We also want to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about the shenanigans we have been getting ourselves into with our year-round-organization model. Ultimately, our goal is to continue to give back as often as we can, all year long. Which is exactly why we came up with a concept that connects artists and galleries using our large fall event as the catalyst. The idea is called Art Con Select, and we’re in our second year making these valuable connections.
We love this concept because we really want to focus on an “art is for everyone” model. That said, any gallery that participates in this project chooses as many artists as they want, blindly. No websites, no portfolio reviews, no studio visits, no planned face-to-face conversations – just one piece of art, created in one day, in a warehouse, on our signature 18″x18″ panel. Art Conspiracy has no say in the selections. The rule for the galleries is, they may only choose artists who have never shown with them before. It is a joy to see these connections made and later attend the exhibitions born out of these relationships.
We launched Art Con Select with the Kettle Art Gallery. They have been and continue to be wonderful partners with Art Con, and there’s a reason Kettle-owner Frank Campagna is an Art Convict – his Deep Ellum gallery has done and continues to do so many incredible things for Dallas artists.
It is only with your help that Art Con can continue to forge ahead, planting deeper roots in our community. Every little bit helps the volunteer team to execute and facilitate these projects and programs. Whether it be helping artists in whatever ways we can or providing the team with better tools for promoting who we are and what we do and highlighting all of our wonderful partnerships throughout the community. We thank you for your continued support and hope you’ll consider bailing out one of our fantastic Art Convicts.]]>
As you continue to get to know these amazing convicts during Bail Money Week, we would like to tell you a little more about Art Conspiracy and what we do. Over the last 11 years, we have been stirring up the creative community, proving that when this community comes together for a good cause, amazing things happen. But as we expand, never fear! Our signature model is not going anywhere. We stand by our promise to bring you the Art Con-style, in-a-warehouse, art and music extravaganza every Fall, welcome to any and all. There is, however, another side to Art Conspiracy that is rarely recognized.
What you may not know about Art Con, is the before and/or after aspect of what we’ve dubbed “Art Construct” projects. Not only does the team coordinate incredible experiences, but they also create and build year-round for events. For instance, for the past two years, one incredibly talented member of the volunteer team partnered with bcWorkshop to build Little Free Libraries around Dallas – leaving spaces altered for the love of the written word.
This is just one example of what a team of dreamers have built. Art Con works with a move-it-forward or upcycle approach to building structures. Things like stage domes built out of a recycled sprinkler system and painters plastic – you may not notice the differences or the materials, but every 2×4 and sheet of plywood matters. With your help, Art Con can expand its reach, continue this charge and bring in even more dreamers to create alongside us. Bail out or Keep in a criminal to help us raise the roofs (literally).
Visit bit.ly/acbailweek to show your support!]]>
Last year, Art Con shared our vision for more year-round programming. This includes the conspiracy’s intimate music series called Art Concert. Once a quarter, Art Con is bringing a collision of visual art and music together for an evening steeped in local culture, hosted around the city in different venues. The first set of concerts were a wonderful add to the organization’s goal to give back to those who have helped us raise almost $300,000 over the last 11 years. Our focus is on the artists, musicians, patrons, volunteers, small businesses and remaining partners with previous beneficiaries.
In order to expand our programming, Art Con has grown its year-round, all-volunteer staff to more than 30 dedicated creative minds who make the impossible possible with each new challenge. In order to help this team continue to bring unicorns to life, we want to give them the tools to do so. This is, in large part, what the bail money will be used for. Examples of team needs include obtaining our own sound system to help make the musicians sound even more fantastic for our patrons, as well as more tools to expand the reach and awareness of these talented folks and venues.
More crimes against the ho-hum. More good. More FUN. The conspiracy is growing for all of YOU. We are excited to be charging forward into our 12th year, and we could not be more stoked to have you all along for the ride.
Visit bit.ly/acbailweek to show your support!]]>
For several years now Art Con has been looking to the future and what that will look like. In March of 2015 we let the cat out of the bag by announcing the vision for new programming and beyond. Since then things have been rolling along thanks to the hard work of the amazing all volunteer Executive team. We cannot be more thankful for all the support we have received since the very beginning in 2005. It is because of so many that a beautiful idea has grown into quite a conspiracy.
Over the last month we had the chance to get to know some of Dallas’ artists, musicians, volunteers, small business owners, patrons and supporters better as we prepared to book them for creative crimes in our community. It is truly awesome to share space with these doers and makers. Bail Money Week is an Art Con-style way of helping to do more for all of those that have helped give back. So whether you choose to help bail them out or pay to help us misplace the key, we thank you. We only wish we could expand our Art Convict list to fit all of those who should be charged with doing so much good.
Bail Money Week brings brought us together with a group of amazing individuals who have been charged with unique and creative crimes, and we have been given the opportunity to put them in (virtual) jail. These Art Convicts include new and long-time friends of Art Conspiracy who are contributing new and original things to our city. Every dollar raised to help bail them out (or to keep them in) will be put toward projects and events that Art Con hopes will further support and expand the now year-round efforts, including our popular Art Concert series.
Visit bit.ly/acbailweek to show your support!]]>
As always we will have valet service outside of the venue at the corner of Browder and Belleview Streets. We suggest using DART to get to the warehouse this year. We are a quick jaunt away from the Cedars stop on the DART Train or D Link. In addition to valet and public transportation the full lot at Gilley’s Dallas will be available for ArtCon parking. From the Gilley’s lot we will have a shuttle service running back and forth all night long. There is scarce street parking near the venue but we encourage you to park in the Gilley’s lot.
The event starts at 7pm. We’re expecting pretty large attendance numbers so you’ll want to get there early to park and get to the venue. We’re also strongly encouraging everyone to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the line.
7:00 – 7:30 – DJ Christy Ray
7:30 – 8:20 – Auction #1
8:20 – 8:50 – The Cush
8:50 – 9:40 – Auction #2
9:40 – 10:10 – Cliffs of Insanity
10:10 – 11:00 – Auction #3
11:00 – 11:30 – Blue, The Misfit DJ Set
Food truck vendors The Guava Tree, Easy Slider, Nammi and Cool Haus will be on site.
We will have a full bar catered by Trees, which will be serving signature cocktails, wine, and beer. This means that you can run a tab at the bar and you don’t have to buy drink tickets like in years past.
Social Savvy? So are we! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram and tag your posts #ArtCon. Also Art&Seek will be on site holding a “Where’s Waldo” type scavenger hunt for loads of prizes! Check out their Instagram (@artandSeekTX) feed or their projector feed at #ArtCon 11 for clues!
Download the full event program, here: AC11 Booklet.
Last year marked sculptor Abby Bagby’s inaugural participation in Art Con. She was introduced to Art Consipracy by executive team member Courtney Miles who was the curator for Mokah Gallery for five years before passing the torch to Abby. “She introduced me to many of the other executive team members, and I’ve been getting gradually more and more involved with the organization over the past two years,” she says. “And my first experience with ArtCon was so much fun! What really stood out to me was the camaraderie during artist day. Everyone just came to hang out and see what everyone else was making. It was really interesting to have the challenge of working with the square panel too, as I am a sculptor, and I tend to bend the rules in most traditional art-making situations.”
As many artists understand, sometimes it can be challenging to continue creating and sacrificing when life calls and insists on your paying bills, buying cars, affording food… “ArtCon was the one thing that kept me making work my first year out of school,” Abby says. “I spent a year working tirelessly on my thesis exhibition, but after I graduated, I lost my momentum and my job became really stressful, so I had a hard time motivating myself to create. Having deadlines and small one-piece challenges for ArtCon events kept me working until I could figure out how to exist as an artist who also works a day job.” And it’s no surprise she found her way. Abby is an artist and has been from the beginning. Her life would not make sense any other way. “I’ve always done some sort of visual art,” she says. “My dad is a painter, and my mom is crafty, so my siblings and I were always drawing or building something. And watching other artists, like my dad, create something that exists purely to give life to its context, and experiencing work made by old masters and contemporary artists made me want to participate in that on some level, to have a legacy that could outlast my bodily presence.”
Originally from Broken Arrow, OK, Abby didn’t move to Dallas until she decided to enroll in the University of Dallas after high school. She later moved into the heart of the city after she graduated, which is where she currently lives and works. “I am the curator of Mokah Gallery, in the Life in Deep Ellum cultural center and have been for the past year and a half,” she says. She is also a working sculptor, a cosmetologist (although, “I don’t do much with that at the moment, mostly editorial work right now,”) and a stylist for more than five years, “which informs my art quite a bit.” In fact, Abby didn’t get to study art as much as she wanted to in high school, because she was going to cosmetology school for half of her day, “so I studied art in college, where I realized visual art was much more than a hobby for me.”
And now, Abby most assuredly has moved her art beyond the status of “hobby,” having showcased pieces in, not only multiple Art Con events, but also Mokah, Fort Work, 500X and University of Dallas galleries. “My inspiration now comes from my immediate context (those existing right around me),” she says. “from psychology, especially the psychologies of suggestion and horror. I am fascinated by the surrealist movement, especially surrealist sculpture, and its reiterations in contemporary art.” In fact, her fascination with surrealism was chiefly influenced by Swiss surrealist Meret Oppenheim. “She had fabulous style, and made work with the best artists of her time, regardless of gender inequality,” Abby says. “And she made people think. That’s one of the best parts about surrealist sculpture. It doesn’t answer your questions, and it doesn’t even necessarily let you know that you should be questioning reality. You just start to have a feeling that something isn’t quite right.”
And thus is demonstrated yet another instance of Art Con’s tremendous contribution to the Dallas art scene. “ArtCon embodies the part of art-making that engages culture, and they do it in such a tangible way,” Abby reminds us. “Artists are commentators on our time and our society in its present moment, and ArtCon is there, making a real difference in our communities through artists.”
Catch this quirky young artist, and bid on her sure-to-be fascinating piece at Art Con 11, TONIGHT!
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Written by: Martha Belden]]>
Jason Janik has been creating for as long as he can remember. While he is most well known and recognized as a photographer (and professionally, that is his primary focus), when it comes to Art Con at least, Jason doesn’t like to restrict himself to a single artistic medium. “My first two Art Con pieces were photo-based,” he says. “But once I branched out and started incorporating the painting, woodwork and sculpting that I’ve done since I was a child, my pieces doubled and tripled in value to the buyers.” Making art is so deeply ingrained in who he is, in fact, Jason has no tangible explanation of what inspired him to become an artist in the first place or what motivates him even now. “I’m pretty sure it’s just something deep inside me that needs to get out,” he says. And “it” always seems to make its way out of him in truly original manifestations that tend elicit a double-take. “I like to be goofy and playful with my photography,” he says. “I usually try to make something that begs you to look again. So I guess my inspiration is wanting to share that playful feeling with other people.” His work ethic and playfulness have also been strongly influenced by another “look-twice” (or perhaps even a few more times) artist, Andy Warhol, and not even by his art itself but by who he aspired to be and thereby encouraged others to be. “It was his diary,” he says. “It gives you such massive inspiration and motivation.”
Jason grew up in Rockwall, TX, and has spent the majority of his adult life in Dallas. But while he has called the DFW area home all his life, his career as a photographer has allowed his creative reach to extend much further. “I’m a professional photographer who’s been published all over the world, including in Rolling Stone, Spin, USA Today, and The New York Times,” he says. “I’ve done album covers for Grammy-nominated Bowling For Soup, Rhett Miller, and countless regional and local bands. I’ve shot national ad campaigns for banking institutions and catalogs for major brands. I’ve done a lot with my camera!”
Jason has been working with Art Conspiracy and contributing work for six or more years and has only missed out on participating in one event since he first got involved. “I first found out about it, because so many of my friends were participating,” he says. “Plus, it attracts many of the area’s renowned artists, like Frank, Cabe, Turk, Sarah Jane… and listening to them talk about how wonderful the event was… well, I couldn’t resist joining!” And as with so many of his fellow Dallas artists, Jason was an instant Art Con devotee. “It was really amazing!” he remembers. “Just seeing all these great artists making such beautiful pieces, all in the same building… It was crazy! (In a good way.)”
And Art Conspiracy wasn’t Jason’s first foray into contributing his artistic talents to philanthropic endeavors. But it certainly made an entirely unique impact. “I’ve always participated in charitable art shows, but seeing the dynamic that happens at ArtCon has inspired me to do more,” he says. “I now try to push myself and think outside of the box, and I’m not worried about meeting the audience’s expectations anymore. Instead, I try to make something fun, wild, bold, and something that moves me. When I do that for Art Con, people seem to respond more positively. My second year, I tried to make a piece that I thought would match the audience, and it only went over okay. But once I started making pieces for me, they earned a much more impressive reception. It was clear that Art Con is a venue wherein artists should look inside themselves and not worry about the audience accepting the result.”
To follow this vibrant local artist on his creative journey and see some of his work, check out I Hate Jason Janik on Facebook. And don’t forget to look for him and bid on his piece at Art Con 11 this Saturday, November 14.
//Buy Tickets Now//
Written By: Martha Belden]]>
Paxton Maroney is relatively new to the Art Con family, with this year’s SKEWED seed event marking her first entry, a breathtaking surreal photograph titled “Slipping Away.” She first learned of Art Conspiracy a couple of years ago through a high-school friend and fellow artist, Lisa (Lindholm) Rasley. “I didn’t fully understand what Art Con was all about until my husband and I attended our first auction at Art Con 9,” she says. “It’s such an amazing cause, and we even fell in love with a piece of art and ended up with the highest bid. It still sits on my desk in my office.” Then, early this year, another local artist whom Paxton admires and who, incidentally, is also a member of the Art Con executive team, Haylee Ryan invited her to participate in SKEWED. “I was honored, and completely freaked out,” she admits. “ I am fairly new to the art scene. What if no one bid on it? Every artist’s nightmare.” But, of course, her piece drew a remarkable final bid, Paxton had a “fantastic” first experience, and she has officially embraced the movement. “The auction on my work was thrilling, and to know that it was going toward a great event was such a good feeling,” she says. “I’m very much looking forward to Art Con 11, especially with who the beneficiary will be.”
Aside from helping her break a little further out of her creative shell, “Art Con has introduced me to a family of artists who I highly respect and can now call friends,” she says. “Art Conspiracy really does want to help promote you and your work, and giving back to local creative programs is something I am a huge fan of.” And she has loved working together with so many artists who are all, not only creating together, but also working together to bring change to their community. And she at least partially credits Art Con with allowing her to do that. “They accomplish exactly what their mission statement proclaims,” she says. “‘Art Conspiracy is a nonprofit community that conspires to bring artists and musicians together, raise funds, and activate awareness for regional creative programs and causes.’ And the do that very well.”
Paxton may consider herself “new to the art scene,” but art and creation have long been a part of who she is and who she wanted to be. “I have been attracted to painting and drawing since I was very little,” she says. “I still have fond memories of the crayola caddy set my parents got me in the 1980s. Art has always been an outlet for me.” She began entering open shows as a painter in the mid 2000s, but then, with a simple gesture, her means of expression took a turn. “In 2008 I was gifted my first DSLR camera by my husband, and my world changed,” she says. “It sparked something in me.” Photography is now her primary medium, and she is entirely self taught. Something she says she cherishes, as it forces her to constantly study the dynamic artform. And at the end of the day, she doesn’t see her shift from painting to photography as much of a change at all beyond the learning curve. “This medium is forever changing and progressing, which means I am always learning,” she says. “I now digitally paint using photographs. At least, that’s how I like to describe it.”
When trying to describe how she came to be an artist, Paxton falters a bit and circles back to the notion that she is a newcomer to the scene, and yet an artist at heart. “It was never one event in my life that dictated ‘this is what I am to be,’” she says. “It was the winding path that led me here. Being an artist has always been a dream of mine, and it wasn’t until recently that I have realized the dream could become a reality.” And now, as a full-time artist and designer, living and working in Arlington, TX, her dream truly has become her reality. “I do freelance work on top of creating my own personal artwork and spending time entering exhibitions,” she says. “Currently I have a piece in a show in Providence, RI, as well as other upcoming events.”
You can learn more about this budding young artist, find out about her past and upcoming exhibits, and view some of her stunning photography by visiting her website at www.paxtonmaroney.com and following her on Facebook. Plus, don’t forget to come see her and perhaps bid on her work at Art Con 11, this Saturday, November 14.
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Written By: Martha Belden]]>
“If we’re going to continue playing music, what would it be like?”, is the question Jessi James and Daniel Hall asked themselves in January of 2012. In the months leading up to that moment, the two had fallen in love, lost a loved one, gotten married, and in the midst of it all, found themselves unmotivated to create new music. It should be noted that previous to this Jessi had been in New York, recorded and released the first Bethan EP Chapter 1, and was out playing shows, though at this point the music was heavily electronic in nature. While this brought Jessi some moderate success, she confesses that the shows were missing a certain “something” that she hadn’t quite put her finger on yet. She wanted to feel the spirit of a whole band, like minded people on a stage creating live music together.
George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Tom Waits, and Serge Gainsbourg is the music that filled the Halls’ Oak Cliff, TX apartment. At some point the two began writing songs together that were very different from anything they’d written separately. They began to talk about creating a new sound together that would match their new start. During this exchange of what could be, Becki Howard (violin), Kevin Howard (keys), and Jesse Hopkins (bass) were named as ideal bandmates. Text messages were sent to them with an invitation to create music together and surprisingly all were on board. The new Bethan was born, and soon enough their question about continuing to play music would be answered. It just worked.
As a quintet, the band put their impressive, melancholy songs on stage. Opening for acts like Tennis, Air Review, Sarah Jaffe, Midlake, and Cate Le Bon earned them quite a bit of respect in their home state of Texas. Now all they needed was a record. Bethan’s new melody driven song craft and Jessi’s light as air vocals were destined to be magic in the recording studio. The band chose Redwood Studios in Denton, TX with McKenzie Smith (of Midlake) as the producer. The result is a beautiful collection of songs, somber and sultry, but with enough playful elements to convey their new found hopes and enthusiasm. The record is a great listen as you move through their moments of pop, some strange theatrical almost campy feelings, into what sounds very slinky, and at times down right dark. Time Gone By is brand new, but it already feels like a classic to us.
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Blue, The Misfit, formally known as Brandon Blue, is an analytical music sponge and crowd pleaser. Unlike most Dallas rappers who focus on exposing the cruelty in society or living a rough lifestyle, Blue highlights the luxury in being free and youthful. His 2014 album, Child in the Wild, captures the essence of late nights out and getting mixed up in shenanigans. But Blue wasn’t always his own micro-manager—he has produced for Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Mac Miller, while also rapping in Sore Losers and Brain Gang. These days, Blue is focused on taking his musical talent and pushing Dallas into a more progressive hip-hop movement by including local talent, such as Daniel Hart, Kaela Sinclair, and Sealion on his upcoming album, to be released in Spring. Unlike many rappers who hunt for their beats, Blue is a self-made man. “I have full creative control. That’s the benefit of playing both sides,” he says. Like many local musicians in a wide range of projects, Blue recently started DJing. From “War Club Wednesday” at Crown & Harp to Off The Record, Blue has recently been in high demand. These gigs have given him a whole new perspective regarding Dallas music fans, causing him to be poised for commercial success. “It’s taught me what normal people listen to, and why they like what they like. I can be as creative as I want, but if it doesn’t make sense to the general public, then it means nothing. I like to give people a soundtrack to their life.”
Be sure to catch Blue, The Misfit’s DJ set on Saturday, November 14, at Art Con 11.
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Written By: Kate Siamro