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.
Dairy Block is proud to offer a distinct collection of unique Colorado art. With each piece carefully selected to celebrate the spirit of the Mile High City and to offer unexpected moments of whimsy and delight, we invite you to explore our art-filled district.
Dolan Geiman (b. 1977, Hermitage, VA) is a mixed-media artist specializing in the reuse of found materials (reclaimed wood, salvaged metal, vintage papers) to create highly textured and intricately detailed original art pieces.
“In our works we have created many large scale commissions that enliven and activate the environment in both interior and exterior spaces. It has always been our wish to make the works have a voice and character that uplifts and reflects the positive aspects of human vision.”
Gifford Ewing is a Denver-based photographer who specializes in fine-art black and white photography using a Deardorff field camera. “I enjoy the more traditional photographic methods in my work. They serve the purity and natural beauty of the landscape.”
Lisa Bartlett led the Lighting Design team at Davis, developing a lighting concept coined “Downpour,” which features almost 400 programmable color changing spheres that playfully imitate a rainfall of colored light.
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’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’s beautiful imagery 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 pieces, with their wildly intersecting lines, cosmic-like points of color and seductive subjects, convey this exceedingly well, drawing out many of those emotions in the viewer themselves. The work is still 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. And while Thielke?s previous work explored the combination of swirling curvilinear lines versus harsh, straight edges, here the effect is more like patterns that whisper Gustav Klimt, minus the eroticism, gold leaf, and Freudian psychoanalysis. Lines that are less sterile and more infused with an admiration and respect for the strong, powerful female form.
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 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.The card paintings intend to be evocative, and I suppose that creating a state of thoughtful reverie is their clearest intention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 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’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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 O.P.P. Series (Other People’s Photography), Heather constructs a reality based on her interpretation of found photographs. Pictures from long ago now exist in a time and place that she invented. Years ago, Heather was given a stack of silver gelatin photos from the 1950’s. They appeared to have been made by an Army photographer at multiple military wives’ social events. The artist was struck by the forced expressions on their faces and felt that their forced smiles mocked were mocking her. The O.P.P. Series is an ongoing body of work with an awareness towards nostalgia and an ambition for contemporary notions. The simple act of dismantling these mid century stereotypes in order to reconstruct them in a distorted manner is the driving inspiration for this series.
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.Before he painted in Union Station, he used to explain the history of the station and its plans for the future to tour groups on bicycles. Today he lives in Stapleton with his wife and three kids, and he continues to pursue his place-based approach to art and design.
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.
The Ladies Fancywork Society, a Denver-based collective, has been terrorizing your neighborhood with their crocheted yarn crimes since 2007. What began as a group of crochet-loving friends just chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and shooting some b-ball outside of the school has transformed into a fiber arts hydra capable of putting together large-scale projects, international art shows, and installations.
BirdSeed Collective is a nonprofit community outreach organization that is dedicated to improving the socioeconomic climate of Denver, Colorado through innovative arts and humanities offerings.
In 2009 accomplished artists & entrepreneurs Anthony Garcia and Michael Broberg embarked on a joint venture with musician Robin Walker to launch BirdSeed Collective – an organization committed to improving their community using their exceptional artistic skills and deeply rooted connections to their local community.
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.
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