You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.
"I love collecting old vintage pieces," says graphic designer and mixed-media artist Lexis Krieg. You're likely to spot her at a local estate sale or the nearest thrift store; she's the one in sheer ecstasy as she rummages through old maps and dictionaries and vintage children's books. "I love rick-rack, too," says Krieg, explaining how the zig-zag border "was really popular for sewing in the '70s." Using all these finds, Krieg creates vibrant and complex collages.
The daughter of an artist, Krieg has "lived in a lot of places," she says. She was born in Alaska and lived in Oregon and Wisconsin (and a few places in between) before coming to Colorado seven years ago. "When my husband moved, I thought Colorado was as good of a place as any: It's warm and there's mountains and it is not the Midwest," Krieg says.
Back when Krieg was in the Midwest, she studied graphic design in college. "I got to take drawing, which I hated, and printmaking and ceramics," she remembers. The one class Krieg never took: painting. "I was afraid of failing," she admits.
But she had plenty of creative material. "For as long as I can remember, I was collecting paper and cutting things out," says Krieg, and that practice soon led to making collages.
Krieg likes to begin by "pulling things that are catching my eye in my studio," she says. "Most of the time, I don't really have a plan, so I grab stuff and layer." Then she'll switch freely between paper and paint in order to create rich scenes that she can later embellish with scraps of fabric or words written with her vintage typewriter.
While collage always came naturally, Krieg has gotten practiced at painting, too. She ""got brave" in 2012, she says, after taking on online painting class led by Flora Bowley. "In college, I was afraid to take painting because art teachers are known for being cruel sometimes," Krieg says. So working in an open environment with a gentle teacher was non-negotiable.
The eight-week class, called "Brave Intuitive Living," was mostly instructional. "My mom was skeptical about an online painting class and asked how they would critique me," Krieg recalls. "That's the beauty of it: They don't critique you!"
Why, exactly, is painting so intimidating? "With painting, you are really creating something from nothing," says Krieg. "The world qualifies people as artists and painters, and I never felt like a painter." Krieg had to "get over those titles that the world puts on things," she explains.
When she isn't painting or creating collages, Krieg is a part-time graphic designer. "Lately, I've been lucky because some of my graphic design projects have overlapped with my art and illustration," she says, "and that's really my goal."
Recently she's begun doing window art for local stores like Nest. The artist also sells her originals online and at Willow, and you can scoop up one of her funky cards at several shops around town, including Jolly Goods or I Heart Denver.
Follow Jamie Siebrase on Twitter.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!