Feast, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver restaurant scene, filled the McNichols Building with fun and food from forty of Denver's favorite restaurants on Sunday, September 30. While we waited in line for bahn mi sandwiches from Gypsy Q, we noticed a striking ensemble sported by artist Kenneth Wheeler. Wearing an oversized fur coat, shorts over pants and a Denver Cruisers T-shirt with colorful patches, Wheeler definitely caught our attention. We stopped to talk with him about his art and his fashion sense.
Westword: What medium do you work in?
Kenneth Wheeler: I paint with acrylic, and I paint in abstract, surreal and photorealism styles.
Who or what inspires your style?
In reality, there are a lot of people who inspire my style. I like the Victorian style of dress and I kinda like gothic, even though I don't really dress gothic. To tell you the truth, I like people who are really out there and also on the other end of the spectrum: really simple and classic looks. I used to wear white button-up shirts and blue jeans all the time.
When did you decide to be more "out there" with your fashion?
When I moved to Denver, actually, in March of 2015. I moved here from Grand Junction. I've lived in Colorado my whole life; Colorado was always the best option. I couldn't afford what I wanted to wear, so I just went with the flow, and I went to some events and got some free shirts. I like to represent those communities, like Denver Cruisers. ... I wore my Denver Cruisers shirt because it is a great community, and Westword helps out with Denver Cruisers, so I wanted to represent."
How would you describe your style in three words?
Comfortable, easy-going. I saw pictures of James Dean when I was growing up, so I always thought: White T-shirt and blue jeans, and you're good to go.
What is your favorite film?
Ever since I was a child I've loved Fantasia; watching the colors and music together has always been beautiful. I have always been a huge fan of stuff like that.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite accessory?
The clear bag is my favorite summer accessory. I got it at Grandoozy, and it's perfect for Rockies games, Broncos games — any festival, really.
What is your jam of the moment?
There are so many. I really like "Riot," by Camino. It's kind of a revolutionary hillbilly song. Other than that, I really enjoyed seeing Florence + the Machine and Kendrick Lamar at Grandoozy this summer. Whenever I go to these events or concerts, I enjoy hearing new music.
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What is your style mantra?
Smile and be happy. Honestly, that is one of my main things in life. I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, look in the mirror and say, "Be a good person."
What do you think of Feast?
This event is amazing. When I woke up this morning, I refused to eat because I wanted to come here and pig out. My stomach is so full, but I have two more floors of food to try, so I'm going to do it. I wanted to try Gypsy Q because it had the longest line. I wanted to see what all the fuss is about.
Like Wheeler, always take pride in your city with your fashion and food choices, Denver. Click here to shop some of Wheeler's art.