Deep Ellum Impulse

I had a wonderful day doing a full-blown photo shoot with one of my Artists on my Moodee Cactus Records label. Meet the riveting Jonny Ford! And stroll along with me as I spotlight some of my favorite graffiti murals in Deep Ellum.

Jonny Ford with Moodee Cactus Records

Dallas, Texas!

Deep Ellum was developed in the late 19th century composing mostly of arts and entertainment venues located just a little east of Downtown Dallas.  It’s mixed with homes that have been there for decades, clubs, restaurants, quaint shops, unique furniture stores and art galleries. 

Frank Campagna is one of the most sought out and hired Graffiti Artists in North Texas and as you wonder throughout Deep Ellum you will be admiring much of his best.  His work is scattered all here and there!  Not only is he known for his graffiti, Dallas loves him and remembers when he opened our first (unlicensed) punk club which was located in his Kettle Art Gallery.  He is nicknamed “The Godfather of Deep Ellum”. Campagna has been painting murals and graffiti walls since 1989!

As years progressed and Deep Ellum kept advancing as an arts district, a group of artists associated with Frank’s Kettle Gallery began the “Deep Ellum Murals Project” in 2009.  This is the birth of it’s gateway and as we know it today.

The art you see scattered throughout is typically commissioned by the artists.  But from time to time someone may sneak in late at night and spray paint amazing art on the spree and hope they don’t get caught….like my nephew did. Luckily the establishment loved that particular piece he did and upon the police informing the venue owner that “the guy was arrested” and asked “do you want to press charges”, he decided to bail him out and paid him $10,000.00 to finish the project! Lucky Jon!

If you have a shop in Deep Ellum, you gotta keep up with the Jones’ and hire someone to paint far-out and one-of-a-kind artworks!

Murals by various artists
“Bridge Over Calming Art” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

Deep Ellum is a creative hub for musicians and artists where the diverse murals provide an endless collection of backdrops for photographers.  That’s why I selected this area for my full day photo shoot with the talented Jonny Ford!

Deep Ellum is the cultural epicenter for arts where the historical buildings showcase talents of many Dallas and international popular artists by providing expressive larger than life graffiti murals.  One of the most popular murals is the large microphone so I decided to get a really good close-up of it.

Mural by Michael McPheeters
“It Starts Here” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

If you love photographing Deep Ellum’s graffiti and murals, you should go back often.  There is much changing there year to year, buildings being torn down making way for high rise apartments, restaurants coming and going, new clubs popping up and murals going away in the process. I have returned to find the “Flying Pig”, but it disappointed me that possibly a venue decided to add huge windows and the big piggie was not where I thought it was.

I’m so glad I was lucky at the right time a few years back to take the below pic of “That’ll Be The Day” flying pig!

“That’ll Be The Day” Mural by Campagna
“Pigs Will Fly” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

New art work is always blooming and it’s hard to keep up!  So allow me to make a suggestion. Park and pay in the legit spots, it’s worth it. Grab your camera and get jiggy with it!

You should start at one end of Elm Street, take your time and photograph both sides as you stroll along.  I try to make notes of the mural artists as I go.  At the end of Elm Street, turn south and u-turn your way to Main Street.  And repeat these walking and photographing steps as you get to the end of Main to start down Commerce Street. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the retail delights along your way!

“Love Is The Only Thing Worth Fighting For” Mural by Michel Cruz Flores
“Brave Charro” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

While you are on the west ends of these streets, you’ll also want to walk under the I-75 bridge where more awaits you along with a cool doggie park.  Downtown Dallas is just on that other side!

” This Is Deep Ellum” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

Take your time while you are under the I-75 bridge or you will miss something. There are quirky and vibrant paintings on all sides of the columns. Small murals on concrete or metal pieces are spread out in this park style arena and will provide those “insta” selfie moments for ya!

After you have hit all these areas, make sure to drive around the full area and check out Canton Street, Virgil Street, Taylor Street and make your way to the Deep Ellum Brewing Company area.  Plan to spend a full day, of course!

“Imaginarium” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

You will have a vibrant selection of restaurants to dine, you’ll meet lots of street people and fun vendors! You and I both know that for sure you will dive into many of the shops!  I never leave there empty handed.

“Deep Elm” Mural by Michael McPheeters
“Days of Dallas” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

The above mural is one of the largest you will enjoy. I have taken many shots of it, but alas, cars are parked in front most of the time and you have to pick a time to be there when it’s just not that busy. So one of my trips, I took lots of close-ups and glad I did. There’s much going on depicting lots of Dallas history and events.

Mural by Eddie Walker
“Deep Cowgirl” by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

The weekends come alive with concert venues, indie musicians, theatre shows, tours and lots of interesting people wondering about!  If you are visiting during a week day, you will still meet a lot of hustle & bustle fun; including many local folks enjoying the restaurants and shopping! It’s an experience you shall never forget!

Jonny Ford & Kettlewell with Moodee Cactus Records
Photo by © Tanya Elise’ Howard Photography & Graphics

As I mentioned at the start of today’s tale, I was in Deep Ellum for a purpose that day. I am Head of Moodee Cactus Records and I also am a Personal Band Manager for both the artists above. My day was busy taking lots of headshots and musician shots of Jonny, then Brad Sullivan of Kettlewell met us for lunch. Both of these talents are busy in the studio mastering their new albums. Kettlewell just submitted his first album to us titled “Live For Tomorrow” which will be released July 13, 2021. (More to come with this announcement and be sure to keep your eye on the main website for Moodee Cactus Records!)

Album Cover by myself! Tanya Elise’ Howard
Kettlewell “Live For Tomorrow” – Release Date July 13, 2021

I’ve been going to Deep Ellum since my teen years.  It’s ever-changing, always brings surprises to me and full of history.  I hope you enjoyed a visit to my photoshoot day and it’s tidbits! I have so many more photos on Deep Ellum, there will be future posts to come!

I put some of my above photos on my photography website where they are available as canvas wraps, merchandise and more!

Thanks so much for visiting! See you next time!

Tanya Elise’ Howard

Valorous Days At The Renaissance Festival!

Scarborough Ornate Logo PS

Got your tights on?

Enter the realm of a vast Elizabethan 16th Century where real noblemen wear tights and the dames become fair maidens or Queens.   Rebirth thyself and filleth your goblet!  Prepare to danceth with the wenches, tighten up thy  c’rset and consume liketh a king wh’re food is bett’r on sticks!

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“Dancing Doll” Photo of Dancer by Chris Reed, Photo of Entrance & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

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“Sprezzatura ” Photo by Chris Reed, Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


The Ren Fair takes you back to the Olde Worlde wh’re thee may cometh as thou art ‘r or dresseth the parteth!

Yes, it’s true!

This is the venue where you will frolic with the local villagers, shop the shoppes, gaze at the shows, cheer on a knight amid the joust and engage with the wondering actors in character.






You will find well crafted ensembles of the Sirs, Madames, Mistress’, Dames, Lords, Majesties and Graces exhibiting an array of Renaissance garments, hats and robes!

Take your camera!

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“Elan Pottery” Photo by Chris Reed Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



Bring plenty of cash to shop, eat, drink and be merry!  And don’t worry, the bathrooms are ample and appropriately marked as ‘Privies’.








The Renaissance period may have settled it’s end in the 16th century, but in Waxahachie, the medieval time grows forever every year!

The second Saturday brought over 240,000 patrons on a beautiful sunny Texas day!

That’s a lot of costumes!

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“Willful Whim” Photo by Chris Reed Photo Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


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Keeping with tradition, there seems to be a wonderment in wit among the Medieval working class and courtesans where the recreations at the celebration are reinvented in a poetic way.

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“To Troll or Not To Troll” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

I thought this leprechaun was adorable!

He sits quietly in the woods hidden amid his mischievousness and rainbow of treasures!  Hide your golden coins for he will surely snatch’em from your pockets when you aren’t looking!



Please tread lightly if you want to see his wee bit of trickery!

The fair makes for a wonderful family day where the children have more than enough to caper through.   Since kids love dressing up, it’s a perfect time for them to ham it up and be a part of an amazing adventure!

Gather them up for pleasures at the Mermaid Lagoon, Birds of Prey Show, the Children’s Knighting Ceremony, the Cirque Du Sewer Animal Show, the Dragon Swing, Pony & Elephant Rides and heaps more!

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“Princess To Be” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

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During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, the proud Knights jousted their way through tournaments showing off their horsemanship and prowess.  The richest of Nobles concocted elaborate melees of combat for the Kings of their time.

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“Knight’s Prowess” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard

One of the most applauded shows at the Renaissance Festival is “Knights of the Realm” , the Joust, where you can see firsthand their full armors, gallantly dressed horses and brave heroic Lords fighting for their Knighthood.

This photo was quite dusty, so I decided to hatch through the soot and sand to create a more aged fine arts portrayal.  For my photography website, I did a painting…How would you like a Knight hanging on your wall?


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“Dragon’s Troll” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



You can shop for corsets, weaponry, leather work, glassworks, jewelry, toys, candles, metal and woodworks!

These are no dinky souvenirs, either.  The people who run these shops are seriously skilled craftsmen.







When you think about Medieval times, one wonders off into fairytale land where Dragons glimmer the landscape with their breath of fire.  At the Ren Fair you’ll indulge your merry clan with oodles of dragons in all sizes and up to large statues spitting water.  The shops at the festival always capture my heart and pocketbook!  I can’t leave without a souvenir to relic my walls, neck or head!

This photo was tough for me to work with.  It would turn out all green or all gold; sadly without a focal trophy in the scene.  So, once again, I decided to create a painting with it….no more greeeeeen!

Speaking of dragons…

Have you ever had a Dragon Snort?

There’s plenty of merriment advancing through the pub houses and taverns.  New for 2017, graze on over to the Dragon’s Lair for your very own Dragon Snort….

Warning: Do not pack your lunch!

Why?  The “Kitchens” are abundant and overflowing with traditional savory cart du joir menus.  Hunt down those turkey legs, munch on a Sausage-On-A-Stick, lick through the funnel cakes and catch all the Blackboard Specials.  This is a day to eat the “Ren-Way”!

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“Harp Monet” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard



The manifest of performers is endless and once you are there, you can’t help but seek them out!

I found Sarah Mullen mesmerizing the crowd amid her harp music with a celtic flair!






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“Scarborough Entrance” Photo & Enhancement by Tanya Elise’ Howard


Commence yourself into the affluent and vibrant society of the Old Worlde; the Scarborough Renaissance Fair only comes but once a year in Waxahachie.

Maketh thy plans this present day…

April 8 through May 29th

10:00am – 7:00pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day Monday

Visit Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas!

With a packed-full list of 27 Stages and Live Entertainment,

be sure to check out the Daily Schedule!

Get thee hence!

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If you are interested my photography above, I spawned more of painterly art works from my original photos:

Owl Chemist

Ren Gateway

Scarborough Entrance

To Troll Or Not To Troll

Knight’s Prowess

Dragon’s Trove

Please visit my “Contact Me” page if you are inspired with anything further!

To see more of Chris Reed’s photos, visit his “My Travels” Facebook page!

(Chris is my loving and awe-inspiring nephew!  Thank you, Christopher, for all you do with me and for me!)


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Quote Of The Day:

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

What costume will you wear to the Ren Fair?

Would love to hear your comments!


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Destination Alaska ~ Airport Never Closed For Snow

Alaska Bear Logo TravelWITWIT

Why does it take so long to get out of Alaska’s Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage?



Why else?

But to swing by the kaleidoscopic segments of museum-style attractions where over 5 million passengers skip through yearly.  And since the lively hub is never closed for snow, you’ll want to have your journal and camera ready even before you step outside!


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Ted Stevens International Airport Anchorage Alaska


If your journey to “The Last Frontier” places you at this airport, and it’s most likely it will, then be sure to secure some time for an introduction to Alaska’s cuisine, arts, wildlife, culture and their Native Eskimo and Russian heritage!


This is not your average-joe airport!

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Muskoxen at Anchorage Airport


Here’s a pic I took of a young stocky Arctic mammal, the Muskox!  These Ice Age long-haired and curled horn animals were first brought to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1930 from Greenland.  More herds were brought over throughout time.  They are well adapted to Alaska’s rasping climate and diverse terrain; found grazing in dozens of boroughs as well as protected wildlife sanctuaries.


What’s on display??


♥ The 1964 Earthquake Robe

♥ The World Record Kodiak Brown Bear mount (near the Alaska Airlines Ticket Counter)

♥ The World Record Halibut mount (near B Gates)

♥ The Walrus Spirit driftwood, ivory and metal  hanging art

♥ The N3212 Fairchild 24G S/N 933 (Civil Aeronautic Authority Military Aircraft; up until 1948) hanging from the ceiling in the South Terminal near Gate C7

♥ The “From Here to There & There to Here” spruce wood flying Canadian Geese (by Rachelle Dowdy) gliding above you at Gate B4

♥ An array of “Untitled Tapestries” with 14 painted animals on carpets sprucing up the North Terminal walls

♥ An 180-Foot Long art pieced collage of Alaska landscapes hovering above windows.

♥ The Catch large red cedar Native painted panel of an Eagle by Nathan Jackson (above escalators between te B & C Concourses)

♥ The “Departure” collage of memories through a plastic and metal fragments display; representing stories and timelines as an Alaskan myth where you will use your imagination, scratch your head and return home with your own epic adventurous tales of Alaska. (Located in the South Terminal, Level 2 Concourse area)

Alaska Sports Hall Of Fame with exhibits from the legendary musher “Huslia Hustler” (across the parking garage entrance/South Terminal)

…and much more!!!

Alaska Native Wolf Mask

Alaska Native Wolf Mask


What else will you stumble upon?

Traditional dolls made of sealskin and glass beads, Native decorative carved canoes and paddles, sculptures, masks, more and more Alaskan wildlife mounts, doll and figure carvings, embellished drums and instruments, Eskimo baskets and pottery, bronzed statues of notables, paintings, murals, enticing restaurants and bars, more gift shops and plenty of on-the-go lower 48 passengers who are totally missing out on what’s there to discover before they hail that cab!



And an hour later….

David Alaska Terminal

David Alaska Terminal

While I snapped my first collage of photos to commence my Alaska holiday my brother-in-law, David, patiently stood by.  I instantly knew my moose-land adventure diary had begun!

It only took my first 2 weeks there to make that keen decision to return to Texas, pack up and move back!

Now let’s get into a smatter of why I took my first trip to Alaska!  The ventures through unspoiled wilderness, the captivating endless wildlife chances and opportunities to eyeball first hand it’s thunderous glaciers was first on my list!




As adventurous as I am, after living in this winter wonderland for over a year, my ultimate goal was to create a tantalizing photographic  journal.

I did just that!

This is what you expect to see while whisping in the snow in Alaska!

Mount Redoubt, Kenai, Alaska

Mount Redoubt Volcano, Kenai, Alaska

Between the pages of my memoirs and never-ending folders of photos, I hope you will please visit my TravelWITWIT “Alaska segment” often and tag along with my personal journey.  My wish is to inspire you to follow in my foot-steps for your Alaska Dream Vacation, too!


Just one more…..

Tanya With Silver Medal 2010

Tanya borrowing Julia Mancuso’s 2 Silver Medals Downhill in 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Nice picture of me with gum in my mouth while excited to meet Julia Mancuso onboard my flight to Anchorage!

Couldn’t believe she actually let me drape it over my neck!

And…it was heavy!!

You never know who you will meet while your’e out there in the world!







My synopsis!

Alaska is unequal to visiting other USA States or Countries around the globe.  Each moment arranges a colorful experience!  The “Last Frontier” offers an array of Russian traditions and diverse Native cultures. For the nature lovers you will find yourself in a Winter Wonderland full of boundless depths of mountains, forests, glaciers and flowing rivers.  A day never passed where I didn’t see a bald eagle or moose nipping for a brunch; the wildlife is abundant!  Stay in a cabin by the inlets or book your room at a 4-Star Resort, no matter where you stay you’ll find yourself wanting to anchor here forever!

Valuable Info:

Ted Stevens International Airport ~ Anchorage, Alaska

♦ List of Domestic Arline Information

♦ Julia Mancuso ~ Olympic Champion Skier

Alaska Sports Hall Of Fame

If you are interested my photography above:

Calm Splendor

Just On Time (Blue photo: #5134-0310H2)

Just On Time (Digitally Painted photo #5134W-0310)

♦ You may also use my Contact Me Form for any other requests!


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Quote Of The Day:

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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