Find Smoke and Mirrors Gallery after circling the Haskell/Peak/Interstate 30 area for 15 minutes. Park in the gravel driveway and enter the gallery space, which is 28-year-old owner Jessica Luther’s living room, technically. She lives upstairs with her 6-year-old son, Liam. In the backyard, there is a stage, along with folding chairs, old lawn furniture, a chandelier sculpture and a velvet painting of an Oriental landscape. Smoke and Mirrors is a gallery, yes, but it’s not just about art, Luther says. It’s about family. She founded the gallery, which specializes in outsider and folk art, in October 2011, after her dad died. She hadn’t known him well, and she discovered that he had been a talented self-taught artist. “I have always been a fan of low-brow or outsider art,” Luther says. “His death inspired me to start curating my own shows.” At the gallery last month, Texas artists Wilhelmina Adams-Hartsell and Lauren Ashley were showing “Ways of Seeing.” Outside, on a Sunday afternoon, singer/songwriter and one-man band Homer Henderson performed a bawdy set for a tattooed and toe-tapping crowd. About halfway through, Jim Heath of the Reverend Horton Heat walked in and stood in front of the stage like any other hipster. He was there to support his friends, members of Eleven Hundred Springs, who were performing their first set as the rockabilly band Matt the Cat Trio. Heath sat in with the trio and brought the crowd to its feet with his rendition of “That’s Alright Mama.” The people who support Smoke and Mirrors make the gallery what it is, Luther says. “I am a collector of people more than anything,” she says. “I love the idea of creating strong networks, families of people that communicate and strive together to make their visions and dreams come true on their own terms.” Luther works full-time managing Dolly Python vintage shop on Haskell, and she has her own line of handmade jewelry, Reincarnate. “Working at Dolly, I come across so many beautiful pieces from the past that on their own are worthless due to damage,” she says. “But with a little work and creativity, I piece them together to make new pieces of jewelry that give them life again.”
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.