Depicting everything from Big Tex to the Magnolia Pegasus to twilight at White Rock Lake, the dynamic series of original paintings, prints and postcards is making its rounds through a number of venues in town. They currently include Amsterdam Bar near Fair Park, Stan’s Blue Note on Greenville and the boutique Fête-ish, where postcards are for sale. Formerly you may have caught the show at Buffalo Exchange, the Nouveau 47 Theatre, or at the Bathhouse Cultural Center’s Spring Art Mart.
For Allen, who grew up near Lakewood, the project represents something of a homecoming. Having spent four years studying painting at New York City’s Cooper Union, he only recently returned to his hometown Dallas, where the skyline is both familiar and nostalgic. “Working on the project has renewed my sense of pride in the city,” he said.
For Kirkman, originally from Manassas, Va., Dallas is still new and ripe for adventure. Having also received her B.F.A. from the Cooper Union before painting abroad on the Harriet Hale Wooley Scholarship and Residency in France, she works on a number of projects in Dallas ranging from Fortran-inspired tech art to set design for the Ochre House Theatre in Exposition Park.
“I like the art scene here because it’s really vibrant, intimate and open,” says Kirkman, who has also exhibited at Dallas’ 500-x, Craighead Green Gallery and Rising Gallery. “[The Rainbow City project] has been a great excuse to explore the city.”
Together, Kirkman and Allen are creating a style that’s entirely new to both of them.
While Kirkman’s personal projects pay special attention to the art-historical cannon, with particular respect for the Old Dutch Masters like Van Eyck and Vermeer, Allen’s art is more about music—Deep Ellum inspired punk, dubstep and hip-hop. “My work process is more careful and controlled, while Justin is the more playful, colorful one,” Kirkman said.
“Working with him has gotten me to let go and have fun.”
The combined result is a little bit street art, a little bit abstract expressionism, and totally proud-to-be-a-North-Texan. For more about their current and ongoing projects, check out rainbowcitydallas.us.