Archive for Justin Nygren

Reflections and Perspective

Posted in Artists, Community, Love, Magic, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2011 by artlovemagic


Photo Credit: Carolyn Collins Photography  (David Rodriguez, Justin Nygren, Michael Lagocki)

As 2011 draws to a close, my heart is full of anticipation for 2012.  I’ve taken the last year off for family business and have had the opportunity to watch this last year’s activity and growth from an outside perspective.  To see the work, the dedication, the passion and the direction grow and evolve has been both humbling and beyond encouraging.  Since 2006 when Mike, Dave and I dreamt over a cup of coffee and planted the seeds for our first show, it seems like the amazing ride we embarked on has only gotten more and more wild.  The best part about it is that we have gone from a small group of dreaming and idealistic friends and grown into an amazing and beautiful community full of intentionality and vision.

My thanks and undying gratitude go out to every one of you, from artist to attendee, sponsor to customer, for every ounce of love that you have poured out into the Dallas arts community.  I can see 2012 bringing us more connections, more focus and more importantly, more Love to you and to our community.  I’m looking forward to hugging your neck at the next show.


Justin Nygren
Co-Founder/Love Ninja/Dot Connector

Parallel Play: The Floor’s Made of Lava!

Posted in Artists, Deep Ellum, music, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by artlovemagic

local music review by Justin Nygren

Take a walk with me down the old dirt path in your grandpa’s backyard where the willow trees dance in the wind and the little boats make their way to the Mississippi.  We’ll talk about the time when we were kids and nothing mattered except goofing off and making fun of adults and their ways that just didn’t make sense.  We’ll pop in the new Parallel Play CD and have ourselves a regular hootinanny.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for music that will take you a little outside the bounds of what you’re used to listening to.  There’s always the nugget of gold to be discovered beyond what most people will put in their car CD player to help break the monotony of their Monday drive to work.  This time, I found it in a folk CD.  No, not that kind of folk.  I’m not talkin’ Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell.  I’m not even talking Something in the Wheel (no disrespect to Mimo).  I’m talkin’ folking folk music that will folk your face right off from the first folking song.

Parallel Play’s new CD, The Floor’s Made of Lava, opens up with Fighting For and a swift folk to your ear to get you out of your seat and movin’.  Each tune carries the uncanny ability to get your head bouncing and your hand slappin’ your thigh…or, like on Racket, stomp the floor with huge thuds of anti-pop-music joy.  And, if you’re patient, you’re rewarded with a taste of some of your grandma’s cranberry jelly at the end.  You know, the beautiful canned amazingness she pulls out at Thanksgiving.  Well, maybe that’s a bad analogy, but you get where I’m going with it.

Oh, but don’t let the tunage fool you.  Their jovial sounds that bring smiles to your faces hold something a little deeper.  If you listen closely, you’ll be taken on a lyrical journey that spans the spectrum of your whole folkin’ life.  From the realization that you’ve spent too much time on that one relationship that just keeps going South no matter how many times you think they’re worth fighting for, to that dress that she wore to the dance back in High School that called out for a good twirlin’…From that time you passed out from too many folkin’ drinks after the annulment finally went through, to that time the undead made their way through a black and white field when you and that blonde girl from down the street…wait.  Nevermind, that was a movie…

Jeremy, Jason and Tomy (and now Erin Gayden!) are to be commended for taking this journey back to their grandpa’s farm for us.  Not all of us have the ability to head to Indiana and see where our grandparents married when they were 16.  We can’t all just pack up in a time machine and see the days when the newest cars were the kind that were just losing their reins from the horses.  But the good news is that these four have done it for us.  Then they came back to tell you that there was still heartbreak back then and that the world hasn’t really changed much since your great-grandparents were your age…including the folkin’ zombies.

Buy it on the iTunes.
Hear them on the MySpace.
See their faces on the Facebooks.

Prepare your face to be folked off at their National CD Release Party at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, TX, June 3rd at 10pm.  You can get more info on their MySpace and Facebook pages.

– Justin Nygren

Did you feel that?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2011 by artlovemagic

A collection of truth experienced at Underground 2011.  Feel free to add your own thoughts. Gratitude, grace and inspiration all around.

Arazeli ‘Sally’ Torres
“Underground is packed! If you not here yet…come on over!”

Amberly Russell
“Spoonfed Tribe! holy holy damn they are good!”


Jerod Alexander
“holllly crap yall are my heroes!!..realtalk- … proud”

Dee Hill
“omg, omg, omg. off the chizzzain wonderful!”

Elizabeth Fieler
“:) I wanna do it again!”

Cathy Hutchison
“I know you guys are exhausted, and that often after the high of a successful show you can emotionally crash.  I just want to reaffirm what you did last night for all of the artists and musicians that participated.  You guys, through sweat and personal sacrifice created something amazing.  You valued creative people as artists and not only changed the way Dallas sees each of those people, but more importantly, the way those people see themselves.  I am amazed by all of you.”

Bear Claw
“It was the biggest one they have ever had. It was awesome to see so many people there appreciating and supporting local art. It was a beautiful sight.”

Sarah Fulk
“Underground was beyond imagination! Thank you to everyone that came out , supported and showed love. ♥”

“Konichiwa” Zach Schrotter -“A lot of folks I love put their heart and soul into making Underground happen. this single is a perfect culmination of those people coming together to get their voices heard. ArtLoveMagic moves people to create and work together. I love seeing what happens when a unique vision of collaboration comes to fruition. David, GOAT, Josh, congratulations on a job well done.”

Patricia Rodriguez
“That was insane, amazing, inspiring….I can’t thank you enough. Everyone was so nice to work with- thanks to everyone for all their hard work and efforts in making the night MAGICAL! ♥”

Fatimah Reaves
“Loved it! Artists doing what they do, musicians jammin, spoken word flowin, photographers on point, everyone was so cooooool. Again, loved it!”

Amoa Soleil
“Underground last night is more than my heart can digest this morning .. it’ll take some time.”

Christopher Garcia
“To all those who had a hand in birthing the awesomeness that is ArtLoveMagic, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Underground was an amazing experience and it was an honor to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to see my work and for all the kind words. Love all around.”

Khalid Robertson
“Underground: WOW! I didn’t know it was gonna be that thick! DAMN good time. Sold some product, hung out with friends, good music and more fine chicks than a strobe light. I need to make big paintings, more shirts and another book. Good times all around. Props to ArtLoveMagic!”

Sarah Zamora
“I love ArtLoveMagic. Brilliant event, thanks.”

Kevin Obregon
“Had an awesome time last night at ArtLoveMagic’s Underground Show. Bravo producers, volunteers, artists and art lovers! You people are out of control! Thanks for the opportunity, ArtLoveMagic. It was so fantastic seeing all my friends & fellow artists! I finished 4 out of 5 canvases.”

David Rodriguez
“I look forward to jammin’ with you guys again. I don’t even know how we can top this years Underground but 2012 will come around and we’ll get to enjoy this madness again. Blessings to you all!”

photo credits
Justin Nygren, Brandy Nicole, Luis Torres, Sally Torres, Sherry Smith, Dee Hill, Christian Ward, Vanessa Bates

First Wednesdays

Posted in Community, Deep Ellum with tags , , , on August 5, 2010 by artlovemagic

Every first Wednesday night artlovemagic holds an open meeting at our office (2630 Commerce) at 7pm for those who want to contribute to the revolution. We discuss the next few artlovemagic experiences, scope new ideas, design fliers and shows, and generally have a pretty good time.

ArtLoveMagic is based on an open model. Anyone who wants to contribute can. We look for people who have a positive attitude and are willing to step up to help the cause and bless the Dallas art scene. There are a million ways to contribute, so be sure whatever you’re good at we can use.

These days in our organization, back-office minded thinking is highly prized (organization/numbers/knowledge management), so don’t think the only skills we’re looking for is how well you can sling a paintbrush or guitar pick. For the record, we still dig those skills too. Just come, show up, listen, and offer what you can. If you do, I promise you you’ll get involved in something pretty cool.

The next Wednesday meeting (which is always 2 days before our Art & Coffee shows) is Wednesday September 1st at 7pm.

post by Michael Lagocki
photo by Justin Nygren

Why You Should Work With ArtLoveMagic (A Guest Post by Konnichiwa Zach)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 3, 2010 by artlovemagic

(Photo Credits: SB Freelance, Musico Roots Photography)

So…why should you get ArtLoveMagic for your event?

One word– Interesting.

Now, I don’t mean this in the “Mom, what do you think of my dyed blue Mohawk?” type of “…interesting.”  I mean ‘interesting’ in that you really should take notice in how amazing art is as it’s created around you by those with vision and love for their craft.

There’s a saying that gets floated around the ArtLoveMagic offices whenever events are discussed.  “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never snap.”  Me, I’m not the flexible type.  I’m the type who frenetically needs twenty things done now.  Luckily, I hand- selected folks who know their craft and can handle the curveballs that are thrown at them with skill and professionalism.

Since I’ve worked on a number of events with the ALM crew, I’ve been lucky enough to develop a personal and professional rapport with the artists, and had my choice of any number of amazing visual artists to choose from.

The show that I was helping to produce was the 2010 Southwest Shootout Poetry Slam—a 16 team spoken word competition held June 11 & 12 at the Kessler Theatre in Dallas, TX.  Now, if you’re familiar with the nature of slam, it’s a very audience interactive aural/visual experience.  For this show, though…I wanted something additional, something memorable.  I wanted something that would be organic…alive…and beautiful– something that the audience would take home with them.

When I came to the ArtLoveMagic folks with the concept of what I was doing, I came in with the show in front of me as…well…a problem I was trying to figure out.

I approached founder Justin Nygren during a workshop on producing live events.  He, along with a number of my classmates, provided me with some wonderful suggestions…but the suggestion that stuck the most with me was “I work with this group called ArtLoveMagic…”  So I knew who I needed to make this show more amazing than it would have been otherwise.

In talking with the artists I’d chosen, I’d asked them to make stuff that the audience could, as I stated earlier, take home.  I had a lot of folks coming in from across the country, and wanted objets d’art that would be portable and affordable for them.

For this show, my first choice of the artists to choose from was, well, the founders of ArtLoveMagic.  Since these guys do such amazing work on the production side, I felt it was important and something of an honor for me to have them work a show as artists, their first love.

Now, Justin, in addition to producing live events, does on-demand screen printing of t-shirts, bags, etc, through his business Shirts=Awesome.  I provided Justin with our logo, and he was able to effectively turn it into a perfect representation and an affordable souvenir for my patrons.  The benefit of having the on-demand service is that you as the purchaser aren’t left with a ton of leftover shirts that wind up as white elephant gifts or dust rags.  We were able to negotiate a very reasonable price, and came out with some very cool on-the spot schwag!

Next, David Rodriguez…I can’t say enough about how talented this dude is.  In the course of four hours, inspired by the work spilling from the stage, the audience was given the pleasure of seeing an 8’X 4’ work created from start to finish in less than 4 hours.  Created from the side of the stage where the poets performed,  overlooking the proceedings was a cobalt blue and shadow nuanced image of  poet and microphone—to see it evoked from canvas in such quick fashion was truly mesmerizing. 

Michael Lagocki’s bright color and deep lined comic-book influence works truly shined outward.  During the evening, I peered over to watch this barefoot wide eyed master bring forth this living, animate robot created in preparation for his next collaboration.  I’ve been privileged to watch Mike create time and time again.  Personality, humor, and charm shine from each piece that this poet/artist creates, and the love and intensity he exudes is genuine.

In addition to these three, I had two more artists added to the mix.  Trayce, a young artist and poet from the University of North Texas handcrafted the iconic visage for our poster work.  The flaming microphone against the brightness of a red Texas sun couldn’t have been more appropriate for the theme of our show.  Bringing him on to our show for live art creation was a no-brainer.  In addition to the poetry he added to the prior nights festivities, his ink sketches created should make your pens jealous, in the fact that they might not be allowed to create something that amazing.  Graffiti influenced, Trayce’s unique style is an earnest portrayal of desiccation and understanding.

Finally, Desiree’ Mazzola’s jewelry rounded out this night of take-home art in its crafting and presentation.  Working in a variety of media, Desiree’s even keel and work is the sign of an artist who likes what she does and ever growing in her craft.  Unpretentious and organic, each piece she makes is a bit of heart warmth you can wear.

Now, one of the apprehensions of bringing live art to your event may be “the mess”.  This should be of very little concern to you and your facility.  One of ArtLoveMagic’s basic tenets is to ‘leave it better than you found it.’  The Kessler Theatre, a recently remodeled theatre in the heart of Oak Cliff, the venue chosen for the event, is a beautiful building with hardwood floors and state of the art equipment.  I had no doubts that these young artisans would ensure that setup/cleanup would be performed swiftly and promptly, with discretion, and care for the building.  Unafraid to ask questions about facility, tempo, and theme of the event, these artists were the picture of professionalism.

As a part of our partnership with ALM for Saturday’s show, we were able to reach a network of people who care about art and art based events with announcements, emails, and general word of mouth through social media.  As the ArtLoveMagic brand grows, it comes to mean an association with events of quality, high interest, and fun.

ArtLoveMagic is also dedicated to networking with those who bring positivity to their community.  Through them, I was able to network with HipHopHelpsHeal, an organization dedicated to using music to helping the homeless of DFW.  Provided with five DJ’s Friday and Saturday, I not only was provided with unique beats and grooves to keep the show moving, but was given an opportunity to bring awareness to folks about an organization doing good things right in their hometown.

The event itself, the second day final round of competition was stunning, to say the least.  The singer for the afterparty band Glowing House was heard to say on mic, and I’m paraphrasing here, that “It’s amazing to come into a city, that you don’t know, and feel like you’re in the coolest place, with the coolest people, at the best event happening in town.”  I couldn’t have agreed more.  Bringing ArtLoveMagic’s collaboration to our event added a level of j’en sais quois that you won’t find anywhere else.  Visual art is entertainment, and to see it created before you, to see process, and to approach the artist about their work is a unique experience.  Watching these artists work in the parameters afforded by their space, yet creating amazing work right before hundreds of eyes of our patrons was just unbelievable.

So…do something different for your next event…bring art to the table!  At your disposal with ArtLoveMagic are any variety of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, photographers, and volunteers amongst others, with a unique sensibility dedicated to unifying your crowd with captivating artistry of all shapes, forms and media, and educating on the virtue and positive aspects of art, in all its forms.  This sensibility comes from the basic principle that ArtLoveMagic is founded upon—give artists the opportunity to grow in your community, and you will foster growth of your community as a whole.

This is my first blog post anywhere.  But after such a positive experience with those who are so dedicated to nurturing and caring for the growth of people in general, I felt that praises for these folks needed to be sung.  Thank you, ArtLoveMagic for an amazing night.  You certainly made it…interesting.  Let’s do this again sometime.

Konnichiwa Zach

2010 Southwest Shootout Volunteer Coordinator.

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.


Workshop Photos

Posted in Art Business, Artists, Community, Deep Ellum, photography, Workshops with tags , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2010 by artlovemagic

What is ” ? “

Posted in Deep Ellum, Magic, PR, Shows with tags , on March 29, 2010 by artlovemagic
post by Justin Nygren
Remember when you were a kid and a cardboard box was the pirate ship and you could save the world with a garden hose? Remember when music really moved you and colors could cause you to spin wildly in an open field?

Yeah. So do I.

Unfortunately it seems, the older we get, the more difficult it is to remember that we, the human spirit, still need a place to play. We fail to remember that inhibitions and societal norms for adults sometimes need to be broken in the best interest of our mental health.

On 4.1.10, we will be creating space for you to shake off the dust and play.

So, while we can’t give you all the details (where’s the fun in that?), we can tell you this:

It will be in Deep Ellum.
You will have a chance to just go with the flow.
You might get wet.
You can/are allowed to dress like a child, or in your favorite costume.
You should wear walking shoes.
You should bring some extra dough for dinner and drinks.
More information to come. Go get your tickets right now at This is a RESERVATION ONLY event. After you purchase your tickets, you will receive your assignment BY EMAIL on Thursday.

Feel free to call me, Justin at 469-two3six-nine6four8 if you have any questions or concerns for your safety while attending this event.

Handmade Arts and Open Mic at Art & Coffee

Posted in Artists, Deep Ellum, photography, Shows with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by artlovemagic

Our March Art & Coffee show focused on handmade arts, like crochet, woodworking, jewelry and facepainting. It was a chance for us to feature some new and rarely seen artists who make functional, personal arts. We also brought our open mic back, inviting audience members to perform poetry and music.

One of the most fun things about Art & Coffee these days is how many local photographers show up with cameras, shooting all the cool stuff that goes down. These images are from audience member Vanessa Bates. Beautiful!

Thanks IT’S A GRIND for hosting us, and thanks Vanessa for capturing it all.

ArtLoveMagic Raises The Bar For The Dallas Arts Scene With UNDERGROUND 2010

Posted in Artists, Love, photography, PR, Shows with tags , , , on February 1, 2010 by artlovemagic

report by Gary Brown
photos by Jenice Johnson

I knew when I drove up to Southside on Lamar within only 40 minutes of the opening of UNDERGROUND 2010 by ArtLoveMagic to discover parking lots already maxxed out and beautiful traffic jams everywhere… that it was going to be a very good night.  I was not wrong.  Like a gushing, ebullient lava flow flooding the facility, throngs of people pleasantly meandered or stood in fixated mesmerization all along the arteries of busy, positioned artists.  To my eye, 1,000+ persons in attendance on this night would not be a stretch.   In only its second year, this innovative and intriguing UNDERGROUND event has so soon become a badly needed fixture on the Dallas arts scene.  With a stellar and lengthy list of firsts and considerably noteworthy accomplishments already logged in ArtLoveMagic’s 3+ year history, it is no small matter for them to declare UNDERGROUND 2010 as their most successful event to date and for me, seeing was believing.

It is not possible to list all of the various artists and disciplines represented at this multilevel, indoor festival which somehow managed to house multiple dozens of visual and performing artists, all “working live”.  No, forget terming this a mere festival, UNDERGROUND constitutes more of a joyously laboring, industrious village of artisans.   In addition to displaying vast galleries of their works on display and for sale, all of these friendly, energized professionals were thoroughly involved in the active production and demonstration of their skills.  Yet, even this did not interfere with them continuously engaging and answering questions from the ever-present, inquisitive and fascinated crowds gathered around each of their workspaces.  Say “Wow”.

Performing singers, songwriters, poets, spoken word artists, musicians and bands kept folks simultaneously riveted to stages created both inside and outside of the Jeanette Kennedy Gallery.  In true ArtLoveMagic style, huge canvasses were erected which allowed the public to participate in creating community artworks, including trying their own hand at air brushing.  Hey, when was the last time you could walk right up to a smoking t-shirt screening operation bent on slavishly printing really cool shirts from scratch (even on your own shirts brought from home) in an effort to fill a constant stream of orders from those desiring to both commemorate the event while helping to raise badly needed funds for the Haiti Relief effort?  Live photography, jewelry making, visual and sculptured art of every feasible nature and much more, all in-process, en masse; what an inspiring and creatively stimulating experience this was.  100% ArtLoveMagic.

As I stated, I can’t possibly begin to identify the long, long list of amazing, contributing artists present at UNDERGROUND 2010 but you really should know who they are, every gloriously talented one of them.  Your life will likely benefit from meeting them, studying what they do and hopefully, possessing some of their works, yourself.  Go to if you want to try getting their names, contact information and what I am sure will be many wonderful photos of this event.  However, above all, get on ArtLoveMagic’s email list so as not to miss out on the huge number of events they produce and promote all year long and… never, never miss UNDERGROUND again.

Gary Brown