#79: Brad K. Evans
Brad K. Evans is a different kind of leader, one who casts a skewed entrepreneurial light upon all his pursuits -- of which there are many. And he does it all with a sense of humor and adventure. Artist, designer, dumpster diver, realtor and bike advocate, Evans is probably best known as the mastermind of the Denver Cruiser Ride, a weekly Wednesday night bike and bar crawl with costumes that attracts as many detractors as it does diehard fans. Regardless of where you stand on the cruiser-ride issue, Evans, who works with the authorities to establish safety rules for the hundreds of riders who show up for DCR's Denver Bike Night, is someone we all ought to know. Get acquainted by way of his 100CC questionnaire.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
I really love the early twentieth-century modernists. Juan Gris, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Giorgio De Chirico and architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This group of creative minds (among others) created the modernist movement, breaking away from the traditional mediums and images that dominated the previous century.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I am fascinated with the cult of Banksy -- how it's become such a giant version of itself, both infamous and anonymous. What I love about the Banksy concept is how it has become commoditized and collected -- to the extent that they are cutting walls off of buildings and selling them for millions of dollars (and artists get nothing). Even more ironic are those who are getting busted for vandalizing Banksy's street art, which is technically vandalism in the first place.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
People being prosecuted and jailed for creating street art.
What's your day job?
I'm a licensed real estate broker, host the Denver Cruiser Ride (which takes thousands of hours to produce), work as a graphic designer and publish Kickstand Magazine, which is "The Owner's Manual for a Freewheeling Life." I quit a corporate design job in 1999, and haven't had a "real" job since. I realized long ago that working in the corporate world to pay the mortgage was what the real sellouts do, and I've managed to create a "job" description that fits my ADD perfectly. Now if I could just figure out how to survive financially doing the things that I'm most passionate about. I continue to seek out creative projects and explore ideas as to how to make Denver a more connected, more creative and more bike-friendly place to live and work. Using the "creative mind" to solve complex problems is what I'm most interested in as a job.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I'm a big fan of culture jamming. With a background in fine art and graphic design, I'd spend more time crafting/creating/modifying commercial signage to mock our society's consumerist, sometimes racist and hypocritical culture. (See the attached "I'm a Moron" campaign which was designed to make fun of the "I'm a Mormon" campaign, which was created as a postcard and distributed locally.) Ultimately, I'd continue to do more of what I already do -- having fun drinking bikes and riding beers.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
For me, it's the dog-eat-dog mentality of the local arts community. It continues to baffle me that many artists in the art community get so mad when another artist has commercial success. While this is nothing new, it's an impossible paradox to solve. Nearly every artist is asked by their peers after an art exhibition: "Did you sell anything?" As soon as an artist's works begins to be purchased and collected, that same group of peers then call him or her "sellouts." Which is ridiculous. I'd love to see the art community be more supportive of those who break through and succeed in their creative pursuits.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I think the developers of TAXI and the Source are leading the way to Denver's future. They've created space for creatives to have unique spaces in order to craft their wares -- there's a gigantic movement toward "produced local," and Kyle and Mickey Zeppelin have embraced building affordable and dynamic development projects that create unique and affordable space for the rest of us.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I'll become a full-time street artist (beyond the massive bike flash mob that the DCR has become), but the risk of a felony conviction for spray-painting a series of stencils has me rethinking this decision.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community (or community of your choice) in 2014?
Well, I don't have a clue "who" will get noticed. There's a lot of great creativity happening in Denver, and I'm totally excited about what's going on in Denver as it remakes itself into a world-class creative community. I'm putting all of my chips on "DENVER."
Learn more about Brad Evans's design business and Kickstand Magazine online. For information about this summer's Denver Bike Night schedule visit the Denver Cruiser Ride website. Tonight's ride rolls with a Seven Deadly Sins theme.
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.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
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