Wednesday, April 11, 2012

John Spriggins at Artist Quarter

Deep Ellum
My art review repost on January 2012

For as long as I have been living near Dallas, I have found that Southside on Lamar has been a great source of creative energy. Southside is in the old Sears building south of downtown. The building houses apartments, but it is also the location of the Janette Kennedy Gallery and the “Artists' Quarter.” I even ran an art gallery called Local Color for two years in their roof top loft space. One artist I exhibited at Local Color was John Spriggins during his monument painting series.

John Spriggins has a studio space in Southside’s “Artists’ Quarter”, and what is nice about these spaces is that artists like Spriggins can place some of their work in a store front area while they
still have a hidden space to work and invite people in to see their works in progress. I met Spriggins at the University of Texas of Dallas while we were both graduate students in the Arts and Humanities department. He and I were taking a class with John Pomara when Spriggins brought in a painting depicting a signage of local businesses in his south Dallas neighborhood.

He has an interesting twist with his use of color. Since Spriggins would work from black and white photos, he could paint any color he wanted without being restricted by the real colors of the signs. The paintings also incorporate a collage of ads and newspaper in the background. Through some great conversation and Spriggins’ experimentation, a really monumental series of
paintings were born.

John Spriggins reversed the collage process in his new series of Paper Dolls. He has allowed the
ads and magazine covers to populate the female figure’s silhouette and now the painted surface is the background. The series includes a wide range of body shapes. I found it interesting to know that this series of paintings was spawned by a conversation with his four year old daughter. I understand that Roy Lichtenstein also changed his painting style after talking to his own child, so Spriggins is in good company.

Email John Spriggins at for an appointment to see his work. And while you are at it, check out the other artist spaces, the Janette Kennedy Gallery, and take a sip of coffee from Opening Bell.
For more images of his work go to

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