Anyone can put stuff on walls, but curator Curtis Tucker has elevated this lowbrow reference to art into a series of pop-up shows called Stuff on Walls. Tucker, who grew up in the Denver suburbs, "came to the city with family almost every weekend to see some kind of visual or performance art," he remembers. Now he's creating visual-art events for the city.
"I consider events my prominent art form at the moment," Tucker says. "I also have a degree in design and love helping the community with those skills. In my downtime, I illustrate, embroider and make zines." But he hasn't had much downtime since he hosted his first Stuff on Walls in January 2015 at Deer Pile. "We lined the hallway and main room with art," he recalls.
Deer Pile has hosted eight of Tucker's events, but this month's gallery, featuring nine artists, will pop up at Helikon Art Gallery and Studios on April 9, where it will run through May 19. In advance of the opening, we talked with Tucker about Stuff on Walls and other stuff:
Westword: What inspired you to begin this monthly exhibit?
Curtis Tucker: I was inspired to create Stuff on Walls after attending several other art shows with a lack of community. Stuff on Walls allows the artists to mingle with other industry professionals and have more in-depth conversations with the viewers.
How did you select the nine artists?
For the show at Helikon, I wanted to bring some longtime participants of Stuff on Walls along as a thank-you for all of their hard work. I'm just taking time to thank the artists who helped me start this and who continue to keep it going. However, just like every show, I curated new talent that I haven't worked with before. This creates an interesting mix of artists and their mediums, which it vital to the success of the show.
What can we expect from this month's show at Helikon?
You can expect a very refined version of our usually gritty DIY shows. I've worked diligently with Helikon to elevate the show, artists and works to new standards.
Do you bring a DIY ethos to the Denver art world?
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I do feel that I bring a DIY ethos to the scene. After college, I came back to Denver with almost no connections to the scene. I started as an artist showing my work and selling tickets but quickly realized I needed to be on the production side. So I started collecting business cards of fellow creatives and went hunting for a space. It's been the same ever since.
How can seemingly disparate art connect together as a whole, and with the viewer?
The artwork becomes cohesive when the perspective changes. Stuff on Walls is less about the physical artwork and more about the community. What you will see on the walls is a class of artists that is working very hard to create their identity despite various challenges. The pieces on the wall may seem disjointed in style, but the people is where the true connection is happening.
I can't stress how important the artists and the viewers are to the success of this show. It's really been about community for me and preserving authentic Denver culture. As producer, I'm working to keep people connected and aware of the real treasure in Denver.
Stuff on Walls opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, in Gallery 101 at Helikon, 3675 Wynkoop Street; there will be another event on First Friday, May 6. Find more information on the Stuff on Walls Facebook page.