Colorado is teeming with top-notch muralists, but they typically create their work in solitary (and sometimes secret) sessions. This makes a street art festival a perfect opportunity to catch some of the city’s best creatives at work, meet them, and learn more about how they are changing the state’s artistic landscape.
From Thursday July 15 to Sunday July 18, the festival of women and the non-binary mural baby walls will take the Ralston Creek Trail back to Arvada, where nearly 30 artists from around the world will paint murals along the trails under the overpasses.
Here are five of the many artists we are delighted to see in action:
Relatively new to Muralism, Denver artist and educator Yazmine Atmore, who makes art under the name Yazz, explores spirituality through high density collage works. She blends portrait and natural symbolism, incorporating colorful flora and fauna into black and white figures, thus commenting on the moving lives of her subjects. Many of his works express joy and freedom, although some of them also grapple with more gloomy themes and the limits of time.
A Crush Walls 2020 mural by Alicia Cardenas.
Alicia Cardenas, the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing, has been a major force in the Denver tattoo scene. In recent years, she has also tackled Muralism, painting pieces that incorporate ancient geometry and subtly address the deranged power dynamics, settler colonialism and patriarchy in the city. She describes her pieces as prayers, created with recycled paint and aimed at purifying and healing the earth.
Thomas “Detour” Evans, Anna Charney and AL Grime painted the immigrant “Lucia Escalate” in Aurora.
Photo from Visit Aurora
Influenced by electronic music, Denver artist and graphic designer AL Grime incorporates pop-art sensibilities into large-scale murals rich in swirling fingerprint-like patterns and pixelated photos. Most of her images are heavily publicized through a technological lens, and she even uses augmented and virtual reality in her works. She mixes abstraction, geometry and a certain representation – including a particular obsession with the eyes and the human face – in sprawling pieces, mostly in black and white.
“Hope” is one of Jodie Herrera’s documentary portraits.
Northern New Mexico artist Jodie Herrera explored addiction, abuse, and trauma in large-scale oil paintings and murals. Her research process is documentary and loaded with the symbolism of the subjects she depicts. While her work stems from a photorealistic tradition, her use of iconography also brings mystical and philosophical components that the traditional portrait largely avoids. She has rightly earned her reputation as the favorite city dweller of the Denver street art scene.
Illustrator and painter Adri Norris has been busy telling the stories of unruly women in history through muralism and paintings. She began her life in Barbados, then grew up in New York and New Mexico before joining the Marines; she eventually moved to Colorado, painting and drawing along the way. While many of her murals are largely decorative, Norris’ work also serves as an educational tool, ensuring that the stories of the rebellious women she documents in her Women behave badly the series are kept in the public space. She hopes her murals will inspire young girls and provide them with role models.
Babe Walls takes the Ralston Creek Trail from Thursday July 15 to Sunday July 18. For a complete list of artists and itineraries, visit the site Babe Walls website.
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