These innovators are leading the change, powering us all forward to level up Texas.
“I feel like I didn’t choose ballet; ballet chose me,” shares Alexandra Farber, a principal dancer for the Texas Ballet Theater who is celebrating her 10th year with the company. “It began as a passion from a time where I can’t even remember. I’ve always felt this really natural connection to movement art.” The multi-hyphenate artist is set to debut Inside Voices later this month at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Marking her second choreographed performance piece for the museum, the piece—running Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20—pays homage to how we are all connected through the passage of time. Farber says, “The storytelling and history of ballet has made it one of my favorites. I feel like there is such an opportunity to take the ballet world and introduce modernity in a way that honors the good parts of its rich history, and that enriches the art world as a whole.”
What first sparked your love for dancing? It feels to me like there was never a time in my life when my passion for dance didn’t exist! Starting at age 3, I have very little memory of a time before dance was in my life. The movement, the music, the artistry—I can remember being about 5 years old in the studio in little rental costumes with flower props and knowing all of those things were such an incredible part of being a dancer.
What can the audience expect from your current show? Inside Voices is my largest work to date with eight dancers and lots of partnering. While the music is highly contemporary, it is based in very traditional rhythms that are so powerful throughout.
What is your biggest source of inspiration? The ability to inspire others. Particularly in my pursuits as a choreographer, the fact that I could make a difference to someone else that thinks they can’t do it means a lot to me. As a Jewish and female choreographer, especially in the ballet arena, I think that representation is important to other minorities and women.
Founders of hospitality group Duro Hospitality, durohospitality.com
Hot off the heels of opening buzzy eatery Sister, the fab foursome behind Duro Hospitality—Benji Homsey, Chas Martin, Corbin See and Ross See—have hit the ground running with a bevy of new concepts in motion. Rolling up their sleeves once again, these dashingly handsome gents are just getting started. “We all have a very strong bond and admiration for one another, which I think is why we work well as a team,” shares Ross See. This crew launched their storied hospitality firm out of a mutual bond of friendship, interest in food, design and living that sweet life. Upon opening their first restaurant, The Charles, the team has been nonstop ever since. In fact, over the course of the next 12 months, the team has grand plans to open Highland Park Soda Fountain/ Weir’s Plaza, Cole & Riverfront, Cafe Duro and Casa Duro—marking their foray into the hotel biz. “We’re going to keep opening and operating restaurants that change the game,” shares Martin. “We have the best people in the business, and we set out to do things in ways that others aren’t.” What to expect? Sky’s the limit for this debonair crew, but we can assure you it will be chic, it will be sleek and you can find us there…
Where did the idea first spark for Duro Hospitality?
RS: This all began in NYC eight years ago when we all took a trip for inspiration for The Charles.
What can we expect from Casa Duro?
CS: A very comfortable one-off experience that is sexy, voyeuristic, exclusive and fun.
What’s the dream for the near future?
BH: 2022 is a big year for Duro Hospitality. Three new concepts opening. My hope is to keep the momentum.
Favorite dish you’re most excited about for Cafe Duro?
RS: Fresh pasta to go.
All right, gents, what’s your party trick?
RS: The kitchen is always the heart of every party. Always making sure food, drinks and music are top priority.
CM: Drinking all the Champagne...
CS: Mine? Being too cool...
BH: The party always ends up in the kitchen. Make sure the lighting and music are dialed in.
“Colors fill us with light quite literally; there’s a science to color,” shares Danié Gomez-Ortigoza. “While living in Miami I learned I was a better person when I lived a colorful life.” The Mexican American multimedia artist who recently moved to Dallas with her husband and two children shares her passion for rich colors, vibrant fashions and the powerful connection between people through her website, Journey of a Braid. “Braiding represents union,” says the artist. “I was a correspondent for Condé Nast for about three years, and while I was under that umbrella, I realized the power of visuals and fashion to bring you into a deeper narrative.” Seeking inspiration throughout the new city that she calls home, Gomez-Ortigoza is constantly exploring—whether at the Arboretum soaking in a sunny day or dining with friends at some of her favorite spots, which include Âme and Jeng Chi. What does her next adventure entail, one might ask? The artist notes, “I want to continue to trace and make visible the invisible thread that braids us together. I want this year to bring us closer as a society, understanding that we are each other’s destiny.”
What drives your creativity? I’m inspired by the magic of having a body that I can dress and turn into different personas that spark different emotions. We are all energy packaged in flesh, and when you start thinking of yourself like that, you take yourself a lot less seriously. I’m inspired by the human experience and the things that unite us. Beauty unites us; so does fashion and braids.
Tell us more about Journey of a Braid... Journey of a Braid is a way to share my life as I try to detach from my own persona and share the story of being a woman in today’s world; it’s everyone’s story because life has taught me we are simply mirrors of each other.
How do you select your color palettes? I love art; I spend as much time as I can in museums. In time you develop a muscle for the combinations that spark vibrancy and bring life to a look or to a space.
Favorite places around town? The Arboretum is one of my favorite places; so is The Warehouse, the Dallas Contemporary and the Nasher Sculpture Garden. I love the architecture of Fair Park, and my absolute favorite museum is The Modern in Fort Worth. Also, Dallas has quite a special culinary scene: I absolutely love Âme, which is an Indian-French restaurant I discovered when I was looking for a house here, and the dumplings at Jeng Chi, which are the best-kept secret in town.
Designer Hanh Merriman is constantly creating new looks and taking an innovative approach to fashion. Having launched her namesake brand last September during New York Fashion Week, HANH Collection has quickly caught the eyes of toptier clients, style enthusiasts and industry A-listers. The Dallas-based philanthropist and former style blogger’s collection embodies an adventurous spirit cultivated through travel. Her unique silhouettes and designs pay tribute to her Vietnamese upbringing and vivacity for exploration. When asked what’s next for the brand, Merriman shares, “We’re already working on Collection 3! New fabrics, techniques and silhouettes are all being developed.”
Where did your love for fashion design begin? Since childhood, fashion and style were my absolute favorite hobbies. As a young girl in Vietnam, I always went with my mother to the market, where I would beg her to buy me fabric to play with. I started to experiment with materials when I was 12.
Where do you source your inspiration? I love to travel, soaking in new cultures, geography, delicious cuisines and architectural styles. My curiosity runs freely and deeply. Inspiration flows easily when I’m exploring. The shape of a coastline can inspire a new print and remind me of a textile, or the intense colors of a temple can show me a color combination that I haven’t considered before.
What can we expect from Collection 2? Color and texture remain important to our design language, and each season we explore a very distinct pattern. Our first collection highlighted the kumquat blossom in Jacquards and prints. With Collection 2, we focused on cranes and tropical foliage in pigment techniques and thread embroideries on tulle. We continued to work with mixing pleats and technical fabrics with more traditional ones.
Multimedia artist, rynham-art.com
“A long time ago, an artist I respected said, ‘If you are going to interrupt the conversation, make sure you have something to say.’ I took that advice to heart and always start with intention when creating work,” shares artist William Atkinson. “Having this as a starting point lets me work across different mediums and platforms with a consistent voice.” Upon first glance of Atkinson’s work, there is no question that he has something to say. His canvases are rife with bold designs, swaths of color and thought-provoking appeal. He strives to push limits with his ever-evolving work. “I create all of my artwork in one sitting and do not revisit or edit my pieces,” notes Atkinson. “This practice comes from my street art days and my desire to keep elements of that in my work. When you put a piece on the street, you don’t have the chance to edit and it immediately starts to take on a life of its own. It is a pure capture of that moment. I want my fine art pieces to keep that energy and conviction. So when I create my pieces in one sitting, I can attest that it is truly a capture of that single expressive moment. It is not reworked or overworked. It is true.”
How would you describe your preferred medium? My work is an amalgam of art forms and things I love. If I had to pin it down in one sentence, I would say that I paint with a heavy influence of abstract expressionism, street art, graffiti, reappropriation of imagery and inclusion of text.
Tell us a bit more about the artist incubator you started in Los Angeles. I realized there was a need to help young and emerging artists create work and establish themselves professionally—specifically street artists. It was a tremendous gift to be around such creative energy (all the time) and to engage in conversations that still inform my process.
When did you first find your passion? My artistic voice has been a constant presence for as long as I can remember, but it took different forms and expressions until I started street art. When I was offered the chance to exhibit artwork in a gallery and fine art setting, I really felt my artistic expression begin to excel and mature. It was of the utmost importance to me to ensure a successful transition from street art to fine art without losing the energy inherent in street art. That process allowed me to really consider what I was trying to say and how I wanted to say it.
Photography by: BY OLIVER ENDAHL; BY JONATHAN ZIZZO; BY CELIA D. LUNA; COURTESY OF CO PR; BY KEVIN TODORA; BY KEVIN TODORA