#28: Ken Hamel
A tech worker by day, Ken Hamel is best known around Denver as one of our art community’s biggest fans and documentarians. Online, his singlehanded arts resource, denverarts.org, keeps readers apprised weekly of gallery openings, calls for entry and other art-related events, while out in the field, Hamel carries his camera into galleries and studios, chronicling the work and faces of Denver’s artists. Does he sleep? We’ll never know, but there’s a lot more to know about Denver’s volunteer art-scene archivist, via his answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Ken Hamel, the face of denverarts.org, with his photo exhibit at Vertigo Art Space.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Ken Hamel: I would have loved to work with Robert Smithson or Gordon Matta-Clark on some type of epic environmental art. Smithson was known for transforming landscapes by moving rocks and earth into patterns, and Matta-Clark was known for cutting houses in half and strategically altering abandoned buildings. I am a huge fan of outdoor installations and was really saddened that Christo had to abandon plans for "Over the River." I would have volunteered, for sure. I was fortunate to see Christo’s “The Gates” in Central Park, and it was really magical.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Given the unfortunate state of our democracy right now, I’ve been closely following the editorial board of the New York Times and find their insights into where we need to be focused as a nation reassuring.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Photos promoting exhibits with obligatory motion-blurred characters walking in front of artwork.
What's your day job?
I work for a big computer networking company doing techy stuff.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Support the visual arts in Denver!
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
Lately, it’s love/hate. Having been here for 25 years and watching the impact the new Denver is having on the lives of artists (co-ops closing, artists priced out of the area), I find it painful. I’m hoping new patrons will inject some vibrancy into our existing arts institutions.
What's the one thing Denver could do to help the arts?
The city needs to do more to protect and support the arts districts and provide affordable housing for people who have dedicated their lives to the arts.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I really love Patrick Marold’s latest public artwork adjacent to the new rail station at DIA, and his last show at Goodwin Fine Art was great, as well.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I’m hoping to find time for more studio visits and informal portraits of Denver artists at work.
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Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
I have been a huge fan and supporter of RedLine, and I’m hoping they are able to maintain their position as a beacon for aspiring artists looking for community and professional growth.
See photographs from Denver’s art scene by Ken Hamel in DenverArts.org: Decade, a Month of Photography exhibit opening with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 3, at Vertigo Art Space, 960 Santa Fe Drive, and running through April 8. Learn more and follow Ken Hamel online at DenverArts.org.