Deep Ellum street art – photo essay (part 1)

A photo essay by Jason S. Sullivan, 04-23-20

Dallas, Texas | 04-12-20

Deep Ellum is an eclectic neighborhood in Dallas. With restaurants, bars, breweries, clubs, live music venues, and tattoo shops, it’s mostly known for its vibrant nightlife. While it has plenty of entertainment options, I was there to check out something else it’s known for: street art. There are over 50 murals painted in the area and no shortage of photo ops. (I found out later that I only saw about half of the murals, as I missed a few streets. A return visit and “part 2” is coming soon!)

The Deep Ellum street art is an impressive collection of artwork. Pop culture and politics. Local heroes and Dallas pride. Informative, thought-provoking, abstract, funky, and funny — there’s a little bit of everything.

While the artwork varies in theme, it all has one thing in common: These are exceptionally talented artists. Some of this artwork could easily be in an art museum. The photos don’t do it justice.

If you’re in the area, check out Deep Ellum and admire the street art. Then, stick around and support small businesses in a fun and funky neighborhood that takes pride in its diversity. 

I spent a couple of hours walking the streets and admiring the artwork. Here are some of my favorites. 


Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Dallas native and guitar hero. He would go on to become a tremendously influential blues-guitarist, until his untimely death in 1990. I visited his gravesite for the first time later in the day, which made the mural even more poignant.

I like the checkerboard pattern of color in the bricks. It’s pretty cool how all of the colors came together like that.


Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain: Chef. Writer. World-traveler. One of my idols. RIP.

I was walking down the street and came around a corner. I then saw this mural. I practically ran towards it in excitement; it instantly became the highlight of my day. There’s a popular picture of Anthony that inspired this mural. The partial shadow across the doorway was disappointing, but I’ll try again next time I’m out there.


La rebeldía es la vida; la sumisión la muerte.

Rebellion is life; submission is death. This quote is attributed to activist Ricardo Flores Magón, who is depicted in the top-right corner of the mural. I’m not familiar with this man and his work, but after a quick Google search, I want to know more.

Evocative, thought-provoking, and a damn fine mural. The color and details are striking.


Pac-Man

Surely you recognize Pac-Man and his friends. Well, maybe not friends — there’s some animosity with these guys. I thought this was a creative use of a small space. Pac-Man is my favorite arcade game, and you just don’t see enough love for the yellow dude. 


Welcome to Dallas – VisitDallas.com

This is my favorite photo of the day. The mural is much bigger, with many more Dallas icons depicted, but it was hard to get a decent picture of the whole thing. (Perhaps I’ll try panorama mode next time.) It’s one of the most prominent murals in the area and pretty amazing to see it in person. I like the reflection in the water in the parking lot.


While these were my favorites, the others were no less amazing. Be sure to click through the gallery to see larger versions of the pictures. Enjoy!

For more information about Deep Ellum, including a map of the murals, check out www.deepellumtexas.com



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