are here in the beginning of April, Roundtop and Warrenton Antique Show is the most fun you’ll have depleting your wallet.
What would an ideal weekend look like in your city?
My friends and I have recently started a breakfast club. We host brunches at each other’s houses on Saturdays or Sundays. From there I like to take a walk around the neighborhood. I need to work out regularly, so either Yoga or a spin class at Wanderlust or Love Cycle. After that would be a stop at Juiceland where I go every single day for my daily Green Juice. My studio mate has a boat, so in the summer, we go wake surfing (I just learned how last summer) which has been a huge blast.
Being on the boat has allowed me to take advantage of a whole other side of Austin which I hadn’t ever done before. I’m pretty happy being in the water, any chance I get. After an afternoon on the lake, a meet up with friends at either Justine’s restaurant for dinner or at one of our houses, sitting on the back porch and just hanging out until our faces hurt from laughing so much.