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The Artist Behind the Vaughan Brothers Mural Discusses His Love of the Texas Blues Legends

After more than two years of planning, organizing and fundraising — ending a quarter century in which Dallas has failed to pay tribute to its most legendary pair of musical siblings — the Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved plans for a monument to Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan. The piece, proposed under the auspices of the Vaughan Brothers Art Project, will be erected in Kiest Park, barely a mile from the brothers' childhood home in Oak Cliff.

Casto Solano is the artist who came up with the concept for the newly-approved monument. A native of Spain, Solano speaks little English, but was able to discuss the project with the Dallas Observer via email and with the aid of a translator. 

Dallas Observer: When did you first get the idea to create a tribute to the Vaughan Brothers in Dallas?

Solano: I am always looking for new public commissions that enthuse me. I select those in which I participate based on the concordance between my passions and those that drive the project. I love music, and draw on it for inspiration as I conceive and create my sculptures.  

How did you develop the concept for the monument?

First, I had to understand the motives which gave rise to this homage to the Vaughan brothers. In doing so, I immersed myself in their music, their personalities and their relationships with other musicians and with the local community. I undertook a thorough investigation into Dallas; especially Oak Cliff and the installation site at Kiest Park. Having completed my research, I began to think about how my proposal would take shape.

Did you work with other people along the way?

Once the idea had come to me I worked closely with my team to develop an adequate presentation. We are all music enthusiasts; in fact two of us are musicians. As such, our proposal was created with passion and feeling. Without doubt this contributed in an extremely positive way to the end result.

When did you first hear Jimmie's or Stevie's music?

I don’t remember precisely when I first heard it; but both "Tick Tock" and "Look at Little Sister" deeply affected me. These two songs are those which I listened to on repeat whilst I meditated on my proposal, and are what inspired my ideas and the proposal that I ultimately presented.

What does Stevie's music mean to you?

In addition to his virtuosity and force, his music is pure feeling; something that comes across vividly in his recordings, and most especially when you see him perform live.

Have you seen either of them in person?

Sadly, I have not yet had the opportunity to meet Jimmie in person, nor attend a live performance. Having watched the recordings of his concerts, I can well imagine what a fantastic experience it must be, and hope that I will have the chance to see him perform in the very near future.

Will you be here when the project is unveiled?

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Naturally, I fully intend not to miss the party. With a little luck, perhaps a performance by Jimmie will be organized, and I will have the opportunity to finally see him play.

Have you had any contact with Jimmie since this became public?

Contact is prohibited during the selection stages of a commission. However, we will now soon be in touch to get to know each other, and discuss numerous details, which will, without doubt, make an enormous contribution to improving the artwork in its ultimate and definitive form.

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