Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Jonathan Saiz

Jonathan Saiz at work on a wall mural.
Jonathan Saiz at work on a wall mural. Courtesy of Jonathan Saiz
#98: Jonathan Saiz

Whether large-scale or impossibly small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the artwork of Jonathan Saiz gives off an occult, supernatural, metaphysical vibe that’s mysterious and shot with arcane symbology. His mystical aesthetic has already been put to perfect use in a 21st-century tarot deck called The Fountain Tarot and seen in Juxtapoz, Vogue and Elle Decor; now it’s morphing almost daily as Saiz works his way through So Wrong It's So Right, a gallery experiment for which he’s creating new works in the confines of Leon Gallery (along with thirty invited local artists), putting them on display in the window at mostly bargain-basement prices, bypassing middleman fees and all barriers between artist and collector. How’s that going for Saiz? Read his 100CC questionnaire to find out.
Courtesy of Jonathan Saiz
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Jonathan Saiz: I'd time-travel and work creatively on every Stanley Kubrick film. His weird magic triggers my imagination in every deep way.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

I'm obsessed with Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil at Google. I’m ready to upload my consciousness into the timeless collective. That's not a cry for help — we just all need something better than this bio-human thing.
Courtesy of Jonathan Saiz
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Going into extreme debt for another piece of academic paper. Young artists are being duped.

What's your day job?

I'm a full-time artist and a @FountainTarot Instagrammer.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

First, I'd fill a bathtub with real gemstones (the cheap kind from eBay) and roll around in it for a few minutes, then I'd establish a nonprofit art-book publishing house so that I and other artists can dream up printed-media projects and then create even more from the royalties. Then I'd take another gem bath.

Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

Both love and leave Denver. I keep going away because the big world is inspiring to my nomad soul, and I keep coming back because of all the amazing people I love here. No city or place holds an artistic identity for me but I do think Denver has a lot to offer. I wish people would stop complaining about its growth. It’s exciting!

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

More playful and wildly experimental innovation on how we include the many, many, many Coloradans who don’t know that contemporary art is for them. Less of the same boring old model.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Pretend he’s not my husband when I say Jason Gruhl. His three upcoming published children’s books bridge the gap between contemporary art and our human spiritual potential. He creates an awakening in all that he touches.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?

My 120-day experiment with @SoWrongItsSoRight on Instagram at Leon Gallery runs into the fall. It has already begun shifting the ways I collaborate, market and value artwork. And this October, my creation with Andi Todaro and Jason Gruhl, The Fountain Tarot, launches its second edition around the world with Roost Books & Shambhala Publications, distributed through Penguin Random House!

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

All of the thirty-plus Denver artists who will be collaborating in @SoWrongItsSoRight this summer! It’s very scary to publicly play with untested ways of evolving the art-market as we all know it. Any brave and bold artists who are willing to innovate will get noticed in these crazy unsettled times before the apocalypse arrives.

So Wrong It’s So Right continues through October 3 at Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue. Walk by the gallery to see what’s new, or stay up to date on Instagram. Learn more about Jonathan Siaz and his work online.
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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