The Texas painter's latest series is inspired by his love of the classic country-western venues of his state.
Five years have passed since C&I featured Texas artist Jon Flaming in the pages of the February 2013 Art Gallery section. But since that feature — about Flaming’s paintings he makes during time off from jobs as a corporate designer and illustrator — the artist has kept in touch with us and updated us on his new projects.
Flaming’s latest series of colorful, whimsical, transformative pieces was inspired by his fascination with live country music in his home state. In decades past, singers and bands cut their teeth traveling around to different dance halls in the Lone Star State, giving the residents of smaller towns looks at plenty of future superstars. Many of those old places are still kicking, hosting shows every weekend; some are but beautiful memories for those who two-stepped on their dance floors.
Says Flaming: “I am particularly interested in the old Texas dance halls — the wooden structures with worn sawdust floors and band stages adorned with lights and vintage advertising from local businesses.
“On any given Friday or Saturday night, these places echo with the distinctive sound of fiddle and slide guitar that beckons folks to come and forget their troubles for a bit and enjoy a cold beer and good friends.”
Flaming’s interest in the dance hall scene was fueled by his music-rich upbringing.
“I grew up surrounded by music. My mom and dad are both musicians. My grandmother was a musician. My dad was the music leader in the small Texas Baptist churches I grew up in, and my mom played the piano. She also taught piano lessons in our home and so as a kid, I heard music all day long. I play the drums and the piano — I played drums in a rock ’n’ roll band in high school.”
He fell hard for the dusty wooden gathering spots of Texas when the country-western music bug bit him in the early ’80s, during his college years at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos.
“[It was] shortly after George Strait played his first gig at Cheatham Street Warehouse in ’75. Trips to New Braunfels and to Gruene Hall during my college days definitely made a strong impression.”
Take a look below at some pieces of the “Texas Dance Halls & Honky Tonks” series. And find more about Jon Flaming at his website.
Images: Courtesy Jon Flaming