Tim Rogers

Deep Ellum

The Worst Mural in Dallas

The Case Building's newish mural leaves much to be desired.

About 25 years ago, I worked in Deep Ellum, directly across Elm Street from where the enormous Epic development now stands. I have my doubts about whether Uber will ever put 3,000 people in the place, but someone will. That sort of change can be dizzying. Our own Peter Simek has a good story about a radical shift underway in Deep Ellum that you should read if you haven’t.

But one thing Peter didn’t address—and you can bet this will come up in his annual review—is the giant robot head that was recently painted on the 17-story Case Building, on the other side of Deep Ellum from The Epic. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the robot head is dumb. I sometimes commute on a bicycle through Deep Ellum. In September, when the robot head appeared, as I was pedaling east on Main Street, I stopped at the light at Hall Street, looked up, and thought, “Why did they paint a 17-story robot head on The Case Building? That looks dumb.”

Actually, no, I take that back. The first time I saw it, I thought, “What is that yellow thing with all the green creepers painted on the building? That looks dumb.” I took a picture and showed it to a co-worker the next day. She said, “That’s obviously a robot. Why do you hate it so much?”

I hate it because The Case Building already had a variegated, though not unattractive, façade, with its balconies, windows, and brick, and the robot head creates visual noise. I hate it because, as I came to learn, it was painted by a fellow who, despite going by the silly name PixelPancho, has done murals all over the world and should have known that The Case Building wouldn’t be improved by the addition of a robot head. According to his website, Mr. PixelPancho’s “work is driven by a forgotten world that sits under a blanket of dust. In it, broken and dented robots are found decaying into the ground, their iron and rusted copper bodies falling and laying as if discarded into oblivion. Although the scale of his work ranges, the surreal realm is a constant thread, piercing through contemporary and historical references that add a sense of relevance within our place and time.” Whatever that means. I also hate it because some of his other murals are actually pretty cool.

I hate it because now The Case Building is like your uncle who puts his gray hair in a short ponytail that he believes makes him look hip. I hate it because it’s the 17-story Deep Ellum version of the Portlandia “Put a Bird on It” skit. I hate it because it’s dumb.

Thank you for time and attention to this matter. I feel much better now.

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