Where the Creative Class of Dallas Looks For Inspiration
10 local designers, photographers, and artists explore the city to inform their own work.
"I like downtown Dallas on an early morning, when the streets are still empty. The mix of modern and traditional architecture and the way the light and color play off the surfaces and angles of the buildings like the DPL and the Meyerson make me feel like I am walking in a living Shore or Meyerowitz photograph. And if it’s not enough, there is always the DMA.” -Scott Womack
“When I need a nature fix, I drive 15 minutes from downtown to the Audubon Center and get some relief from the city. A little change from your daily surroundings can be very inspirational.” -Elizabeth Lavin
“I’m usually in my own den surrounded by my photography books, design books, and magazines. Looking at others’ work helps me get my creative juices flowing. I also like going to clients’ showrooms and seeing their new furniture and fabrics. I’m kind of all over the place in the Design District—from Allan Knight to B Gover.” -Danny Piassick
“One of the places I go to be inspired is the design studio of Jan Barboglio. I find that working with the welders on various pieces really ignites my right-brained thinking. It reminds me a lot of the time that I spent studying fine art at SMU. Removing myself from photography and concentrating on another medium, even for a short time, really seems to give me a jolt of creativity across the board.” -Gustav Schmiege
“I always find inspiration at the Nasher. It’s the first place I go when I feel stuck in my head. The James Turrell piece is one of my favorites.
I also have to admit I love going to Barneys to get a kick.” -Jocelyn Meintser
“I always find something interesting and new at David Sutherland. It could even just be something crazy and whimsical that Beau Black is wearing or a new furniture line they are featuring. I always feel rejuvenated after browsing through the Designers Guild fabric at ID Collection. When I feel like turning pages, I look to Mecox Garden and Forty Five Ten for their vast selection of books by Assouline and Rizzoli. And when nothing else works I meander through the smaller streets of Highland Park such as Alice Court, Crescent Court, Euclid Court, and Miramar Avenue, and I take in the architecture of the homes. I conclude my walk with a visit to Hermès and Ralph Lauren, and I somehow end up at Starbucks with latte in one hand and a New York Times in the other.” -Janet Rosell Rice
“People who bemoan the state of Dallas architecture—I’m talking to you, New York and Chicago transplants—need to get off their couches and truly explore this city. I’m a lifelong Dallasite and still love hopping in the car and just driving around, especially the more urban areas. Some of my favorites are the vibrant storefronts of Jefferson Boulevard in North Oak Cliff; the grand homes along Swiss Avenue; the cool concrete, steel, and glass of Uptown (specifically the Federal Reserve building—that one is a modernist gem); and the derelict hotels and commercial buildings of the Cedars.” -Todd Johnson
“A hands-on workshop that has nothing to do with my day job sparks my creativity. Recent favorites: a letterpress workshop at We Are 1976 and a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School.” -Jenny O’Connor
“To be honest, I get inspiration from the passion, drive, and energy of the people around me. In my particular case, that would be all of the talented and amazing chefs I get to work with day in and day out. When someone like Stephan Pyles creates a dish for one of our shoots, his intensity and love for what he does pushes me to push myself. It’s kind of weird, but I feel like I have no choice but to do my very best and explore ways to light and shoot that are as engaging and affecting as the dishes that are prepared for me. I draw equal inspiration from the Kent Rathbuns of the world, as I do Travis Mayes, who is the owner-chef of a hole-in-the-wall barbecue place named Meshack. They love what they do, and that love is contagious.” -Kevin Marple
“I find Dallas more thought-provoking the more I distance myself from it. I mean that in a good way!" -Stephen Karlisch