Black, Latino, Asian women, artists, and West Dallas murals explode


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Muralist Hatziel Flores is one of them. Street art “welcomes everyone. It never discriminates, ”said Flores, an artist born in Mexico City.

Her latest work, a fusion of fine art and graffiti, features an indigenous woman in shades of purples and pinks with her Hatziel label in cartoon letters. It’s part of the West Dallas organized task force that has been stretching for years.

“Street art is an equalizer,” said Will Heron, curator of the last two dozen murals, which were displayed last month at the fourth annual Wild West Mural Fest.

“It’s very important to me that there is a wide range of views and styles expressed,” said Heron, an artist himself with a distinctive black and white style. “The land of graffiti can seem heavy on men. It makes me so happy to see the Wild West Fest give voice to male, female and non-binary artists. It doesn’t matter what race you are.

Angela Faz posed for a portrait in front of her mural in Dallas on November 17, 2021. The piece focuses on the Arkikosa River, a name given to the Trinity River by the native Caddo. “I feel an affinity for it and a connection to this profession,” says Faz. As a Dallas resident, Faz believes the creation of this piece allows her to reclaim part of the story. (Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

Graphic artist Angela Faz was in conflict at first over the mural festival. Faz grew up in West Dallas and saw how gentrification galloped through neighborhoods. But the opportunity turned out to be irresistible, and the artist used it to tell the origin story of the Arkikosa River, the indigenous Caddo name of the Trinity River.

Faz painted a long fence in a serene blue with the meanders of the Arkikosa River and a rising moon. A pottery vessel with rising smoke reads: “My name is Arkikosa. “

“I’m proud Dallas has something like this,” Faz said. “Art was not something you would see growing up on daily walks here. “

Social justice activism around the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year advanced the issue of the treatment of blacks and Latinos in all aspects of society, sparking murals across the country and the world and a kind of street journalism around injustice. Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white policeman – an act on film.

Faz praised this movement for recognizing the many artists of color who deserve attention and have not received it in the predominantly white male-dominated collections and exhibition selections of the museum and gallery world.

Jeremy Biggers posed for a portrait in front of his mural "Heritage" in Dallas on November 18, 2021. The mural depicts a flame passed from his hand to that of his 3-year-old daughter. "Many of the murals I work on are breadcrumbs left for my daughter all over town that are little love letters to her" Biggers said.
Jeremy Biggers posed for a portrait in front of his “Legacy” mural in Dallas on November 18, 2021. The mural depicts a flame passed from his hand to that of his 3-year-old daughter. “A lot of the murals I work on are bread crumbs left for my daughter all over town that are little love letters to her,” Biggers says.(Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

The artist hailed the non-sexualized portrayal of women in many murals as a refreshing pivot. Others, Faz said, were simply inspiring in their use of composition, color, styles and themes, praising artist and filmmaker Jeremy Biggers for his positive portrayals of black culture in them. Large-scale murals of West Dallas.

Last year at the mural festival, Biggers painted a large mural of black men and boys adjusting their work clothes – a metaphor for the crown and black men taking care of each other. This year, Biggers painted a striking mural on Sylvan Avenue on the side of a building: “Legacy” pays a tender tribute to fatherhood and his 3-year-old daughter Tesla.

The mural shows Biggers’ open hand passing an orange and yellow flame to Tesla’s outstretched little hand.

“Even when I wasn’t around I wanted something for her, like little breadcrumbs in town,” Biggers said.

It should happen. Work is taking place on an established building that houses many businesses, including an art gallery. The mural is designed to be permanent.

Artist Stephanie Sanz paints a mural of two women kissing for the Wild West Mural Fest.  (Photo by Jeremy Biggers, courtesy of the Wild West Mural Fest)
Artist Stephanie Sanz paints a mural of two women kissing for the Wild West Mural Fest. (Photo by Jeremy Biggers, courtesy of the Wild West Mural Fest)(Jérémy Biggers)

Almost ten years ago, city officials persuaded leading developers to allow legal graffiti on a set of warehouse walls on Fabrication Street. They call it the “free zone” because graffiti artists will be largely immune from prosecution in an area where one of the largest real estate owners, West Dallas Investments, has given his approval.

The graffiti spread like kudzu.

“My love of public art is because it is accessible to everyone and free,” Heron said, referring to the fact that there is no entry fee.

The Fabrication Street murals have a special spirit, Heron said. “There is no goalkeeper, no organization manager and no one approves of what is happening in the free zone. It’s another level of freedom, ”he said.

Stephanie Sanz’s mural of three pistol-gun cowgirls from a previous mural festival is on an old building and was cited as a must-see on a self-guided wall tour hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art during the pandemic. “Cowgirls really put me on the map in Dallas,” Sanz said.

This year, the artist is back with spray cans and latex paint for a mural near Singleton Boulevard depicting two women kissing.

“My work is definitely about women and feminism,” said Sanz, who praised the Dallas Festival for giving female artists a great showcase. “I like to portray women where they are in power.”

Artist Daniel Yañez pays homage to his stepfather, a vaquero from Mexico, in this artwork for the Wild West Mural Fest.
Artist Daniel Yañez pays homage to his stepfather, a vaquero from Mexico, in this artwork for the Wild West Mural Fest.(Dianne Solis)

In his work, artist Daniel Yañez paid tribute to the man he has known for decades as a hero and a true Mexican vaquero.

The man is his immigrant stepfather, who taught Yañez the importance of family and is a great teacher for a new generation: his grandchildren, the artist said.

Juan Gonzalez, with a mustache and dressed in sombrero, is pictured in a mural on a metal warehouse door.

Each plane of his face and robe is divided into a different color with a pattern, and behind him are red and turquoise mountains and purple cacti.

“People like him are not known,” YaÅ„ez said. “I want to show who he is to the world. It’s my way of saying what he means to the family.

Artist Rose Rodriguez is working on her mural as part of the Wild West Mural Fest in Dallas on Thursday, October 22, 2020. Rodriguez, a tattoo artist, was inspired by the Wichita people and their use of tattoos.
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Tattoo artist Rose Rodriguez has a cure for the pandemic: escape. Rodriguez gently stroked the brown paint over a portrait of a Wichita Indian woman against a shimmering copper sky. His vast canvas was metal, the facade of a warehouse that sits around the corner of the Dallas open-air graffiti gallery on Fabrication Street, just west of downtown. The work was part spray can, part house paint. “Art is very therapeutic,” she said, stepping down a silver ladder.

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