Thursday, July 31, 2014

History of the Westside Community Mural in Denver

 I am constantly surprised and in awe of all the art that is around Denver, especially the murals that I encounter!  One fine example is the large mural on the south side of Eight Avenue between Kalamath and Santa Fe.  Marc Anthony Martinez spray painted this "History of the Westside Community" in 2002.
The one scene depicts a Mexican workering in the sugar cane fields. 
The man with the mustache is Rodolfo "Gorky" Gonzales, an activist who promoted justice and equality for the Mexican- American.
Above and to the left of the farmer is the calavera (skeleton) holding a book by Jose Posada.  Posada who was instrumental in the creation of the calavera catrina shown on the left with the fancy hat on.  (for more on Posada, see post dated July 21, 2010).
In the lower left corner is a melted clock, inspired by Salvador Dali showing how time flies.  Above the clock is a mother hanging up her childrens's sports school uniforms from West High School.  The pink structure is the beautiful 1920's St. Cajetan Catholic Church which is now part of the Auroria Campus.  The big three-faced sun is symbolic of the Mestizo, one of  Indian and Spanish blood.
The red building with the awning is the Buckhorn Exchange Steakhouse, Denver oldest restaurant at 10th and Osage dating back to 1893.  
Above the window is the Buyers Denver Library built in 1918 on Santa fe Drive.  I have always loved this building.
The big American flag has different colored hands on it portraying the many cultures.  The yellow building is Tacos de Mexico which has some of the best breakfast burritos.  Next door is El Noa Noa, another Mexican restaurant on Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe Theater.
A panoramic view of Denver's skyline with the large white building (republic Plaza), the Denver Art Musuem and the blue building knick-named the "Cash Register" building.
If you look closely, you will see a Calavera watering skiing!

It's a wonderful mural.  Check it out. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Museo de Las Americas - Outside In 303

Outside In 303 showcases 7 local artists born and raised on the West side of Denver. This group of artists who typically use the environment as their canvas face the challenges and constraints of being placed in the "white box" walls of a museum.  Director of the Museo, Maruca Salazar, posed for me in front of the wall art created by Avila welcoming people to the exhibit.
As you round the corner into the exhibition space, Gabriel Salazar has an abstract piece with the traditional Papel Picado in the center.
Gabriel is influenced by a combination of pop art, graffiti and abstract expressionism.  He wrote that he likes to create patterns and shapes so the viewer can use their on imagination just as you would looking up at the clouds in the sky and creating one's own images.

Joseph Lopez captures the struggles of the homeless and disabled in his black and white pieces.
Jack Avila's pop art creates a story of the history, past and present, of those who have lived in the housing projects and on the street.
A close up of his mural.
I like how Victoriano Rivera adds the abstract to the pop art.

 Kans89 creates pieces using vintage cartoons, bold colors and heavy metal iconography.
It's an interesting show with vibrant colors and different perspectives and certainly an innovative way to bring these young artists out of their norm into a rather traditional art world.  Artists Include: Jack Avila, Javier Fidelis Flores, "Kans 89", Josiah Lopez, Victoriano Rivera, Gabriel Salazar and Mario Zoots.

Museo de Las Amercias
 861 Santa fe Drive
Denver, Colorado

The show is up until September 21, 2014.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chihuly Glass Sculptures Packs a Big Punch at the Denver Botanic Gardens

A visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens, you will be wowed over by the magnificent outdoor installation of sculptures by the American glass artist, Dale Chihuly!
Entering the gardens, you will come up on the Blue Icicle Towers.  What a beautiful choice against the blue, blue Denver sky.  See my earlier post, it's a video on how the glass pieces were packaged for transport and watch the team installing them one by one.
One can see why it was Chihuly who revolutionized the Studio Glass Movement from the conception of a craft to fine art.
Summer Sun really catches your eye.  Medusa-like glass tentacles, twisted in every direction.  I can't imagine how one would assemble this piece.
The garden's ponds are a perfect palette for his works.  His Monet Pool Fiori certainly captures the colors that Monet used in his water lily paintings.  Very surreal with the reflection of the purple spears. 
Green Hornets and Gold Water Drops.  The glass ferns almost look like spiraling mylar decorations.
Float Boat is loaded with a variety of multi-colored glass balls.  I love how the balls play off the round water lily leaves.
Red Reeds - The contrast of the polished red reeds against the soft flowing grass is beautiful.
Blue and Purple Boat with Walla Wallas.  The boat is a pretty good size, 3' x 22.5' x 18.5'.
Neodymium Reeds fits right in with all the blooming summer plants.
White Tower sits perfectly in the round pond surrounded by water lilies.
It's reflection is just as stunning.
These grasses have the same movement and grace as does White Tower.
Walking down O'Fallon Perennial path, there is a variety of glass spears in all shapes and sizes.  These remind me of a Venice Flytrap.
And these play off the colors of the Holly Hocks.  Gorgeous, flowers and glass spears.

It's a great show!  We went right when the gardens opened, at 8:00am before it got too hot and too crowded.  We plan on going back in the evening, when it's dark for many of the sculpture are illuminated.  And yes, I will have my camera with me.
The Chihuly Exhibition is here until November 30, 2014.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Tenth and York Street

Chihuly is Coming to Denver Botanic Gardens

Monday, July 7, 2014

Biking around Denver is Great!

Living in the heart of the city is the best.  Denver is known for its numerous park and great bike paths.  Many very accessible from my house!  This was going south on the Platte River Trail.
In front of the Denver Animal Shelter, there is a 20 foot tall dog made of 90,000 dog tags.
Looking up at the neck, you can get an idea of all the 1" round tags.  In the evening, the dog is illuminated with colored LED lights.
I have always admired this building and bridge from afar as I drive down I-25.  But the bike trail next to the south Platte River takes you right by it.  The building is home to the Waste Water Management and the Bridge of Recycling Fountains was designed my Laura Audrey in 1996.  The stainless steel sculpture is 17 feet x 37 feet x 175 feet with 29 repeated fountains on each side.
Such a cool retro design that certainly compliments the building.  Too bad the fountains were not running.  I am sure it is pretty spectacular to see the water going from each fountain to the next.
Some of my biking buddies (Jennifer, Pam, Beth and Lynn), what a motley crew with our dorky helmets on but better safe than sorry.
With the wet spring, the flowers have been magnificent.
I love the white Yarrow in with the Daisies.
Great design on the Colfax bridge.
Along the way we run into some interesting wall art.
And then there is Elitches.  Talk about a frightening ride.  I definitely will stick to my bike.
In some areas on the North Platte River trail, you really feel like you are way out in the country.
 Another one of favorite routes is through the Fairmount Cemetery.  Founded in 1890, there are over 3,800 trees on the 280 acres.  The pretty Little Ivy Chapel was built when the Fairmount was opened.  Designed by Harry T. E. Wendell in the Ecclesiastical French Gothic Architecture style of the 13th century. 
 There are some spectacular tombstones, statues and little mausoleums.
I am impressed by the Art Deco and Art Noveau designs on many.

 The large mausoleum has a series of beautiful Art Noveau stain glass windows.
Once on the other side (haha), we jump on the Highland Canal path. The trail going east had some areas with some impressive Poppies.
The Highland Trail going south from the Fairmount Cemetery. 

Eventually you connect with the Cherry Creek Trail that takes you back into Cherry Creek and downtown.
The magnificent sundial over at Lowry is very impressive.
 Getting closer to home, I enjoy looking at all the neighbors beautiful flowers.

Especially the Hollyhocks just down the street on Severn.  Denver, what a great city to live in! What a great city to bike around!