Not everyone could see a rabbit riding a tortoise, and call it art. The people living in RiNo proudly don't fall into that category.
Neighbors stood outside on Wednesday, gazing up at the new murals decorating walls along Larimer Street. By Saturday, 45 fresh murals will be added to the district because of Colorado Crush 2016.
This week-long affair, RiNo’s biggest art event each year, is in its seventh year. Robin Munroe, a Denver native, founded it to unify the local art scene and bring in some international flavor. Out of the 75 artists participating, all but 20 are locals. The others come from places across the country, and the world.
“It’s a labor of love. It’s crazy because I’m working with everyone from major property developers, to artists that are just graduating college or just getting their feet into the scene. It’s lot like herding cats,” he jokes.
Photos: Murals old and new in RiNo
We asked Munroe and other artists what it’s like to turn a building into a canvas:
“Painting a mural from start to finish is probably one of the most rewarding things that I can think of. To me, art is my true love. My first love. And nothing can replace that. Nothing in the world can give you the feel that that has. To me, being able to create is the best thing in the world… I would never be able to work another 9-to-5… the city walls are my canvas… It’s almost like a dance when you’re on that wall. Your full body is in motion.” – Robin Munroe
“My background is in architecture. I was a practicing architect for 10 years. I divorced architecture. I went into creative… because of my background in architecture, everything is very precise and geometric unlike some of the other guys that paint more organic figures… the metaphor I use in all my pieces is, it’s a metaphor of life, it’s a segment of time… all my pieces, in a sense, they attach one to the other… it’s a sense of openness, freedom. What they used to call graffiti before, it had a really bad stigma… we’re in a new era. We’re muralists. It’s to bring art to the forefront of people who might not be able to attend a museum… it’s a sense of accomplishment, but it’s about what happened during the creation of the piece… it’s an experience.” – Rodrigo Londo, from Miami
“Yesterday was the start of a children’s book we are doing… The book is The Tortoise and Harriet… I’m trying to do an interpretation of the book that we did in my own style... for me, it’s super nice. It’s like a big canvas, and I am free… It’s a really nice experience because you mix your art with the people that are in the city.” – Dulk, from Spain
“It’s a fun process… it feels good to be able to have nothing and see what you did – just pull it off. It’s something you kind of have to do.” – Mike Graves, from Denver
Nearly all of the artists are paid to paint for Colorado Crush. The RiNo Arts District funds a significant portion of the budget, along with sponsors. RiNo businesses also contribute money, if the owners want a mural on their walls.
The art will stay up for at least a year. Some may be painted over during next year’s event.
Tracy Weil with the Arts District said organizers want the event to grow every year to increase tourism and show off the artsy side of the neighborhood. If they’re able to gain more wall space and spread out to more buildings, then fewer murals will need to be painted over.
Visitors are encouraged to come see murals on Saturday and Sunday.