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Be a part of the art at Juicy Pig

Be a part of the art at Juicy Pig

Juicy Pig - 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Be a part of the art at Juicy Pig
July 08
16:23 2016

Madison Wilie | Staff Writer

@MadisonBWilie

On the exterior of Juicy Pig Barbecue, popular Denton blues musician from the ‘70s and ‘80s Tom “Pops” Carter looks out from an airstream trailer. Local restaurateur Ken Currin, the owner of Greenhouse Restaurant and Loco Café, joins the musician and floats through a sea of choppy water in front of his latest eatery adventure.

The Texas heat is thick with the smell of fresh barbecue and new paint as artists Melanie Little Gomez and Des Smith locked flying pigs into a perpetual journey toward a floating Denton Courthouse. Currin recently opened his third establishment on Locust Street, this time going for a more traditional Texan theme. Juicy Pig Barbecue has both a walk-up and dine-in option, combining Southern charm with convenience.

“Barbeque is a Texas staple and there is a lot of good barbeque around,” Currin said. “We wanted to be part of that tradition.”

Juicy Pig Barbecue opened in early January. The inside is quaint but modern, with high-top tables next to the counter and country music softly thumping in the air. Outside, there are picnic benches where the walk-up windows face a large brick wall. Until recently, the wall was white and bare.

Juicy Pig - 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Juicy Pig – 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Currin said that the original idea was to use the surface as a way to designate available parking. Later on, he favored the wall’s creative potential.

“When I looked at it, it was just a big, blank canvas,” Currin said, a grin stretching across his face. “And a big blank canvas just makes me want to put something on it.”

Once the idea was formed, Currin met with a few local artists and gave them parameters to follow. Among those artists were Gomez and Smith, who call their collaborative duo ARTLAB3000.

“We create mind-blowing artistic solutions for special projects,” Gomez said on their webpage, artlab3000.com.

She and her husband draw the set each year for Cirque Du Horror, a Halloween musical performed at Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival, and created the video for the 35 Denton music festival this year. The two are professional artists in their early forties, at a point in their careers that Gomez feels as though they have more freedom to pour themselves into projects that they enjoy.

Currin had asked for a mural featuring “1950s, Monty Python, pigs and Denton” as the theme, Gomez said. So they looked for influence in ‘50s magazines for insight into the pop culture of the time and local legends. The couple would conjure an array of brilliant, quirky images.

“Melanie and Des came back and blew me away,” Currin said. “I think they had the exact vision that I did, except better because they’re artists.”

The mural is not only filled with a collection of retro pop culture icons and other mesmerizing subjects, but it is also interactive. Customers can walk up the steps to an airstream trailer filled with stars, sit on a bench swing next to a ballerina with a cat’s head, or stand holding a cluster of balloons. They can enjoy barbecue and be one with the painting.

Juicy Pig - 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Juicy Pig – 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

“Just like I said that it’s fun to be a part of the good barbecue in town, it’s fun to be a part of all the murals,” Currin said.

Not only does the Juicy Pig’s new decor include musician “Pops” Carter, but you’ll find a pig dancing next to Denton saxophonist Jeffrey Barnes and former mayor L.A. Nelson nonchalantly riding a motorcycle over the trailer. The painting shows a dancing Egyptian, a skeleton horse and a wandering Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. It brings the idea of Denton being kind of funky and being completely different than it is now, Gomez said.

“I think part of the motivation to getting it done was wanting to see it that day,” she said.  “We started painting it and we were just so anxious to see it.”

Featured Image: Juicy Pig – 708 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76201. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

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