Photographer Todd Duane Miller decided to leave Las Vegas after thirteen years of working to establish a grassroots movement in that city's fickle arts scene. In October, Miller relocated to Denver and opened 701 Gallery just off Santa Fe Drive at 701 West Sixth Avenue, where he plans to feature unconventional art displays and events. And he's starting with a weekly community art night on Thursdays that will continue tomorrow, January 28, from 7 to 10 p.m., when all artists are invited to work, collaborate and enjoy each other's company.
The gallery's next show opens February 5 and will feature new photography by Miller, portraying different animals in nature on the night of a full moon. Each photograph was taken using the moon as a natural light source. Miller also factored in the environment, the animals and their role in the Native American naming of these moons; the Wolf Moon was in January. Miller also shows these creatures in a more studio-style portrait setting within the same full-moon environments, showering them with intense colors that correspond to their essence.
Ramona Burns, co-operator of the gallery, says that she and Miller have much more in store for the spring and summer, but are taking a grassroots approach to networking and marketing. "We don't have a Facebook page for a reason," says Burns. "We are not just something that you found on Facebook. If a friend tells a friend, it creates this story and underlying emotion...and being invited here makes that happen. The people involved get more out if it. It becomes a bigger story. There is much more emotional attachment when people are brought here with someone they know."
"We are new and have to get the word out that we are here," says Miller. "I believe that there is a perceived value to art, and whatever art we are selling is going to be good, and people will enjoy it and it will make their life better. By us opening up our space, it brings more people in and strengthens the community. We are not limiting ourselves to art, either. We have an arcade game and are considering music in the garage. I want this to be a place where strange things are happening all the time."
Miller's art résumé includes the New York Art Production Fund at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, as well as creating his own homegrown art scene: the Las Vegas Backyard Wall, a project that featured mural work by thirteen artists; Miller documented it in a film complete with time-lapse photography and original music production.
See more of Miller's work below; find out more about his art and 701 Gallery on Miller's website.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.