Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives: Reflections on an arts journalist's year well-spent

I've been at Westword for a long time, and during that two-decade stretch, my job description has changed and morphed. But in the present, I'm enjoying a renaissance of pure, unabashed fandom. This professional pastime reached a pinnacle for me in 2013 as I curated the 100 Colorado Creatives blog series, which gave me a chance to showcase a diverse milieu of artists and creatives in all disciplines, people whose fascinating and kaleidoscopic replies to similar questions have kept me -- and, I hope, my constituents -- intellectually satisfied and appreciative of what Denver has to offer. And it's also been interesting at year-end to look back on all of those strong personalities and creative thinkers -- read on for a sampler.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: 100-51

One potentially negative question -- "What's one art trend you want to see die this year?"  --  managed to elicit some pretty positive answers, like this one from artist Donald Fodness: "I will flip this in a way that implies my answer by focusing on the inverse. I want to see an emergent trend in works that impress; perhaps in skill, scale, innovation, vision or a range of other possibilities. I want to see art that really impacts me, asks me to investigate closely and spend time with it, and that sticks with me. There is no formula to what I find impressive. I can be impressed by simple gestures, ephemeral works or even the raw. It could be minimal and well considered, rough and highly intense, an entire portfolio, or a specific moment within a single piece." Continue reading for more on 100 Colorado Creatives. And Lucy Lynn of the Ladies Fancywork Society wouldn't even hear of it: "Whoa. Die? That's pretty harsh. I'm not too sure there is any art trend I want to see die. Fashion trends...that's another story." Her LFS sister in yarnbombing crime, Maxine, stood up for unicorns: "I'm pretty over glitter, just kidding! I love glitter, and if glitter ever stopped being used, it would make me super sad. I also love unicorns. Someone might answer unicorns to this question, but not me, I would be never want a unicorn to die, that would make me evil." But Emily K. Harrison of Boulder's square product theatre didn't mince words: "I don't really follow trends all that much; it took me years to agree to try on a pair of skinny jeans. So I'll just speak to a centuries-old trend that has seen its day: I'm sick of artists being asked (and often agreeing) to work for way less than they're worth. That's a seriously terrible, enduring, national trend. Get your shit together, America." A similar sentiment echoed through many 100CC interviews. Continue reading for more on 100 Colorado Creatives. When questioned about what they would do if a mystery patron promised them unlimited funds for life, some said they just wouldn't accept it, while others went ahead and pinned a dream to the query, such as I Heart Denver entrepreneur Samuel Schimek: "I would open my own design house and pull all the creative talent I know into one giant collaborative space with the very best resources, lighting and equipment. Something like the office of Martha Stewart, only everything would be sourced and produced here in Denver. We would roll out a new custom fabric made of all-natural fiber featuring the blue "Mustang," and in the commercials we could say, 'It's a Denver thing,' smile real big and have one of those little sparkles ping on our teeth." Artist Eric Dallimore's wishes went sky-high: "I would 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 on 100 Colorado Creatives. And asked for the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts, artist Rebecca Vaughan issued a challenge: "Denver: You need to buy art. Then buy more art. Denver: Did you like the art you saw in the arts districts around town? Well, dammit, buy that art! Denver: Did you like the gallery talk or lecture of an artist, but felt not-so-hot about their art? Well, sponsor their studio rent for a month anyway, pay for their materials so that they can keep doing their work! Become a member of the MCA or RedLine, or smaller venues that do not have access to the same public money as the big museums. Denver: Vote yes on every tax increase for education, SCFD funds and infrastructural improvements. That money will go to artists and educators, who are in turn spending it in the community and continuing the flow of money. Apologies, I listed more than one thing." Denver's creatives are spunky! Continue reading for more on 100 Colorado Creatives. The question "If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?" drew imaginative responses from all over the map -- and time itself. The husband-and-wife team Hollis + Lana went for futurist inventor Nikola Tesla: "Well, each other obviously, but if we're going for a threesome, lets bring in Nikola Tesla; his sense of humor, mad scientist ways, and willingness to fail through experimentation intrigues us. Also Tesla may be able to explain to us how we are able to collaborate given that time travel is not quite readily available." And theater advocate John Moore flipped for Joan of Arc: "I went through a serious Joan of Arc crush. I blame my six years as an altar boy. Here was a woman some say was charged by God himself with keeping France out from under the control of the marauding Brits. Others say she was a raving schizophrenic who heard voices in her head, and not only acted on them -- hundreds of people died following her into a fool's errand. Her vanquished foes reported she was surrounded by light even in darkness, and that clouds of butterflies followed in her wake."

That's just a taste. And keep watching Show and Tell for more: We'll be continuing the final quarter of our 100CC countdown in January, leading up to Westword's Artopia 2014 on February 23. In the meantime, find more 100CC flashbacks online in the Show and Tell archive.

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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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