We’ve all heard the slogan about keeping Austin weird, but weirdness doesn’t happen just because a billboard, bumper sticker or magazine advertisement says it exists. Austin’s weirdness is kept alive one Austinite at a time. One of those truly unique people who keep the weird in Austin is the Visionary Ion Mot.
Even in a crowded room, you can easily find him. Mott is tall and lean with bright colored clothes and a goatee topped with a handlebar mustache. He is the psychedelic Peter Pan, exuding warmth and gentleness. By day, Mot has had the same job for 20 some years, working at the South Lamar location of the Kerbey Lane Cafe. His weekly regular customers come to expect Mot’s approachable individuality. But his other job, his calling really, is art.
“The relationships I have with my customers and my company, it’s like a family,” Mot told Austin.com. “So that’s a huge blessing in my life. They inspire me, and I inspire them,” he added.
While Mot is quick to point out how much he loves his customers and the company that has been so loyal to him, his eyes light up even more when he talks about his art and how he wants people to experience it.
Mot’s latest creations are two coloring books which have been on sale at BookPeople for a few months now. They’ve been such hot sellers that Mot personally sold out twice, so his creative partnership with BookPeople was just what he needed. Right now, you can find them in the lobby as you enter the store, but if you’re reading this more than a few weeks after the publication date they may have already moved to the coloring books section.
The coloring book, entitled “A Collection of Photographic Mandala Works from Visionary Ion Mot,” is a bit different than other mandala coloring books you’ll find in bookstores. But first, what the heck is a mandala? Well, it is spiritual wheel that tells a story. The story often starts at the center and radiates outward like a flower. Mandalas are found in several civilizations through history. What makes Mot’s book different is that the mandalas are embedded in drawings showing people interacting with the mandalas. Like an Escher meets Alice in Wonderland version of a meditative coloring experience.
“Daisy Mot Color Your Day!” is geared toward a younger audience. Its drawings include uplifting and inspirational messages. The left sides of the page spreads are left blank for you to draw your own pictures or to journal based on how Mot’s drawings inspire you. The first blank page invites you to write a love note to yourself.
“Humanity needs your inspiration. Your doodles, wiggles, giggles and words are welcome contributions to this color playbook,” Mot said.
If there’s an artistic medium, Visionary Ion Mot has probably tried it. Over the past 40 years, he’s worked in music, film, writing, sculpture, drawing, painting, costume design and set design … and probably many more that he wasn’t able to rattle off at a moment’s notice. Mot grew up loving show-and-tell in school, and now as an adult, he lives show-and-tell all the time.
Every day, Mot works on various projects. He does a little bit on each one and eventually he completes them. Eventually they become puzzle pieces in the grand picture of his artistic work. He’s even working on a athletic apparel line based on his mandala drawings. So keep your eyes out for that!
If you want to meet Visionary Ion Mot, he’ll be signing copies of the coloring books at the Half Price Books on South Lamar this coming Saturday (May 13, 2017), from 1 to 3 p.m. So, get over there and experience the magic!
Photos by Michael Roberts.