Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Zach Reini

#36: Zach Reini

Like many of Denver’s young artists, Zach Reini isn’t confined to a single discipline or medium — the former RedLine resident and 2012 graduate of Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design also swings with Denver’s DIY underground and is making things happen at Leisure, a new studio and gallery/performance space on Santa Fe Drive. As an artist, he creates readymades and images that convey a cool, modern shorthand of ideas on a wall; he’s also a DIY musician and, as Reini notes, “a fan of lists and Coca-Cola.” Keep reading for Zach Reini’s answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

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

I'd want to play music with Beethoven and skate with Ray Barbee in the ‘80s. I think it would be interesting to explain to someone who can't hear how to interpret your music and see what came of the session, like a game of telephone but one receiver is broken. Ray has so much style. Skating with him would help me better able to interpret my environment and make the most of it, or at least it would be good to be in awe on a regular basis. It’s good to surround yourself with positive energy.

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

Winslow Laroche is a painter and critic from New York. He has a very interesting, relevant and refreshingly confrontational perspective on culture and politics that constantly challenges me to reevaluate myself and my place in the world. 

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

I think its more productive to identify trends and process how they can benefit your practice without your becoming dependent on them. I like this quote from Duchamp: "I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” Here's some things I find annoying in art and beyond: "Traveling hand-poked amateur tattoo artist,” "faux Boulder spiritual weed guru,” over-saturated group shows, "art that takes a really long time for no damn good reason except to highlight that it took a long time,” Contemporary Art English, white high top Converse sneakers. But who knows — I might end up liking them after all.

What's your day job?

I recently just quit my job as an art handler to work in the studio full time.

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

Fix our failing infrastructure: our roads, our schools, our homeless. Give people the opportunity to become what they want to be rather than settle with a poor hand that they were dealt. Convert every new brewery in town into quality artist studio space. Of course, I'd like to execute far-fetched ideas that never seemed possible. I've wanted to build a parking lot in the middle of nowhere for a while. I’d definitely do that.  

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

Be more focused on the art rather than the refreshments at the opening. Pay creatives the wage they deserve, don't trade work for "experience" or a bullet point on a resume. No more pity trophies just for showing up. Constructive criticism is really lacking. Teach artists and other creatives to know their worth. Don't settle for bottom dollar, shoot for the moon. You'd be surprised what rewards you will reap. 

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Most of the people that I have looked up to in town have gotten frustrated with our rather low ceiling here and have moved away. 
I had a long list going of people I respect who have either willingly, or unwillingly, chosen to tough it out and stay in Denver, but I will keep it brief; I think that the two people who are constantly pushing themselves and not letting themselves be confined by the aesthetic presets of the region and are always working and staying focused on the hustle are Dmitri Obergfell and Molly Bounds.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

Increase my output and experiment more, which should be easier now, with my recently opened schedule. I have an exhibition in Brussels this summer, not many details yet, but I’m very excited to get out of the country. It’s something I've never done. I have two other shows planned at Bill Brady KC and Gildar Gallery — not many details about those yet, either. Make money, get paid.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?

I'm a little biased, but our art space/studio Leisure, at 555 Santa Fe Drive, will be pushing programming to challenge and engage the local community on a new level, acting as a multidisciplinary space for art, music and DIY culture. Look for the little palm tree on the west side of Santa Fe just before Sixth Avenue.

Learn more about Zach Reini online

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd