Art? What is “art” in today’s fast paced society riddled with modern technology and seemingly no room for creativity? Well, with the first installation of this blog (which I have honestly no direction for), I am going to introduce a few movers and shakers from Dallas’s “contemporary art scene”. Fancy, huh? No, not really. These boys would want to be called anything but fancy, they are just two young men “doing art”.
Over my much-needed winter break from Texas A&M University I attended, for the first time, a break event in Dallas. Which is a world all of it’s own, a come back subculture of dancers itching to express themselves through intricate movements to a wide range of music. But let’s fast forward to the night before the break event, which was called “BREAK YO SELF FOO’ 6”, by the way. I spent the night of December 29th with two Dallas artists, Christopher Tranquino and Richard Ray, in Richard’s backyard screen-printing t-shirts, which would be sold the next day at the break. I felt utterly useless, not to mention clueless and frigidly freezing, standing next to the manually operated machinery as I waited for Christopher and Richard to get to work, anxious to see the final products of the night. Richard and Christopher are two members of a Dallas based art team called “DO CELF”.
What exactly is DO CELF? I know you’re wondering. In an interview with Richard he said, “The name came from simply wanting to call it Do Art. I looked up Art in different languages and came across Celf, which is the Welsh word for art. The idea is to Do Art, Be Self, and Inspire others.” As the night got started I could tell the boys were anxious to begin their evening project. Richard opened a bucket of black ink that would soon be squeegeed over a screen and onto one of the many shirts that made up a large pile of shirts in the corner. The way that the whole thing was set up destined the night to be one of those many that Richard looks forward to, a night that makes for good memories with friends in the process of creating something. It was a simple set up, really. The screen-printing machinery, which made up half the set up, speakers connected to an iPod, and a couple of lawn chairs next to a small fire pit for staying warm. Richard and Christopher are two very modest artists who are able to say a lot using their work and like to push limits; they have no reason to be modest in my opinion. I have seen Christopher paint some amazing things, and Richard; well just by flipping through his sketchbook I could tell the inner graf-head in him was a big factor during the creation process.
I am usually off-put by graffiti styled art, but I was actually rather fond of what I saw. Not that I am an expert art critic or anything, I am just entitled to my own opinion from time to time. With Chris who is a lover of Hieronymus Bosch, Egon Shiele, Keith Haring, and Ralph Steadman compared or contrasted to Richard’s obsession with artists such as Van Gogh and G.P.K, it is no surprise that Richard admits, “Chris’s work trips me out, in a good way! But I couldn’t ask for a better designer to help with this project.” The positive vibes of artistically generated love are apparently mutual as Chris concedes that although the two have different forms of expression, he feels as if they “feed from each other’s mindsets”.
There are a couple of other team members involved with DO CELF and Richard hopes that in the next year, with all of the “strong ideas and positive manifestations”, the project will pick up in popularity which will then build a larger support system for the group and their devotion to creating art in a fun, relaxed, and positive environment. A devotion which I will have the pleasure of documenting over the next year.