It's been a hot summer — both in air temperature and aesthetics. Street artists continue to blow away all expectations as they enliven the Denver art scene, and these ten new murals prove it. As more mainstream organizations such as the Urban Arts Fund and the Downtown Denver Partnership pay more attention — and more money — to urban art, these local creators are finally getting the canvases they deserve.
A few months ago we rounded up our favorite murals from early 2016. Here, in alphabetical order, are the most draw-dropping new murals of this summer.
10. Ozjuah Sepia
1284 South Pearl Street
Ozjuah Sepia painted the exterior of AikoPops, adding to its beautiful back-patio gallery in Platt Park. Her ice cream princess warrior is in good company, as the space boasts colorful and hilarious AikoPops personified by Thien Tao, as well as a baby facade by a mysterious artist whose work is seen all over town, including Project Colfax. AikoPops owner Christopher Mosera is a lover of great food and great art— both of which are represented at this spot.
9. "Bad Cop Versus Good Cop" by Scot Lefavor
Cold Crush Live
2700 Larimer Street
Scot Lefavor has collaborated with Musa Bailey, DJ and co-owner of Cold Crush, to touch on an important, sensitive topic in the United States: law enforcement and race relations. Their new Cold Crush piece, "Bad Cop Versus Good Cop," was painted on the south-facing wall that's known as "the phoenix wall" because of its constant reinterpretation by local artists since the club's founding in 2012. Find out more about what Lefavor and Bailey think of the highly controversial new piece and its meaning in our Q&A.
8. BBID Artistic Crosswalk Installation Project
The Bluebird Theater
3317 East Colfax Avenue
If you've looked down at the ground by the Bluebird Theater, you probably have noticed some brightly colored new graphics on the street in front of the venue and up the block to the crosswalks at St. Paul Street. These ground murals are no mistake: They're the work of fifteen artists, including Rebecca of Studio Colfax, Jared Anderson and many more. This is the first project of its kind curated by the city, and could pave the way for more colorful street scenery around Denver. As organizer Anne Kuechenmeister explains, "This project is a year in the making and a test for the City of Denver to add art to our public spaces in a whole new way."
7. Budweiser Mural by Pat Milbery and Pat McKinney
Avis Rental Cars
Pat Milbery and Pat McKinney have done the impossible: They secured a huge wall, highly visible in the Central Business District, where they created a Budweiser "America"-themed mural just in time for the Fourth of July. The mural juxtaposes an animated history of Denver and the city skyline right in front of the skyline itself. People heading south on gray Broadway can't miss this bright addition. Thank you, Milbery and McKinney.
6. "Dancing Through Space and Time" by Jonathan Lamb and Michael Ortiz
Denver Performing Arts Complex
1101 13th Street
The side of the parking garage at the Denver Performing Arts Complex is now adorned with "Dancing Through Space and Time," a giant mural by Michael Ortiz and Jonathan Lamb of Like Minded Art. To see it all, you'll need to crank your neck — but the effort is well worth it.
Keep reading for five more of the best new street-art murals painted in summer 2016.
5. Jon Stommel, Rather Severe and Rumtum Creations
Matthew Morris Skincare and Salon, Qi Flow in RiNo
2644 Walnut Street
The crew of Jon Stommel, Rather Severe and Rumtum Creations went to town on this stunning mural in the alleyway of Colorado Crush, right behind the Matchbox bar. Stommel is an artist based out of Portland, Oregon, who specializes in abstract, psychedelic, almost Adventure Time-echoed murals. Look for three more walls painted by this trio during their stay in the Mile High City.
4. Paramount Cafe Mural by Inkmonstr
519 16th Street
Inkmonstr has outdone itself in 2016. While founder Reed Silberman was named the SBA's Colorado Small Business Person of the year, his crew has been putting up wheat-paste graphics and creating stunning murals all over town. Our favorite is in the Paramount Cafe alleyway, where the history of the Paramount is layered in wheat paste with a futuristic Denver utopia, as Inkmonstr promotes itself on a sleek rocket ship swooshing to the right of the canvas wall.
3. Prince Mural by El Marsito, Zak Wilson, Samuel Shoho, B.O.A. Graphics
Vinyl Night Club
This Prince mural stops people in their tracks — when they happen to spot it facing the south side of Broadway, where the traffic is whooshing. But the visually surreal purple, pop-art portrait of Prince painted by El Marsito, Zak Wilson, Samuel Shoho and B.O.A. Graphics is not to be missed. Another mural by the same team faces Torchy's Tacos across the street. It features influencers who passed away over the past year: David Bowie, John Lennon, Miles Davis and more.
2. Sandra Fettingis mural for Women in Abstraction
Center for Visual Arts
965 Santa Fe Drive
Sandra Fettingis was called on to create a stunning drapery of her signature repeating patterns and silhouetted vines along the top of the Center for the Visual Arts, a brand of Metropolitan State University of Denver that is no stranger to murals. The piece was commissioned as part of the show curated by Westword critic Michael Paglia entitled Women in Abstraction. Fettingis's work is sided by a mural by local artist Jaime Molina and another by internationally renowned muralist Obey Giant.
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1. Sun Valley/Birdseed Dumpster Project
Sun Valley Projects
990 Alcott Way
The Birdseed Dumpster Project was a huge undertaking, a collaboration with the P.S. You Are Here program. Thanks to the hard work of Birdseed Collective's Anthony Garcia Sr., these dumpsters in the Sun Valley neighborhood became a canvas for the visions of thirty local artists.