Artists have known the perks and pain points of working from home long before the rest of the world caught on. Many of Dallas’ visual creatives, both up-and-coming and established, prefer the comfort and inspiration that comes from creating in a familiar place. But how that environment informs their work—and how their aesthetic, in turn, influences their living spaces—is wholly individual. We went inside the homes of six local artists, whose means of self-expression on and off the canvas give a revealing peek into their distinct personalities and points of view.
On one of her habitual drives through Fort Worth’s Fairmount historic district, known for its neighborly bonhomie, artist Heather Essian stumbled upon a property that was more of a construction site than it was a home. The circa-1905 dwelling, which had been converted into a quadplex sometime in the 1940s, was in the process of being returned to its original single-family glory, thanks to a group of area investors. Essian and her husband, Jim, purchased the house mid-renovation, and Jim took on the role of general contractor on top of his responsibilities as the founding pastor at The Paradox Church.
Heather relied on her own artistic instincts in designing the space, bringing in pieces that had as much history as the house itself. “I feel more calm in a space that has more earth tones and less bright color, and my artwork reflects that, too,” she says. “I paint a lot of neutral paintings that are heavy on texture, and that’s what I like to surround myself with.” In 2017, after 14 months of intensive restoration, the couple and their three young daughters moved into the home of their dreams.