DALLAS — Craig Downs, the artist behind the mural of Dallas on the Willamette Valley Fiber building, won an award this month for his work on the label for Benedetto Vineyards 2019 Sparcolina.
The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition awarded him the bronze medal for the label.
That is just one of Downs’ local collaborations.
Downs and his partner, Candice Fulton, found themselves moving to Dallas almost by accident about two years ago. They met when Downs went on his first trip to Mexico seven years ago. Fulton had lived there for 12 years at that point. They worked on a mural together, the first of many.
“I’m from St. Louis. She’s from Seattle. She’s a Northwest girl, but we really didn’t want to live in Seattle, so we started exploring Virginia and all sorts of places across the country,” Downs said. “We found the perfect house and spot right here in Dallas.”
They had been staying at Air B&B in Dallas to explore the Willamette Valley, and here they stayed.
“We didn’t really plan on being in Dallas, but a house opened up that we just fell in love with, the acreage and the home,” Downs said. “So, we are in Dallas now and we love it.”
He loves the community and small-town feel of Dallas the most.
Shortly after they moved to Dallas, Downs was asked to design a mural on the back wall of the Willamette Valley Fiber building on Jefferson Street downtown. It was to be a paint-by-number project completed by community members during Krazy Dayz.
“Candice and I have a project called Wall Together Now. We’ve been doing these for several years for corporations and communities,” Downs said. “It’s just something to get the community together.”
Willamette Valley Fiber had also just opened up in town and loved the idea of putting its blank back wall into good use.
He said design on the mural is mostly his concept, except for a few elements local people suggested he add, such as the Dallas High School Dragon mascot, the print shop cat, and the World War II cannon, which had been displayed at the Polk County Courthouse.
The mural was a great introduction of Downs and WVF to Dallas, he said.
“We are hoping to do another one in Dallas,” Downs said.
The artist has over his 35 years painting created a distinctive style that is immediately recognizable.
“I don’t vary from it. I stay true to my style because I’ve worked on it for years,” Downs said. “It’s just something that throughout the years that I’ve worked hard on.”
His art is very popular in his hometown of St. Louis.
“A lot of people collect my art and I have murals all over St. Louis, Missouri,” he said. “I continue to get commissions from all over, in a way that I’m able to make a living doing my art, which is very nice.”
He said moving to Dallas, he was concerned that his art wouldn’t be accepted.
“To date, I’m showing in Salem, and selling … so I’m really happy about that,” Downs said. “Because that is always a concern, or a hope, that people will enjoy it and like your work.”
For more information about Downs’ art and Wall Together Now, go to www.craigdowns.com.