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THIS PAGE: A Short HistoryWhy Do It?Mail toE-mail toPhoneStaff,   DARts Writers (Needed)
JR's CollectionJR's Other Sites  Photographs in DARtsEditorial personality

A Short History of

on paper and online

the cover of the first issue of DallasArtsRevue in ink on paper way back in June, 1979. It shows Willard "The Texas Kid" Watson between his Cadillac and his big pickup truck in front of his Dallas home.

Dallas Arts Revue #1 - June 1979
Featuring long-time friend, the late
Willard "The Texas Kid" Watson
8.5 x 11 inches   Photograph by J R Compton
browning with age. Original was on white 50-pound offset paper.)


A Short History

Dallas Arts Revue began publication in June of 1979 on a supposedly monthly basis, then quickly dropped back to "quarterly," although it only averaged about two issues a year over its 17 year history of on-paper publishing.

From the beginning, it was a "fiercely independent magazine of news, views and reviews from the world of visual and experimental art."

DARts was briefly until we argued about editorial content [after we signed a contract that they would never interfere with my editing] published by the Artists Coalition of Texas (ACT). Around their bank-donated office high over posh Turtle Creek, my little rag was known as "Darts." That was when Dallas transit was still slow, old buses. No rail. Little transit.

To reflect their statewide name, ACT insisted I change this magazine's name to Texas Arts Revue (TARts). After we split, I changed it back. Later, ACT changed its own name to the familiar sounding "D-Arts."

The first DARts issues were published with ink on paper at a big noisy web offset printer. Later editions were desktop published as that technology and my skills improved. Gradually, subscribers swelled to about 150, many of whom I used to hand-deliver new issues to.

In the early 80s I got sidetracked doing a three times a week, 5-minute show on KNON-FM called Dallas Arts Kazoo ta doo tadooo! The best of those stories went into the magazine. Community radio exposure did wonders for the magazine, which broke even some years. Then, of course, I got fired from KNON for editorializing about the station's racist politics.


Why I do it

I hope it's obvious I'm not doing it for the money. And I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to be doing whatever they're doing "for the community."

I do this thing because it's fun, a fabulous learning experience, where I get to extend many of my skills, and because I have the opportunity to meet many fascinating people along the way.

DallasArtsRevue #12

5.5 x 8 inches

Dallas Arts Revue #12 in mid-December 1983 — on all 250 copies of which, the offset printed cover drawing by Gerald Burns was hand-colored by one of the five Dallas artist friends: Gerald Burns, Tracy Hays Harris (above), Terri (Thoman) Lenoir, Dwayne Carter and J R Compton. The covers were ink on paper published and hand stapled. The inside pages were desktop published. Subscription copies were hand-delivered. Subscriptions then were $15 for 8 issues, which usually lasted several years.

Except for occasional hand-coloring, obvious traditional technology like color pictures was too expensive until DallasArtsRevue.com got on the Internet. Then, suddenly, it was almost free. The digital photography I'd been experimenting with since my involvement with DARE (which you may know better as The MAC) in the late 80s, became essential.

Some of the jobs I've had with publications (& etc.) where I've written about Dallas art and artists include, in reverse chronological order:


Version 3.0

This is the second online version of DallasArtsRevue.com the first with its own domain and the third overall. The first online version went down in anger I was still upset with The MAC's betrayal of its founding ideals, DARE and Dallas artists.

But I tried again a couple years later. This version has been online since September 1999.

My dream has been going since June 1979; I still call it DARts, and it's still my baby, although I considered going nonprofit for awhile. But I would have had to kowtow to a board of directors, and I don't kowtow well.

DARts has changed a lot over the decades technologies have progressed and the readership grown. It's still changing and adapting. I hope it always will.

DallasArtsRevue's purpose, however, hasn't changed in all those years. It's still to celebrate and promote Dallas visual art and artists.

DallasArtsRevue #21 was printed on dark brown, recycled paper with a crinkly, pebbled surface. The picture is a morose self-portrait by my dear friend Georgia Stafford, who committed suicide less than two years later, although she had tried many times before.

Dallas Arts Revue #21, Summer 1986
Georgia Stafford (1956-1985)   Self-Portrait, ca 1983
5.5 x 8 inches

See my Georgia Stafford stories.


Personal Information about The Staff

Calling us a Staff is a joke. There's J R. And there's a lot of other people (mostly artists) who help in one way or several. Heading up the latter category is Anna Palmer, former Editorial Assistant who now just helps.

There's a major opus list of contributors including some of the other people who help here and there along the way when DARts was published on paper, below. 

This site is created on J R's iMac running OS X.6. Most of the early pages originated in PageMill, but now everything is done in Dreamweaver.

J R's Collection shows and tells the art in my art collection. I like the stuff there, of course. But a lot of it was pretty inexpensive, trades or gifts. If I could afford any art I wanted, I'd have a bigger house with a bigger collection in it. But it would still be mostly Dallas artists.

J R's Member Page of recent photographs, often on some theme

SSiT Small Sculpture in Texas is a decades-long collection of my stories about art in three dimensions.



J R uses a variety of cameras, currently (2008) including a Canon S5 IS, and a Nikon D-300 almost always with a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens for DallasArtsRevue and a Sigma 150-500mm lens for The Amateur Birder's Journal. Full resolution color prints of images in DallasArtsRevue are available for $100 each up to 8.5 x 11 inches or $250 each for prints up to 13 x 19 inches.


J R's Other Sites

DallasArtsRevue I write, edit, design, photograph, weberate, everything — with a lot of help from the Dallas arts community.
The Amateur Birder's Journal Several times a week I walk at my favorite lake. Along the way, I take pictures of birds and bird behavior.
Joel Cooner Gallery

I worked at this marvelous ethnic — mostly African antiques, but Oceanic, Asian and tribal art from all over the world, too — gallery part-time till early 2012. I love photographing all these fabulous, sometimes magical, objects. I designed and produced the site, and I took most of the photographs there.

LotusEaters.org My friend Jim Dolan's multifaceted but largely literary site, where I get to do all kinds of design and photo work, but he forgot to pay the webhost bill and lost the dot net address. Now he's Lotuseaters.org, although he's not a nonprofit entity.

We're always seeking contributors. (See below)

Unfortunately, most people are frightened by expressing honest opinions in print (pixels). Everybody has opinions, but darned few are willing to air them publicly. Which makes my search difficult.

Potential contributors worry their opinions are not the same as ours. Well, I hope so. I'm so tired of seeing my own opinions all across this site. It's exciting to read new ideas and differing opinions.

A few writers have actually submitted critiques. Then, when they were published, freaked out, demanding their names be taken off or their words deleted, or both, for fear of offending or making someone angry (besides the editor).

Some one who can express timely criticisms, intelligently, cogently and entertainingly is worth their weight in gold pressed latinum.

DARts Writers include or have included Michael Helsem (index of his work here); Jim Dolan, Kathy Dello Stritto, Jaya Wagle, Tracy Hicks, Ken Shaddock, Maria Santa Lucia and others.

Thin skinned writers should probably not apply.


Early cartoon by now syndicated cartoonist Dan Piraro. It's a guy sitting on a stool, staring straight ahead. The caption says, "There was no time to debate the issue, ... Spaulding J. Fitzhugh needed a reason to live & he needed it now..." The drawing is signed Dan Piraro.

Dan Piraro cartoon on the inside front page of the issue with his Sumo Duck Swallower on the cover. DallasArtsRevue was the first to publish Pirarro's work anywhere, and we still have some of it around here somewhere. He got famous, syndicated, then faded.

We (or really, I) can now make genuine, worthwhile writer's payments for for stories or essays, and we will not try to get them free. We're still not a profit-making organization, but I've got money saved up for just this purpose. Make me a happy guy who gets to spend some of my savings on your story.


You'd be in good company.

DARts has started some interesting art carreers with publication on these and the printed pages (1979-1995) that preceeded this website.

Some of the stars who were first published in DallasArtsRevue when it was published in ink on paper include Marian Henley of Maxine comix fame (She was one of our better proofreaders even before we began publishing her Irma Don't [an axe-weilding art critic] and Adventures of The Little Bald-headed Girl) and Dan Piraro, of Bizarro in the daily papers for awhile back there although he didn't like to admit he was first published in a local art magazine that never paid him. I did visit his place of business a couple times with that in mind, but he wasn't there when I was, and after awhile, I just gave up. We did seem to give him the confidence to go out and seek greater fame, however.

That's one of our goals.

Other writers and illustrators published here before they made it bigger out there include Tom Moody, surely by-now a former-DMA Contemporary Curator Suzanne Weaver, playwright David Gene Fowler, Karen X, M.J. Smith (Yes, THE M.J. Smith), poets Robert Trammell and, of course, Gerald Burns, Julian Riepe, Stuart Kraft, Georgia Stafford, Tim Schuller, Glenna Park, Peter Feresten (The late Fort Worth Photographer), Julia Frazer, John Shown, Susan Whitmer, Chuck Taylor, Ron Lowe, Philip Lamb, Gordon Hilgers, Greg Metz, Robert Razka, D-Art's actual founder Mary Ward, Luanne Standish, some guy named James Surls, Paul Rogers Harris, Joe Stanco, Gary Deen, Gillian Conoley, Alex Troup, Robin Milsom, Roger Gruben, James Megar, Lou Ann Kunshick, Norman Kary, Mary Riffe, John Walker, TJ Mabrey, Steve Pusin, Dwayne Carter, Murray Smither, Pam Burnley, Terri Thoman, Ranelle Bain, Richard Hoeffle, Rick Lambeth, Daniel Barsotti, Michael Helsem, Betsy Dillard Stroud, Don Mangus, Marilyn Waligore, Lee Murray, Jerry Sutton, Frances Bagley, Barbara Simcoe, Julie Ryan, Wade Wilson, Tre Roberts, Johanna Drucker, Roxy Gordon, Alan Sondheim, Amanda Milsom, James Dolan, Lisa Pritchard, Jon Held, Jr., the late Jill Parr, Rowena Bush, Karen ERXleben Weiner, A.M. Hudson, Kim Edge, Dottie Allen Love, Tracy Hays Harris (Flavin), Carol Wilder, Beth Ray, Daryl Baird and many others.


Mail Stuff to

914 Grandview Av.
Dallas, TX 75223-1514

Make checks payable to "J R Compton" and don't mention DARts on the check.

If you want to phone me, E-mail me first my latest email is always on the Contact Us page linked at the top of every page.

I usually leave my phone turned off, except to go online, but I check it sometimes.

I also tend not to answer my door (there is no doorbell), so you should call ahead after E-mailing, of course.


E-mail stuff to

Our latest email address is always on the Contact Us page, although there's probably lots of the old ones that don't work anymore scattered around this rather large and diverse website.

Dan Piraro - Raymond The Sumo Duck Swallower
from the cover of Dallas Arts Revue #8 Winter 1982


TMI About Editor

(A somewhat more objective view of who this guy is in the late Gerald Burns' foreword to Small Sculpture in Texas.)

For those who haven't figured it out yet, but still want to know "What the editor is really like." I offer this opinion of self-analysis.

I attended 21 schools growing up (Air Force Brat), so I always gave the same introductory speech, saying I was, as my mom told me, "born backwards and heading in the same general direction ever since." I've since learned that everybody else is going the wrong way.

I don't suffer fools lightly, and I have an extreme antipathy for cliches, bad grammar, misspellings, loud music and barking dogs — although, of course, I perpetuate all of those, except I'm usually not a dog.

I love parties, being social and being alone with Yo, my orange cat. I love hanging around and talking with other artists, and if I can teach something to someone, fabulous. It's the best way I know of learning.

I love movies and review most of those I see. So far this year, I've seen 125 movies on DVD or TV or Cable, which I review and list online.

I used to love driving fast, but since the accident that nearly killed me (six broken ribs, splattered spleen and seriously lacerated liver and lungs (love that 'literation!) in 2000, I drive carefully. Some friends are amazed. Others still won't drive with me.

I earned my BA degree in English Literature from the University of Dallas, where I learned to write and think. And I have been attending various institutions of higher learning ever since — even taught at a few of 'em. Mostly to raise my skill levels, so I can do this better.

I am a Viet Nam Veteran, although when I got there, I turned down the .45 handgun, telling them I couldn't promise which way I'd shoot it. I've been shot at, and I got to see the Dachau-like POW camp the U.S. kept Vietnamese prisoners in, although I was told — informally and abrasively — never to tell anybody.

I took the electric fan and combat boots, however. I've also seen flames shooting six hundred feet in the air and combat up close and personal. They sent me over there, because I didn't want to go, and because I used to wear my uniform in anti-war marches downtown and a black armband to work. I'm pretty sure they would have been very happy if I'd been killed there.

Other than the shooting, acres of dead soldiers in black plastic bags, and big holes all over the landscape, I loved the place. Like Br'er Rabbit in the Briar Patch.

They didn't have anything for me to do, and when they found that out, I became a Secret Film Courier, currying secret film all over Nam. I read a book often amazingly liberal a day in the air-conditioned library and got drunk every night in the air-conditioned service club. Except for hitchhiking around the countryside there, that's was the extent of my war service.

I've been, in no particular order, a photographer for a great metropolitan newspaper, milkman, cab driver, night watchman at a massage parlor, trained Peace-Keeper at demonstrations, art critic for a variety of national and regional publications, teacher, typesetter, automatic procesing machine operator, Editor of Underground Newspapers [several], the DOM Guy (Disk of the Month) for EGAD, a Help Desk critter, founding Board Secretary and Director of Publicity for DARE (which unfortunately became The McKinney Avenue Contemporary) instead, a Member of Entirely Too Many Nonprofit Boards of Directors and The Web Guy.

See vitae.

All Contents Copyright 1999-2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium, analog or digital, without specific written permission by J R Compton.


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