Best Unsanctioned Urban Memorial (2011)

Frankie 45 tags all around Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum has pretty much always been a neighborhood covered in graffiti — beautiful street art, let's be clear, and pieces that are often commissioned by local business owners at that. Interesting, then, that the most uplifting of all the tags found these days in the neighborhood are its newest, blatantly unsanctioned efforts. In the wake of the death of 24-year-old Frankie Campagna on New Year's Day, spray-painted homages started popping up all around the neighborhood, honoring the young Deep Ellum native, bartender and frontman of the adored area greaser punk outfit Spector 45. Most simply read "45," referencing Campagna's "Frankie 45" nickname. Few, if any, have been taken down. Fitting: Campagna's father, Frank Sr., owns the Deep Ellum gallery Kettle Art and is himself responsible for a number of the other murals found on Elm, Main and Commerce streets. As much as his father, the younger Campagna was as an iconic figure in the small, close-knit neighborhood. Thanks to the "45" scribbles that still line the neighborhood walls, he remains one. More important is the message behind these marks: Deep Ellum has always been and forever will be a place that takes care of its own.

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