Ponder has four things going for it: a famous steakhouse, a powerhouse hoops team, enough people to finally get a 2A football team, and, since the surprising 2011 NFL Draft, the quiet confidence that no one will ever confuse it for being Jewish. Now a poetically morbid lady's giving the city a fifth: Wilde Designs.
Specializing in "art, craft, design, and geekiness", Beth Howard churns out prints in an impressive range of styles, all full of biting humor and discourse-provoking imagery, and apparently influenced by Oscar Wilde, whose heroic disregard for social mores sadly meant that his bologna had a jailhouse nickname. Some of the goods:
Barbie Murders: These elegantly staged, kind-of-terrifying photos depict Barbie suffering all sorts of terrible fates. If a dude shot these, they'd probably be evidence of serial-killer tendencies, but since Wilde's a woman, they're clearly just a commentary on how gender identity can be negatively influenced by heavy Mattel.
Retro Reprobates: Playing off 1950s wholesomeness, these retro caricatures run from two housewives whispering "Should we tell her she looks like a slut?", to a jauntily dressed man with a pipe expressing a thought that's clear even without words: "I smoke because I'm better than you".
Vanishing Texas: Photos of abandoned motels, drive-ins, and other structures in various states of dilapidation comprise this series depicting the slow deaths of small towns including South Bend, Jacksboro, and Mineral Wells, also Beanie's misguided attempt to coin a WWF nickname as hard as The Rock.
The rest of her work includes original sketches of gothic dreamscapes, photos of small-town graveyards, and acrylic paintings like a bondage-happy woman "strutting her stuff" at a screening of Rocky Horror, or what rookie quarterbacks' seasons turn out as, whether they're Christian or not.