Cooper Adams • Staff Writer
Dace Lucia Kidd is bathed in sunlight streaming in from the open blinds of a nearby window. The light flows into the conference room, illuminating the pages of yellow legal paper in her hand. With a pixie haircut, a white mesh top and a skirt emblazoned with pink flowers, Kidd commands visual attention. It is her intent stare, though, that brings the scene together into what looks like a painting.
Kidd’s client, Daniel Pineda, sits across from her. Pineda is the president and CEO of Wash-it Mobile Car Wash. Kidd sees more than a CEO; she sees an opportunity.
“I’m having a crazy idea,” Pineda said. “I was wondering if for the [company] opening, we could make a small background for Wash-it for the photoshoot. So, maybe just…” Pineda stands from his chair and moves to the nearby bulletin board. He draws an invisible square with his hands, using the board as a reference of size.
“Yes! I love it!” Kidd said. She picks up her pen and begins sketching. “I think it would be great to do something with the logo.”
“But it should be something fun,” Pineda said. He has certainty in his voice.
“Maybe your mascot? Your duck, Ducky?” Kidd asked.
The CEO gasps. The artist has struck gold.
“Yes, Ducky! I want Ducky,” Pineda said.
A bright yellow rubber duck with blue eyes and a wide smile sits on the table. Across its belly is Wash-it Mobile’s company logo in a baby blue script.
“Maybe we could do a big painting with Ducky and water splashing everywhere?” Kidd asked, motioning toward the duck.
“I love it!” Pineda said.
Kidd is an artist who makes a living off these prospects. She calls commission work her “bread and butter.”
“Eyes of Tyler,” a mural of eyes with roses for pupils, is one of her most noticeable works and can be found downtown across from The Foundry Coffee House. But opportunities for Kidd have not always been as available.
“When I moved to Tyler, I hated it,” Kidd said. “There’s way more options and possibilities for artists [now] than there were six years ago.”
Despite Kidd’s claims, not all Tyler artists share her sentiments.
“There’s not many [opportunities],” art student Grace Richardson said. Richardson flips through her portfolio in the UT Tyler printmaking studio. A dozen abstract prints lie before her, each with their own bright colors and organic shapes.
“I don’t hate Tyler,” Richardson said. “But, yeah. It just doesn’t make sense for a budding human to stay in this place.”
Richardson continues to flip through her portfolio, pointing out various shapes and colors.
“I think in several years it will not be a bad place at all to be a practicing artist. I just want a new experience after I finish up here,” said Maggie Pierce, a fellow art student.
Unlike Richardson, Pierce predicts opportunity exists. She is soon to have her work on display at The Foundry, which has a small area set aside as gallery space.
“I would say that Tyler, like the opportunities for artists, is blossoming recently because of these organizations that are popping up, and people who are making more of an effort to provide spaces for artists to show their work,” Pierce said.
Pierce looks over Richardson’s shoulder. Richardson begins to pack her art into her portfolio.
“I mean, there’s [The Foundry], but I think that’s kind of it,” Richardson said. “But maybe that’s because I don’t initiate myself much … That’s my fault.”
Richardson closes her portfolio.
For disbelievers such as Richardson, Kidd has advice.
“I think that artists that say there are no opportunities, [don’t seek them],” Kidd said. “That’s the big difference with a lot of things in Tyler. You have to meet people. Nobody will come to you.”