When Dallas Contemporary first contacted the Trinity Groves boys, asking if they'd consider letting Fairey dress up the empty walls of some West Dallas locations, the vision wasn't fully realized. "My partners had no idea who Shepard Fairey was," said Larry "Butch" MacGregor, who owns the property along with Phil Romano and Stuart Fitts. "The only reason I knew was because I had seen the movie Exit Through The Gift Shop."
Still, the group took a chance on a world famous, unknown kid.
Three buildings were lent for the project, all from Trinity Groves' richly growing collection of investment properties, which will eventually form "a cool fresh place for people to go to," according to Megan Lucas, the company's Chief Marketing Operator. But getting to that "cool fresh place" isn't without sacrifice. This week we saw the first Shepard Fairey mural fall in order to accommodate the new Hofmann's Hot Dogs, a '50s-style diner where folks will be able to dress their wieners with a variety of toppings.
The building at 340 Singleton needed windows added -- not to meet code criteria, but to provide a view of the bridge and let a little light in, and that required hacking into the artwork. Still, Butch says it hurt to see it go. "We hated to lose it, believe me, we loved it, but we knew probably at some point it would happen, and sure enough it did."
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The only contractual obligation with the Dallas Contemporary was that all of the murals must remain intact for six months. This one ran for nine. Reps for the Contemporary say that the short time commitment is directly due to the rapidly changing nature of development in West Dallas, and because graffiti is an art form based on its own impermanence. They added that everyone -- from artist to landlord to the project organizers -- knew that the Singleton area was in flux, and that those murals were most likely to be compromised quickest.
Still, Butch liked having it around and got to hang out with Fairey as he painted the thing. "After it was finished, somebody said that one of his paintings had just sold for 85 thousand dollars. I said 'We need to get some protective coating on the walls!'" They covered the work with a high-grade sealant that Butch says put 'em back at 100 dollars a gallon. The next day it got tagged. "We just washed it off with a garden hose."
But those protective feelings weren't to last. In May, plans were refined and handshakes exchanged: The 340 Singleton building would go to the dogs.
With the entire strip geared for rebirth as Dallas' newest neighborhood and restaurant incubator, things aren't looking too hot for the other two Singleton murals either, says Butch. "You better look at it while it's here, cause it won't be here long."