The Continental Gin Building Turns 25

By Amber LaFrance

Earlier in November, the 125-year old Continental Gin Building, celebrated its 25th Anniversary and showcased work from various locally-based artists, all under one roof. The Gin as I’ll call it, is a serious part of Dallas history, it is after all one of the oldest creative communities here in town. I got a sneak peek into the studios of the artists who call the building home. You’re at that age where you need to start decorating your pad with more than just push-pinned sheets over your windows and neon beer signs. Investing in local emerging artists is a great way to not break the bank, but give your place a sophisticated feel. Chicks dig art, trust me. Here are a few of my favorites from the crew at the Gin:

Alison Jardine 
A British painter who’s serving up some serious creativity during her Dallas Arboretum residency, Alison embraces the light, forms and color in nature. Her oil paintings focus on vibrant colors, patterns and pixilation.

What’s very cool is that she created the Artist-in-Residence program at the Arboretum in hopes of building an artistic relationship between the community and a public space that people come to escape into nature.

Check it out: “More Prismatic Explorations”

Erika Jaeggli
Born in Baltimore to a New Yorker father and German mother, Erika’s work is a culmination of heritage influences and life experiences. As a mixed media artist that specializes in landscape and portrait work, her use of oil and paper combine to create signature works that not only speak to the subject captured, but also to the artist personally. I’m personally fond of her brazen switch from portraitures to a more abstract body of work.

“The shift toward abstraction,” Erika claims, “came from a deep yearning to make art that has never been made before.  I knew that if I kept working from photographs – albeit ones I myself had taken – my work would always be limited on some level to a literal representation. The art that I love the best tells stories, shows expression and emotion, and takes risks. That is what I strive to do in my work.”

Her work has been showcased across Texas and even in Maryland and California. Recently Erika’s works have been shown alongside fellow Gin-mate Alison Jardine and others at the Dallas Arboretum. “Partnering with Alison…was a beautiful collaboration, in which we both grew tremendously. As the first of its kind at the Arboretum, this residency allowed us to examine ourselves as artists in the context of a major Dallas landmark.”

Check this out: “Pink in Pink”

Leonard Volk 
Architect turned photographer, Leonard is a Dallas staple, born and raised. While serving in the US Army in Germany back in 1950 he discovered his love for photography. After 30 years in architecture, he retired from his desk job and ventured out to explore life behind the lens.

His first book, Everyday, is literally full of 60 years of his treasured photography. It is seriously amazing.

Check this out: “Notre Dame”

Katherine Baronet
Katherine gave up the catwalk years ago when she made the switch from professional model to artist. This cheerful English painter blends oil and digital works that capture nature’s mix of light, motion and constant color.

Check this out: “Death of a Prince”

Ricardo Paniagua 
A Dallas native with 10 years of experience as a working artist, Ricardo’s work ranges from purely abstract to geometrically complicated. He uses eye-popping colors and graphic designs to create in various mediums, including print and sculptural pieces. Austin-based nonprofit Big Medium discovered his work and currently showcases his exhibition titled HARD EDGE IN DA PAINT for Austinites to enjoy. His work is trippy, interesting, colorful and brilliant.

Check this out:  I can’t recall the name, but there’s a 10-foot painting that’s both modern and free-flowing/organic at the same time.

Stop by the “hidden gem” of Deep Ellum and meet its community of artists, designers, craftsmen, film producers, painters, photographers and more. This spot is great for loading up on interesting home décor or finding a unique gift for your gal.

The absolute last thing you want to do is to pick up a shovel and throw snow into your yard for an hour or two. Fortunately, you can save essentially all of your energy by calling up a Naperville snow removal company to do the job for you.