Billy Zinser

A small army of brightly colored, avocado-seed-shaped creatures is lined up on the shelves of artist Billy Zinser's home studio on Lower Greenville. He calls the smooth little critters "Macrodons." Made of molded plastic, they are headless, featureless forms, made in limited editions and sold as collectibles for $40 each.

Zinser's sculptures have caught the interest and imagination of children, grown-ups and collectors who find the objects online or at pop-up galleries around town. Zinser, who grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where his aunt gave him art lessons, isn't sure why he's so obsessed with repeating the shape of the Macrodons, both in the fist-sized toys and in heavily layered paintings on canvas. "I was obsessed with Legos as a kid," he says. "But I don't know where the Macrodons came from. They are whatever you want them to be."

Jeff Koons, Banksy and Shepard Fairey are among Zinser's artistic influences. If he follows his long-term plans, Zinser, 28, envisions making Macrodons in all types of materials and sizes, including giant inflatables (one of which will be on display at Artopia) that he wants to see spring up unexpectedly in public spaces. There will be piñata Macrodons and plush toys, maybe jewelry or even edible versions.

"I'm very happy to be making art in Dallas," says Zinser, who's also director of the Marty Walker Gallery. "You have a great audience for your work here and people are willing to participate and support the arts in this city. That's a good combination."

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