Getting a Ross

“Sergeant Spearman, you are positively glutinous with self-approbation. You might as well speak out.”

—-Alfred Hitchcock, Frenzy

For several years now, each February or so, I have travelled down to the Kettle Art Gallery in Deep Ellum for their For the Love of Kettle affair. This is a “competitive shopping event” where two hundred or so works of art, all 8×11, are displayed on the walls. About three hundred people are unleashed through the opening doors at once and grab the paintings they want. If you desire something by a particular artist, you have to be quick, decisive, and efficient. I wrote about it three years ago – you can read about it here.

One of the artists that I have always wanted to get at the show was Richard Ross. He is a very well-known local artist, with a distinctive personal style. His murals are found on walls in Deep Ellum and other spots.

Richard Ross mural in the Deep Ellum Art Park (detail)

Richard Ross mural in the Deep Ellum Art Park (detail)

Richard Ross Column Deep Ellum Art Park, Dallas, Texas (Click to Enlarge)

Richard Ross Column
Deep Ellum Art Park, Dallas, Texas
(Click to Enlarge)

In the years past, I was always too late to get a Ross, even though he usually donated a handful of works to the show. I always wait in line for an hour before the opening (I’m usually fifth in line or so) but I get overexcited and confused and fail to grab the good work fast (it’s OK, everything at the show is cool – I probably should buy something at random). His stuff always sells immediately and I took too much time (around thirty seconds) making up my mind. By the time I made it to the table with my list of numbers his were gone. This year I was extra quick and decisive – at my turn only two of his three were purchased. So I bought his Tethered to an Upside Down Giant.

Tethered to an Upside Down Giant by Richard Ross

Tethered to an Upside Down Giant
by Richard Ross

I like the little drawing on the back of my painting.

I like the little drawing on the back of my painting.

Now, months later, I saw that the Kettle Arts Gallery was having a show, Hireath, of paintings by Richard Ross and Jessie Sierra Hernandez. The opening was on Thursday night, which is really tough for me. I’m exhausted at the end of each work day, but I try to do what I can – life is too short. I finished up at work and caught the DART train downtown. I fortified myself with a cold wheat beer at Braindead Brewing and walked across Main Street to Kettle Art.

Dry Hopped Wheat beer from Braindead Brewing in Deep Ellum

Dry Hopped Wheat beer from Braindead Brewing in Deep Ellum

The show was positively glutinous. Kettle Art is such a crackerjack place.

I talked to Richard Ross for a minute, he said the characters in his painting are “Keyholes” – I suppose that is a term that can represent a limited view into their souls.

From the Internet: The “keyhole” figures represent the locked inner conscience we have in our public appearance. Basically the “keyhole” says that there’s more inside than just the facade, and it’s protected. Some of these figures will appear two faced to show more complexity in the character.

Richard Ross and some of his work, Kettle Art Gallery

Richard Ross and some of his work, Kettle Art Gallery

I shuffled around the gallery several times, ogling the art. I am usually good with my lifelong poverty, except when I’m visiting art galleries. I have this fantasy where I strut around with a big douchebag expression on my face braying, “I’ll take this… and this… and this.” Alas, it is not to be.

In addition to the paintings in his familiar style he also had some interesting early works and some smaller paintings.

The little ones were really nice – the ink lines gave them a strong graphical emphasis.

But what I really liked was a series of 12 medium-sized artworks, arranged in a grid. These were framed by random smears of painted color – precious views into a hidden world or a different dimension. They shared the strong lines of the small works, but the extra bit of size allowed them additional layers of complexity. Each one told a little bizarre story. Actually each one tells hundreds of little stories – different for every person that sees them.

Does this make sense? I’m afraid you’ll have to go down there and see for yourself (the show is open until September 17). I wished I could slide out the cash and buy the lot of those mediums – display them on my humble wall like they were at the gallery.

I didn’t stay long – it had been a long day and I was fading fast. It was a short walk through the dark to the train station and the ride back home.

Accept the Inferno and Become Part of It

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Mural Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Mural
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Infinity In the Palm Of Your Hand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
—-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Mural, Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Mural, Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.
—-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Tell Your Name the Livelong Day

“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”
― Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems

(click to enlarge) Mural on Main Street, Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

(click to enlarge)
Mural on Main Street,
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Mural by Travis Haas

Part of the 42 Murals Project

Flowers Are So Inconsistent!

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Deep Ellum Art Park Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park
Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park
Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park

Gorgeousness and Gorgeosity Made Flesh

“Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

When looking at street art – murals especially – there is a thin line between art and graffiti and advertisement.

For example, this one – is obviously an advertisement for the band The Orange and their new album, Sharing Vitamins.

But it’s still cool – first, because it is cool. Second, because it is actually painted by the leader of the group, Scott Tucker, and he is a second generation professional mural painter, as well as a musician.

It doesn’t get an better than that… now does it my droogs.

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Rodeo clown vibrations are crackin’ the skulls of false gods.
—-written in blue Sharpie on the side of an abandoned computer monitor

I am, of course, a fan of street art – the odder the better – and of guerrilla publishing. In my wanderings around town, I once stumbled across an interesting piece of text plastered up on a wall in Deep Ellum – Text on the Streets.

Stuck on a plywood-covered window. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Stuck on a plywood-covered window. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Then, over a year later, I found the same work stuck in a bottle on a park table in Oak Cliff – Message in a Bottle – Shazam!

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

I have wondered about the artist – and wasn’t able to find out much. Some other folks were looking too, and I found a few examples of his work photographed and posted on the internet.
Here
Here
Here
Here

Then, this weekend, another year later, I found more of the artist’s work in Deep Ellum.

First, I stumbled across a pink decorated metal box on an out-of-the-way stoop.

Box found  Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Box found
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Inside the box was a Xeroxed art work, with writing on the reverse.

Fantastic Cosmic Kismet Vibrations are flowing to you and through you NOW!

Fantastic Cosmic Kismet Vibrations are flowing to you and through you NOW!

Obviously the same person. Walking onward, I found that he had kicked his stuff up a notch. In front of Braindead Brewing I found an old decorated computer monitor. It is good to see that in the last few years he has learned how to spell Hootenanny.

The Future is Now Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

The Future is Now
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

The Universal Flow has led you to this exact moment in time and space.

The Universal Flow has led you to this exact moment in time and space.

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Really cool stuff. I bow down.

Oh, and by the way, on the piece of paper found in the box, I discovered a clue that led me to find the artist… they even have a Facebook Page.

So who is it? I don’t think I’ll let on. Find it yourself. The clues are there.