Intoxicating Denton: Roy Warren Lunt's New Art Has Dual Meaning

Cynicism and optimism co-exist in this town that is growing through a nonstop tug-of-war. Everybody has their vision, whether it pertains to politics, art, music, or commerce. That beautiful mess makes up the town's cultivation. For Roy Warren Lunt, maintaining a pragmatic eye that is able to create "visual gymnastics" is a hallmark of his work. That style is evident in his newest print, Intoxicated Denton, which can be viewed with varied interpretations. 

Intoxicating Denton
Artwork by Roy Warren Lunt
Digital conversion by Ed Steele

You might hate the current trend of new bars and restaurants opening in downtown Denton alongside the loss of beloved venues. You also might love the growth of places to drink craft beer and feel a strong sense of community walking around the courthouse lawn. With either view, Lunt's piece could resonate with you.

Encountering this piece on someone's wall could lead to the question: What do you love about this print? One side could reflect on how they feel it accurately depicts a brainwashing of Denton that hypes up beer drinking and fine dining as the only relevant thing to do in town. Another side would see it as celebrating a vibrant area of the town that proudly represents Denton's identity. Others could see their own love/hate relationship with Denton.

Lunt says, "The painting is about how Denton is changing and the attempt to pretend it's not changing." As all things go, everything is changing all the time with the world moving at breakneck speeds. Memes catch on and die out within a week or two (save the Crying Jordan, which may be the one meme to last an eternity). These days, trends are a fluctuation rather than an arrow of time. For a piece of art in any medium to truly capture a current social setting in a significant way, it takes acknowledging both sides of the coin/issue/story. 

Denton in the '90s was different from Denton in the early aughts. Coming into the 2010s, there were no struggles with parking on the square. As we near the '20s, Denton's taken on a new form where Lyft rides and biking are the preferred methods of reaching the town hub. But there will never be a final form to Denton.

 Lunt sees Denton as an amalgamation of the best of entertainment offered in Dallas and Fort Worth, but there are worries about a future in which franchises take the place of local businesses. Sure, there is a strong focus on supporting local right now, but Lunt says that "artists are generally cynical about society." 

Prints of Intoxicated Denton are available for sale for $30 apiece at The Bearded Monk, Atomic Candy, and Discover Denton. The prints were created with the help of Ed Steele's digital conversion.

Header Image design by Brittany Keeton