Signs o' the Times: Campagna Takes His Rock Murals to the House of Blues
You can't help but see Frank Campagna all over this town. His rock-and-roll artwork celebrates musicians from Dallas and afar. The Deep Ellum Tunnel (R.I.P.) is a Campagna baby, and he's painted for Nokia Theatre and SXSW, as well as more than 1,000 murals for the Gypsy Tea Room (again, R.I.P.). He knows everyone. He co-owns the Observer's Best of Dallas Reader's Pick for Best Art Gallery and the (OK, this) critic's "Best Defiant Spirit," Kettle Art in Deep Ellum.
I am simultaneously fascinated and terrified by the man, and his success, his insider status and his incredible talent. Freaks me out. Which is why, when I was talking to Campagna at Dada last Saturday during Amanda Newman's fabulous birthday party, I just about lost my shit when he told me, "Andrea, you don't have to be uncomfortable talking to me." See, Campagna chewed me out once for giving him too much credit as an individual gallery owner. My sans-booze conversational skills are already lacking, and they lose every time to Campagna's ability to talk to anyone, anytime. And to call out folks on their bullshit, like my wimpy-girl inability to hold an adult conversation.
So let me take a page from your book, Frank: You rock, full-on, as gallery owner and artist, and the big party for you at the House of Blues tomorrow -- during which six of your new works will be unveiled -- is evidence of it. I can't wait to see your new stuff and attend a rockin' party that's all about you, sir. The festivities start at noon, and there's free barbecue. Frank's "greatest creation," son Frank, Jr., will rock out with his band live on the patio. --Andrea Grimes