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Meet Randall Garrett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Randall Garrett. 

Hi Randall, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
From my youngest days, I’ve always been an artist. Since college, I have worked with art as a full-time discipline. In the early 90s, in grad school, I joined my peers at 500X Gallery, the historic artist-run space here in Dallas. That experience opened the door to my first position as gallery director, at Richland College in 1998. 

About eight years into showing my work professionally, in the year 2000, I began to see that the commercial art galleries were not responding to what I was doing, probably because my work was too eclectic. Typically, I would move from sculpture to painting, installation, performance, and then back, in order to keep things fresh. Everything I did was conceptually related, but difficult to represent commercially, due to its complexity. 

At the same time, I was getting excited about curating, having organized the 20th-anniversary show at 500X, a historical survey of the space. My friends started to ask, “Why don’t you open a space, Randall?” It was the DIY era, and with my experience of working professionally with other artists, I decided to go for it. So, Plush Gallery debuted in the spring of 2000, just south of downtown Dallas, in the neighborhood now called The Cedars. 

From the start, we programmed experimental shows, bringing in bands to play alongside the art, building skate ramps inside the gallery, hosting fashion shows and performance events. For some time, we even had a boutique in the backspace. It was like I wanted to try everything, to see what an art gallery was capable of becoming. 

In 2004, we went to our first art fair, The Stray Show in Chicago. That expanded the base of artists we showed, the collectors who bought our work, and the audience who followed us. So, for about three years, I was organizing shows at the Dallas space, going to art fairs and curatorial projects around the country, and working my full-time community college job. Inevitably, that led to burnout, and by 2007, I closed the gallery for the first time. I reopened in 2010 for another three-year run but still hadn’t found the balance. 

In 2018, I made a conscious decision to integrate my art career into the healthy flow of my life and reopened Plush Gallery. I had moved to Mexico the year before, and so I began to split my time between here and there, organizing carefully curated shows in the gallery, one for each season of the year. And in continuing with the theme from the earliest days of the gallery, I continued to show emerging contemporary artists, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovative work. 

Currently, we are showing local artists like Raymond Butler, Brent Ozaeta, Favio Moreno, SM Sanz, and Jackie Blanco, as well as some contemporary artists from Mexico, such as Dulce Eme and Juan Bollás. And this time around, I have added in a few veterans with a history of quality work, artists like Dwayne Carter, Norman Kary, and myself. We do events geared to each season, with spring, summer, fall, and holiday shows. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being an artist/creator and living a conventional family life has always been a challenge, one which I have attempted to integrate as an adult. At this point in my life, I don’t have that house with equity, but I have the trade-off of a rich set of life experiences, connections with those I love, and hopefully, the wisdom that brings. And, I am blessed with three intelligent and creative children, two adult sons and a teenaged daughter. I have always been the kind of dad who takes his kids along for the adventure, nurturing their inspiration and creativity, so I hope I have been a good father to them. Four years ago, my full-time community college position came to an end, and so the hustle as artist, gallery owner, and creator is for real. It’s my main and only source of income. So, at the point when I moved to Mexico, I committed myself fully to this path. I have found that I can expand and contract my everyday life to fit my physical and financial space and that this vision to bring my creation to the world is what sustains me. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am an artist and creator who owns an art gallery with a reputation for showing talented emerging artists. Plush Gallery has been the first exhibition space for many professional artists who have gone on to careers showing their work in museum settings, such as the Whitney Biennial, and to levels of international success. As an artist, I make work in collage, installation, and performance, with an emphasis on the energies of the street, and how it works as a metaphor for the functioning of my own mind, in its process of constant evolution, growth, and change. I am proud to be pushing myself to continually learn new ways of expression. A year and a half ago, at the start of the pandemic, I began to vlog, producing weekly videos around creativity and self-expression on my YouTube channel. They now number over fifty videos, showing my journey of personal growth, both here and in Mexico. And most recently, I have begun a business of creative mentoring, taking my knowledge as a professor, and bringing that into the realm of working with clients on their own journeys of growth and discovery. I have two solo shows opening in December here in the Metroplex, one titled “Street Songs,” and the other “Chilangringo,” a reference to my life as a gringo living in Mexico City. 

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, out in nature, running around barefoot in the woods, a “güero de rancho,” as they say in Mexico. This sense of freedom and connection to the elements has stayed with me to the present day, manifesting through the practices of yoga and meditation. Early on, I took up reading, a discipline which has led to my current writing practice. And, an early love of the moving image, which started with an 8mm film camera, leading into a VHS camcorder set up as a teenager, has grown into my current focus on vlogging, both as a document of my life and an art form. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Randall Garrett
Plush Gallery

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