Guitar hero

Amanda Dunbar’s bedazzling attack on axes makes art out of instruments

_Amanda-Dunbar-(63)-rsArtist Amanda Dunbar spends hours attaching individual Swarovski crystals to her unique collection of guitars, but be careful how you refer to them. “I’m not sure Swarovski is into calling it ‘bedazzling,’” she cautions. “Bejeweling might be better.”

Whatever the term, Dunbar’s glittering guitars — called Precious Rebels — have made her popular with musicians and bling-queens alike. She custom-made some for the Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce’s guitarist is a client and Crystal Bowersox used one on American Idol.

Although the encrusted axes are a fairly new addition to Dunbar’s repertoire, she’s not a newcomer to art — she had her first show at 16. But Precious Rebels does represent another aspect of her expression.

“It’s the fusion between different forms of art, creating in essence another type that is totally different,” that initially intrigued her, though she admits to another motivation too.

“I remember reading that the average person spends two to three seconds looking at a painting — two to three seconds! Even the Mona Lisa! That astounded me. I wondered what’s a way to make people spend more looking at a piece of art. This was one way to have a functional piece of art. Painting will always be my first love, but I wanted to create a way to make it more appealing to a broader audience and incorporate another thing I love: Rockin’ out in my studio.”

“Creativity and art are a means of positive expression that transcends age, sexuality, gender, race. There’s something powerful about being able to make a statement that can’t be judged.”

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Amanda Dunbar Gallery, 154 Glass St. Precious Rebels exhibit runs through Dec. 31. AmandaDunbarFineArt.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Tube wrap-up: 'Top Chef Masters,' 'Idol'

NUP_137197_0824Susan Feniger, the gay chef who to date this season has won the most money for her charity, finally fell on “Top Chef Masters” last night. Her sandwiches were deemed not “high cuisine” enough to qualify as the master chef. I think that’s a problem with this show in general: haute cuisine gets more credibility than street food. As Feniger said on her way out, maybe the judges need to talk to the people who actually eat her food and like it. But that’s the way the show goes.

Meanwhile, over on Fox, cutie Lee DeWyze won the title American Idol, defeating soulful frontrunner Crystal Bowersox. Based on performance alone in the finale, Bowersox outshone DeWyze, but he’s a charming, likeable singer with a good voice. And it’s not his fault this just turned out to be a boring season. Who would have guessed Paula kept it all so interesting?

Speaking of Paula, she made a guest appearance, tributing departing judge Simon Cowell. She looked beautiful, and honestly, her presence simply reminded you that Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi are deadweight on the show, offering banal advice in a repetitive fashion. They also have terrible manners. Ellen’s still watchable. But looks like Paula may have actually gotten out in time. Smart lady.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones