100 Colorado Creatives: Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer
#18: Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer
Artists Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer have been fixtures of the local scene since co-ops first began to pop up around 1980, building their Denver art careers first at Pirate gallery and later starting up Zip 37 just across Navajo Street. Over the years, they've also stretched their artists' lives to include community-building projects and new experiments in the co-op life, to the point of eventually buying and managing the buildings that have come to house the galleries of the insular Navajo Street Art District in northwest Denver. In addition to her work as an artist, Romeo serves on a variety of arts boards and neighborhood committees; Weimer doubles as a musician, playing guitar in retro, rootsy and more experimental solos and collaborations.
What does it take to be so many things in one place for such a long time, and still be creative -- together and apart? We asked Romeo and Weimer to share their thoughts by taking on the 100CC questionnaire as a couple; learn more from their answers, which follow.
Chandler Romeo, "Sections," detail.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
We would probably choose Elisie Gusdorf Weimer, Reed's great-grandmother. Elsie was the first Anglo born in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico (in 1879). She spent much of her life in Taos, befriended many of the Taos Society of Artists, was a friend and collector of the San Ildefonso Pueblo potters, and studied and became an expert on Native American basketry. She had a dream to build "artist's apartments" in Taos. We've thought how wonderful it would be to carry out Elsie's wishes, and how amazing it would be to have a chance to work alongside someone so fascinating.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Chandler: I keep thinking about Nick Cave's soundsuits -- gorgeous and amazing objects, exquisite craftsmanship, profound concepts, multimedia applications -- it's all there. Very provocative work.
Reed: I would refer to the people listed in my favorite Colorado Creatives answer below. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Having to promote oneself on Facebook.
Reed Weimer, "Republic."
What's your day job?
Chandler: I have a few. The main job is working in the studio creating artwork for exhibits and on a commission basis. I also manage the books and office operations for our company, which owns and leases commercial space to artists and creative businesses. I also spend a bit of time volunteering, including serving on Denver's Commission on Cultural Affairs, the Denver International Airport Art Committee, our local Business Improvement District and our neighborhood association.
Reed: I split up my time between working on my artwork (which is painting, printmaking and photography), music (solo guitar stuff and a band called the Flat Out Five), and our real estate business. What happens is a balance between deadlines, emergencies and careful planning. A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Much the same as we're doing now, only more! Maybe more travel for inspiration. And maybe we'd build the Old Artists' Home we've been talking about for years. Our current lifestyle has evolved over the past thirty years, so a mystery patron would certainly take us to a different level -- fixing all our old buildings, creating more spaces where artists can live, work, exhibit, perform, make waves and go BIG.
Chandler Romeo, "Range," detail.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Acknowledge that the reason we have a creative sector at all is the creatives themselves, and commit to the direct support of this community, either through individual artist grants or subsidized housing and studio/rehearsal space. Our large arts institutions are very important, to be sure, but the artists are our greatest asset -- the base of the creative pyramid -- and without that base we don't have the critical mass necessary to be considered an important place in the art world. Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Well, our favorite is a type of Colorado Creative -- the type of person who has leveraged his or her talents into something greater that includes and impacts the community. Such as...Mark Sink, Mark Lunning, Lauri Lynxxe Murphy, Evan Weissman, Brian Corrigan and Kurt Bauer.
Reed Weimer, "Uncle Jim."
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Chandler: Currently I have a large exhibit at the Museum of Outdoor Art in Englewood with Patricia Aaron showing through March 8. Following that I'll be participating in the Art Students League's exhibit Not All Things Are Black & White at the McNichols Building in Denver later in the summer. After that, Reed and I will be exhibiting next fall with Patricia Barry Levy at Helikon Gallery in RiNo.
Reed: I have artwork in the Colorado Photographic Arts Center's One by One show, through February 15, and the Open Press 25th Anniversary show, through April 13 (there will be an opening reception at the McNichols Building on February 28); Open Press's Then & Now show; a one-person show at the Pattern Shop later this summer, and Helikon Gallery in May this fall. Musically, I have a new solo album out right now called Resultant Motion on BangSnap Records.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
Cayce and Charlie Goldberg of Helikon Gallery & Studios. We love how they have renovated their grandfather's building into a beautiful space for artists to work, exhibit and hang out. It's a beautiful project worth seeing!
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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