Local artists intertwine unlike talents to forge interactive pop-up shop


Myrka Moreno / Hilltop Views

Clothing pieces are decorated by Leslie Barrientos using wood-carved stamps made by Cody Evans.

Myrka Moreno , Social Media Editor

Leslie Barrientos and Cody Evans only met three years ago, but their project, Theory Garden, has been a long time coming. On Friday, Oct. 12, the duo finally got to showcase their hard work at Passport Vintage in Austin, Texas.

The pop-up shop launch party consisted of an artistic range of their products. The walls were decorated with photographs of Barrientos taken by Evans that included poetic captions written by Barrientos.

“The collection was inspired by a poem by Jorge Borges titled ‘You Learn,’” Barrientos said.

The poem includes a line that says “so you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers,” which is a motto Barrientos lives by.

“I learned just to start my own thing rather than waiting for someone else to come around,” Barrientos said.

A Brownsville, Texas, native, Barrientos said she felt there was a lack of places for people to creatively express themselves in her hometown. She took it upon herself to start art walks and monthly art nights that she managed for two years while in college.

The one thing she struggled with was starting her own shop. This was a dream of Barrientos for 10 years, and she was finally able to begin the project with the help of Evans.

Evans has been doing woodworking and AV refurbishing for over 20 years. Their creative strengths complemented each other from the beginning.

“My biggest weakness in different businesses I’ve started and creative ventures and everything has been self-promotion and marketing, and she’s a rockstar at that and our strengths really work together in that sense,” Evans said.

The duo originally met through Tinder, a mobile dating app and “philosophical story-telling.” They talked to one another in-character for a few weeks before meeting in person and finding they had more visions in common than they thought.

“It was a perfect meeting for what we’re doing now,” Evans said. “That was how we met and now we’re actually creating that.”

Theory Garden is a perfect combination of Barrientos and Evans. Every aspect of the project includes hard-work from both of the creatives.

The stars of the launch party were the clothing pieces carefully hand-painted with flowers. Attendees tried on the clothes in a dressing room that played an audio track that tied the story of all the pieces together.

Barrientos designs each clothing piece and the flower details that she stamps on with hand-painted wood-carved stamps made by Evans.

“It’s a really great collaboration,” Evans said. “We’ve both been able to play to our strengths and bring everything together.”

This is just the beginning for Theory Garden. Barrientos and Evans are already planning a sister-brand that will further advance the story started in this project and include more interactive and engaging art pieces.

The website will be launching at Theory-Garden.com later this week, for now, follow their Instagram @theorygarden for updates.