"They asked me to come, and it was a good opportunity for me to do something that's a sister project to the Museum of Contemporary Art show," says the Los Angeles street artist, whose Cleon Peterson: Shadow of Men opened on February 2 at the MCA, where it runs through May 27. "The theme of that show is violence, which got inspired because of where we are in the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq. Violence was going on, but here we are so far away, we are almost apathetic to it."
"Endless War," Peterson's striking mural at the Source, is large, loud and violent, yet cartoony enough to not feel threatening. It's something you'll want to ponder with each visit — and you'll be able to: Unlike Peterson's mural that currently wraps the MCA building, this piece is permanent.
"I made it so someone walking down the street would be reminded about our role in the world, and our political and cultural responsibilities," Peterson says, adding that his works echo historical actions, things that are "themes central to humanity."
Though it's huge in both meaning and size, "Endless War" took Peterson only one week to create. He spent about four days earlier this month planning, drawing and blowing up the image on architectural paper, and then another three days stenciling it on the wall above the stairs leading into the hotel, using spray paint to give it a solid matte finish in black, peach and white.
Station 16 Gallery, the first outpost of Carlo De Luca's popular Montreal venue, is also opening in the Source Hotel next month. It was was De Luca who helped get Peterson this commission; he's been an avid fan of the artist for years.
"His work is timeless, and it's so compelling in its simplicity," explains De Luca, who told Peterson's father that the artist would be the "Picasso of our time."
Denver's Station 16 will focus on street art, De Luca says, just as his Canadian space does. For its debut, he's planning on an all-Colorado show, and he knows that this state has an excellent crop of street artists. Peterson himself is a protégé of famous street artist Shepard Fairey (think the Obey Giant and President Barack Obama's famous "Hope" campaign poster).
While Peterson is headed back to L.A., De Luca will be hanging around, not only providing art for the new hotel, but helping to run Crush Walls 2018, which runs from September 3 through September 9. And the Source Hotel and Market Hall will be right in the heart of this arty party.
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.