Spring has definitely sprung here in NYC, and as the weather starts to heat up, it's a great time to start thinking about summer travel destinations. Well, you're in luck! I recently took a trip to Denver and am here to give you the full report on some of the best street art you can expect to see during your visit.
If you have never been to the Mile High city, you are definitely missing out! It is a great place to get outdoors for a hike, try a plethora of craft beers or even sample the latest offerings on the recreational marijuana front (it's legal, after all!). In Denver, the world is your oyster. But as you know, I came for the art, and I was certainly pleased by all the new work that has gone up since the last time I was there.
When visiting Denver for its street art scene, it is a good idea to start off in the RiNo (River North) District, the epicenter of all things art in the city. There you will find all the best works from the CRUSH WALLS mural festival which takes place each September. In a relatively short amount of time walking the main streets and back alleys, you can see quite a bit of beauty.
Here is the CRUSH WALLS Map for this year. Visit the site to download to your phone.
This past year’s event brought new work from the likes of Pichiavo, Shepard Fairey, Luis Valle, Pipsqueakwashere, and Nick Napoletano, to name a few. Here are some of my favorite pieces located between Park and 32nd and between Blake and Lawrence in the RiNo.
The work of the Spanish duo Pichi and Avo, collectively known as Pichiavo
ALL THIS WALKING MAKING YOU HUNGRY? I'M HERE TO HELP
While you are cruising around the streets of the RiNo in search of art, you are bound to get hungry. But don't worry, you have a wide range of places to choose from. A spot that was recommended to me (which I am happy to pass along) is Biju’s Little Curry Shop, located conveniently on 26th between Walnut and Blake, right in the heart of the action. I tried the Kerala Fried Chicken Curry Bowl as well as an order of Chicken Street Rotis, washed down with one of their craft beers. The flavors were awesome and the menu didn't break the bank.
For something less-spicy and more hops-forward, another spot worth checking out is the 10 Barrel Brewing Company, whose wide selection of beers on tap and no-frills pub grub will give you the sustenance you need to keep exploring (and perhaps a wee bit of a buzz to be even more impressed with the awesome art you see on the streets)!
In addition to CRUSH WALLS, The RAW Project returned for its second year, beautifying local schools with first-class art. Adding to last year’s inaugural walls, this year brought new works by Kevin Ledo & Fin Dac, Birdo, Dale Grimshaw, Jazz Guetta, Bikismo, Otto Schade, Amanda Valdes, Paola Delfin, INO, JC Rivera, and David June Louf among others. Now, Denver has four schools that have some pretty incredible murals: Cheltenham, Eagleton, Fairview and Garden Place Elementary Schools. It is definitely worth a visit to any or all of them!
On this trip, I really enjoyed spotting the walls of a few local artists whose work I was particularly taken by; specifically, those of Chad Bolsinger, Thomas Evans, and the duo Pedro Barrios and Jaime Molina. They each have a unique voice and their work is definitely worth seeking out.
According to his Artist Statement, Chad Bolsinger "chases dreams to make them reality". His characters are highly detailed and immediately recognizable. Here are a few of my favorites from around town.
With his skillfully-rendered, rainbow-hued portraits, Thomas "Detour" Evans has works all over town, with a focus on minority and urban subjects. There is both a power and lightness in his work that really resonates with me.
The painting duo of Pedro Barrios and Jaime Molina, self-described as "The Worst Crew", bring a unique style to the Denver walls. Barrios makes use of earthy colors and geometric patterns which pair nicely with Molina's distinctive characters. You can spot their work both inside and outside, which are sure to bring a smile.
Denver has so much to offer the street art enthusiast. Just remember to pace yourself. It's not called the Mile High City for nothing! You will definitely feel it in your lungs as you acclimate to the altitude, so be sure to stay hydrated and rest when you need to. Other than that, just enjoy all the beauty that is on offer. You really can't go wrong.