The Former HomeAway CEO Has A New Venture: Art


The Insider Brian Sharples

The Insider: Brian Sharples


After HomeAway sold to Expedia in November 2015 and CEO Brian Sharples stepped down, the business world couldn’t wait to see what he would do next. But Sharples had already been working on his next passion project: a startup that makes it easier to buy contemporary art.

His Austin-based venture, Twyla, collaborates with artists to create limited-edition prints of their photographs, paintings, collages and mixed-media works for a fraction of the cost of originals. “I’ve always been interested in art–it enhances people’s lives,” Sharples says.

Here, he gives Luxe the scoop on what’s new and now in art and around Austin.

What’s intriguing you in the art world? The global art market is bigger than people think–it’s a $100 billion business. We’re seeing innovation on the Internet. You can browse hundreds of artists online, while galleries have only a limited amount of art. But galleries are a personal experience, so everyone on the Internet has the challenge of trying to sell a highly visual product online.

Any favorite local artists? Todd Sanders, a neon artist in town–I have several of his custom pieces–and Terry Allen; I have sculptures from him.

Must-visit galleries and museums: The Contemporary Austin continues to surprise me with the incredible artists it brings to the city, including the recent Ai Weiwei installation as part of its “Museum Without Walls” program. As far as gallerists, Lora Reynolds of Lora Reynolds Gallery is the best in Austin–no one has an eye quite like hers. And Bale’s work at Bale Creek Allen gallery embodies contemporary Texas by creating amazing organic sculptural pieces that are unforgettable. Plus, Twyla’s headquarters at 9th and Lavaca streets serves as not only our office but also a showroom for guests to visit, see and buy works from many of Twyla’s great artists, including Miya Ando, Winston Chmielinski and Marc Dennis.