Photography by Danny Fulgencio
The Texas Theatre matches its features to its cocktail menus.
“Uncle Ed-Nog” and “The Inventor” accompanied “Christmas Vacation” and “Edward Scissorhands” last holiday season, for example.
Every time the menu changes, artist Jenny Lane is there to chalk it up on the board. This is a small detail of the theater, their chalkboard cocktail menu, but it’s one that receives star treatment.
Lane creates a unique work of art for each one.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” David Bowie, Prince and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” are among her subjects.
A fine-arts painter, Lane started doing chalk art as a way to make quick cash.
“I was 23 and super broke and in an apartment I couldn’t afford,” she says. “I needed money for groceries.”
So she started going to entertainment districts like Bishop Arts and asking restaurant managers if she could write their chalkboard menus in exchange for cash, gift cards or sometimes, dinners.
She did that for about eight months before Look Cinemas hired her about six years ago to create chalk scenes on a huge slate wall in their Addison theater.
“They let me be as ambitious as I wanted,” she says.
She created an 8-foot chalk mural for “Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi” and another for “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.” That one featured a depiction of Smaug the dragon.
“I hated myself by the end of that because it took me over 20 hours,” she says. “I didn’t think about having to draw each individual scale.”
That’s where Barak Epstein of the Texas Theatre found her.
“The Texas Theatre is my favorite client,” she says. “I’ve never seen so much effort put into curating movies. They do so much, and they still have $3 Lone Stars.”
Using sticks of chalk is hard on the skin and can be inexact. Besides that, it’s easy to erase. So Lane usually uses chalk pens and liquid chalk.
Her first murals were done in chalk, and now murals are a big part of her income as an artist. She’s participating for the second year in the Wild West Mural Fest (see page 18).
Lane didn’t have the heart to erase her David Bowie board at the Texas Theatre, because he was her favorite artist. And there are some that the theater hangs onto. They still use the “Blade Runner” board that Lane painted three years ago for annual screenings.
But Lane has no hesitation when erasing a board.
“Now that I’ve done it for so long, I just have no attachment,” she says. “It taught me this beautiful lesson that nothing is permanent, and holding onto things is just going to hurt you.”