Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives: Eric Dallimore

#32: Eric Dallimore

New Orleans native Eric Dallimore is a many-faceted artist: A large-scale sculptor, photographer and installation artist, whose work ranges from a public-art piece built from the wreckage of homes lost to Hurricane Katrina to a yearlong photographic documentation of the Denver dance troupe Wonderbound, he's already keeping busy. But there's more: Dallimore is also a co-owner and curator of Leon Gallery, one of Denver's havens for emerging and undiscovered artists, as well as an intimate, house-style concert hall and event space.

It's rare to see an artist continue to grow by leaps and bounds in creative terms while also running an adventurous gallery and business. That evidences a drive that goes above and beyond, and we're not certain that Dallimore ever even sleeps, which made us curious enough to invite him to take our 100CC questionnaire. Read on for the unexpected answers.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Hollis + Lana

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

I would have to say Martin Puryear. The way he is able to work with wood is astounding. I want to understand wood and how to manipulate it the way he does. Martin Puryear is the perfect blend of a man who uses craft to create gorgeous minimalist sculptures. I saw his work at the SFMOMA a few years back and it completely blew me away -- must have walked back and forth through that exhibit twelve times before I was forced to leave because the museum was closing.

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

I think the most interesting artist right now is Ai Weiwei. I try to use my art to help bring awareness about specific sustainable policies and the way Ai uses his art to comment on the Chinese government is very inspirational. I always feel a little bit guilty about being an artist, like I only create these beautiful things when I should be out in the world to help fix all of the chaos that seems to be around us. Ai's work reminds me that art can be a platform for social change and awareness. He seems like a very intelligent man with a good sense of humor. Ai's work is not just focused on a single discipline, he is a great sculptor, architect, installation artist, curator and cultural critic. For years people have offered me the advice to stick to one medium and master it, but artists like Ai Weiwei prove otherwise. It is incredible how Ai Weiwei is able to use one form of creation to bridge over and blossom into another.

Continue reading for more from Eric Dallimore. What's your day job?

I am the owner and curator of Leon art gallery with Lindsay Giles McWilliams in the Uptown neighborhood.

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

Online galleries. Art has a physical and emotional presence that cannot be felt online. Sculptures, paintings, photographs all become their own entity once completed and I just don't think that presence, that soul of the piece can ever come across online, so how can you make such an important purchase through a cold machine like a computer? Online galleries should only be used for reference, not for selling artwork.

Hyperallergic just announced its "20 Most Powerless People in the Artworld," a counter-nod to Art Review's Power List, and in that article they announced brick-and-mortar art galleries as #7. I enjoy reading Hyperallergic, but I wholeheartedly think they were buffoonish for writing something so absurd. Have fun being moved by a piece on Amazon while a pop-up window tells you to go on a diet.

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

Great question -- I mean, where are the days of great patrons donating to the arts? When you had some rich lord or countess buying you a beautiful studio, a home and all the wine you could handle? If I had unlimited funds for life, I would of course set up a massive warehouse-sized studio with nearly every imaginable art instrument at my fingertips right here in Denver to share with all of the great artists in the city who can't afford a space to create what they so desperately want to create. It would have massive rooms for wood work, printmaking, a foundry, a darkroom, a photo studio, a digital arts room...the works! Think of the Source, but twice that size and only made for the creation of art. Maybe I would spread this singular space out into smaller studios all over the world: a photo studio and printmaking shop in Paris, a wood studio and another printmaking shop in Japan, a ceramics studio in New Orleans.

I would also have to buy a ticket to fly on a space shuttle and fulfill my lifelong dream of going into space. I have always wanted to be the first photographer in space. I wonder if they would let me hang on the International Space Station? What kind of hardware do you need hang art in space?

Continue reading for more from Eric Dallimore. What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

More risk-taking in public art. Stop playing it safe, and let's really put Denver on the map with provocative, intelligent large-scale works of art by local artists. Look at what Seattle and Chicago have been able to accomplish through their public art programs. These massive projects can attract the world's attention and bring more buyers and investors onto the scene and help show off how incredible this arts community is.

There are a number of smaller, riskier projects proposed by local emerging artists for each of the RFQs and RFPs; however, these committees tend to go with something safe that the general public will enjoy. I get it, though -- this is a program funded through tax dollars (and the 1 percent for the arts initiative), so they need to keep it safe so that the public doesn't get offended. Well, I say the public is barely even noticing the public art that exists in Denver right now, save for a select few pieces.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Derrick Valasquez is my favorite contemporary Colorado Creative. His work is extraordinary, from conception to final product. I am mesmerized by the way he uses a simple substrate like vinyl so well. I used to work as a production artist at a graphic design company and we used a lot of vinyl...I have always been interested in it as a fine-art medium and Derrick has been able to elevate it to a status that is truly elegant. I really enjoy his installations too, like "Thinking in Circles"... just brilliant! His work has that minimalist charm that I am so drawn to, is just enough conceptual to make you really consider what is the truth of the piece, but also plays art's most important role: to simply be beautiful and moving.

Continue reading for more from Eric Dallimore. What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Leon has a very special announcement about the artist we will be exhibiting in January and February that I can't talk about just yet. Keep an eye out for this worldwide debut -- something so spectacular, we are giving the show an unprecedented two-month run at the gallery...details coming soon!

Leon is coming into its third year, so as a gallery we are truly beginning to make a bold mark on the Denver art's scene. We are already booked over a year in advance, and could easily be booked for up to two years...I just don't like to get too ahead of myself. This isn't me bragging about how great Leon is; this is me bragging about how talented the emerging artists are in Denver and how easy it is to pick from this pool. Leon is the place that notices artists first, and then in a few years you may see them at giants like Robischon or, hopefully, the MCA. Adam Lerner does a great job over there, and I am excited to be a part of the team of curators and gallery owners who are defining Denver. 2014 is going to be a bold year at Leon!

Personally, I am not sure what my next creation will be. I just completed If You Dream. If You Love. If You Wonder. One Year of Becoming Wonderbound. That is a project where I took a classical approach to a subject: photographing this modern ballet company over the course of one year, documenting their season in the studio and on the stage. It was the most beautiful project I have ever worked on, because I got to be in the heart of the creative process with Garrett Ammon, Dawn Fay and all of the Wonderbound hares. Now that the exhibition is complete (currently exhibiting at Leon through December 1), I will begin work on a book of photography and interviews from this past year. I will have that completed by this spring.

After that, who knows? I am aspiring to get a grant to do a photography expedition where I ride a bicycle on the entirety of the old Silk Road and shoot images of the modern (and not-so-modern) life that exists along this ancient and vital route. Then again, I may get distracted by a new sculpture exhibit using wood and put the camera down for a little while.

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

Keep an eye out for Jared David Paul. Jared is a Denver native who just got back from a stint in L.A. and is diving into the local arts scene and starting to make bold moves. His work is reflective of a soul much older than his physical age. I was fortunate enough to watch Jared work on a piece at my gallery, and it literally had me screaming with excitement as he moved his giant handmade brush across the canvas, spreading sumi ink masterfully across rice paper attached to canvas, like some sort of zen master dancing through space. JDP is persistent in his pursuit of the arts and incredibly self-critical, two tools that every successful artist needs. Learn more about Eric Dallimore online. For information about exhibitions and events at Leon Gallery visit the website. 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.

Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.

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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