100 Dallas Creatives: No. 84 Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
Is there really an underground art scene in Dallas? Are there artists who deserve recognition that the mainstream art press and art patrons completely bypass? And if major publications suddenly began paying attention to the up-and-comers would it validate or negate these raw, edgy movements? Would it disturb the young creative process if their avant garde art shows were swarmed by the suburban upper crust who read about their "adorable art show" in the Morning News? Is that attention the young artist wants? Doesn't that scene deserve a publication written in its voice, by its own members?
These are the questions we imagine running through Javier Valadez's head in the early stages of THRWD. One of the city's only local zines, THRWD is the brainchild of Valadez and former Dallas Observer contributor, Lee Escobedo. It's an amalgam of art and prose focused on fringe culture. It's cool, but not pretentious; smart, but not pedantic. And it adds a necessary voice to the cultural dialogue in Dallas. So, in case you hadn't gathered this yet: Valadez and THRWD, we think you're pretty rad.
You grew up around here, right? What keeps you here?
I grew up in the southern suburb of Duncanville. And like any other kid that lives in the suburbs, there's always a need to explore beyond what's there. I used taking day-long trips to the city and skateboard with friends. That opened up my eyes to the local graffiti, art, and music scene. It was and still is a very energetic experience, that's what keeps me here.
You studied architecture? Is that still an interest? Do you have a day job in that field?
I actually never finished my architecture degree. I studied it and loved it for many years. It is still something I admire and read a lot about. Especially living in Dallas with world class architecture, how can you not? But no, I do not have a day job in that field. I dropped out of college at 21, after getting a job as a graphic designer for a printing company. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I really enjoyed it and the pay was great. It was there that I had the opportunity to developed my designing skills and do satisfying work for companies. Now I manage that company which serves as the production hub for THRWD Magazine.
How did THRWD come into being?
At that time I had made friends with creative people in the city by being active in the underground art scene at a younger age, most of whom I met at F6 Gallery. I met musicians, artists, photographers, and friends with great ambitions. THRWD grew out of frustration. There was all this talent, yet no local publication was talking about any of them. There was a creative movement being started by some talented people and there was no one there to document it or to even expose it.
I saw an early potential of creating a publication that could do that with support from the local community. All I had to do was recruit the right people to work with and explain the vision. The decision to make it a printed publication, instead of a blog, was crucial because print tends to have a greater impact. I grew up reading skateboard magazines, Rolling Stone, VICE, and others. I knew the influence those publications had on me, and I knew THRWD could somewhat have the same on others.
What do you see as its primary goal in Dallas?
The idea for THRWD was to be a platform to showcase all this talent that embodied the rawness of the underground creative scene. That was the beginning. We were young, energized and we just went with our instincts. Now we are more experienced and curated. Thanks to the greater efforts by the other co-founder, Lee Escobedo, THRWD has evolved into something more than just a magazine. It's a brand. It's slowly becoming a house-hold name among Dallas. We have made it our mission to keep showcasing new, unseen talent, but at the same time creating relationships with businesses, communities, and other creative groups who's mission is to provide Dallas with new experiences. It is also our goal to educate and inspire other people. To show them that there are opportunities out here for young artists and musicians.
What other creative outlets do you have?
I've always loved to paint. Painting to me is my greatest outlet. I've sold a few paintings and done some murals here and there, but I don't do that much often these days. Honestly, thinking creatively is my main outlet now. There's something about taking an idea and making it come to reality that's brings a lot of satisfaction. Whether it's putting a music show together or building a sensory board for my kid, creating something for others to enjoy is a great outlet. I've also been practicing my writing as I begin to contribute more to the Web site part of THRWD.
What inspires you?
I'm going to have to say my daughter, because she embodies both things that inspire me the most, love and the future. The future because seeing what people can accomplish in a short amount of time is fascinating. Also when I think about how far I've come and how much further I can go, it really inspires me. And love because, without it, why would we even do what we do? It takes passion and love for oneself to do great things, specially creative people who create for others.
What is Dallas missing?
This question is a bit vague. [Laughs] A lot of things! But honestly, Dallas has all the right ingredients to have everything. I've seen it in the restaurant scene, I've seen it with its ambitious park and housing projects, and I see it everyday. We got a mayor that supports the arts and that wants to put Dallas on an international level. We got great groups and collectives that are making a lot of efforts to develop this city into a place that everyone can enjoy. We even got dozens of food and music festivals all year round. If I could say one thing in specific that Dallas is missing though, it would have to be a bit more cultural enrichment. We have a lot of communities that are made up of many different cultures, and Dallas does need to embrace that more.
If I were to follow you around on a typical Saturday, what would we do?
If you were to follow me around a year ago, we would probably have gone to whatever fashion show/local music act/gallery opening was going on that night and have creative conversations over some cocktails. I'm a family man now. On a typical Saturday I take my girlfriend and daughter out for brunch, go for hikes or some outdoor activity, do some housekeeping and change a few diapers in between. I wouldn't change that for anything though.
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99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin
98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo
97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet
96. Funny Man Paul Varghese
95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña
94. Magic Man Trigg Watson
93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz
92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King
91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno
90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger
89. Literary Lion Thea Temple
88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele
87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart
86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards
85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler