Colorado Creatives

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Monique Crine

#25: Monique Crine

Born in Germany, schooled at San Francisco State University and Cornell, and now based in Denver, Monique Crine crosses through layers of media and techniques just to make a painting, first photographing her subjects before committing them in super-real, cinema-inspired detail to canvas. Interested in the study of American archetypes, Crine is currently engulfed in a series focusing on professional football; several of these works go on display next week in a solo showcase at MCA Denver. In advance of the show, we thought readers might like getting to know the artist — and her work — better. A snapshot follows, via her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

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

Monique Crine: My grandfather, Leslie Crine, was a press photographer during the Kennedy administration and was a fabulous portrait artist. I wish I had the opportunity to collaborate with him on some projects. His eye was incredible. I inherited his cameras and still use them to this day to photograph all my subjects. His portraits of my family, especially those he took of my Grandma Jean, are some of my most valued possessions.
Douglas Sirk would be pretty epic as well. His Hollywood melodramas from the 1950s, especially Imitation of Life and Written on the Wind, deeply influence my work. I'm completely swept away from his distinctive visual style and clear affection for his characters. 
I'd also like to bake pies with Julia Child.

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

Dan Zahn. If you've ever met him, you'll never forget him. A gifted writer, sailor and friend. He's always beaten to his own drum and inspired countless individuals along the way. He recently published his debut novel, To Bust An Open Flame.
I love Howard Stern and find his interviews completely compelling, with a few recent standouts being his interviews with Sia, Martin Short and Lady Gaga. He has skill in relating to his guests as friends and invites them to share things about themselves that they would normally be reluctant to do. Stern's self-deprecating nature provides an easiness and lightness to the interview, which is both sincere and hilarious. As someone who frequently works with strangers for my work, I find this skill rare and very powerful. His interviews are just getting better and better. HEY NOW!
Given that I'm currently working with NFL players, I am particularly excited about Michael Sam. I think coming out in that environment was a powerful thing to do. I'm excited to follow his journey. I also love Tim Tebow, but mostly 'cause he's a hunk. 
I'll also never turn down an opportunity to read another Jennifer Aniston interview. I fucking love her.

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

Undervaluing artists' work and their time. 

What's your day job?

Painting and finding more adult pets to rescue (sorry, Brett!).
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

I'd buy a home in Morrow Bay, CA, near the water, and another near Wash Park because my dogs love walking there. With both homes, I'd have enormous studios designed by Turnball Griffin Haesloop. There will be lots of plants, rescued cats and dogs, and wine. I'll continue doing similar types of portraiture as before, but will buy Williamsburg paint instead of Windsor Newton. I'll probably also paint in my Joe's jeans since I'll be able to afford more if I get paint on them.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Having lived in Toronto, I witnessed a regional and national government that generously supported the arts. Given that we live in the world's largest economy, I wish we could do the same here. 
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

I'm an animal rights advocate, so anyone supporting this cause through donations, animal adoptions or diet is a favorite in my book. They might not be a “Colorado Creative” in the sense that the question implies, but countless individuals in Colorado are creatively finding ways to fund and develop programming that defends animal rights. I'm thrilled with the work the Wild Animal Sanctuary is doing in Keenesburg, CO, and was pleased to hear them featured on NPR. Locally, I'm a massive fan of Wild B.I.R.D in Denver. They are a rehabilitation facility that takes in injured birds and releases them back into the wild upon healing. They are currently accepting donations to break ground on a new facility, as their previous location was closed due to zoning restrictions. Please consider supporting them. Also a big fan of Maxfund and PawsCo. 

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

My solo show at Denver's MCA opens on May 14, and then I'm getting married a week after that. After a long and relaxing honeymoon, I'll be back to prepare for an upcoming project with the first black football players in the Southeastern Conference, as well as a lecture at CSU and another at Harvard.  
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?

Heidi Jung is taking a departure from her botanical series in a new body of work she's exhibiting at Michael Warren in late June. It’s like a visual haiku. Stunning and poetic. I would love to see her do a public mural. 
Having lived in San Francisco and knowing about Yoshimoto Saito's sculptures from works exhibited at the de Young (he's also a part of their permanent collection) and Haines Gallery (where he's represented alongside Ai Weiwei, Andy Goldsworthy and James Turrell), I'm enormously surprised that he hasn't had a solo museum show yet in Denver. To me it’s like having Vanessa Redgrave living down the street and never asking her to perform at the local theater. Or even better, having Jennifer Aniston live next door and never asking her to borrow a cup of agave! 

Critical Focus: Monique Crine opens May 14 and runs through June 28 at MCA Denver. Learn more about Monique Crine online

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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