THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ART
When Sandi Chapman, founder and chief director for the iconic Center for BrainHealth, a part of the University of Texas at Dallas, wanted something that would both illustrate brain function and inspire visitors, she turned to David Gappa Signature Fine Art Glass.
Chapman, who has been a collector and enthusiast of Gappa’s work for years, originally approached him in 2014. “She reached out to me and asked if I would like to design a glass installation within their new building, the Brain Performance Institute. This was the perfect job!” Gappa exclaims. “Sandi gave me the opportunity to design everything from the very beginning and trusted me to design a ceiling installation that would capture the essence of what their new building represents.”
To bring his vision to life, Gappa designed and fabricated 175 six-foot glass spires and 1,050 five-foot-six-inch handblown glass spheres, each individually illuminated with an LED, which is programmed to slowly pulsate an array of colors. The entire glass and steel installation weights approximately 5,300 pounds and is 50 feet wide and 40 feet long.
“The installation, titled Introspection, was designed to capture the essence of thought as it pulsates through a field of synapses,” Gappa says. “It is a visible interpretation of an often hidden process in our bodies: the communication of nerves. I wanted to artistically capture the catalytic movement of energy as it transfers through our creative minds.”
The art and educational installation hangs as a focal point in the multipurpose room, which is inside an elliptical-shaped building and serves as a visual reminder of the Institute’s commitment to enhancing, protecting and restoring brain health across the lifespan. “The Brain Performance Institute is a building that says, ‘We are here to help you enhance the brain you have,’” says Larry Speck, the lead architect on the project.
Creating the art piece took 9,400 man-hours. Gappa was assisted by a team of 15, including glass artisans at his studio in Grapevine, Gemini Light, and MP Custom Fabrication, the project lead for the steel fabrication and installation of the artwork.
The design process began in 2014 and was truly underway by 2016. Gappa relied heavily on his architectural experience throughout the design and installation processes.
The human brain is incredible. It is safe to say that the Center for BrainHealth has been made more incredible because of the art that David Gappa’s brain created.
TEXAS WHISKEY WITH HISTORY
Benjamin Rush Milam was a Texas freedom fighter who fought in the battle for San Antonio and died fighting for Texas’ independence in 1835. Marsha Milam, his first cousin six times removed and herself a name to be reckoned with in Texas music and entertainment circles, founded Milam Distillery to honor the Milam spirit of independence and action. Her efforts garnered her a rare Double Gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition for the distillery’s first product, the Ben Milam Bourbon.
Crafted in Blanco, Texas, both Ben Milam products, the bourbon and rye, are distilled using filtered water from the spring-fed Blanco River. The bourbon is a sipping whiskey with a smooth finish, a nose of brown sugar and caramel, and tastes of vanilla and cinnamon. The rye offers a nose of baking spice, vanilla, mint and dill with tastes of cane sugar, honey and nutmeg.
“Bourbon is defiant in the face of the world we live in today,” says Milam. Along with head distiller and general manager Rikk T. Munroe and head brewer Jordan Osborne, Milam has crafted not only a fine whiskey but is developing a brand lifestyle that focuses on family, friendship and, since this is Texas, Friday night lights football.
It is strongly recommended that both products be savored neat, or on the rocks, but they can also be enjoyed in a Manhattan or Old-Fashioned cocktail. Everything from its roots to the flavor and spirit of this new Texas brand has been crafted intentionally to live up to the Ben Milam name. It truly is a whiskey as authentic as Texas.
Ben Milam products are sold throughout Texas thanks to a distribution agreement with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. The distillery also offers a tasting room in Blanco. 830-833-3033, benmilam whiskey.com
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER!
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice begins to think “that very few things indeed were really impossible.” These sentiments could easily be spoken about The Warren Center and the therapy it provides to children with developmental delays and disabilities. Nothing is impossible for these children, and nothing is impossible for the Center, which serves and provides for them and their families.
In celebration of endless possibilities, The Art of Music Gala will be held at South Side Ballroom on February 10 from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A sit-down dinner is provided along with the night of art and entertainment. The 2018 theme is “Welcome to Wonderland” and will be a magical experience for all who attend, surrounded by the hope and belief that anything is possible.
For the event, four musicians will create original compositions based on their own interpretations of what Wonderland means to them. These compositions will be given to artists who will create original works of art inspired by the music. Each original musical composition and corresponding piece of art will be revealed for the first time the night of The Art of Music Gala, with performances by the musicians and the artwork presented by each artist. The art will then be sold in a live auction.
This evening’s events fit perfectly with the mission of The Warren Center, which includes providing therapy to children with developmental delays and disabilities, and equipping parents with the tools needed to help their children navigate through challenges; both of these goals are often achieved through art and music, and result in empowerment for the whole family.
The Cheshire Cat may have said it best: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” By attending this whimsical and magical night of art, music, dinner and dancing, you can be a part of helping children reach their full potential.
MAKING MEMORIES MAKING ART
“We all love our new artwork very much,” Jennifer Hayden tells Carlyn Ray, owner of Carlyn Ray Designs, the glassblowing studio that offers families something more than just the ability to purchase fine art.
“I was especially surprised, and totally thrilled, to learn how proud and excited the kids are about what they were able to do. In addition to showing off their specific pieces to everyone who comes through the door, they wake up in the morning and want to turn the lights on to look at it while they’re eating breakfast. It’s too cute!” Hayden continues.
What the Hayden family and many others are so enthusiastically raving about is the ability to participate in the creation of their own Carlyn Ray original art glass installation. Children, six and older, can enter the studio and take the lead doing everything from coloring the glass and heating it to pulling it out and learning to cut hot glass into sections.
Each family member selects their own accent color from a palette preselected by Ray based on her visit to their home, then Ray and her team guide each member through a handson experience of creating glass art. “Knowing this part of the process and being a part of it, makes the piece magical,” says Ray. “Having a family share a creative experience together, that is really special and the piece they create together will be something they will live with for the rest of their lives.”
The process begins when the family decides they want a Carlyn Ray Designs original. Ray visits the home and places paper on the wall where the final piece will hang. She begins drawing the shape and size of the piece and making notes on colors that will complement the rest of the room. From these notes, she is able to create the custom palette for the family members to choose from when they visit to the studio.
The hands-on portion of the process is about an hour long and every family member is involved. After all of the individual glass pieces are formed, the team at Carlyn Ray Designs begins the weaving and fabrication process to finish the piece. Depending on the size and scale of the finish piece, the typical time to complete and deliver the art after the family visit is two to four weeks.
Families with kids in grade school all the way to grown and out of college have used this one-of-a-kind experience to bring members together and create lasting memories as well as an heirloom art piece. Corporations have also created art as a team-building exercise, the result of which is an installation they can see every day and be reminded of the time they helped create it together.
“Our family is so grateful for our glassblowing class. We made such fun memories that will be talked about for years!” says Linda Hanna, the mother of a family who came together to create a unique piece where each family member added a glass blossom or leaf to a custom metal branch installation.
Enjoying art can be a shared experience that brings people together. There is joy in owning something beautiful. Being able to participate in creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art is what memories are made of and cherished for a lifetime. At Carlyn Ray Designs, they offer both experiences.
“It is a gift to be able to share the magical process of creating art with those you love and who will live with the piece,” says Ray.
Christopher Martin is an iconoclast who passionately pursues his ideas in the world of art. His path differs from that of his contemporaries. After selling his first painting in 1993, Martin found a tiny space in a 1950s building in Dallas to show his works. He firmly believed in curating the experience his buyers would have with his work. Twenty-four years later, Martin owns galleries in Dallas; Aspen, Colorado; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has shown in Paris, Basel and Venice, and his work is presented at art fairs nationwide. His paintings— about 5,000 of them in private collections—are shown and collected worldwide, and he counts former presidents; Fortune 500 corporations, such as Exxon, Starbucks and Met Life; luxury hotels; and some of the finest residences featured in the pages of this magazine as collectors.
In his latest Dallas exhibition, SEVENS, Martin presents a body of work that explores the spatial relations associated with the allegorical number seven. The relationship between a painting and the presence that it asserts within a space is a delicate balance. Working on a ratio of seven by seven feet, Martin diligently activates feelings and movement within his signature painting technique.
Martin displays a dedicated work ethic and perseverance. His mostly large-scale paintings are abstractions of nature created by controlling the medium of reverse painting on Lucite panels. Pushing countless layers of pigment and water on an impermeable surface allows him to find an organic resolution with inorganic materials.
Martin feels fortunate to make a living with his art. His nonconformist business acuity drives him to connect with people, give back and stay challenged, and he’s becoming an experiential brand in his own right. His work lifts spaces up, creates a distinct atmosphere, and impacts the walls of his galleries and those of his collectors’ homes. His paintings are a way of connecting; new friends are formed with each transaction. In addition, Martin has assembled a team of talented individuals who bring their diverse expertise to every phase of the business. They are collaborators and trusted friends and family who work with him, not for him.
Christopher Martin creates expressionistic interpretations of nature. In turn, his art creates a direct relationship between those who appreciate it and himself, as an artist. The natural phenomenon that is both captured and activated by his art is what makes Martin, and his brand, a force of nature.
FAMILY TRADITIONS FOUNDED IN FAMILY HISTORY
Few companies in the world can honestly say they have a written record of every customer they have served. M.L. Leddy’s, purveyor of quality handmade boots, saddle and leather products, can make that claim.
The company has been keeping records of its customers’ foot measurements, along with other details, since its founding in 1922. Today, the original old-fashioned bank ledgers hold the handwritten notes on more than 250,000 customers, including presidents, royalty and rock stars, and are still in use. A handwritten code inked inside each boot top allows Leddy’s to trace each pair to its original owner.
M.L. Leddy probably did not aspire to be an international handmade boot manufacturer when he started the company in the small West Texas town of Brady, but with the help of his brothers, and a reputation for crafting quality product with unparalleled customer service, the Leddy standard quickly became a tradition. The family’s reputation grew far beyond the borders of the small town, and by 1941 the brothers had expanded to two stores, a second located in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.
The business has stayed in the family for four generations, and across the country, generations of other families have been buying custom handmade Leddy’s boots as a tradition. It is the expert level of detail and craftsmanship put into every bespoke boot, saddle or leather product that has grandfathers bringing their grandkids and a husband bringing his wife to be fitted for a pair of their own.
The company now offers a full line of fine Western wear and other products, such as custom hats, belts, sterling buckles, jewelry, accessories, and a full line of tailored and fitted men’s and women’s clothing, from makers such as Hickey Freeman, Oxxford Clothes, Ermenegildo Zegna and the M.L. Leddy’s private label.
The original store in San Angelo is still operating, as is the one in the Stockyards, and both are steeped in history as rich as the leather their products are made of. In fact, walking into one of M.L. Leddy’s stores instantly provides the satisfactory smell of leather, as thousands of handmade boots are displayed toe to heel along timeworn wooden shelves.
From one family to yours, M.L. Leddy’s offers the finest quality leather and Western products, which not only come with their own rich history, but will provide your family with one for generations to come.