LSA Celebrates Art with Live Mural Project

What’s not to like about food, beer, and larger-than-life art? LSA’s 2016 rooftop expansion made room for local artists to display their talents in a project supervised by muralist Dan Black. Thanks to continued funding from LSA Burger Company and the Greater Denton Arts Council, the project continues with new murals by a new squad. The currently featured artists are: Gracie Piper, Matthew Long, Malcolm ByersZarina Kay, Artlab 3000, and Dan Black. 
Street art has evolved past its days of being purely an act of rebellion and has grown into cultural chic. LSA’s rooftop murals are a sign that Denton can embrace its artists who are eager to envelop the town in creativity. Work began early on Saturday, June 10. It was a bit of a voyeuristic experience for restaurant visitors who may not have been expecting to see murals being created while they dined.
Having an audience watch live artists at work isn’t a typical experience outside of expansive arts and music festivals, but the slightly out-of-the-norm setting was embraced by the project's participants. “It promotes the mentality that art is consistently progressing and that the community values the art,” said Matthew Long. 
Art has this funny way of needing to balance out commercial purpose with the freedom of expression. Black acknowledges that commercial work has helped him progress, but he loves that the LSA project allows him the freedom to illustrate whatever he wishes as a mural.

“The hardest part is the idea,” according to Melanie Gomez of Artlab 3000. When Gomez and her partner Des Smith were asked how they worked together to create an idea, they assumed a boxing fighter's stance. They each started out with wildly different ideas that eventually came together in one cohesive work — an image of six elegantly dressed endangered animals at a dinner table, complete with embedded symbolism for the attentive viewer to find. Their desire to challenge the viewer to look deeper is inspired by their interest in Freemason architecture.
If you’re a fan of Impressionist nature art from artists likes Monet, then you’ll enjoy Zarina Kay’s approach to painting the Andromeda Galaxy. Impressionism is her favorite style of work because it’s a style that aspires to “capture a feeling.”
Gracie Piper’s wall is the first she’s ever done, as she typically works with watercolors. Her sea of faces is indicative of her preference for freestyle form and line drawing. Matthew Long’s teddy bear peeking out of a tent is taken from a “Dream Reality” theme he’s been working on for an upcoming exhibition. It embraces the melancholic happiness of childhood dreams. The piece by Malcolm Byers embraces the aesthetic of modern urban art with a detailed face broken up into bright colorful squares. 

At the far right is a majestic (but captive) lion being saved by a mouse in a tribute to a classic Aesop’s Fable. That dichotomy is a reminder not to dismiss what we regard as not good enough. No matter the differences between people, there is always an opportunity to combine strengths and make special things happen out of respect for each other as living beings. So it goes that LSA has provided an opportunity for artists to engage with an audience that partially consists of people who don’t usually think to attend art galleries. 

Pictures by Ellie Gonzalez
Header Image Design by Christopher Rodgers