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Meet All the Artists of Artopia 2016

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Artopia 2016, set for February 20, will be a night of art, culture and fashion at City Hall. And cocktails, of course, which you can enjoy as you move through seven rooms of art installations and exhibits, curated by Jolt from Guerilla Garden and showcasing Denver's most talented, established and up-and-coming artists, as well as some stars on the national scene.

Whiteout, the Westword fashion show, will return to Artopia, too, featuring local designers and their interpretation of “The Art of Fashion.” Watch as Wilhelmina models strut down the runway in AnnaFesta, D’Lola Couture, Denver Bespoke, Elyse Rainbolt, Equillibrium, Gino Velardi and YOCISCO. For the first time, Whiteout will also feature a curvy collection and a men’s underwear line.

What else will you see at Artopia? Keep reading for a look at every artist who will be featured there.
Mark Sink

Mark Sink is a photographer, curator and teacher who has made a living from fine-art photography since 1978. Sink lived in New York City through the 1980's and worked with and documented the lives and works of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rene Ricard and other art luminaries of the decade. Sink was an inspiration for and co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in the early 1990s. In recent years, he has worked as a private art consultant in Denver, independently curating a wide range of artists and shows. The most recent of note is MoP, the Month of Photography Denver, which stirs up over eighty venues into one month of celebrating photography. Well known for his images made with the plastic Diana camera, Sink has recently explored collodion wet-plate technique with partner Kristen Hatgi. Sink's work is in numerous museum collections and has been exhibited in gallery solo and group shows worldwide. He is represented by G. Ray Hawkins in California, Robin Rice in New York, and Rule Gallery in Denver. Sink is one of Westword's 100 Colorado Creatives as well as an artist participant in Artopia 2015

Matthew Mahoney

Matthew Mahoney is an artist from Palm Springs, California, who currently lives in Pleasantville, New York. He earned his MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014, and his BA in art education from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2010. He was an artist in residence at the San Diego Art Institute in the summer of 2015. Mahoney has shown in California, Rhode Island, New York, Boston and Denver. His sculptural techniques evolved from years of practicing origami and fly-tying. His subject matter is derived from recognizable shapes, figuration, iconography, pop imagery and material value.

Michael Dowling 

Michael Dowling has been exhibiting throughout the U.S. and Europe for fifteen years with a focus on his native Colorado. He has had several solo and group exhibitions, including recent projects at the McNichols Building in Denver, Union Station in Denver, the Museum of Fine Art in Long Beach, California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Dowling's work is in several private and corporate collections. Most of his work is focused on painting in an updated version of the Venetian School methods. He also has an extensive program of charcoal drawing and works with sculptural installation, as well, using a broad range of materials, from railroad ties to plastic animal toy figurines and feathers. Dowling began his education at the University of Colorado, where he took his first painting class at the age of 24. He completed his studies at Scoala Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, and attends ongoing residencies in Tuscany with his formative teachers. Dowling now teaches his painting technique and general art practice in a formal school setting as well as in his private studio.

Ricky Powell

Born and raised in New York City, Ricky Powell is a legendary photographer who specializes in the environmental portrait. He graduated with an associate's degree in liberal arts from LaGuardia Community College and a bachelor's in physical education from Hunter College. Though Powell initially rose to fame because of his relationship with the Beastie Boys, he is well known for his intimate photographs, which have been featured in the New York Times, the New York Post, the Daily News, the Village Voice, TIME, Newsweek, VIBE, the Source, Rolling Stone and more. Powell's photographs focus on the organic New Yorker; they simultaneously convey intimacy and detachment as they provide a unique lens through which the viewer can analyze the mundane. Powell considers the relationship between the photographer and the photograph to be "a chemical connection of some sort." The connection between Powell and his camera is further stimulated by Greenwich Village, where he currently resides. As the intrinsic qualities of the photograph have changed since Powell began capturing his moments, so have the subjects: He says he is now more likely to photograph "strangers in his Greenwich Village neighborhood than multiplatinum hip-hop acts and downtown art stars."

Ruben Aguirre

Ruben Aguirre is a Chicago-based painter who has transitioned from graffiti writer to abstract painter/contemporary muralist. He has produced a number of murals in the Chicagoland area and has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Zhou B Art Center, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. He earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia College Chicago in 2002, with a concentration in painting. His public art aims to reimagine underutilized architectural structures and spaces with color and form.

Thomas Evans

Thomas Evans's current art focus is all about connecting music and fine arts through traditional methods and technology. Accenting his focus are the sights, sounds and issues surrounding urban culture, which shape the way he approaches the creation of concepts, use of tools and overall execution of his work.

Much of Evans's work consists of channeling concepts and issues about the urban arts culture through portraits of minority and urban subjects. His subjects range from the serious, such as the bastardization of a culture, to the lighthearted, like breakdancing. Some portraits open a window into the inner workings of a certain community, while other paintings simply try to enhance the audience's experience.

The tools Evans uses to develop his work are not limited to any one medium. His goal is to capture every sense of his audience, thus breaking down barriers and making it easier to be engulfed in the canvas. He sees the senses as building blocks for bridges between the viewer and the messages he wants to communicate. The more blocks he uses, the better the viewer will receive the message. See Evans in our street-art roundup from Colorado Crush 2015.

Michael Vacchiano
Michael has been exhibiting his work throughout Colorado for the past twelve years. His work has been collected across the country. Vacchiano opened his first gallery ten years ago in Denver's Sante Fe Art District and has been a mainstay in the Colorado art scene ever since. In April 2014, he opened Point Gallery with fellow artist Frank Martinez and is currently the curator and co-owner.
Brian Scott Hampton
Brian Scott Hampton artist statement: "The color, composition and movement in my work all pay homage to the forms in chaos and the chaos in forms. It is a reflection, and an impression of the world of energy we exist in. And as long as I contribute my most genuine expressions, I'm achieving a creator's goal, no matter how it fits into the time period I live in."
Frank Martinez
Frank Martinez is a self­taught artist/curator born in 1975 in Denver. He took up a studio residency at Space Gallery in 2011 with an interest in abstract and figurative painting and curating. In April 2014, Martinez partnered with fellow artist Michael Vacchiano and opened Point Gallery. Currently, Martinez is continuing his studio residency and holds the position of curator and co-owner at Point.
Eric Dallimore
New Orleans native Eric Dallimore is a many­-faceted contemporary artist; he's a large­ scale sculptor, photographer and installation artist whose work ranges from a public­ art piece built from the wreckage of homes lost to Hurricane Katrina to a year­ long photographic documentation of the Denver modern ­ballet company Wonderbound. But there's more: Dallimore is also a co­-owner and curator of Leon Gallery in Denver, a haven for emerging and undiscovered contemporary artists as well as an intimate space that explores performance + sound art. For two years, Dallimore worked alongside now ­retired co­-owner Lindsay Giles McWilliams to curate, print, showcase and manage 54 images selected from more than 10,000 from the personal photography collection of notable musician John Denver, the results of which were unveiled in January 2014. For all of these efforts, Dallimore was named the 2014 MasterMind in Visual Arts by Westword and has been published over 45 times, including articles in TIME and Sculpture magazines. Dallimore is also an invested visual­ arts teacher through Think 360 Arts, a nonprofit education program that works with more than ninety artists and schools along Colorado's Front Range to help bring arts education to youth. This year, he will also teach at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design as the adjunct professor of Professional Practices.
Chris Ulrich
Chris Ulrich was born and raised in Colorado. As an artist, he has always been interested in what lies beneath the surface. Says Ulrich, "When one investigates events that go on in the world, sometimes the most benign stories can turn out to be something so much more interesting. In my painting body of work, I try to explore what a painting has to offer beyond the two-dimensional surface illusion. I use the language of painting in a way that goes beyond just the plane that exists between the edges of the frame. Instead, I create a plane that both extends and retreats in space, allowing the viewer to experience what is on, below and behind the canvas strata. I create paintings that cause a sense of discovery and curiosity in the fluidity of paint in the three-dimensional world." Ulrich received his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, a post-baccalaureate degree from the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, and a BFA in painting from Colorado State University.  

Continue reading for six more of the Artopia 2016 artists.
Jared Anderson (JDP)
JDP fancies himself a modern American frontiersman. He works with a range of themes, including the cosmic joke, cultural absurdity, and the chaos of technology.

JDP utilizes primitive tools and interdisciplinary studio practices to create art that demands reaction and sometimes interaction.

"I intend to artistically explore the human experience and bring inspiration back to the village."
Christine Ann Verhoeven
Christine Ann Verhoeven is a multifaceted artist who works in photography, jewelry metalsmithing, installation and performance, exploring the complex relationship between nature and humans through identity, place and time. Verhoeven was born in England and lived in Germany before moving to Colorado. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a concentration in photography and an emphasis in jewelry metalsmithing and art history. Verhoeven has exhibited work throughout Denver, including at the Center for Visual Arts, Republic Plaza and Emmanuel Gallery, and has been published in The Hand.
Laura Phelps Rogers
Born in Denver, Laura Phelps Rogers received her BFA in sculpture from the University of Colorado Denver. Using a memory-based approach, Phelps Rogers’s work embraces a multi-disciplinary approach to create visual narratives and experiences for viewers. Her process and mediums are dominated by installation, fabrication, photography and casting. She exhibits as a member at Pirate Contemporary Art Gallery and Ice Cube Gallery and is a member of several organizations, including the International Sculpture Center, the American Foundry Society and Women Environmental Artists and the Women’s Caucus for Art. When not busy exhibiting, she welcomes visitors at her studio in the RiNo Art District. Phelps Rogers's work is on display in several prominent public locations, and is included in numerous private collections. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally — in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Scottsdale, Cheyenne and Miami, and in Latvia and Ireland. She recently spoke at the University of Northern Colorado CAIC Conference, Western Spirit Art Symposium, as well as at the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron and as a guest artist at the Denver Art Museum. Recent solo shows include: Family Matters, More Than One Tough Chick, WASH RINSE REPEAT, Strangely Decadent, A Woman’s Work Is Never Done, A Space in Time, Entertain and 1100 Pieces.
Travis Hetman
Travis Hetman was born and raised in Minnesota, receiving his bachelor's degree in art from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Since moving to Denver in 2012, Hetman has been immersed in the local art community, showing his work in various galleries and shops. He has also curated exhibitions at IndyInk for emerging artists and is the co-founder and visual artist for Boxwood Pinball. Most recently, Hetman contributed to a collaborative mural at 17th Avenue and Park Avenue West with fellow Artopia artist Forrest J. Morrison through Leon Gallery and the Urban Arts Fund. Working primarily with drawing, painting and mixed media, Hetman's work juxtaposes representational and abstract imagery to explore existential themes.
Forrest Morrison
Forrest J. Morrison is an interdisciplinary artist based in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, where he has maintained his studio-gallery, SideB, since 2012. Morrison's work has been included in numerous juried and group exhibitions, and has received awards from the ADSF arts association, Black & White magazine, and the PX3 Prixe de la Photographie Paris. Morrison's recent works utilize traditional drawing media to explore the symbolist structure, reductivism and contemporary western identity, blending elements of realism and minimalism to produce a sparse yet rich visual poetry.

Ramon Bonilla
Ramón Bonilla is a Denver-based artist (born in San Juan, PR) who holds a BFA from Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico. He is a resident artist with RedLine (2015-2017) and part of RedLine's 2016 resident-artist exhibition Monumental. Bonilla is also the curator for an upcoming show titled (R)evolver, part of RedLine's Reach Program.

Among other honors, Bonilla's work has been recognized by the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, the U.S. National Park Service and Saatchiart.com; Bonilla has also been selected as a winner in the Abstract category of the 2nd 2015 ArtSlant Prize Showcase.

Bonilla's work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico; Artspace Hartford, CT; Neon>Campobase, Bologna, IT; Sabot Gallery, Cluj-Napoca, RO; and Stanica, Zilina, SK.

Want to see all this art? There are three ticket levels to Artopia: Happy Hour, VIP and General Admission. Here's the fine print:

Happy Hour Tickets (sold out): Come at 5:30 p.m. for a special reception featuring food samples from participating restaurants and a chance to preview the art, then stay for all the fashion and fun of Artopia itself as a general admission ticket-holder.

VIP Tickets (sold out): Come at 7 p.m. for a special reception featuring food from Troy Guard restaurants, an open bar and a gift bag; enjoy special runway seating during the Whiteout fashion show (runway area limited to VIP only).

General Admission Tickets: Come at 7 p.m. for all the art and entertainment of Artopia, which runs until midnight.

General admission tickets are $40 until 11:59 p.m. Friday, February 19, and $50 on the day of Artopia. Find out more and buy tickets on our Artopia 2016 site

See you Saturday!

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