Jason Garcia's art is rooted in autoethnography and object-oriented ontology.EXPAND
Jason Garcia's art is rooted in autoethnography and object-oriented ontology.
Kenzie Bruce

Crush Walls Is Ready to Crush It: Here's the Breakdown

Crush Walls 2018 is upon us, wearing a shiny new corporate suit and a tweaked title that reflects exponential growth and a new look. What began in 2010 as Colorado Crush, an informal word-of-mouth covert gathering of metro Denver graffiti artists organized by founder Robin Munro (aka Dread), operates this year for the first time under the aegis of the RiNo Art District, which has expanded the seven-day event from a ten-block radius to a whopping, district-wide thirty-block area with 77 mural-activation sites, with a cross-section of local and international writers and muralists curated by Carlo De Luca of Montreal’s Station 16 Gallery.

An extensive, crowd-pleasing sideshow of events will accompany the week-long mural-painting spectacle that runs from September 3 through September 9: gallery shows for art lovers, workshop for a DIY crowd of all ages, film screenings and literary readings, a mini skate park, and a party and club scene for the street-culture in crowd.

How do you navigate that? Start with the main event. The real reason to go to Crush — to watch and chat with artists as they transform city alleys and buildings — hasn’t changed in nine years. To help you see as many murals-in-progress as possible, RiNo has compiled a handy map of activation sites, along with illustrated guides to the styles of participating artists and international guests, who include such stars as Obey Giant trendsetter Shepard Fairey, L.A. “mantradala” artist Cryptik, Mexican street artists Poni and Smithe, Spanish muralist duo PichiAvo, street sculptor Laurence Vallières and others. Below, we’ve narrowed down the rest for you, by category, so you can follow your bliss. Events are free unless noted.

Tracy Weil is the co-founder and creative director of the RiNo Art District; he's lived and worked in the area for eighteen years.EXPAND
Tracy Weil is the co-founder and creative director of the RiNo Art District; he's lived and worked in the area for eighteen years.
Kenzie Bruce

CRUSH SIGNATURE EVENTS

Let’s CRUSH it Opening Party
B-Spot, 2750 Blake Street
Tuesday, September 4, 6 p.m. to close

The official Crush opening party at the future site of Formativ’s LOT Twenty Eight mixed-use development project is also a first look at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse in its first venture outside of Miami, where it pops up in the Wynwood district for Art Basel. Meet the artists, dance to DJ beats, enjoy beverages by RiNo Yacht Club and New Belgium Brewing, and view live screen-printing by A Small Print Shop.

Secret Walls Live Illustration Battle
4201 Brighton Boulevard
Friday, September 7, 8 to 11 p.m.
Ages 18+

There’s zero cred for a street-art fest without Secret Walls, a worldwide freestyle competition for artists armed only with black markers in a semi-secret location. Crush is down with that, and it’s a high point of the week.

CRUSH Walls Block Party
Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street
Saturday, September 8, 8 to 11 p.m.

To top off what might be Crush's biggest day, when spectators stream into RiNo to roam the streets, the block party goes down at Crush Central — conveniently, the parking lot at Central Market — with music curated by Grandoozy and a generally upbeat aura. Proceeds from the party benefit the RiNo Emerging Artist Fund.

Rhino Yacht Club After Hours: CRUSH After Party
Source Hotel and Market Hall, 3350 Brighton Boulevard
Saturday, September 8, 11 p.m. to close

Crush’s official after-party will keep you swinging to the bitter end, thanks to the effervescent mixology of RiNo Yacht Club bartenders.

RUMTUM is an artist and musician whose artwork often features bursting colors, tropical plants, sunrays and smiling creatures.
RUMTUM is an artist and musician whose artwork often features bursting colors, tropical plants, sunrays and smiling creatures.
Jacqueline Collins

AFTER-HOURS CHILLAXING

CRUSH Is Big Trouble
Big Trouble, Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street
Thursday, September 6, 8 to 11 p.m.

An evening sponsored by Denver Digerati (talking up its own Supernova digital animation fest with events beginning next week), with a surprise DJ set.

CRUSH Beats With Rumtum
Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street
Friday, September 7, 9 p.m.
Ages 21+

With Rumtum, who is also a Crush Walls artist, Felix Fast4ward and Neon Brown. Refreshments by 10 Barrel Brewing.

CRUSH Beats With Special Secret Guest DJ and Orca
Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street
Saturday, September 8, 9 p.m.
Ages 21+

Secret guest DJ, Orca and a DJ set by Phiilo. Refreshments by 10 Barrel Brewing.

CRUSH Beats With MeanTeam
Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street
Sunday, September 9, 6 p.m.
Ages 16+

Close out Crush with the MeanTeam (featuring DJ Wushu, Gyp Da Hip, Spencer Foreman, DJ MUSA, Dj Thred, Skeena, B Money, Digg, Phil I Am and Trizz), Young Amsterdam Crew (FL, Ave Grim, Flawless Money, Aux Dior and Ronin) and live music by Posh Abilities. Refreshments by 10 Barrel Brewing. Doors open at 5 p.m.; show at 6 p.m.

Chris Haven is from Westminster and is known for his iconic #pyramidpeople.EXPAND
Chris Haven is from Westminster and is known for his iconic #pyramidpeople.
Kenzie Bruce

GALLERIES/EXHIBITS

Juxtapoz Clubhouse at CRUSH Walls
B-Spot, 2750 Blake Street
Tuesday, September 4, 6 to 11 p.m.
Wednesday, September 5, through Saturday, September 8, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here’s a party spot fresh from Art Basel Miami (via Juxtapoz Magazine) that you’ll want to get to know better as the fest progresses. With a collaborative art installation for the ages, live performances and site-specific urban art, it’s a festival in itself, not to mention a clubby museum piece.

Ride for Mongolia Skateboard Exhibition
Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street
Monday, September 3, through Saturday, September 8, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The main focus of a benefit exhibition for Learn and Skate, a French organization founded by humanitarian Jean Claude Geraud to bring skate culture to developing countries, the decks for sale in Ride for Mongolia will raise money to help build a skatepark in Ulaanbaatar.

Poni and Smithe
Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street
Monday, September 3, through Sunday, September 9, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Mexico City contemporary art gallery Galería Balneario curated this show by two Mexican Crush Walls imports whose separate works represent a yin/yang approach to street art, juxtaposing Poni’s feminine imagery and Smithe’s sci-fi-inflected bodyscapes inspired by Mexican art. It’s a great prelude to watching their murals in Denver unfold.

This Is It?
Dateline Gallery, 3004 Larimer Street
Tuesday, September 4, 6 to 11 p.m.

Lots of galleries are joining the ongoing Crush Walls party that runs in RiNo through next weekend, including Dateline, which chips in with a nod to thirteen of metro Denver’s best street-art and graffiti artists, who’ve all been showing up for Crush over the years, before the thing got so big. Size up work by the locals, many of whom you’ll meet at the opening, next to murals going up outside by international big names at this introduction, which will highlight small works and preparatory drawings. Gregg Ziemba of Rubedo and friends will rave it up at the reception.

Pop-Up Sculpture Garden by Jarvis Fosdick
Walnut Workshop, 3525 Walnut Street
Wed, September 5, 4 to 6 p.m.
Friday, September 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, September 8, 4 to 6 p.m.

The RiNo studio enclave Walnut Workshop offers its own take on Crush by opening an oasis to visit as you crawl through the neighborhood: Studio-mate Jarvis Fosdick’s Pop-Up Sculpture Garden, which you can visit in various phases of creation, including a preview on September 5, a First Friday reception on September 7 and an open house where you can rest your weary eyes during the daytime on September 8.

A mural by Patrick Kane McGregor on the wall of the Inspyre Store across from Cesar Chavez Park, 4170 Tennyson Street.EXPAND
A mural by Patrick Kane McGregor on the wall of the Inspyre Store across from Cesar Chavez Park, 4170 Tennyson Street.
Kenzie Bruce

Denver’s East Side: Now & Forever
Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street
Thursday, September 6, 5 to 8 p.m.

Drink in some neighborhood history for a little insight on how much the surrounding Five Points/Curtis Park community has changed, for better or for worse, over the years. The downtown Denver art incubator Understudy goes off site to present images of real life on the east side by the photography collectives Old Denver and Theyshootn. See the show and stick around for a community discussion and live-painting demonstration.

MCA Denver Artist Talks: Special Topics In Urban Art
ATC Den, 3420 Larimer Street
Thursday, September 6: Fragile Ecosystems in Urban Art: Laurence Vallières and Endangered Activism, 7 p.m., and Traditional Pattern and Cultural Heritages in Contemporary Street Art: Add Fuel and Jason Garcia, 7:45 p.m.

Sponsor MCA Denver steps up to host an evening of artist talks about making street art with Crush artists Laurence Vallières and Endangered Activism on sustainable and ecological art practices at 7 p.m., and Add Fuel and Jason Garcia on incorporating cultural heritage and craftsmanship into murals. Drop in any time, but remember space is limited.

First Friday Art Show: Robin Munro and CRUSH Artists
RiNo Made, Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, #109
Friday, September 7, 6 to 9 p.m.

Crush founder Robin Munro gets a well-deserved showcase of his art and graffiti work under the moniker of Dread, along with several other RiNo-based Crush artists, at RiNo Made, the art district’s all-RiNo gift shop at Zeppelin Station. Proof that Crush still supports its own.

Community Mural and Pop-up Installation by Bethani Wells
M. Romero Gallery, 3006B Larimer Street
Friday, September 7, through Sunday, September 9, 3 to 9 p.m. daily

Participation is welcomed throughout the weekend at M. Romero Gallery, where anyone can collaborate on a community mural on the front steps. Brushes and paints are provided. Stick around and watch Roaring Fork Valley artist Alaina Mulawka and her team paint and official Crush mural; inside, see a multimedia installation by Bethani Wells.

ATC Den Crush Walls Happy Hour
ATC Den, 3420 Larimer Street
Saturday, September 8, 2 to 5 p.m.

ATC Den owner and accomplished action painter Laura Krudener is also getting in the game for Crush by painting the gallery/event space’s huge exterior wall; while Crush artists Jason Garcia and Endangered Activism take over the indoor walls for an art exhibit of their work. Enjoy refreshments WheelHouse Canned Cocktails and 10 Barrel Brewing Company and groove to beats by DJ E-TRANE.

Casey Kawaguchi painted one of the most photographed murals from Crush 2016 in the alley at 1309 26th Street.
Casey Kawaguchi painted one of the most photographed murals from Crush 2016 in the alley at 1309 26th Street.
Lindsey Bartlett

WORKSHOPS

Skate Deck Painting Workshop by Learn & Skate
Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street
Wednesday, September 5, 5 to 7 p.m.
To register, contact Richard at info@crushwalls.org

Learn all about skate decks as art with French skateboard ambassador Jean-Claude Géraud of Learn & Skate. Kids welcome, but space is limited. To register, contact Richard at info@crushwalls.org.

Pasting Art Workshop by Endangered Activism
ATC Den, 3420 Larimer Street
Wednesday, September 5, 4 to 6 p.m.

Wheat-pasted imagery is a time-honored form of street art, represented this year at Crush by Mark Sink and the Big Picture project at the Temple, 2400 Curtis Street, and the team Endangered Activism at Kephart, 2555 Walnut Street. Devon Galpin Clarke and Shannon Galpin of the latter, who paste up images of endangered species, will get you started with the technique.

Artist Workshop with David Russell
RedLine Denver, 2350 Arapahoe Street
Friday, September 7, 5 to 7 p.m.

Artist David Russell of Mobile Mural Lab in L.A., who will be putting up a Crush mural at RedLine, gets into the nitty-gritty basics of mural art by demonstrating the traditional transfer enlargement process developed by sign painters. A round-table discussion on community engagement and art will follow.

Screen-Printing and Zine-Making Workshop
The Source Hotel and Marketplace, 3350 Brighton Boulevard
Saturday, September 8, 5 to 8 p.m.

Join the Denver Zine Library for a little guerilla artmaking of your own, while learning screen-printing techniques from A Small Print Shop and zine-making basics and history from the DZL. Make and take your own zine, with a screen-printed cover.

Mexican street artist Smithe will bring his style to Crush Walls in 2018.
Mexican street artist Smithe will bring his style to Crush Walls in 2018.
Courtesy of CRUSH Walls

SCREENINGS

BYOB Bring Your Own Beamer With Supernova Festival
Central Market parking lot/alley, 2669 Larimer Street
Monday, September 3, 9 to 11 p.m.

Bring Your Own Beamer is a DIY screening of the best kind: Local artists bring their own projectors, and in this case, show their own film and video work on a wall. At Crush, the screening surface will be walls waiting to be painted over by muralists in the main alley behind Central Market. The event is hosted by the Supernova digital animation festival as a prelude to what you’ll see on downtown Denver’s giant LED screens later this month.

Screenings at Vauxhall: Faces Places and Eloquent Vandals
Vauxhall Theater, Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th Street
Wednesday, September 5, 8 to 11 p.m.
Space Limited

Films can bring context to the table for people wanting to understand street-art culture better, which is where these documentary screenings about street-art culture and social practices in urban art figure into the Crush equation; it’s also a great way to get a load off your aching feet. Seating is first-come, first-served, so arrive early if you can.

Screenings at Vauxhall: Roots Remain and Deepest Depths
Vauxhall Theater, Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th Street
Thursday, September 6, 8 to 11 p.m.

See above.

LITERARY

Pop-Up Zine Fair With the Denver Zine Library
The Source Hotel and Market Hall, 3350 Brighton Boulevard
Monday, September 3, through Sunday, September 9, 2 to 8 p.m. daily

Zines, self-expressive and handmade in the do-it-yourself tradition, fit easily into street-culture, making CRUSH a perfect platform for the Denver Zine Library, a hidden treasure in the city where zines from all over the world are catalogued and lent to library visitors. They’ll be hawking the latest pamphlets and comics all week long at the Source.

Lit Crawl Denver
RiNo
Saturday, September 8, 5 to 9 p.m.

CRUSH gives a nod to Denver authors and poets by hosting Lit Crawl Denver, a local offshoot of the national Litquake Foundation initiative, at various art-district locations. More than thirty writers representing At the Inkwell, BookBar, Colorado Humanities, F-Bomb, Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Regis University’s Mile-High MFA program will read in RiNo galleries, businesses, wineries and pocket parks, and it’s all free. Find information and a complete Lit Crawl schedule online.

Knomad Colab specializes in "space transformation" and places immense value on the historical and cultural contexts of the spaces in which it works.EXPAND
Knomad Colab specializes in "space transformation" and places immense value on the historical and cultural contexts of the spaces in which it works.
Kenzie Bruce

TOURS

CRUSH Walls with Rebel Tours
Across the street from 38th/Blake Street RTD station, 3737 Blake Street
Denver Central Market parking lot, 2669 Larimer Street
Monday, September 3, through Sunday, September 9, twice daily on weekdays and four times daily on Saturday and Sunday
Tickets: $25

It’s okay if you don’t want to navigate Crush's blocks and blocks of activity on your own. For a $25 fee, Rebel Tours will guide you through the maze, sharing insider facts, making artist introductions and giving insight into what’s going on around you. Several tours are scheduled throughout the week, leaving from the 38th/Blake Street RTD station or Central Market, with separate destination points. Half of your fee goes straight back to a fund for Crush Walls artists.

RiNo Insiders Tour: CRUSH Edition
B-Spot, 2750 Blake Street
Thursday, September 6, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $65 at Eventbrite

The chicer RiNo Insiders Tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the Crush machine, and a lot of other extras for its price tag of $65, which covers drinks and noshes from a variety of RiNo businesses, including Vero, Izzio Artisan Bakery, Temper Chocolates and Confections, and Culture Meat and Cheese. Start at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse for a drink and a talk by curator Carlo De Luca before moving on to a mural tour; top the tour off with drinks at the Crush artists’ lounge and a conversation with Crush founder Robin Munro. Attendees will be invited to a not-announced-to-the-public event in RiNo following the tour, with one drink ticket provided per person.

Collaborative piece between Birdcap (left) and Casey Kawaguchi from Crush 2017. Kawaguchi is inspired by Japanese culture, and recently became the subject of a documentary, Mastery, that looks at his creative process and philosophy.EXPAND
Collaborative piece between Birdcap (left) and Casey Kawaguchi from Crush 2017. Kawaguchi is inspired by Japanese culture, and recently became the subject of a documentary, Mastery, that looks at his creative process and philosophy.
Kenzie Bruce

KIDS

Reading Rocket Mobile | Literary Workshop
Boxyard Park, 2502 Broadway
Friday, September 7, 5 to 7 p.m.

The Denver Public Library’s library-on-wheels will drop by Boxyard Park on Friday night to serve the underserved; adults and kids alike will find something to read.

Stencil and Chalk Spray Workshop with the Denver Public Library
Alley at RedLine Denver, 2350 Arapahoe Street
Saturday, September 8, 1 to 5 p.m.
Register young artists online or call 720-865-1205

The Denver Public Library also serves Crush's kid contingent with this workshop designed expressly for youngsters ages five to twelve. Adults are welcome to spectate from the sidelines as their littles get creative with chalk spray and stencils. It’s free, but register in advance to insure a spot for your child.

SHOPPING

Denver Bazaar Arts Fest
Booz Hall RiNo, 2845 Walnut Street
Friday, September 7, 4 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 8, 3 to 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 9, noon to 6 p.m.

You knew there had to be a shopping tie-in at Crush, and there is: Denver Bazaar brings its concept to Booz Hall in collaboration with the Red Wolf Collective, focusing on locally made artwork, clothing, gifts and confections. Happy hunting.

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