Literary and Fine Arts Festival: Gallery explores double meaning

Artist Will Heron paints murals directly onto the walls of the H Gallery to create a unique, temporary piece. Photo by David Sanchez.
Artist Will Heron paints murals directly onto the walls of the H Gallery to create a unique, temporary piece. Photo by David Sanchez.

“Entendre,” local artist Will Heron’s first solo gallery show since 2015, will open April 1 in the H Gallery as part of the Literary & Fine Arts Festival.

The gallery will exhibit layered works including two murals panted directly onto the gallery walls, one complete with individual art pieces that combine to make a unique, multilayer mural.

Heron and his business partners, Jorge Alcala and Sarah Duke, will also host a “pop-up shop” at the Arts in Action event on Saturday, April 1, selling prints, shirts and pins featuring his illustrations.

Life & Arts Editor Katrina Bond chatted with Heron about the show, his fondness for black and white and the temporary nature of his murals.

Q What type of art will be featured in “Entendre?”
A My work is all visual wordplay, using imagery in multiple ways. So I’ll use the circular shape but then reuse it in different circumstances, so lightbulbs, cactus, terrariums, all kind of fuse into one. So each piece in the show is like some type of entendre, double, triple meaning.

Q What is the “pop-up shop?”
A I have a studio out in West Dallas called The Platform, and it’s an old, 1940s house that we use as a creative space, so we have events there all the time, and we call them pop-ups because we’ll have different artists come in. So when we have a pop-up, it’s more the commercial side of my art brand. This is the formal art gallery side of the art brand, but the pop-up is more like T-shirts and pins and prints, kind of that more commercial side. So then it’s something that people can buy that’s not a $600,000 painting.

Q What is your goal as an artist?
A I’m a high school art teacher in West Dallas, so my goal is like other [artists], be able to get visual experiences out in the public eye. I’m a big mural person, so we do murals all over town. I love gallery art, but I love being able to get art

Local artist Will Heron is a illustrator as well as a muralist. Photo by David Sanchez.

in public spaces that isn’t necessarily a formal gallery space. So [my goal is], getting my creative imagery, the double entendre, the wordplay, out in a space that anyone can enjoy it.

Q Why did you decide to make most of your murals in black and white?

A When I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be a “professional colorer,” so now it’s kind of ironic that for the last four or five years, I’ve only used black and white in most of my murals. I really like to focus on what idea I’m trying to get

across to people, ‘What is that double or triple entendre?’ So black and white allows me to minimize the artistic noise going on and really focus on the design of it. Also, I’m an illustrator by craft, so a lot of my work starts black and white anyway, and then we’ll shift it into color.

Q Why did you decide to paint a mural directly on the walls of the gallery?
A The whole show is all the paintings are interacting with the mural space as well. The cutout is a piece of artwork someone could buy, but this whole show is really a one-time experience because everything is painted on the wall, interacting with the paintings, and then it’s just going to get painted over. It’ll go away and disappear. So whatever photos happen in the next month-and-a-half is the only evidence of this existing.

Q How do you feel about the temporary nature of your work?
A I’m really into that. That’s part of why I do murals in gallery spaces because I think some people freak out, like, “Why is this not permanent? Why is this not on a wall outside somewhere?” And I like to play with that uncomfortable feeling people have while watching the mural, knowing that in a month it’s going to be painted white and turned into a new gallery show. That uneasiness of all this detail and all this work going away, and of course that’s a bigger metaphor for life, and everything is ultimately temporary. The art sometimes lives on, but sometimes it just exists in memories and pictures.

Literary and Fine Arts Festival Calendar

Saturday, April 1
Arts in Action festival, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Lower Courtyard
Materials lab, Gallery 219, open through April 7
Photo contest starts

Monday, April 3
Bytes and Bites: Student and Faculty Readings, 11:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Fireside Lounge

Tuesday, April 4
Making Art Work: Dispelling the Myth of the Starving Artist panel discussion, 11:05 a.m.-12:10 p.m., G-101

Thursday, April 6
Jazz Under the Stars, 5:50 p.m., Lower Courtyard

Friday, April 7
Documentary filming, L-111, also April 13 and 21

Monday, April 10
Dance and a Snack dance performance, 12:30 p.m., Lower Courtyard

Wednesday, April 12
League for Innovation literary contest awards, readings, 10:10-11:05 a.m., G-101

Thursday, April 13
Artist lecture: sculptor Linda Lopez, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., F-217

Monday, April 17
Digital Humanities: Coffee and Conversation with  Spencer D.C. Keralis of UNT, 2-3 p.m., G-101

Tuesday, April 18
The Et Cetera Poetry Slam, 5:35 p.m., G-101

Wednesday, April 19
Artist lecture and video screening: Martha Colburn, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., F-217

Thursday, April 20
Harvester Cabaret, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., Peformance Hall

Friday, April 21
Harvester Cabaret, 6 p.m., Performance Hall

Saturday, April 22
Harvester Cabaret, 8 p.m., Performance Hall

Tuesday, April 25
Communications Career Day, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., G-101

Thursday, April 27
Visual Art Student Exhibit, reception 5-7 p.m., Gallery 219, open through May 12
Spring Dance Concert, 7:30 p.m., Performance Hall

Friday, April 28
Documentary screening, 10 a.m., Performance Hall
Spring Dance Concert, 7:30 p.m., Performance Hall

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