4
| Fashion |

Artopia Artist Ava Van Deursen on Her Art and Fashion Style

Artist Ava Van Deursen at Artopia 2017.EXPAND
Artist Ava Van Deursen at Artopia 2017.
Photo by Mauricio Rocha
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Westword's Artopia 2017 celebrated street art and street style. On February 25, City Hall was filled with artists and other creative types, and one of the most stylish was artist Ava Van Deursen, who grew up in a family of artists in Golden and has always created art. "The city was never too far," she remembers. "I have fond memories of when I was a teen, hitching rides with older classmates to go to punk and hip-hop shows in the city."

We stopped to chat with Van Deursen about what inspires her art and her fashion, and what it's like being a working artist in Denver.

Westword: Who or what inspires your art work?

Ava Van Deursen: There are many things in my life that contribute to my work. My main inspiration  comes from the beauty that I see in my relationships with people, but also to counter that, I'm inspired to act and to share my voice and experience as a woman artist. Women, let alone women artists, are not considered equal to men in this culture and many others. A lot of my work is centered around a dialogue about the equality of the sexes and the toxicity of a culture which propagates women as second-class citizens. The pieces I create are to honor the beauty in our humanity, the beauty of our bodies, and our sexes.

Artist Ava Van Deursen in her installation at Artopia 2017; she's wearing a Lula Roe patterned skirt and a top from Ross.EXPAND
Artist Ava Van Deursen in her installation at Artopia 2017; she's wearing a Lula Roe patterned skirt and a top from Ross.
Photo by Mauricio Rocha

Who or what inspires your personal style?

I have always had a very unique style. My grandmother taught me to sew at a very young age, and I was creating my own clothing throughout my teen years. I wanted to be a fashion designer and actually attended Pratt Institute in New York during high school. Needless to say, I ended up pursuing art, but fashion is near and very, very dear to my heart. My style is inspired by a mix [of] urban/street and ’50s pinup, if you can imagine.

What is your favorite medium?

I think it changes, but I will say right now it's definitely painting acrylic on tar.

What is your favorite color?

Teal, all day. Although black is pretty much neck and neck.

What is your favorite accessory?

Makeup. I don't know if that is even considered an accessory, but I think it's so incredibly diverse, and it can make an outfit. I'm an artist, so I love the artistry within it. 

Artopia installation by Ava Van Deursen from the series "Delicious Tar/Dirty Pussy."EXPAND
Artopia installation by Ava Van Deursen from the series "Delicious Tar/Dirty Pussy."
Photo by Mauricio Rocha

Where do you shop for fashion?

Ross is a mainstay, but I also frequent the Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill. I'm not crazy about labels. I like vintage and secondhand, and I think it's important to be unique with your style. It's all about your vision.

What is your style mantra, something you say to yourself when getting dressed?

Basically, I walk into my closet and I ask myself, on a scale of one to ten, "How sexy or gangster do I feel right now?"

What is your favorite film?

I hate this question, because I love films and I really can't narrow it down to one. So here are my top three: Pride & Prejudice, Kill Bill and The Notebook. Romance fanatic and badass chicks, basically.

Art by Ava Van Deursen.EXPAND
Art by Ava Van Deursen.
Photo by Mauricio Rocha

What is your favorite song right now, your jam of the moment?

I've been diggin' Childish Gambino's new album, specifically "Redbone." So fuckin' sexy.

What did you think of Artopia? What were your favorite moments of the night?

Artopia is always fucking insane. Didn't disappoint this year! The mural contest was legit. I was asked to help judge. It was really challenging to pick a winner, especially because I know a lot of the artists and respect all of their work. Casey Kawaguchi won the contest. His work is incredible. It was dope, though; if you weren't there, you missed out, for sure.

Artopia Artist Ava Van Deursen on Her Art and Fashion StyleEXPAND
Photo by Mauricio Rocha

Do you consider fashion art?

Always. Fashion excites me just like art does. Wearing your artistic expression is incredibly fun and can make you feel amazing.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I'm super-thankful for Denver for coming up. It's come a long way, although the arts are constantly facing a pushback. I think with the current political climate, we're all feeling weary. I love this city and am saddened, specifically, by the way the DIY community and organizations have been treated by our local government. It's not easy being an artist in this city right now. Its fucking expensive, and finding a studio that you can afford is nearly impossible. The people in the DIY community are super-creative and come together to support artists. The way they're being treated is not akin to a city that prides itself on art and culture.

Like Van Deursen, always pride yourself on your art, Denver.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.