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The Art of Living

Nadia Dabbakeh, Holly Haber and Kristie Ramirez | November 19, 2018 | Feature Features National

The evolving creative landscape of Dallas can be directly related to the seven people on these pages, whose inventive work yields exciting environmental change.

Jeffrey Lee
Here’s the reason Grange Hall is such an experience.

In the dark and mysterious imaginarium that is Grange Hall, among the delicate Nymphenburg porcelain and caviar-topped sandwiches, is the best-kept secret of Dallas’ most discriminating aesthetes. Co-owner Jeffrey Lee is the designer behind most of the decor in the shop and restaurant, having created the brutalist lights above the new bar and the metal, velvet and mirrored installation that lines the wall, for instance. But it’s his art that has collectors vying for a piece of the Jeffrey Lee Project. “I was doing cross-contour drawings on a large scale in charcoal, and I wanted them to become 3D,” he explains of his popular new bailing wire and buoy sculptures, which are being purchased as fast as he can finish them. “I wanted them to be very primitive and simple but take up a lot of space—a play on drawings, but in the air.” The Parsons grad, whose runway pieces will soon be featured in a retrospective in 1814 Magazine, always brings fashion into his work. “A lot of my artwork deals with fabric and construction. A little bit of vanity is thrown in there, the way people view themselves, so some mirrors and stuff like that.” This includes his recent Little Green Dress project, a miniature frock made from outdoor fabric that spent several weeks installed in Turtle Creek (and will soon make a debut in Elle Decor)and the laboriously handsewn pillows stitched with cotton and silk. Soon, we may see Lee make the transition from retail space to gallery. “For a long time, the store has been my outlet for showing Dallas my work, but I think I would like to show my work in a more focused environment.”

William Brown
His striking food illustrations are garnering national attention.

“I went to Osteria when I was in Italy,” says William Brown, referring to the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Modena. “We were walking around back and ran into Massimo Bottura in the alley, and I showed him my sketches of his lemon tart, so he took my brother and I back into the kitchen and made us each a plate.” The 23-year-old sketch artist (@wbrown34) often finds himself in the kitchens of the world’s most famous chefs—Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern—thanks to his detailed marker and colored pencil illustrations of their most famous dishes. A second-generation foodie (his mother is a pastry chef), the Dallas native started sketching in his notebooks while at culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. From there, he nurtured the habit while interning at the Google offices in New York, cooking for 7,000 employees by day and staging in his favorite restaurants by night. “Instead of being able to eat at Gramercy, I would spend the night looking over the kitchen and sketching—and they’d usually feed me,” he says with a shrug. Until the editor of Food & Wine contacted him to feature his work, it was just a hobby. Now, his days are spent under the tutelage of chef Joanne Bondy at Stocks & Bondy while he works on his first-ever large-form pieces for chef John Tesar, who commissioned work for Knife, Plano. “Eventually, I’d like to be able to fully sustain myself on the artwork,” he says. “I’d love to illustrate a cookbook next.”


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