Pixels At An Exhibition: Deep Ellum
Pixels at an Exhibition
through March 2010
As part of my Featured Photographer for March 2010, we’ve just posted more exclusive images at Pixels At An Exhibition. You can browse them all if you click here.
Much of it is photography of the street art in Deep Ellum — the area of Elm Street just east of downtown Dallas. Deep Ellum is a strip of three, maybe four streets of bars, restaurants, clubs, tattoo parlors, art galleries, vintage stores, old warehouses and lofts. Baylor Hospital where Mickey Mantle died is a couple of blocks away. Most of the buildings are old — old for Dallas, anyway. Many of them surviving gentrification since the 1920’s.
In a few hundred words, there’s not much one can say about a lifetime ago. Since I’ve lived in Dallas/Fort Worth, Deep Ellum had the reputation of where the bad kids go — “Dangerous” Deep Ellum. Then where all the cool kids go. Then people started getting mugged and it was dangerous again.
During the day, this old part of Dallas was a neighborhood. Before the rents went up, a lot of artists simply lived in their studio space there.
Then rents were jacked up. Bars closed. Clubs went away. Artists left and the neighborhood withered.
It’s my old stomping grounds from my club DJ days. “Dangerous” Deep Ellum wasn’t so much dangerous as it was different. For years, it was where you went to listen to cool new bands or cool dance music with no words by artists with names you couldn’t pronounce. I remember far too many late nights there after the bars had closed and the after-hours warehouse parties kicked in. Friends were family — many of us are still friends to this day. It was a neighborhood I felt comfortable in — like home.
One thing that I love about Deep Ellum is that throughout the years — not just the 1990’s — it’s a neighborhood that refuses to die, no matter who owns the buildings. After years of far too many For Lease signs, new clubs have opened. Lofts are for rent — both old and new. Old fixtures like Club Dada have left, but there are new places now waiting to become the new fixtures.
Deep Ellum has some amazing street art. I’m not sure I can call it my art when all I did was photograph some of these works. My hope was to capture a few calm moments in this neighborhood and share some colors and contrasts of a part of Dallas that I still love very much.