100 Dallas Creatives: No. 97 Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet

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Willie Baronet is an artist who wears his intentions on his sleeve. His primary interest is interventionist art and he spends much of his time creating projects that force people to pay attention to someone or something. Currently, Baronet is preparing for a coast-to-coast homeless sign buying trip that will contribute to his ongoing art history project, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS.

Everyone has been talking about him from the Huffington Post to Yahoo News.. He has told his story for Oral Fixation and at a 2012 TEDxSMU talk. But, Baronet got his start by drawing Snoopy as a young boy. Now, he is a professor at Southern Methodist University in the Temerlin Advertising Institute.

World. Meet, Willie Baronet.

Describe your aesthetic in five words.

Human, organic, unexpected, uncomfortable, prickly.

What in your daily life inspires you?

People taking risks, compassion, street art, technology, cheetahs running in slow motion, optimism, my students, the patina and lettering on a homeless sign, gratitude, curiosity, serendipity, children's drawings, chocolate.

What's your contribution to Dallas arts scene?

That is probably not for me to decide...I'd like to think I contribute my curiosity, my rigorous self-examination, and my willingness to lovingly provoke others.

What brought you to Dallas and what is keeping you here?

The design and advertising business brought me here from Louisiana. I'm still here because of my incredible circle of friends, collaborators, teachers, students, and colleagues. Dallas is more diverse and progressive than people think. I love being a part of this community.

What is something that Dallas doesn't know about you?

I take beautiful photographs of my cat's hairballs. I enjoy dressing in drag, but rarely do. I collect too many things. My favorite words are nipple and canker. I have an outie. I'm the eldest of 8. I promise I will take a selfie with you before it's all over.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Not-So-Abstract Pretentiousnessism.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

The same things I'm already doing. And, take a trip around the world in order to buy a homeless sign in every country that has a homeless person with a sign. Oh, and I'll upgrade my camera and computer.

100 Dallas Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.