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Tales of a Dentonian: Promoting local musicians and artists

Tales of a Dentonian: Promoting local musicians and artists

Tales of a Dentonian: Promoting local musicians and artists
October 18
11:08 2019

Denton is home to many local businesses, musicians and artists. For Javi Arriaga, these things are what make Denton’s community unique and he makes it his mission to highlight the arts and music scene through Instagram.

Arriaga is a UNT interdisciplinary arts and design junior with minors in photography and advertising. Arriaga grew up in Denton and he runs an Instagram page called Tales of a Dentonian. He said he started his page on Facebook, but because he was not getting views, he decided to move his account to Instagram. His first post on Instagram was July 31, 2017, in which he said he is on a mission to promote local musicians and artists in the Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth areas.

“I wanted to showcase other people’s artwork and promote other people in the Denton community,” Arriaga said. “I wanted to promote musicians and bands, of course and other local artists. Denton and UNT in general is known for its music and arts scene — it’s a music and arts school. You can go to the football games and tailgating, but to me, it was always known for its music and art.”

Music and art make up Arriaga’s life, he said, and he wanted to combine the two for Tales of a Dentonian. Before Arriaga created the page, he went to house shows and said from then on he fell in love with them.

“Many people don’t realize Denton is kind of known for its house shows,” Arriaga said.

House shows and bars have different settings, but Arriaga said the main difference is that you don’t have to be 21 to go to these shows. Arriaga said house shows are more relaxed and it gives the opportunity for younger people to come and listen to music.

From July 31, 2017 to July 16, 2019, Arriaga didn’t reveal his face on the Tales of Dentonian page. The avatar for the page is a stuffed alien named Monty that was purchased from a local artist. Arriaga said he did this intentionally so people can enjoy the musicians and the artists he featured on his page.

“There are so many talented people here, so many musicians and artists of all different kinds and types,” Arriaga said. “I think Denton is a cool community, I traveled and ventured to other cities as I got older, but Denton is an up-and-coming community, it just keeps growing and growing. Tales of a Dentonian is like the underground scene, [and] I am actually giving people raw footage and material of what’s going on around town. People that aren’t from here can go to my page and see what’s happening here in Denton.”

Since Arriaga has been around the music and art scene, he has made connections with other local artists like Inti Huaman, a Denton resident and freelance graphic designer. Huaman creates artwork for people and on Instagram specifically showcases his posters.

“Tales of a Dentonian is far out,” Huaman said. “Javi has created an outlet to shed light on the underground Denton music and art scene. He is able to reach a greater audience through social media. It’s authentic. He captures the real electric moment when things are coalescing.”

Ashley Ramirez is a visual art studies senior and Arriaga’s girlfriend. Arriaga said he has been with her since before the Tales of a Dentonian page existed and she has been supportive of the page since he started.

“I think it’s a really awesome supportive page to show off a slice of life here in Denton and what we have to offer in art and music that’s normally not seen,” Ramirez said. “Over the past two years, Tales of a Dentonian has discovered more local artists and musicians to share to the community. It’s forever growing.”

Part of why Arriaga is so passionate about music, art and his Instagram page is because those things have helped him through difficult times, he said he suffers from depression and it has affected his life for a long time. There was a time, he said, that his depression took him over and there were some days when he didn’t want to get out of bed.

“When I went into the music scene, it gave me a bit of life,” Arriaga said. “When I went back to school and was productive, it gave me a bit of life. When I started making art, it gave me more life, and when I made this page, it gave me a little more life. Little by little I found things, like my photography, that [have] helped me with my depression, helped me do things and be productive. Now I am happy, I am actually able to get up whereas I didn’t have that motivation back then.”

Arriaga wants to create a living out of Tales of a Dentonian and wants to become a freelance artist and photographer once he graduates from UNT.

“I don’t think the music and art scene will ever die here, it has its own life living and breathing here in Denton,” Arriaga said.

Arriaga can be found on Instagram at @_talesofadentonian_.

Featured Image: Javi Arriaga, creator of the Tales of a Dentonian Instagram, poses for a portrait. Arriaga holds up Monte, a stuffed alien which he takes with him to every event he posts about. Image by Isabel Anes

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Julia Lopez

Julia Lopez

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