We had the good fortune of connecting with Randall Garrett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Randall, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Plush Gallery opened twenty years ago as an underground art gallery. It was designed to be an experimental space for artists and creatives to show work, to perform, and to exchange ideas. A commercially viable space, yes, but also one which did not follow the established rules for what an art gallery could be or do. From our very first group show, “New Pollution,” to the present day, we have fostered an environment in which artists have more freedom in what they bring to the experience. Yes, Plush is a commercial art gallery, and, our shows are curated to be the very best they can be. But, the artists who show at our space have a voice and a stake in the gallery and the presentation of their work in it. And, in a sense, this also applies for those who come out to our shows and provide the buzz which keeps things interesting. We have held shows where not only the artists push the edges in their work and performance, but also where the community becomes a part of the show. An example of this would be the group show “Jonze,” where we built skate ramps inside the gallery and patrons brought their decks to the opening to skate while they enjoyed the art on the walls. So, that sense of creative collaboration and of fostering community are the qualities which have forged our success, creating a bond between the artists in our gallery and our audience.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Before opening Plush Gallery, I went to graduate school at The University of North Texas, and with a number of my colleagues, joined the artist run space 500X Gallery in the early 90s. It was there I learned the practical necessities of running a professional art gallery. As their first public relations officer, I was in charge of promoting the gallery events with the local press and patrons. At the same time, I was developing the language of my own art practice, writing a thesis project entitled “Like Random Piles of Debris in My Mind,” and making my first attempts at both installation and performance. Each of those early formative ideas have stuck with me over the years, as I have refined a practice which explores art as a mapping of personal narratives and mental projections through collage, assemblage, performance, and most recently vlogging. The most difficult challenges along the way were continuing to develop my craft when there was no following and no time to work. The love of art, my connection to other artists, and a burning desire to continue developing my creative expression have all been what has brought me through to today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Growing up in the Ozark Mountains, I have always been drawn to nature. With that inspiration, the numerous walking trails around Dallas, the nature preserves along the Trinity River, and watching sunsets at White Rock Lake are some of my favorite activities. I love back streets, dive spots, local businesses, and thrift shopping. So, La Reyña de Mariscos and Rincon Tapatio in Oak Cliff, Lalibela Ethiopian on Forest Lane, and Ba Le Vietnamese on Shiloh Road, are some of my favorite places to eat. We would hit the Gaston Bazaar, Lucky Dog Books, Value World Thrift Store, and hang out with Daniel Yanez and the crew over at Cold Soda and Elevate Studios, before finishing the night shooting pool at Lakewood Landing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many whose influence has been crucial to the continued development and success of Plush Gallery over the years. My parents, DeWayne and Linda Garrett, showed me the value of hard work and taught me business skills. The early support of Michael Wynne, who collected the work of our gallery artists before anyone else recognized their greatness, was invaluable. Architect Gary Cunningham has been both a moral and practical support of our work over the years, encouraging our efforts at every step along the way. Dallas Morning News art critic Janet Kutner gave us valuable early coverage, enhancing the reputation of the gallery in the days before social media. And the amazing artists who have shown with us bringing their creativity, inspiration, and most important of all, positive attitudes. Among the hundreds of artists who have contributed to the vitality of Plush Gallery are Jason Villegas, Donna Huanca, C.J. Davis, Andy Don Emmons, Brent Ozaeta, Favio Moreno, Norman Kary, Mark Todd, Marjorie Schwarz, Pedro Vélez, Eric Doeringer, Fernando Fershow Escarcega, Dulce Eme, Raymond Butler, James Eck Rippie, Betsy Odom, Mark Nelson, Robert Pruitt, Pepe Mar, Brad Tucker, Peregrine Honig, and innumerable others.
shoutout_plush_02.jpg – Michael Wynne shoutout_plush_04.jpg – Michael Wynne shoutout_plush_06.jpg – Daniel Sunshine all others – Plush Gallery