The Perot and the DMA are must-see museums, but you probably won’t find an international art exhibit by Tim Kerr at either space. Luckily, to see shows that mix quirk with conscience, all you have to do is stroll down to the Square. You’ll even be able to grab a latte once you get there.
Jupiter House Coffee pulls double duty. It’s half café, half art gallery. Manager/curator Cameron Cox brings together local and global painters, photographers and other artistes to create a space that epitomizes inclusivity and ingenuity. As Cox says, “anything goes,” and the space has quietly become a hot commodity in the city’s ever-growing art community
“Most people approach me, because they’ve been here and seen the work, or heard about it through other people,” Cox says. She is eager to point out that Jupiter House is a hot spot for myriad Dentonites; everyone from politicians to college students, young professionals, teens, train hoppers and the homeless” have come through the front doors for a signature coffee brew and a look at the rotating shows adorning the brick walls. And since Cox came aboard a year and a half ago, those shows have been as diverse as the customers.
Cox has also assembled a service industry show that only featured art made by baristas. But with the latest show, the exhibit may have caught its biggest fish yet. Texas Music Hall of Famer Tim Kerr may be best known for playing guitar with the hardcore punk band Big Boys and for pioneering the DIY movement in music and art. Now, however, it's his paintings (which you can check out on his website) that have him travelling across the country. On his way to a showing at the Rosa Parks Museum, Kerr stopped in Denton to set up some of his unique paintings at Jupiter House. He’s elusive (and insanely busy) but we managed to reach him for a few questions about his life and work.
WDDI: Do you remember the first time you ever painted?
KERR: Probably finger painting (smile). I have been doing some sort of art ever since I can remember and playing music since elementary school.
WDDI: When did you know that this was something you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
Never really thought about it. It was just a given that I would always be involved in self-expression whether people were interested or not. It’s me, not a career choice (smile). I do remember when I started painting big again, having an overwhelming feeling of "this is what I was suppose to be doing."
WDDI: You've also played in several punk rock groups over the last couple of decades - how has that informed your art, and vice versa?
I think being involved in all of that showed me that you could do things for yourself. It has also given me the first hand knowledge that if you stay "open" to things around you, you have no idea what might happen next from just taking that first step.
WDDI: Who are some of your biggest influences - in your painting, your photography and your music?
John Coltrane, and the hope of maybe having a positive influence on someone.
WDDI: What are you currently working on?
I am in Dothan right now for the opening of the solo show I had at the Rosa Parks museum last summer. I have shows lined up through the rest of the year in Houston, Dallas, California, Portland and Seattle and will be painting a mural at Wirtz Elementary school in Watts. MonkeyWrench will be playing in April At AllTomorrowsParties in Wales as a request from Drive Like Jehu, and I will be surfing on my 60th in March (big smile).
Once Kerr's paintings come down on February 5th, another artist – a UNT student – will come in to showcase her work. It’s all part of the plan to keep the space and the community vibrant with different perspectives. It’s a plan that Cox thinks benefits anyone who walks in the door. According to her, “It's such a delight as an artist and art seeker to see these people – just ordinary people – being forced to interact with the work and really look at art, maybe for the first time for many. Art galleries can be sterile and intimidating to the general public, and by bringing these amazing pieces and culture to Jupiter House, I love being able to bring the work to a relatable level.”