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100 Colorado Creatives: Charlie Boots

100 Colorado Creatives: Charlie Boots

#68: Charlie Boots

Who is Charlie Boots? Yesterday you might not have known his name, but today Boots is ready for his closeup. The young artist will make his public debut this weekend as the first-ever visual-arts fellow of the Powerhaüs Artist-in-Residence (PAIR) Program at Powerhaüs Studio, a three-month studio residency and mentorship offered by Westword MasterMInds and studio-mates Mona Lucero, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and Jimmy Sellars. He'll be joined by new fashion resident Francis Roces, selected for PAIR by fashion celebrity Mondo Guerra.

See also:

- Powerhaus Studio announces artist-in-residence program for artists and designers

- 100 Colorado Creatives: Good Thieves Press

- 100 Colorado Creatives: Couture staple and Westword Whiteout designer Mona Lucero

Charlie Boots, "Jelly Belly."
Charlie Boots, "Jelly Belly."

Here's how Boots describes himself:

Born and raised a mutant of suburbia, he hesitantly claims Colorado Springs as his home town. His early attempts at art produced sub-par drawings of superheroes and Japanese cartoon characters. Perhaps wisely, Boots gave up on art until it became his only option, after dropping out of a high school math class. Since then, he has studied sculpture, ceramics and drawing at the University of Northern Colorado and, beginning in 2010, painting at Metro State University of Denver. It is in the field of painting, under the tutelage of Carlos Fresquez and other outstanding mentors, that Boots has found a meaningful way of passing the time. Boots has since shown his paintings with RAW: Denver at City Hall, at the Artwork Network Gallery, and at the Center for Visual Arts. Primarily, he paints in the traditional oil medium, focusing on the human form and pop culture iconography. Some have called his work "interesting."

That's a good first introduction, but you'll learn more when Powerhaüs powers up for the first monthly Powerhaüs Lounge & Popup Shop, which promises to become a fixture at the studio enclave on the last Saturday of every month. Along with a sale of affordable art and fashions by Mona Lucero, the event will introduce new, local talent in a variety of disciplines, with help from host Onus Spears, who will conduct a chat-fest with Boots and Roces this month. Visit the studio from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday May 25; the formal introductions will be made at 7:30 p.m. Visit the Facebook event page for details.

In the meantime, we decided to prime the pump by inviting Charlie Boots to answer our 100CC questionnaire. His insights follow; keep watching the 100 Colorado Creatives series on the Show and Tell blog for our 100CC post on Francis Roces.

Charlie Boots, "Bored."
Charlie Boots, "Bored."

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Charlie Boots: Gustav Klimt, because he had a way with the ladies.

Jokes aside (but really, I'm not joking), I would love to collaborate with El Greco. I've never even seen an El Greco painting outside of photographs, but pictures are enough to show me that he was an extremely spiritual man. I'm passionate for people with that kind of presence, who can put that kind of presence into their work. Plus, I could use some tutelage in composition. El Greco was a master of composition. 

Some people peg me as a Warhol kind of guy. I would love to have met Warhol, but I would have never worked with him. I'd be afraid he'd try to make money off of my work. Warhol is a little too cool for me. 

Whomever I would work with, I'd want him or her to be fluent en Español.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Peculiar question. I don't follow pop-culture too much (oddly). Usually by the time I appreciate someone, I end up Googling him/her and realizing he/she passed away. This has happened to me concerning Nujabes, Alan Watts, and Jean Baudrillard, for example. Most of the people who interest me are dead. 

I also tend to avoid politics, as it has become basically the same thing as pop-culture (which reality TV character is your favorite?). 

I'll rattle off a list, stream-of-consciousness style, excluding artists (since artists are a given).

-Kate Upton

-Leonard Nimoy

-Bob Dylan

-The lead singer of Of Montreal s

-Devendra Banhart

-David Bowie

-Any surviving background actor from the original Star Trek 

-The guy from Florida who got his face chewed off, was nationally known, then was forgotten when all the other bad things happened 

-Harrison Ford

-Obama

-George W. Bush

-The head of the Illuminati (is there a head?)

-Chuck Palahniuk 

-Rey Mysterio, Jr. 

-Stan Lee

-Buzz Aldrin (please don't die before this is published)

None of them for who they are. All of them for the character they play.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

I don't want to see any art trend die. This'll make the people who know me laugh, but I'm glad the genres and trends I personally don't appreciate are around. They give me something to think about. Plus, everyone loves to have something to compare themselves to. Nothing makes one feel more sacred then condemning another. This isn't a dig at anyone else, because I am totally guilty of condemning others. I'm just clarifying: this is how it works. We love what we hate.  

I will say, I hope we move away from the "signature style." Being unique is overrated. It's okay to have peers to relate to. 

Continue reading for more from Charlie Boots.

Charlie Boots, "Bazooka."
Charlie Boots, "Bazooka."

What's your day job?

I am currently unemployed. I was recently employed as a cashier at a textbook store. Prior to that, I was a cashier at a Chick-Fil-A. My previous jobs involved selling people things they didn't really need for more money in a day then I made in a week. 

I'm enjoying being unemployed. I encourage others to check it out as a career path. My days have been more fulfilling and I've done so much more for my chosen career path ever since I stopped letting people tell me how frequently I can or cannot shave. And if you're worried about money, don't be. This is America. We are all in debt here. 

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Open a dispensary. Advertise in Westword

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

I am so fresh on this scene, I can honestly say I'm not certain. My perspective is still that of a student, unfortunately. Coming from there, however, I think more wealthy Denver citizens should put their money to good use by becoming patrons of the arts. By this, I don't mean the obvious "please buy more art" stuff. I mean, please donate to help Metro State build a new art building. It definitely needs it. Or establish scholarships for artists. I might be lacking the full story here (wouldn't be the first time), but I'm pretty sure Ralph Nagel is the only affluent gentleman who assists students with art scholarships in our community. His help is greatly appreciated (I went to New Mexico on his dime), but we need more people to follow that lead. And really, being a part of our community is more than useful. Patronage places you in this culture. It's something to be proud of.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Again, I'm fresh here, so it's hard to say. There are names I will avoid dropping to avoid ass-kissery. These are many creatives I have recently met, who have already been so kind and helpful to me. 

I have no "favorite," but there are creatives I've been privileged to be around for the last several years as friends and peers. Leon Haze, Lucas Thomas, Antonia Fernandez, Lindsey McDermott and Kans89. Even if you haven't heard those names yet, you soon will. Their works serve as testaments to the talent and vision that defines the Denver art scene. They are my favorites. 

What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

I am so random, I can hardly say what I am doing right now. I have several series that I am about to begin. Astronaut ladies, more candy logos, digital landscapes, piñatas, so on and so forth. 

I've been trying to come up with ways to make my craft more affordable for people like... me. Really, I wouldn't be able to afford one of my own paintings, and I think that's a bit tragic. Right now, I'm sculpting a toy, which, if things work out as planned, can be mass produced in high quality. I'm also planning to screen print shirts. Both of these should be affordable for any minimum wage worker. 

In addition, I'm hoping to get more into mural work. The mural is the art of the people. I want to make things my people will value.

I still need to graduate (one more semester!), and I'll probably go to grad school in a few years. Beyond that, I only hope to indulge in ridiculously extravagant projects.

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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