Arts and Culture

Charlie Boots on light-rail adventures, being a poor artist and why he is like Jesus

Editor's note: Artist Charlie Boots, represents the inaugural pair of PAIR residents at Denver's Powerhaüs Studio. As part of his residency, he and his fashion-designing counterpart will be reporting from the real world via Show and Tell, as they learn the ropes from studio mentors Mona Lucero, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and Jimmy Sellars. Boots's second post follows.

See also: - The world according Charlie Boots: An art-scene newbie on what it takes to get noticed - 100 Colorado Creatives: Charlie Boots - PAIR resident Francis Roces on designing to a different drummer and sticking to it

"This one is great, but try talking about your life and work more next time."

Jimmy handed back my iPad after reading over my first blog post and correcting any misspelled words. "Just out of habit," he said.

"Really? Like...talk about myself more? I figured people wouldn't be interested if I wrote about myself."

"You'd be surprised. People are interested in your life as an artist. Write about how you came up with one of your paintings. Or you can write about how you get to Powerhaüs every day. You could start it by saying, 'Every day, I take the light rail to my studio.'"

"Okay. Yeah. I like that idea."

Every day I take the light rail to my studio. I ride the D Line from Mineral to 30th and Downing. For the past, what was it? For three years, I have ridden on that light rail --wherever I needed to be, almost every day and night. If you are a frequenter of the D Line, you probably sat next to me at one point in your life. I was either the guy reading his book, looking pissed at the other guy playing his music ridiculously loud, or I was the guy playing his music ridiculously loud.

I've lost my cell phone on the D Line. I've seen people vomit up a mixture of a night's worth of alcohol and Taco Bell on the D Line. I've met some make-up embellished men who were given a ticket for riding without a fare and subsequently shattered a window with their bare hands on the D Line.

It's been good times.

One thing I've had to do out of pure necessity is transport my paintings and supplies via light rail. Yes, this is a horrible idea. Again, people vomit on the light rail. I can picture the day when I have to explain to a collector, "Oh that stain. It was completely intentional."

Luckily, no one has vomited on one of my paintings yet.

The main concern is not damaging the work. For example, I recently had to pick up my painting Perpetually Bored, Mildly Ashamed (Skittles) from Anthology Gallery on Santa Fe Drive. This painting is six feet tall and four feet wide. This painting is bigger than me.

This situation, which happens often, requires me to balance the most comfortable position available to me with a position that will not result in dents, cuts, scratches or dirt. Preference is never given to comfort.

To transport Skittles, I assumed a Christ-like pose, which entailed holding the painting by the bracer bars (little bars attached to the stretcher bars to prevent warping) with the painting on my back, thereby forcing my arms back and up.

The second issue had to do with not having any entertainment while I moved a painting. Not having anything to occupy my mind always results in an inner dialogue such as this:

Voice 1 (in my head): Hey! I kinda look like Jesus, walking around with this thing on my back like this.

Voice 2: Don't compare yourself to Jesus.

Voice 1: Why?

Voice 2: It's prideful and weird.

Voice 3: Make sure that branch doesn't hit your painting.

Voice 1: What if I am prideful and weird?

Voice 2: Then I don't want to be associated with you.

Voice 1: Well, it's too late for that, isn't it?

Voice 3: Watch out for the curb. If you trip, it is your face, not the painting that I will make you land on.

Voice 1: Is that the D Line?

Voice 2: It's about to leave! Run!

Voice 3: HELL NO! There is a painting on our back!

Voice 1: Damn it! It's gone!

Voice 2: Well, if you weren't lollygagging back there...

Voice 3: You both are useless.

You can see how this is fertile ground for insanity to be cultivated in my mind.

Continue reading for more from Charlie Boots
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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

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