Art at our Austin Cafe

Featured Artist: Eli Halpin

Her artwork will be on display through the January 3, 2016 at our Central location. Eli (pronounced Ellie, short for Elizabeth) Halpin is originally from the Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage, Alaska. Five years ago she and her husband decided to make Austin their home after living in Portland and Baltimore. Eli favors Austin because it has the best balance of city life, culture, and natural beauty. She appreciates the open-mindedness of the people and the variety of creative types that Austin attracts.

Austin Cafe Art

Trendy Trunk

Eli has been painting her whole life, but it was in Portland that she began her full-time career as an artist. Though she has always enjoyed painting, being an artist wasn’t her first choice of careers. Eli remembers a conversation that she had with her father at the age of 3, when she told him that she wanted to be a waitress. Her reasoning: “I get to hang out with people like my mom and dad and then people leave money on the table for me to pick up.”

Her father discouraged this path, so she told him her second choice: to be a world traveler. Eli said through her laughter, “Dad said I would need money to do that. So then I told him my third choice: to be an artist. He still wasn’t happy.”

She was able to actualize her childhood dream of being a waitress while attending the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland. Eli joked, “I loved it [waiting tables], until I didn’t.” Her transition into becoming an artist was a gradual one.

Eli’s approach to school was unconventional, and she never completed her degree. She told us, “I never got into a program, I just took whatever courses I was interested in. Oil painting, sculpture, ceramics—whatever I wanted.” By the time she had stopped attending art school her paintings were being displayed all around town, in restaurants, bars, and retail stores.

Austin Cafe Art

Designer Walruses

Eli’s preferred medium is oil on canvas with mixed media. She finds inspiration for her paintings from photos, her travels, found objects, and art supplies. One of her more recent paintings, which depicts a raven and a wolf sharing a salmon, was inspired by her family reunion in Yellowstone.

Austin Cafe Art

Sockeye Salmon

From her website: “Eli uses thick oil paint and she loves to add acrylic, paper, metal leaf, spray paint, fabric, lace, ribbons, gemstones, sparkles, shells, crushed glass, beads, sand, mica, and pearls. Large brushes lay down super thick paint and her messy drippy style is bright and metallic.”

Eli’s paintings are created on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood. She also paints on maple wood surfaces and stretched canvases, both of which are made from reclaimed wood by a local artisan woodworker.

You can see more of Eli’s artwork on her website, and her Facebook page. All of her works at Kerbey Lane Cafe are for sale and you can also purchase her Designer Walruses limited edition print from CB2.

Questions for Eli?

Email her at