After graffiti artist Eder Martinez was arrested for vandalism, he went to City Hall.
Martinez approached city management with the idea that Dallas should have a “free wall” where people could express themselves with spray paint.
“They let us scout 25 locations with a police officer,” Martinez says. “We rode around and looked for locations, and this was the best one.” Now known as the Fabrication Yard, the industrial property at 611 Fabrication St. in West Dallas also had an agreeable owner, real estate investor Butch MacGregor.
MacGregor, who artists say is supportive of public art in West Dallas, opened the property to graffiti in 2011. Not only is it a place for artists and hacks alike to express themselves, it’s a popular backdrop for Instagram models and rap videos. The rapper Riff Raff even filmed a video there.
Martinez, a guardian of sorts for the Fabrication Yard, says Erykah Badu once approached him about doing a show there. It didn’t work out because there are no restrooms, and security would be difficult. The Fabrication Yard property is on the market, and developers already scooped up all of the property that surrounds it with plans for apartments and retail.
Martinez knows the Fabrication Yard’s days are numbered, and he thinks he’s found a new free wall, but it’s in Fort Worth.
“It’s a three-story building,” he says. “It would be a different setup because I would be living there, and it would be a lot safer.”
Even though the Fabrication Yard is filled with graffiti, Martinez says he wishes more artists would use it. He organizes “Go Paint Day” occasionally to encourage it. But he thinks the place should be packed every week.
“Go use it before it’s gone,” he says. “Take advantage of it. Have fun.”