Oak Cliff Soap's Ariel Saldivar Comes Clean on Art, Business and the Worst Scent Ever

Categories: Q&A

Dan Johnson
Ariel Saldivar, Renaissance woman.
I first became aware of Ariel Saldivar at Wigwam, the Oak Cliff holiday pop-up shop most recently hosted at Oil & Cotton. Her Oak Cliff Soap Co. soaps were for sale and I bought three. Fancy soaps are one of those rare treats -- like a bag of gummy bears, but less likely to induce a diabetic coma.

Handcrafted soaps are just one facet of Saldivar's creative work, though. Not long after our interview, she popped up in 5x6, short film that put five questions to six local, working artists, getting their thoughts about creativity, art and what it means to be an artist. Salidvar was featured for her national jewelry line, Olivia K. If you're keeping track, that's two crafts -- soap making and jewelry, but wait, there's more. She also sings opera, lent her vocals to Broken Social Scene and once had an impromptu lunch with Sir Richard Branson. She's currently the associate director of the Goss-Michael Foundation and blogs about art history in her spare time.

Why soap? At the time she was trying to come up with a fundraiser for Oil & Cotton, the creative exchange and art education forum in Bishop Arts. Soap was something she could make that would generate scholarship funds so little neighborhood Picassos could attend classes for free. Oak Cliff Soap Co. premiered at the third Wigwam and raised over $1,000 for students. At six bucks a pop, that's pretty impressive. Keep in mind this was the second business Saldivar launched and her years creating and marketing Olivia K certainly helped her avoid some earlier missteps.

"It's great to have big dreams and big visions, but the reality comes down to dollars and cents. There are things to consider that none of us really want to consider -- not just the cost for supplies, but the cost of branding, too."

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We Are 1976's Vynsie Law on Inspiration and Competitive Bowling

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Darren Braun

When we first approached Vynsie Law for an interview, she was reluctant. Not because VoiceMemo on iPhone freaks her out, but she was afraid she'd come off like a real snoozer. That's the beauty of Law though. She's a cool kid who has no idea she's a cool kid.

Law is part of the trifecta that make up the owners/buyers/exceptional-taste-havers that own We Are 1976. If you've been in Dallas for more than a day, you're familiar with the shop - it's stocked with Japanese cutie things like crocheted cacti, tiny pistol necklaces and posters by local and national screenprinters - but what you're probably not familiar with is the humans behind the shop. And that's where we come in.

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Getting to Know Matt McCrimmon, the Man Behind the Mirrors

Categories: Q&A

Krista Hogg
In addition to being a cat king (obviously), Matt McCrimmon is the owner and chief mirror maker at Field Day He's also currently a finalist in the Uncommon Goods designer competition.
Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

Matt McCrimmon makes mirrors. Not the big sheets of nothing you find on bathroom walls, but ones that are circular, inspired by astrology and wrapped in flat-brushed copper. He's come a long way from his first job stocking the shelves of Kmart where aco-worker informed him that he had to shake the bottles of Italian dressing before straightening them because they sell better that way. Of course, that was a hazing ritual and no doubt the first in a long line of BS he's been fed from job to job. We've all been there, but McCrimmon actually did something about it. He spent 34 years trying his hand at furniture making, business owning and wine pairing, and his latest endeavor is just the right fit.

Mirrors an extremely niche product and such an unusual thing to specialize in, so how exactly did McCrimmon learn how to do what he does? He asked questions. In fact, he "asked one million and one fucking questions." He talked to everyone in the Dallas area who made mirrors, cut glass, new how to adhere this surface to that one. Everyone. He picked up the phone, met people in person and just kept following that trail of knowledge. Old-timers were always happy to share their wisdom, even if they didn't quite understand McCrimmon's vision. Maybe none of them had seen the constellation Aries hand cut in brass and set in a mirror, but they were about to.

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William Sarradet: A Need-to-Know Artist in Dallas' Underground Art Scene

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There's a revolution brewing just off Greenville Avenue. With a handful of cords, a projector and a few speakers, a DIY collective waves its middle fingers in the air at the fine art market. This is Two Bronze Doors. By day a small, nondescript house sits right off Lower Greenville's strip of bars and restaurants strip. On weekends and nights, the house becomes performance space. The porch fills with its passionate followers, there to cut their teeth on experimental art, video projections, harsh noise and glitch music. At the heart of TBD stands artist, performer, resident VJ, and one of the most forward-
thinking acts in Dallas, William Sarradet, also known as Half Asexual.

Sarradet curates the Viral Fantasy shows at TBD, a mixture of milky pop, early 2000's music video re-animation and performance art. Sarradet selects videos, sometimes with guest curators, that meditate on media singularity through pop music's most important epochs.

At a Half Asexual show you are peering into the looking glass. Staring back at you is Van Gogh's ear, Sauron's eye and Skynet's grin. We sat down with Sarradet to learn about his approach to creating the future by gathering the past, his DIY philosophy and the great American cartoon, Arthur.

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Welcome to Night Vale Creators Discuss Inspiration, Podcasts, Texas Roots

Categories: Q&A

Courtesy of Commonplace Books

Somewhere in the ether of geographic nothingness exists a small desert town that's more cut off from society than even the most heavily fortified separatist compound. It's got all the things that every small town has: a high school, a City Hall and an all-night diner. However, it also has things that would make even the most bustling metropolis more interesting, like glowing clouds, a sun that chooses to rise of its own accord and a dog park that functions under different rules of time and existence.

No one has ever visited this town, known only as Night Vale, but we know of its existence thanks to a popular podcast created by writers Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink who present the town's strange stories in the form of a community radio broadcast announced by actor and radio host Cecil Baldwin. The bi-monthly broadcast hasn't even hit its 50th episode yet but it's managed to earn a regular seat on iTunes Top 10 most downloaded podcasts and has even sparked a national tour that quickly sold out seats at places like this weekend's appearance at the The Lakewood Theater.

Cranor and Fink stopped at a "soul food buffet place" in Meridian, Mississippi, on their way to their next show to talk to Mixmaster about taking Welcome to Night Vale on the road, the show's deep roots in traditional storytelling and if Night Vale is actually either Mesquite or Marfa.

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Magnificent Beard's Connor Hill Doesn't Mind If You Call Him a Turd

Categories: Q&A

Just a normal dude floating in a bubble...

Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

Connor Hill is a hard worker in slacker dude clothing. He has no less than one million jobs, does his best to work "penis" into every answer and doesn't mind if you call him a turd. He's one of the smartypants behind Magnificent Beard, a duo of super talented printmakers.

Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Connor Hill. I'm a designer at Bottle Rocket apps , co-owner, printmaker, everything-er at Magnificent Beard, creative director at Transit Bicycle Company, freelancer, cat fluffer, penis toucher and Official Meat Fight thing maker.

Where are you from?
Houston, Texas

How did you learn to draw? One of those turtle ads?

Actually I did one of those when I was a kid and I got in big trouble because I sent it off without my mom knowing and we got a bunch of spam and she had to call them and harass 'em. I thought my dreams were going to come true.

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Meet Pinky Diablo, the Innately Weird Artist and Teacher with a Spare Toe

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Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

If we were your great grandmother, we'd say Tom Sale is a character. Mostly because he is. These days Sale is widely known as Pinky Diablo, creator of affordable art for the masses. His recent show at Webb Gallery was truly captivating, and after we spent a little time with him, we learned he is too.

Who are you and what do you do?
When I was 3, I called myself Bom-Bom. When I was 40, I renamed myself Pinky Diablo. I am an artist, teacher, preacher and stirrer up of trouble. I paint skeletons on the insides of old book covers. I carve skulls in the bowls of silver spoons. I am a Facebook addict.

Where are you from?
I was born in Corpus Christi during a hurricane.

How did you get into art/sewing/odd things?
From my grandmother. When I was in second grade, I got up every morning and added several feet to a crochet chain that ended up hundreds of feet long. I think I am innately odd. For the past several years, I have worked a few hours every week with my friend and fabric artist, Judy Vetter. She provides the sewing know-how. I provide the odd. We have made some fabulous art together.

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Dolly Python's Gretchen Bell Doesn't Put Up with Bullshit

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Gretchen Bell
Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

Gretchen Bell didn't always know what she wanted to do, but she sure as hell knew what she didn't want. Shockingly enough, she liked Kirk Cameron as a teen, but now if you ever need to tell someone publicly to fuck off, check out her Facebook page and she'll help you out.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Gretchen Bell and I run a shop called Dolly Python. We're a music shop, a vintage clothing store and also an antique mall. We focus mostly on non-traditional antiques. It's not like Grandma and Grandpa antiques. We're not any of that kind of shit. We're very unusual items.

Do you love what you do?
Yes, absolutely. I've worked since I was 16 years old and I knew exactly what I didn't want to do. I just had to figure out a way to get out of it.

What didn't you want to do?
I didn't want to have to put up with other people's bullshit.

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Get to Know Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch and Kitty Wigs

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A selfie by Julie Jackson
Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

Who are you and what do you do?
Julie Jackson. Subversive Cross Stitch and Kitty Wigs [websites that offer pretty much what their names suggest].

Where are you from?
Dallas, baby!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be?
A house painter.

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Get to Know Oil & Cotton's Shannon Driscoll -- Teacher, Community Builder, Fire Eater

Categories: Q&A

Kayli House Cusick
Get to know the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

Shannon Driscoll has been immersed in art most of her adult life. She's a former art conservator, co-owner Oil & Cotton, and the teeniest fireball you'll ever meet. Don't believe us? Check out what she says about her party trick.

Unfamiliar with Oil & Cotton? Here is what we wrote about the Oak Cliff creative exchange in our 2013 Best of Dallas issue: "Its core mission is to promote arts education and community building, but philosophically it has branched into something bigger. Oil & Cotton has become a hub of idea exchange, a salon for art and a spot where creative passion can find both a home and collaborators. "

Where are you from?
Baltimore, Maryland

What did you want to be when you were little?
I went through a couple of career fields as a child. I was really into exploration, so I loved Indiana Jones. I liked insects for a while. My mom bought me a book on insects so I loved identifying things, bugs.

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