Archive for Amanda Davis

This is True – the new jazz

Posted in Artists, Magic, poetry, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2010 by artlovemagic

Over the last few months we’ve been telling you about the THIS IS TRUE experiment. 20 poets and 20 artists – 20 collaboartions between 40 strangers across two different mediums. The results have been pretty incredible.

This is easily one of my favorite things we’ve done. Several of the participants just really got into it and took the work to the next level. Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect if you check out the show at the gallery anytime this week, or if you join us for our live event celebrating it Saturday night

Amanda Davis’ piece (above) was a real joy to see. The piece is based on the poem In Sepia by Misty Boldish. Inspired by the poem’s lines about gunshots, Amanda took a .45 to the piece and shot actual bullet holes in it. She also used a combination of photo transfer, tissue paper, charcoal and paint to get the effect that she wanted.

Both Misty and Amanda are very proud of the piece.

Our jaws dropped when Eddie Walker brought in this airbrushed interpretation of Hank Van Hawkins’ poem, Mad Man Blues. Hank is a songwriter, and the poem reflects that. It reads like a gritty country/blues song. I thought Eddie was the perfect choice for it and I campaigned my other producers, Isaac and Jerod, to let him have a run at it.

The details in that tattoo are unbelievable, almost photo-realistic. Thanks, Eddie… you made me look smart!

Here’s what poet Jay Eilers had to say about his poem, which was ultimately interpretted into the above collage by artist Marissa Colomo:

Within Sacred Spaces: Tree of Life Poetry Collage, I approach older material creatively by rearranging pieces of five previously existing poems with diverse themes, suggesting a central theme based on my interpretation of universal truth.

I hope to metaphorically embody the Tree of Life as a process of spiritual realization.
This concept can apply universally to individuals within multiple communities and inspired by multiple relationships. We use what has been given to us in news ways. This is the essence of creative truth. It is adaptable, but still timeless and steadfast.

Marissa tore up thousands of tiny piece of colored paper to make the collage. When you see the work, check out the detail in the wings. It’s amazing.

This is just a small sampling of the work. There are 17 more pieces to be seen in the show and 20 full poems to be read.

We will celebrate the whole thing with a live event Saturday night at the gallery from 8pm to midnight. It’s only a $2 donation to get in. We’ll have live music, all the painters and poets, and a few artlovesurprises for you.

Here’s a facebook event page for Saturday night if you want some more details or to confirm you’re attending.

Personally, I think this is the new jazz. Collaborative experiments where artists come together around a themed project and make work the world has never seen before…

Pinch me.

post by Michael Lagocki

The evolution of Art & Coffee

Posted in Artists, Magic, photography, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by artlovemagic

post by Michael Lagocki
photos by Kelsey Paine, Josh Dryk, and Eddie Walker

I imagine most of you reading this have been to, or at least know of, Art & Coffee. This is our longest running show, a monthly Open Mic and Live Art experience that we do at coffee shops. The idea first started in 2008, when I met Bill Priestly, the owner of a new coffee shop, Saxbys, in North Dallas. I loved the shop and after talking to Bill, I wondered if artlovemagic could be impactful in bringing an audience out to a new establishment like his.

We were. For the next year or so, we did monthly shows there that were a little bit of a twist on the artlovemagic model. We opened the mic up to the audience and brought out a handful of live artists for a free show. Attendance was strong right from the beginning.  And we noticed several people would show up month after month. Art & Coffee was a success.

These days, we’ve moved the show down to Deep Ellum and we do it at the wonderful It’s A Grind. Again, this just came from one of our leaders walking into the place and having a conversation with them. They asked us to come and do four shows (that were very successful) and then we contracted for the rest of 2010.

One of the great things about this monthly show, is now that we have a few HUGE shows under our belt (see Underground & girlShow), we’re pretty comfortable doing a show this size. (Art & Coffee usually has about 6 artists in it- girlShow this year will have 60). We’ve become masters at setting it up, and especially tearing it down. We’re usually out the door 30 minutes after Art & Coffee closes.

It’s also become a learning ground for new producers. Melody Hay,  Amanda Davis, Josh Dryk. Michelle McSpadden, and many more first learned the ropes producing A & C before moving on to our BIG shows. Producing A&C entails selecting a group of artists, running a pre-meeting, supporting their team through marketing and getting ready for the show, and then being the lead person on the floor night of.

Producing is a blast. I always say that the production role is where you really get to author the stories in ArtLoveMagic. It’s not for everyone, but I’m thankful that we’ve found a few really great producers who love putting these shows together. And I’m thankful that we have a few dedicated souls who love this show and help it happen every month. Deb, KZach, Mario, Bookworm, Hammer, Eddie, Dugger and others… thank you so much.

But the best part of Art & Coffee is the talent. I LOVE scheduling talent to do these shows. There are two groups to schedule each time Art & Coffee rolls around- the live artists who will create during the show, and the feature performers who hold down the mic. While most of the mic is open to the audience, we always have a feature poet and feature musician, who each perform twice during the night.

I believe having a feature performer does two things that work well within our mission. First, it ensures the mic will have some strong performances. Usually this isn’t a problem as our audiences are pretty talented. More importantantly however, I believe it can grow the artists. It’s easy to find an open mic to perform at. It’s less common to find a feature spot, where you’re asked to be a lead performer and to set the tone, performing multiple times, and being annouced as someone to pay attention to. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to find performers who play solo shows all the time, other times we get to bless someone who hasn’t been honored this way and they get to grow.

So where are we now? Mid 2010 and the shows have been incredible lately. Last night Josh Dryk produced an Art & Coffee that I thought was just fantastic, everything it should be: a strong group of diverse artists, great crowd, incredible open mic with excellent features.

The show goes on. I’m producing the next Art & Coffee myself (July 2nd, 2010). It’s a veteran show. Given that it’s only one week before girlShow, I needed to staff it full of Art & Coffee vets who already know what they’re doing (including people like Justin Nygren, Eddie Walker, Rachel Deniger, and Tim Dugger).

Josh and Kelsey are lined up to produce an upcoming Art & Coffee, as is Michelle McSpadden. We’ve talked about doing a “family” Art & Coffee that would happen mid-day and focus on stuff kids and adults can do together. We’re talking about bringing back the “painting with coffee” interactive that was so popular at Saxbys. We’re looking for new talent that want to create, sing, recite, and produce. All in all, we’re loving it.

Art & Coffee continues to happen first Friday of every month at It’s A grind. It’s a great show, a very welcoming show, and I’m proud to say it’s become an important puzzle piece in this crazy story that is ArtLoveMagic. Come hang out with us and see if you love it to.


Love pancakes at our Open House

Posted in Artists, Community, Deep Ellum, Love with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2010 by artlovemagic

story by Michael Lagocki
photos by Nicole Rodriguez and Michael Lagocki

We love Mamma Nye. Every once in awhile ArtLoveMagic throws an open house at our office in Deep Ellum. Not so much an event really, as a simple hangout- a chance for us to get together and be friendly. Without the craziness of an event going on, we get to talk and chill in a relaxed manner, meet new folks, etc.

Last night’s Open House was no exception- except in that it was exceptional. The secret ingredient was Mama Nye (Kelly Nygren) cooking love pancakes for the crowd. Each one a work of art (literally) and delicious to boot. The longer the night went, the more elaborate the edible art got, until finally Kelly and local improv comic Jill Headen were drawing portraits of everyone as pancakes. Tasty.

Here our music director, Deborah Driscoll, takes a turn at some pancake art herself.

More beard!

We always do some kind of live creativity. This open house included a giant sketchbook page 8 feet wide. Folks were encouraged to pick up a pencil and marker and join the oversized jam.

The art was led by Ian Robertson who set up a cool sky scene where people could work off of his sketches of heroes and villains flying in and out and of clouds. This worked out so cool we’re going to save it and hopefully set it up at the next open house for more people to complete or color the image.

We also used this Open House to start putting up the next art gallery in the Deep Ellum Community Center (where we office). 3 times a year we change out the art that’s hanging on the walls and in the windows. It’s an opportunity to show new people and give local creatives a chance to have their work seen.

Our new gallery will include work by poet Jay Bookworm (left), painter Amanda Davis, photographers David Leeson and Jasana Boudard, illustrator Jamel Jones, jeweler Rachel Deniger, and about a dozen more inspired folks.We’re still putting the finishing touches on this new gallery. It should all be up and tagged before the end of the month.

The next Open House date is Wednesday, December 1st 2010.

Stay connected with artlovemagic on facebook or through our email blast to get all of the upcoming dates.



ArtLoveMagic Unplugged – The Fireside Sessions

Posted in Deep Ellum, music, photography, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2009 by artlovemagic

On December 11th ArtLoveMagic will partner with a new venue – It’s A Grind (Deep Ellum Location), with a cozy, aromatic and delicious new concept.  Some of Dallas’ finest Acoustic musicians will play along side It’s a Grind’s toasty fireplace surrounded by a few hand picked Dallas live visual artists.  While the music is all acoustic, the individual acts couldn’t be more different.

Zachary Scott Pohl has become a Dallas favorite of the singer/songwriter genre through the fine craft of words and story telling to moving music with memorable melodies.

GaydenLee, an indie pop male/female duet is coming out to celebrate the release of their latest EP, “Songs for Thursday”.

The three members of Lenny’s New Legs lead by Deborah Driscoll, will remind you of times gone by with their original soulful, jazzy numbers.

Finally, Parallel Play will be playing their first show back together since the ‘Zombie Hand incident’.  These guys will make you laugh.  ‘Nuff said!

And then there are the Visual artists…

Connor Muldoon – Sculpture

Joe Townson – Abstract Painting

Charlise Hill Larson – Painting/Mixed Media

Jen Sulak – Photography

December 11th * 7:30 – 10:30 pm * Free * It’s A Grind Coffee * 2901 Indiana Blvd, Dallas, TX 75226

last few days…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by artlovemagic

post by Michael Lagocki


I have two more days in artlovemagic before taking an extended break (see: artlovesabbatical) and I’m filled with a lot of Love for this organization. The other night someone asked me if I was going to look at the website while I’m away. The question shocked me a bit. I hadn’t thought about that.

As I prepare to go, things look good. girlShow was our most successful event ever (was that only last month!?!!?) The DART event just went off well despite the most hardcore rainstorm I’ve ever seen an event like this go down in. ArtLoveMagic and weather have a long and strange history (ask Justin about it).


Arts Goggle ad by David Rodriguez and Riki Johnson

Ahead of us, the upcoming Fort Worth event looks crazy. That is an incredible lineup. You should make plans to go. Mike Guinn and Will Richey and The Texas Redlegs sharing a stage is no joke. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fire painting, live welding, live DJs, the visual artist list is bananas. Really, don’t miss it.

Also in the weeks before my break, it’s been clear the organization is growing fast and has more dedicated people then ever. Getting involved here means making a difference in the lives of creative people; all of us (musicians, artists, poets, actors, writers) working together to do something positive and impactful.

I love that at this moment we’re seeing many of the artists we work closely with us enjoying growth in their careers and lives. Last night I watched the Texas Redlegs perform an amazing set and win the second round of the Shiner Rising Stars Competition. They’re on to the finals where they’ll compete for a record contract and tour. This week I purchased work by photographer Jenice Johnson at Paperie & Co. in Mockingbird Station. Will Richey’s company is growing. Hal Samples has landed some incredible assignments. Samax made the cover fo the Dallas Quick. I’ve gotten lucky enough to do several gigs with the Dallas Museum of Art, something I really enjoy. Many of us have been blessed.

Jenice Johnson's Gummy Bear card photography.
That’s why finding ways we can collaborate together, doing shows, community engagement, friendship- it all just makes sense. I talked to Tom and Paul of Nomad Arts a few nights ago, another group with a similar mission to ArtLoveMagic. We agreed, the pool of creative talent in this city is nearly unlimited. We talked about how the city could benefit from more organizations like us, and that rather than feel competitive, we should find ways to do cool things together. I hope to put together a joint show with them some day.

I’ve spent the last week hanging out with a lot of ArtLoveMagic people. I will miss them terribly over the next season. I kid that I’m going “off-planet”. I’m thinking more and more about renting a car and picking a direction and doing a long time on the road. I’m open to whatever comes at me.

I believe my time away will be good for this organization and healing to myself.

Please support this artlovedream any way you can while I’m gone.


photo credits:
Sarah and Michael in Art Park photographed by Nicole Rodriguez, Michael’s rainsoaked drawing from the DART event was photographed by Amanda Davis, the Arts Goggle ad was designed by David Rodriguez with art by Riki Johnson, the awesome Gummy Bear card was created by Jenice Johnson

DART event was a success

Posted in Deep Ellum, Love, Magic, photography with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by artlovemagic

You know, I was really proud of our crew this weekend. The DART event might’ve been rainy, but it was beautiful. I couldn’t believe that we drew a big crowd despite the fierce rain, and was even more surprised at how long they stayed. Most everyone had a smile, even though the conditions were pretty insane.

A full report is coming soon, that will detail the art and music that celebrated the Green Line’s arrival to Deep Ellum. But for right now, I just wanted to quickly share a few photographs of the beautiful smiles captured some local photographers who attended.


10427_154598865959_504365959_3505427_8298073_nAmanda Davis photographed by Jenice Johnson

9017_138141141791_75263846791_3053378_8134261_nDeborah Driscoll with facepainting (and photo) by Sondra Beamon

10427_154599445959_504365959_3505429_1772224_nJustin Nygren photographed by Jenice Johnson

10327_134683696175_710026175_3010430_5572374_nJaden Rodriguez photographed by her Mom!
(Nicole Rodriguez)

7431_1165297347088_1667537247_412847_8028833_n-1Wet doggie photographed by Angel Ward-Wright

7730_131177851145_546986145_3010486_3223957_nHal Samples photographed by ???

Thanks everyone for coming out.
More on this one soon.

The artist-producer track

Posted in Community, Love, Magic, Shows with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2009 by artlovemagic


Post by Michael Lagocki

For the artistic folk who are deeply involved in artlovemagic, a track of how you might move through the organization has been developed. In truth, this is the track that developed itself, organically, more than us authoring it. It became the logical way to progress through artlovemagic.

It has 4 steps
(a fifth if you want to really drink the kool-aid).


We typically ask artists who want to work with us to volunteer, or at the very, least attend a show before doing live art with us. ArtLoveMagic is different from other arts organizations by our culture. Love and relationships is the core of everything we do. We approach this work from a giving spirit and that spirit is far more important to us than financial gain, or honestly, even the talent level of a particular artist. We work with new artists all the time. We are very comfortable with your talent growing with us. But love is always at the center.

Most people who volunteer with us will tell you it’s a blast. There’s no doubt we work hard, but what we do is brilliant fun. Serving others can be a joy, especially in a field you love like the arts. In our world, it’s very easy to see how your service affects the event and it’s artists.

Participating Artist

6248_120633115876_31415930876_2830857_488528_n Sometimes people jump in at this spot (though I will ask them to volunteer on a show before going on to the next stage). We ask that participating artists at artlovemagic follow a handful of principles.

1-    We are about live art, not just sitting behind a table and selling something. You must create on site.

2-    We are about a positive atmosphere. The audience is encouraged to talk to you, ask you questions about your work and tools and methods. A guiding principle for us from the beginning has been to “tear down the walls between the artist and the spectator”.

3-    “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break in a storm”- Justin Nygren.
Live art events are organic, changes are made on the fly. The environment is a living, breathing participant in our script. It is very common for us to have to change plans slightly (or sometimes in a large way) right before (or even during!) an event. A flexible attitude keeps things from getting stressed. When there’s little to no stress, we can focus on being creative and having fun.

4-    Grow. We are about artist development, and that means we hope to see our artists use the events to improve themselves. We encourage all artists to bring business cards (or some other contact method), have a strong presentation of their art, and offer variety of work for sale at a variety of prices. The networking opportunities at artlovemagic events are fantastic. It’s a great place to not only meet potential clients, but to learn from the other artists there. By paying attention to them, you will be exposed to new ways to create, display, and handle yourself.

5-     Finally, enjoy yourself. Because we always use a variety of artists and performers, your shoulders are not holding up the event. A community is holding up the event. So you can chill and have a free spirit.

Assistant Producer


If you’re interested in going forward and actually producing an artlovemagic show, we will ask you to assist another producer first. Assistant producing is essentially about learning, and doing what you can to make someone else’s load easier. The lead producer role has a lot of mental things to keep on top of. For every item an assistant takes off their hands, they have that much more mental space to take care of the fine details.

Assistant Production is about loving people who are loving people.

Producer (small event)

And away we go….

Okay, so I think this is one of the most fun roles in all of artlovemagic. Producers of events have input on almost everything related to the experience. Most often they are responsible for picking the majority of the artists associated with the event. They have input on the theme and feel of that particular event, how it will be set up, who goes where, etc. They lead the pre-production meeting. They handle communication between the artists and performers leading up to the event. And of course, they oversee on the night of the event.

Good producers understand how to delegate, so they don’t necessarily have to do all of the above. Just make sure it happens correctly.

Giving new artists a chance to participate is one of my favorite aspects of this job. Dozens upon dozens of artists and performers have shown with us for their first time. And because of the atmosphere we create, odds are pretty good that they’re going to enjoy their first experience. They’ll always remember that experience, and they’ll always remember who the person that invited them in was. Here you have an opportunity to have a positive impact on an individual.


I always tell our producers that it is their chief responsibility to give the artists confidence that the event will go well. They do this by making sure the artists and performers understand their roles and feel supported in them. They do this by making sure the details of the event are covered and will go smoothly. They do this by making sure the advertising for an event has been properly handled and we will have a crowd. And they do this by bringing a calm, on top of it attitude to what they do (people will often take more from your energy and presence then what you say- if you look and seem hectic and rushed, that’s what your team will key in on no matter what you say).

After the event, producers have some light responsibilities like ensuring new artists with the collective get listed on our website’s artist & performers page, and seeing that a report and some photos get to David and the website team.

Producers start production on small events, like an Art & Coffee, before trying their hand at a major event, like a girlShow or Underground.

Note- Stage producer roles are a bit different than visual producers, but I’m not a stage producer, so you’ll have to ask Justin or Deborah about that one. I know they think about things like set times, flow between acts, sound and light presentations, etc.

Producer (large event)


Production on large events is extremely rewarding. Our large events are incredible, unique experiences that involve dozens of artists and performers and hundreds of audience members. Producers on these events author experiences that have real impact on the city’s art scene and on others lives (yes, really. Ask me about it sometime and I’ll introduce you to dozens of people who will tell you a large artlovemagic show had a real effect on their life).

But… don’t kid yourself about how much of your life this is going to take up. This is a big commitment. The girls who produced girlShow will tell you that their lives became girlShow for much of the time leading up to the event. Each of them also will tell you it was a fantastic experience, and that they’re going to produce a show of this level again.

Some of the best experiences of my life have been putting together these shows. It’s rewarding in so many ways because it has such an effect. Being a co-author of something like that, working and bonding with a team you trust, creating something new out of thin air, it’s exhilarating. The producers decide what will separate this particular event from others, what will be the new idea or new invention this time out the door that pushes the organization further.

Finally… the Core Team


The next level of involvement is on the core team, and the door is open there too. In fact, this whole article was written because I attended one of our Art & Coffee shows last night, and I was reflecting on how producer Amanda Davis has become so important to our story as a collective.

She painted at her first event years ago, and has since run every role in the crew. She’s led volunteer teams, assistant produced, authored and led a gallery hanging, produced a fantastic Art & Coffee, and is a co-producer of our upcoming major DART event.

The core team helps us create the overall story. They attend our open meetings, they produce large events, they help the organization find solutions to it’s challenges, and they help strategically drive ArtLoveMagic.

The core team of people changes over-time as well. Some people flow in and out over time. And that’s cool. We only ask that you complete what you take on. And let us know where you want to be involved. Amanda herself took a long period of time off once, and even I’m taking much of the Fall off from ArtLoveMagic (more on that in another writing).

ArtLoveMagic remains fresh and growing and exciting because the story is always changing and being written by a variety of authors. It’s easy to get passionate when you’re always trying new things and you know the outcome will have a positive effect on creative people and the creativity we share.

Our core principles- being intentionally positive, loving people, developing artists- never change. But the way these are applied, and by who, is in constant change. And that’s what keeps it so interesting.

photos by Dee Hill, Scott Dorn, Justin Nygren, Josh Dryk, Niole Rodriguez, and Jenice Johnson