IndyInk gallery and print-shop will celebrate its tenth anniversary tomorrow, and over fifty local artists will be contributing work for the show that marks the event. This collection of artists represents just a fraction of the many Denverites who owe a debt of gratitude to what IndyInk has done for the city's art community.
We reached out to a handful of these artists via e-mail to ask what IndyInk has meant to them.
"I have shown with IndyInk through the years," Sandi Calistro says, "and am always honored when they ask me. To me, IndyInk is a staple in the Denver art scene. They are always showcasing amazing talent, and they are just all-around good people. I've grown to know and respect many of the artists showing Saturday and am looking forward to showing with them!"
Sandi Calistro has been tattooing the residents of Denver for the last eleven years. A few years after she began inking skin, she branched out to painting, showing in galleries and working on large pieces around the city.
"IndyInk has been great to me. They gave me my first big show when I moved back to Denver and they have always gone out of their way to help me out," says Michael Graves."Dave and Aaron are like the brothers I never wanted."
A local painter, illustrator, screen printer and custom toy designer, Michael Graves's work has been shown in Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Chicago and numerous galleries in Colorado.
"I have known the owners of IndyInk for over ten years," says David Atkinson. "Big Dave has been a great friend and amazing business owner, and I gave this crew a five-arm screen printer in the first year as I had no space for it. Sad part is, it never lined up correctly and they had it sold it to cover taxes they needed to do that year. All for the cause."
A Denver native, David Atkinson balances his work between oil painting and graphic drawing. When he's not making art, Atkinson works as an executive with Muve Music.
"I started my relationship with IndyInk about five years ago, through a show that Chris Huth had curated," remembers Matthew Doubek. "IndyInk has been a very beneficial part of the art community in Denver for providing new and established artists a place to hang art without charging the common gallery commission. They are committed to promoting talent while running a retail and production space that always has foot traffic (hard to say for most galleries). Besides, they are a bunch of the genuinely nicest folks on Broadway."
Matthew Doubek is a local painter and illustrator whose work has been shown in New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis.
"The art scene here in Denver -- that we all get to enjoy today -- was very different ten years ago," says Jaime Molina. "For me, IndyInk filled a niche that really needed to be filled back then. They gave many artists the space and encouragement to show what they wanted to show and have a great time doing it. I know for me, personally, it was the first place I showed after I was done with school. Moeh Haywood and I did one together. I think we printed our fliers on shitty red construction paper. I know I'm not the only artist in this anniversary show who had their early shows there as well. They always threw a great party at the openings, too. The Yummies rocked out there. Itchy-O rocked out there. It was a community. I would go there to support my friend's shows, and they would come by to support mine. Even if I didn't know the artist, the work was always fresh and exciting.
"Those are my memories of IndyInk ten years ago, but they still put on great art shows and still throw great parties. For me, IndyInk has always been an immeasurable supporter of a scene they helped shape."
"For me, IndyInk has been a hub of the arts community. I got the courage up to approach Dave with some new paintings at the end of 2007, and had a split show with my pal Mike Gallegos in the spring of 2008," recalls Max Kauffman. "That show resulted in our first appearance on the Juxtapoz website. That relationship paved the way for my first shows in town, my first illustration gigs in town, and pals that Ive been close with till today. It seems like many people in town got that first 'break' from IndyInk, so it's an honor to give back to some gents that helped me out so much. Plus it's fun to give that chance to the next generation of artists and hopefully further propel them out into the world."
After years spent showing his work around town, Max Kauffman landed a job as arts director for IndyInk.
"IndyInk has been on South Broadway for ten years now," says Mario Zoots, "and they have been consistent on having fantastic art magazines and books. They show local artists on a regular basis, and this is something that Denver needs more of. I had my first solo show at Illiterate Gallery, which is right next door to IndyInk, and for the show they made twenty shirts with one of my drawings screenprinted on the front. The shirts came out great and I sold all of them. IndyInk is a great local business, and loved by all of Denver."
Mario Zoots is a local graphic and video artist who is co-founder of the experimental video project Audio Visual Violence Club, which has done video installations at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Denver Art Museum. (He also recently contributed live video art to the Wes Anderson party that I hosted at Deer Pile.)
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IndyInk's Tenth Anniversary party begins at 7 p.m. this Saturday, August 18, at 84 South Broadway. For more information, visit www.indyink.com