The Dairy Block art program is a carefully curated collection that expresses the DNA of Dairy Block through artwork. Each artist selected for the program has a strong connection to Denver, with pieces that revere the past and others that invite viewers to enjoy the present and ponder the future. Artists are the ultimate makers, and the work selected for the spaces at Dairy Block reflect an unexpected whimsy that tells a story. Whether in the elevators, the restaurant, the lobbies or the restrooms, there is distinctive art to be discovered at every turn.
Featured Artist @ The Alley:
The first public art piece in Denver by native Collin Parson, HERE consists of a 1,600 sq. ft. reflective pool of mirrored polished stainless steel on the underside of the Dairy Block alley bridge. This unexpected art experience reflects the people and places of the past and present. The reflections activate the space and allow people to be present in the moment and aware of their activities. Upon further investigation, one may notice the unimpeded reflection directly underneath the neon HERE, which reads correctly in its reflection (HERE). The word ‘HERE’ expresses the ‘now’ and ‘being present’ while also hinting to the attention of the shouting of ‘here’ when taking a role call. HERE represents the evolution of Denver and the people that continue its growth.
HERE was fabricated by Demiurge Design and curated by Nine Dot Arts.
“The intention of seeing a phenomenal art is simply the gift of seeing a little more today than you did yesterday.”-Robert Irwin
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Featured Artist @ The Maven:
Andrew Ramiro Tirado
Andrew Ramiro Tirado is a Colorado based artist with almost three decades of experience. Prior to teaching at the college level for a decade he served as the studio assistant for Chuck Close in New York. Now, Tirado spends all of his time focusing on his art. His most recent series are large scale hands made from reclaimed wood and other 3D and 2D media. The open hands are a powerful symbol for human connection, vulnerability, strength and community.
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Featured Artist @ The Office:
Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Diego Rodriguez-Warner now calls Denver home. The 30-year-old artist frequently has exhibitions at Denver’s Leon Gallery where he showcases his works based in mixed media featuring echoes of Matisse and Picasso and inspirations from Disney, Japanese anime, superheroes and more. Diego’s work featured at Dairy Block is the perfect example of his distinct style completed with mixed media and wood, evoking feelings of celebration and nightlife.
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DAIRY BLOCK ART COLLECTION
Molly Bounds, Untitled
Molly Bounds is a printmaker and illustrator living in Denver. Her prints explore how power, authority, and the structural training of doubt can undermine those who lack agency in determining their futures. Influenced by aesthetics and narrative sequencing within alternative comics and zine culture, she aims to emulate others who have used zines as a forum of dissemination of subjective experience, in order to voice stories which are rarely shared in normative culture.
Karen Fisher, Maeve, Mod Maude
Karen Fisher’s inspiration for the murals in two of the Maven Hotel suites begins with the figure. Culled from fashion magazines, Karen finds fashion model imagery and builds her own rendering using multiple references, highlighting the gestural aspects of the figure. Some of her garment references come from Japanese textile patterns found in books about Samurai warriors, while other design pattern ideas come from history books where markings on ancient artifacts are re-imagined as clothing designs. These influences enter her work to create a new woman altogether.
Jason Thielke, Untitled
Jason Thielke navigates the astoundingly complex dynamics of human nature, mixing a hard linear style with soft and fluid emotion. As he puts it, the works explore the “conflict between one’s ability to implement self-control and compulsion to manipulate and constantly self-gratify.” The work is made up of lines and planes, of architectural elements, but the lines are now diverse in their weight and thickness — not all are heavy and black, some are thin and fine, others fat and velvety.
Annie Scaglione, Ballpark Bites
My Favourite Colour Studio is a husband/wife team of artists living and working in Denver, Colorado. Franky and Annie Scaglione are full time teachers in the public school system. Their days are filled with wholehearted efforts to discover and further the creative expressions of students, engineering meaningful projects and empowering students to recognize the importance of art in each of their lives. MFC Studio, inspired by pastimes and traditions and driven by a passion for people and culture, aims to capture colorful moments and integrate their personal work into the positive influence they want to continue having on students in the classroom.
Jim Thompson, 1977 Project
Jim is fascinated by the indelibility of impressions formed during childhood and adolescence. He intends to excavate these most durable memories and document them through painting and sculpture, and to examine their re-contextualized form. The baseball card paintings are taken from the year 1977 by the card publisher Topps. The paintings intend to be faithful to the cards in both size and image, any changes to the look of the original cards are the result of happenstance or error. The selection of 1977 as the source year for the card paintings resulted from personal memory (1977 was the year he actually collected baseball cards) and excellence in graphic design, which Jim suspects contributed in no small way to the durability of the memories.
Don Hamerman, Shallow Left Center
Don began collecting baseballs in the winter of 2004-2005. Discovered in the park near his house where he walks his dog daily, the baseballs went unnoticed by others. Abject, rejected and forlorn, their state depended on the season of their discovery. Some hid in the high grass, gutted by lawnmowers, or under leaves, rotting, their leather skins long since decomposed. Covered in ice crystals on a February morning or shrouded in summer moss, they all hinted at mysterious pasts. Although he knew that one day he would photograph the burgeoning collection, most sat along a shelf in the studio for nearly a year before the exploration started. At last, Don decided to photograph them above a flat field and with deep depth of focus, revealing, as much as he could, their distinct resumes.
Mario Zoots, Inner Journey Out
Inner Journey Out is a collage triptych that was designed in 2015. The work references Dada and Surrealist collage from the 1920’s and 1930’s. Deconstructing advertisements from the 1940’s and using primary colors, Mario tried to create a feeling of psychological detachment in the work.
Travis Hetman, Sun Mountain
Kelsey McNatt, Ray Bans
As an interior designer, Kelsey is inspired daily by architecture and structures. She loves bold and colorful pieces and incorporates that into her hand painted watercolor work.
Courtney Leapley, Get Glad
An urban bird is a little bit of nature in the city. Urban birds are determined and unrelenting scavengers. Courtney scavenges her own experiences to bring bits and pieces of memories and nostalgia to her designs in hopes that others identify with them. Additionally, she tends to scavenge while she is out and about, picking up little tokens, feathers and rocks as well as anything that interests her and contains a story.
Mike Giant, 303
For many years, Mike has been creating a body of work called Modern Hieroglyphics. His intention with this work is to repurpose classic American advertising logos and mascots for use as tattoo designs for modern collectors. The title of this piece is a reference to Colorado’s area code.
Mugs in the guestrooms by Kaelin Tillery
Mugs in the guestrooms by Kaelin Tillery
Glassware in the guestrooms by Kevin Davis
Glassware in the guestrooms by Kevin Davis
THE MAVEN + OFFICE COMMON SPACE
Andrew Ramiro Tirado, The Quantifiable and The Ineffable
Quality. Craftsmanship. Opportunities to find the unexpected. The Dairy Block is all about a celebration of “the maker”. Thus, in creating a sculpture for the Dairy Block, Andrew felt it worthwhile to hearken back in spirit to one of the fathers of the American craft movement, the woodworker, architect, and furniture maker George Nakashima, whose work was once described as “quantifiable yet ineffable”. Anyone who’s ever beheld or touched Nakashima’s work or read “The Soul of a Tree” will attest that the master woodworker and philosopher’s reverence for the handcrafted was only surpassed by a more intimate connection with the wood itself – not just for the material, solid and beautiful, but for the life within. His suspended piece in the lobby of The Maven, titled The Quantifiable and The Ineffable, similarly upholds a regard for the craft and artistry of the past; the connection, via head, heart, and hand, that can only occur when one is intently present; yet while reaching, both without and within, for the possibility, the opportunity to find the unexpected.
Travis Hetman, Dark Matter Gathering
Dark Matter Gathering, an assemblage of over 300 found black and white photographs, Travis has offered a seemingly infinite universe that reads like an American folklore meets the Twilight Zone. These appropriated antique photographs in one way feel like your family’s long lost photo album, or when seen in another way, they appear to be an alternate universe that operates parallel to our own. In each photograph, tiny little universes appear, suggesting that the thin veil between our universe and other universes is everywhere around us. Where this dark matter appears, the laws of our known world fade way, causing the images to rearrange in surprising fashion. Through the careful and meticulous placement of each of his tiny dark matter clusters, group photographs and landscapes become a stage where nothing is separate, yet an infinite realm of possibilities exist. In a brilliant stroke of poetry, Travis has installed this massive collection of photographs to begin as nothing and end in a pile of disassembling nothingness on the gallery floor. Travis is a researched artist who is demonstrating the theory of an expanding universe that will eventually collapse on itself, both literally and figuratively.
Christine Buchsbaum, Conceiving a Forest Floor
Christine’s work is a re-rendering of autobiographical events – a transformation of events that shaped her. Strange mysteries of a strange world that exists somewhere between memory and invention; between the world she partakes in and a world she creates. She rewrites, performs and documents these real-life stories as a means to gain a larger understanding about the past, and why certain experiences remain with her. This process is an attempt to relate new information to what Christine already knows, and whether or not certain memories are relevant to understanding and assimilating future events. The constructed scenarios are not a collection of memories from events that actually happened rather, fragments of a pre-made world re-arranged and assembled into an imagined world.
Jackie Barry, The Green Automobile
The Green Automobile is an excerpt from the 1953 Allen Ginsberg poem of the same name. Ginsberg was on the road in 1950’s America with Jack Kerouac, William S Burroughs and Neal Cassidy. The poem serves as a love letter to Denver, as well as perhaps Neal Cassidy.
Valerie Savarie, Enchanted Land and Sea
In selecting books, it is important to Valerie that they be published before 1972 (or, is at least as old as her). Sometimes the book instantly creates a visual concept, and other times she seeks out a book to echo a mental vision. Taking the written story within, she reinterprets the story it into a three-dimensional piece by cutting, sewing and painting (all done by hand without the use of power tools), thus, creating a multidimensional collage while still leaving the majority of the book intact. Every page is kept as bound as it is important that the intrinsic characteristics of the book are retained. Each page that is visible is purposely selected to be seen – whether it be specific words, lack of words, images or a combination thereof. Words are as important as the visuals when creating the book sculptures. The characters—the inhabitants of the books—are always painted in black and white, which allow them to live in balance within their predominantly black and white (text and page) surroundings. Sometimes they are animals; sometimes they are more human. Regardless of their species, the eyes typically lend themselves to a more humanistic expression and are the last thing to be painted. As the book sculptures evolve, Valerie’s work grows beyond short stories, moving towards epic series – generating from a moment in time, page by page, book by book.
Diego Rodriguez-Warner, Untitled
Jill Hadley Hooper, Eclipse
Although subjects of her paintings are representational, the value in her depictions is nonmaterial as the works are about memory and place. When memory is no longer intact, how do you recognize home? This is the question the artist asks herself while creating. Because of the inherent nostalgia of the subject matter, Jill is aggressively unsentimental in execution. Using relief printmaking, she is essentially drawing with an X-Acto knife. By cutting, inking and printing quickly, the images acquire a direct and urgent quality. The thread throughout Hooper’s work is her unique and characteristic style with languorous surface qualities that beg the viewer to linger. In Hooper’s work, new meaning is given to the term pentimento, the artist’s repentant state, through a reductive method of scraping and cutting shapes.
Gary Emrich, Cowboy with Deep Rock Water, Molly Brown with Arrowhead
Emrich’s photographic series, Barbre Marietta, illuminates an intersection of personal memories and collective histories through the suggestive qualities of particular objects. His work is elegant, playful, and often humorous, drawing from icons of the historic West, early space exploration, and personal experiences.
Michael Dowling, Untitled Dairy Block History Studies
Michael Dowling’s elevator sketch studies look to the history of Denver and the history of the Dairy Block specifically. The Denver history imagery focuses on Soapy Smith who held property on the block and was an integral and colorful part of Denver’s beginnings. In looking at the dairy connection, the imagery references iconic notions surrounding milk.
Jim Green with Chris Bagley, Stall Number Seven
Jim Green uses sound to engage the public with humor and surprise. His intent is to playfully integrate unexpected sound into an existing environment, and Jim is drawn to common environments as he finds them successful sites for his playful style of public art. Jim believes public art functions best when it humanizes public space.
Chris Bagley, Disco River
With a longing for the ethereal and an acute eye on culture’s periphery, filmmaker, videographer and artist Chris Bagley melds light and color to produce dreamy visual scares. In his art installations, colorful mirror image projection and backlit lenticular prints are a kaleidoscopic impression of reality, bordering on the hallucinogenic.
Karrie York, Henry, Cindy, Joanne, Dan, Margaret, Joe & Mike
Karrie’s half animal/half child acrylic paintings cross the boundaries of realism and whimsy and came about as she struggled to paint them separately. Working from her Denver home, York uses the internet to search desirable images of children and animals to meld. She then devises her own backdrops which further transport you into her fantastical, creative world.
Heather Oelklaus, The Look, Secret Service, Statues, Faith or Fashion, Double Cross, Seated Saint, Dine and Dash
In the series O.P.P. (Other People’s Photography), large scale, small edition work survey stereotypical and nostalgic notions. Found photographs from US Army wives’ gatherings are woven together to reconstruct new narratives. The expressive gaze within these staged photographs breaks through the picture’s surface as if to confront the viewer. These sophisticated slices of history illustrate an era of inclusion and exclusion while leaving the viewer to compare present day relationships.
Robert Weidmann, Eire Lattice
Robert Weidmann is a mural artist who draws inspiration from his interests in history, ecology, and urban design. He created Denver’s first bicycle tour company, and his graphics for the tour company were later transformed into one of his first large scale murals.
Willem Volkersz, The Constellation Automobilus, The Hitchhiker, Souvenir Map
Over the years, Willem created a series of two-paneled diptychs that depict constellations in the night sky. He is fascinated by our need to create some kind of order out of the immense sky above us by giving recognizable form by connecting stars into shapes we are familiar with. While many of the constellations were named by the Greeks, he decided to make up his own constellation for The Constellation Automobilus.
In Souvenir Map, Willem used the many souvenir glasses that are part of his collection of tourist art and placed them in their right location on the map. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, families would take summer car trips to national parks, the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean beaches or big cities like New York or Chicago and bring back souvenirs. Willem visits a lot of second hand stores and collects these glasses wherever he can find them.
As a teenager, Willem explored the West by scooter and then his first car, a 1939 Plymouth. After high school, he hitchhiked from Seattle to New York City. Along the way, he took many photographs and became fascinated by America’s popular culture. The Hitchhiker documents that period of his life: the globe represents a love of travel and adventure, the camera reflects an interest in documenting his environment, the flashlight is a symbol for his search for a direction in his life, and the house is about the pleasure of returning home at the end of a journey.
Ladies Fancywork Society, Untitled
The Ladies Fancywork Society, a Denver-based collective, has been terrorizing your neighborhood with their crocheted yarn crimes since 2007.
Emanuel Martinez, Homage to Maize: the staff of life
Emanuel’s mural pays homage to the staple food of the indigenous people of the Southwest United States and the Americas.
Nikki Pike, Musical Churns
Woven throughout the Dairy Block Alley, visitors will experience Nikki Pike’s interactive sculptural installation. Guests are invited to engage the bronze cast butter churns in recognition of the site’s origination, Windsor Farms Dairy. Synchronized throughout the installation and meshing the butter churns’ time past with today’s technology, Musical Churns incorporates musical compositions together with choreographed LED performances to engage and guide viewers in their own magical exploration of the Alley. Musical Churns was created in partnership with Engineer, Thomas Dodds. AND perhaps the most spectacular component, the aural delight was composed by Colorado Symphony Musician’s: Justin Bartels, Courtney Hershey Bress, William Hill, Ben Odhner, Kolio Plachkov, Nicholas Recuber, and John Sipher.
Collin Parson, HERE
Jen Lewin, Promenade
Over her 20 year career, Lewin has honed her architectural background and a highly technical medium to fabricate large-scale, interactive sculptures made for public use. At once organic and electronic, Lewin thinks beyond traditional art exhibitions to create an experience that brings vibrancy to public spaces. Lewin’s playful sculptures exist where art, technology and communities meet, leaving viewers enchanted while encouraging delight through their engagement with the work.
Poem wall with poetry by Geri Montoya and sponsored by NINE dot ARTS as part of Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s WriteDenver program
NINE dot ARTS hosted an open community event where we walked the alleyways from the Tattered Cover Downtown to Dairy Block, stopping along the way to do writing prompts. Attendees submitted their writing, Lighthouse Writers Workshop narrowed it down to the finalists, and Dairy Block selected Geri Montoya to be included in the alley.
Artists are the ultimate makers. By sheer force of will, complete devotion and never-ending creativity, they craft something out of nothing with their very own hands, hands that paint, draw, cut, carve, saw, mold, assemble, weave, weld, coax, twist, pull, push, roll, sew. The studio is their test kitchen, their inventing room, their living library. Artists make the intangible tangible.
Art allows us to feel the presence of the maker in all his or her human glory: the head that thought this thing up, the hand that forged it into being, the heart that pumped such life into this artwork.
A curated art collection leverages the power and presence of the maker tenfold because the artworks themselves join in a dynamic, complex conversation that sings and dances with energy.
It’s a microcosm that tells a story. A story of place, culture and community.