Rawlins Gilliland is a native Dallas, Texan raised by creative artists. His father was a renowned big band/jazz bassist playing with all the greats throughout the 1930s. His mother was a syndicated book review columnist.
Photo by Can Turkyilmaz
His disparate adult lives include:
Spending the second half of his twenties backpacking globally nonstop from Istanbul to the South Pacific.
Becoming at 31 a National Endowment For The Arts poet in residence at Opelika, Auburn as part of matching state arts council poet-in-schools programs. His residency was so successful that 40 years later he was invited back for two nights onstage.
Becoming the National Director of Sales & Product for the Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus spanning the 1990s.
Creating a consultancy for teaching creative solutions in the personal, art & work place through better verbal & written communication ‘beyond mundane industry jargon’.
Becoming, starting in 2001, an on-air columnist for NPR nationally & NPR north Texas affiliate KERA. In this role, his 3.5-minute pieces incorporated descriptive storytelling & poetic thought.
Photo by Sarah Jane Semrad
Throughout 2014-2015, Gilliland created & produced a triad of one-man shows that, on an 11 month period, sold out first the historic Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum before the Kessler Theater in Bishop Arts three times SRO.
During this time, he wrote several years holiday poems for Neiman Marcus’ downtown Dallas flagship store’s 9 holiday windows.
In the wake of his one-man shows’ success, he was on the cover of Dallas media as wide-ranging as D Magazine & The Dallas Observer.
Again pegged to his show successes, a 16’ mural of Gilliland’s head was painted my Hunter Creates as street mural on Crowdus Street at Elm in Deep Ellum area of Dallas as well as a 25’ wide mural at the Dallas Art District’s Klyde Warren Park. The Deep Ellum mural still stands.
Most recently, Rawlins was asked to create a poem dedicated to  the Deep Ellum Dallas legacy which has been transformed into a 12’ tall mural at the district’s entrance.
Photo by Steve Hunter
Copyright © 2021
Rawlins Gilliland

Lead photograph by Can Turkyilmaz.