#81: Stephen Batura
Colorado native Stephen Batura is a painter's painter, best-known for his large, monochromatic works on wood panels inspired by Charles Lillybridge's photographs of everyday life from a century ago. Also known for working big, Batura created "Rehearsal," a detailed mural he painted to sprawl above the bar on the lobby wall of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, but he's also dabbled in collage, as he did a few years ago for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Represented by Robischon Gallery in Denver, Batura seems to live to do one thing: paint. Learn more about the pure painter's point of view from his 100CC questionnaire, which follows.
Photo by Mark Sink.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
The Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, because he was a visionary and he worked so intuitively. He drew heavily from nature, but reinvented natural forms into modern buildings that continue to surprise and challenge the limits of architecture. By collaborating, I mean that I would follow him through the streets of Barcelona and push him out of the path of the tram that killed him.
Stephen Batura, "Mid-Winter, 1903."
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Fran Lebowitz, the American writer who doesn't write. Her latest book came out in 1981, and when she isn't writing, she smokes a lot and speaks her mind on just about any topic. You can see what she's like in the recent Martin Scorsese documentary about her: Public Speaking.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
James Franco. Well, maybe not die, but just go away.
Stephen Batura, "Lineup."
What's your day job?
I make paintings.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Hire a full time art curator for the McNichols civic center building. It could attract artists of national and international importance, if only the city would commit one of the floors to the visual arts. As it stands now, the art on the walls is largely a backdrop for weddings, parties and corporate events and public access is limited to only a few hours per week.
Stephen Batura, "Hovel."
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Homare Ikeda. A painter and printmaker, Homare is now an artist-in-residence at RedLine. He works and works, and his studio is cluttered with paintings of all sizes. If you like his Facebook page MunuGattai, you can see his progress as he posts his daily experiments.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
The same as every year, doing whatever I feel like.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
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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