Art gallery offers a reprieve from the norm
DALLAS — Adonis Carcamo wears skinny jeans and T-shirts to show off his tattoos — and he never shows up to work without plastic circles in his gauged ears.
Carcamo, 30, owns and curates Pomegranate Underground, a new urban-influenced art gallery that officially opened July 10 in a yellow house off Interstate 35E in Lewisville and mirrors its owner’s gritty, counterculture look with walls covered in bright spray paint.
“I was tired of going to other art galleries and seeing a bunch of crap like landscapes and paintings of horses,” Carcamo said. “Every local gallery … views art in the traditional sense. They’re doing their best to reach out to the younger community, but it’s just a little amiss.”
Nathan Davis, one of the artists who sprayed the building’s walls, sells his work at the venue.
He said he believes strongly in the new venture and said it’s “desperately needed in the area.”
“The people of this area are hungry for an art revival that breaks the norm and stereotypes associated with Texas art,” Davis said. “Pomegranate Underground has opened a door for an underground art explosion, not just in the suburbs, but the whole Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Pomegranate Underground is Carcamo’s solution to bringing young viewers and artists into the local art scene, he said. Now kids won’t feel pressured to venture to downtown Denton or Dallas.
“When I was running around at 16, I’d heard of art galleries like this I wanted to go to. I’d try to find them, and I’d get lost,” Carcamo said. “It was just a scary experience. I don’t see why anyone else should go through that nowadays when we can just have something like that here.”
Carcamo also opened the gallery to sell affordable art, he said. He wants everyone in town to be able to come in and buy something, so he’s priced all of the pieces from $5 to $475, and sales have been good, he said.
“I’m very proud of my husband for following his dream,” Carcamo’s wife, Lynzi, said. “He brought together the artists and created something more incredible than I could’ve ever imagined possible.”
Pomegranate Underground has been in the works for five years, Carcamo said, but only started coming to fruition in March.
“I just thought that if I don’t do it, nobody is going to do it,” he said. “So I just did it.”
His parents owned the building, so Carcamo had to invest only $4,000 into the space. To decorate, he called out to street artists on Craigslist for a painting party. The artists were invited to come spray whatever they wanted on the walls.
“Anyone who comes and feels like painting anywhere, they can. That’s why I have those cans of paint over there,” Carcamo said. “When it fills up, it just keeps going. Like real graffiti, it’s just layers of other people’s art on top of each other.”
Continuing with the street-art vibe, Carcamo sells Molotow brand spray paint and spray paint caps, which create different lines and thicknesses.
But Carcamo is more than an entrepreneur. He’s a self-taught digital artist as well, with a few of his own pieces in the gallery.
“All my stuff is digital, and I’ve done art and logos for people,” he said. “I’m a nerd, so I just like being on the computer more.”
Although most of his working background has been in the food industry, Carcamo said, he has always been into art and music: “I always drew but never really took it seriously until middle school,” he said. “I got my GED from Marcus High School in Flower Mound. I didn’t take art classes, though, because I thought classes would limit me. I didn’t want people to put me in a little artist box.”
Carcamo said Pomegranate Underground has no idea what it wants to be when it grows up. For example, the gallery lobby has a bar-top. Carcamo said he was considering entering the bar industry by offering drinks at the gallery, but the building isn’t designed for it.
Instead, for the grand opening, free beer was available in a small plastic swimming pool — giving the event an intimate, house-party vibe. He said he’s still not sure if he’ll apply for a TABC license to offer alcohol for sale at the gallery, but he hopes to add a stage to host stand-up comedy shows and open-mic nights on weekends.
“There aren’t many venues for those things in Lewisville, either,” he said. “I hope the stage will inspire others to provide more venues for performance entertainment in the city as well.”
For the grand opening, Carcamo brought in several local musical guests, including Carrollton ska band Monkeysphere, which played on a stage set up in the backyard.
“We wanted to show our support for an establishment that puts value on imagination, creativity, freedom,” said Colton Crews, the band’s drummer. “The confidence and validation that comes from a place like this accepting our creative endeavor, on a personal level, has to ripple throughout the community.”
R. Neil Ferguson, Lewisville’s mayor pro tem, also attended the event. Ferguson made his first purchase less than 10 minutes into the grand opening, he said, and he’s proud to display some hand-made jewelry in the exhibit.
“Over seven hours of their grand opening, I watched an eclectic crowd of people buying an equally eclectic collection of budding local artists’ original works,” Ferguson said. “Many know I have a serious passion for the arts in Lewisville, and a sizable private visual arts collection from around the world. … Pomegranate Underground [is] an important addition to the Old Town Lewisville scene.”
Davis said he’s also proud to show his work in the gallery, whose walls were bare by the end of the opening.
“The chaos of Pomegranate Underground is like a well-needed punch in the face. You can go anywhere and see the landscapes of the southwest, cowboys, horses and cattle,” Davis said. “Pomegranate Underground has taken the underdogs, the loners, the beat-of-their-own-drum artists and given them a place in their hometown to showcase and sell their art.”
ADAM SCHRADER can be reached at 214-773-8188 and via Twitter at @schrader_adam.