#40: Annette Coleman
As a collagist, painter and mosaic artist, Annette Coleman has found her niche in each sub-discipline, building textures on flat surfaces through layers of collage materials and encaustic, or working with cities and businesses to create public-art mosaics. But she’s also a community builder, having served as president for the NoBo Art District in Boulder and, on a smaller scale, by organizing and curating ArtSpeak, an annual Boulder-based collaboration between fine artists and poets. Learn more about her journey as she answers the 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Annette Coleman: Most of my art career I’ve been interested in bringing my dreams to this realm on Earth. The colors of dreams for me are super-saturated, and there are colors that I can’t bring with me when I wake. This has led me to make canvases that change color. An added benefit to these paintings are that they slow down the viewing process, and patrons need to come back to see the changes over about a seven-minute period. Think mood rings — very trippy, indeed!
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt, Bette Midler and Frida Kahlo. Would love to ask Eleanor’s perspective on today’s political climate and how to take steps to help change it for the better. Bette would be fun at any party, and her accomplishments as an artist are delightful. Frida would help bridge interests of the other two guests with both political and artistic dialogue; not sure I could stand the cigarette smoke, so the party would be outside in a garden.
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
I was in the Boulder community and worked as one of the founders of the NoBo Art District and spent a great deal of time helping nurture other artists and creating that community. Best part was the grassroots nature of that beginning, and the worst was not having affordable live/work spaces to house the artists in north Boulder. Now back in Denver, I love the supportive community within the Women’s Caucus of Art Colorado and the Colorado Mosaic Artists, both interesting groups with members all over the state.
How about globally?
The exciting work globally for artists is in social justice, eco-awareness, collaboration and identity. I try to do my part by recycling art materials. I would say that about 80 percent of the materials I use, from stained glass to tile and paint, are donated, or I find them in dumpsters. If you see high heels sticking up from a dumpster, it’s most likely me!
What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?
I enjoy getting public-art and public-engagement projects that go hand in hand with my mosaic art. I successfully moved a twenty-by-five-foot mosaic in Broomfield. It was pieced together, and I had to break off tiles and reassemble it in a new configuration for a different wall size, and re-tile it so no seams showed.
How does ArtSpeak fit into your practice?
What I enjoy about ArtSpeak is that I can make a pairing of a visual artist and a spoken-word artist, and each collaboration comes out different. Not only are two artists enjoying a new way of looking at their own art respectively, but the public also gets to see and hear the poet while viewing the art: Poets painting, artists writing prose, painters illustrating poems, friendships nurtured, projects turning into long-term collaborations, patrons energized by the joy of discovery. Come listen, look and participate on First Friday, April 6, at the First Congregational Church in Boulder.
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
Making more art.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
Well, I’m back in Denver from fifteen years in Boulder, so I love the additional opportunities in Denver. There is more room for artists here in Denver. But, oh, the traffic. Any time of the day, it’s so much harder to get around. Sometimes on First Fridays, I elect to stay home because of the time commuting to openings.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Jean Smith is a ceramicist who has grown her practice and presence in the last few years. Her work has become more interesting as she began to expand into installations and collaboration. I admire Jean not only for her body of work, but she has done so much for the art co-ops in Denver and the Women’s Caucus of Art. She is the leadership behind many of Denver’s art groups, and she goes unrecognized year after year. Kudos to Jean Smith.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I’ll be making more sculptural mosaics to enter the Loveland Sculpture show in 2020. I guess that’s a two-year goal. Along the way, I hope to garner more public-art installation commissions here in Colorado and beyond.
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Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
See Jean Smith, above.
Enjoy collaborative artworks and readings by 24 fine artists paired with poets and storytellers at the fourth annual ArtSpeak, from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 6, at First Congregational Church, 1125 Pine Street in Boulder. ArtSpeak is presented in conjunction with Boulder Arts Week 2018.
Learn more about Annette Coleman and her work online.