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Arts
wondercrust

Wondercrust: Shut Up and Riff

In the spirit of MST3K, these comedians are making B-movies watchable. Semi-watchable.
DAVID DUNN
Nick McClanahan stared at the projector screen in front of The Grotto, a Monticello rock venue, on a recent Thursday night among two dozen other folks. The images were playing, but there wasn’t any audio. And it was 11:43. Th...


Exit: Cliff Huxtable. Enter: “Uncle Babe (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff).”

Riley Holloway’s People

Fort Works Art’s inaugural solo show is a triumph of portraits and paint.
CHRISTOPHER BLAY
A somber, melancholic portrait anchors Riley Holloway’s solo exhibit at Fort Works Art. Its crisscrossed brushstrokes and deep, earthy tones convey the solemnity of the figure, an older African-American male, the artist’s u...



The Le Nain brothers’ “Three Men and a Boy” is part of the Kimbell’s new exhibit.

Night & Day

Kristian Lin
Wed 18 - The disturbing recent reports of widespread coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef lends an extra potency to Coral Reef Adventure, one of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s current IMAX documentaries. ...


May the Fourth be with you.

Faith of Force

Star Wars is more than a sci-fi franchise. For some folks, it’s a religion.
DAVID DUNN
A short time ago, in a ThinkGeek store not so far away, mostly young men and women joined together to celebrate something very important to them: Star Wars. They stormed into the gadget retailer in North East Mall dressed as Da...



BuriedAlive_1_Photo-Credit-Marty-Sohl-3

Poe Notes

Fort Worth Opera tackles Edgar Allan with mixed results in Buried Alive and Embedded.
Kristian Lin
Horror is particularly hard to do on the stage. A theater director doesn’t have the editing tricks and CGI available to filmmakers, nor can he or she allow the viewer’s imagination to fill in details the way a prose writer ...


JFK_37_Photo-Credit-Karen-Almond-1

JFK Unbound

Labyrinthine plot aside, the music and performances at the world premiere of the Fort Worth Opera’s most ambitious commission to date were solid.
Edward Brown
As crowds piled into Bass Performance Hall last weekend, young men and women wearing cardigans, sharp suits with thin ties, box dresses, and other mainstream ’60s attire handed out red-white-and-blue election buttons with “...



Thomas Hart Benton’s “Shipping Out” features the face of John Paxton, father of Fort Worth-born actor Bill Paxton. The painting, now on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, sold in 2014 at a Christie’s auction for more than $1 million. Private collection, Photo by Chip Cooper.

Benton and the Paxtons

One of America’s greatest art treasures has a long connection with one of Fort Worth’s most popular families.
Jeff Prince
Thomas Hart Benton was such a major American artist and muralist during the 1930s and 1940s that some consider him America’s version of Diego Rivera. Benton’s large, populist images are amazing to see, including the Hollywo...


Dennis Farris spends his days photographing, painting, and discovering Mother Nature while making more than a pretty penny. The 51-year-old Kansas City native and his wife ViVi share a two-acre lot in East Fort Worth that includes a large house, a swimming pool, and a small house that Farris doubles as his art studio.
He said he paints about one piece per week. Sometimes aFarris’ paintings sell fast.
His bestsellers are of mountains, rivers, and Texas nature, such as longhorns and fields of flowers.
Farris’ paintings sell from around $3,000 to $100,000.
“Art sales are unpredictable at best,” he said. “You might sell 10 pieces one month and then go two or three months without selling anything.”
Farris began drawing as far back as he can remember.
“My sister and I would draw together, and at school we would compete with other students to see who could draw the best,” Farris recalled. “All through elementary and into high school, I took art, and all the kids I used to compete with were all still there, so I figured that art is something that people are genetically inclined to do.” 
After earning his BFA from Central Missouri State University in 1987, Farris moved to Fort Worth in 1989 to work as a freelance commercial artist. He worked with Phillips Agency, Mrs. Baird’s Bread, Miller Brewery, Shakespeare in the Park, and many others, until 2000, when he married. His wife had a good job with Lhoist, a global mineral and lime producer, so Farris jumped from the commercial art industry into the fine arts. 
“It’s a little riskier to paint what you like,” he said. “In commercial art, they pay you more, but they tell you what to paint. In the fine art world, you can paint an image that means something to you. I have found more joy in the fine arts.”
Although Farris paints mostly from the comfort of home, he also has been a National Parks and Wildlife Service artist in residence. At Zion National Park in 2010 and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2012, Farris lived for free for a month at a time to paint the landscape and perform outreach. The images that he doesn’t have time to paint en plein air, he captures with his camera. When he returns home, he sorts through the photos and paints from them. Painters may get only one hour to paint a nature scene before the light changes, he said. 
While at Zion, he stayed in a refurbished 1928 stone cabin located in the middle of the park. 
“I got snowed in a couple of times, and I was by myself,” he said. “It was so quiet and beautiful and awesome that I will never forget how peaceful it felt.” 
Along with painting longhorns, rivers, and natural scenery, Farris has been volunteering at Hangman’s House of Horrors for the past 27 years.
D’Ann Dagen, Hangman’s founder and former producer, knows him well.
“Almost three decades ago, I met a young Dennis Farris who volunteered to help birth our charity haunted house,” Dagen said. “He not only drew and painted the iconic Hangman character, he composed the storyline of how the Hangman became legend. Additionally, [Farris] designed the posters and t-shirts promoting the event.
“Over the years,” she continued, “I’ve witnessed [Farris] exhibit tremendous growth, both emotionally and spiritually, as an artist and as a man. He personifies talent, intellect, and integrity. If you want to start a Dennis Farris Fan Club, please allow me to serve as president.”
Farris’ paintings are currently on exhibit in galleries in Santa Fe and at Artspace 111. And online at farrisart.com.
“The art gallery world is in flux right now,” Farris said. “With so much art selling online, brick-and-mortar studios are having trouble staying open.”
Farris does not sell his paintings online, but he’s active on Facebook, using the social media platform “to get visibility,” he said.
Farris explained that the key to selling is to get the art in front of people. The more people see it, the more chance that one will feel emotionally attached to it and pull out his or her wallet. Art is personal. People have to identify with it somehow. 
“Buying art is a total frill,” Farris said. “It’s not like buying toilet paper or toothpaste that you have to have. It is something that you buy with total disposable income. It is not something they need but something they want.” 
Farris will continue his journey as an artist in residence this summer in East Texas at Guadalupe National Park. Photo by Ryan Grounds.

Adventurer Painter

This Fort Worth artist gets paid to travel National Parks and paint nature.
Ryan Grounds
Dennis Farris spends his days photographing, painting, and discovering Mother Nature while making more than a pretty penny. The 51-year-old Kansas City native and his wife ViVi share a two-acre lot in East Fort Worth that inclu...



Courtesy of Museo del Prado, Madrid

Something Borrowed

Titian’s "Entombment of Christ" spends the spring at the Kimbell.
Kristian Lin
When the Kimbell Art Museum announces it has taken a Titian painting on loan, you take notice. However, when it’s one of the 16th-century Venetian master’s greatest works on loan from the breathtaking Museo del Prado in Mad...


Though nearly 50 years old, the choreography in Stevenson’s Cinderella still holds up. Photo by Ellen Appel.

Texas Ballet Theater’s Sweet Feet

Impressive dancing brought Texas Ballet Theater’s Cinderella to life again.
Leonard Eureka
Of all fairy tales, Cinderella is probably the most familiar. It has been recounted in books, plays, movies, TV shows, operas, and ballets. Each generation seems to embrace the story: A gentle young woman goes to live with a se...