Two Legendary Texas Musicians Will Flash Their Painting Talents In Bishop Arts This Weekend.

First and foremost, Will Johnson and Tim Kerr are most well-known as musicians — revered ones at that. Though perhaps under-recognized by the larger population, the two are true Texas music giants, with the latter having served as the lead guitarist in the pioneering Austin punk outfit Big Boys and the former being the frontman for Centro-matic, arguably the least appropriately appreciated band to spring from North Texas in the last 20-plus years.

Of course, with Centro-matic calling things quits in 2014 and Big Boys long being a relic of an Austin long gone, the two have transitioned into other chapters in their careers, both musically — Johnson still records and performs under a solo banner and Kerr, having played with various other influential acts over the years, too is known to perform from time to time — and otherwise.

Perhaps most compelling of these two creatives’ other, increasingly-at-the-forefront endeavors is their efforts in the visual arts realms, through which they coincidentally happen to share a number of likeminded folk art aesthetics. Both engage in a compellingly rudimentary painting style, and each often embraces a storytelling direction, sometimes with very literal lessons about their subjects — mostly baseball players for Johnson, and a mix of athletes, musicians and civil rights leaders for Kerr — being hand-painted onto their final products, which come on a variety of mediums.

These similarities will be highlighted this month at the {neighborhood} shop in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District, as the two jointly present a new exhibition of their paintings through September 27. Entitled “Class Is In Session,” the show will highlight the pair’s historically inclined paintings, with both participants also set to be on hand for the opening, which runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 3.

“I wanted to show both of these musicians-artists together,” says {neighborhood} owner John Paul Hossley of putting this exhibition together. “It just made sense. Both are extremely accomplished musicians and folk artists capturing the highlights of American history.”

The timing of this event isn’t accidental either, Hossley says.

“I thought that this show would be best scheduled for the ending of baseball season, since most of Will’s work focuses on baseball figures and moments in baseball history,” he says. “I also thought that this was a great time for Tim’s work to be up as school is starting back up.”

But as the Facebook invite for the event implies, the “Class Is In Session” title of this exhibit is more than just a reference to the school year starting back up, but a reminder that “learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings, nor does life plateau after graduation day… nope, there’s always room for higher learning because you can learn something new each and every day,” and that “that cool, new-to-you, thing is around the bend, indeed.”

That’s a lesson not so much found in the histories shared in these artists’ works, but taught through their example. Better still, it’s an inspiring one — a reminder that the ending of one chapter can lead to the beginning of another.

Says Hossley: “That’s always a great lesson for the patrons.”

Cover photo of Tim Kerr’s paintings courtesy of {neighborhood}. For more information on “Class Is In Session,” head here.

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