Moe Gram is more than an artist with a hip-hop vibe. She’s a woman of color with a strong arts resume and a stake in community-building, who sits on the board of the Birdseed Collective
and collaborates with Odessa Denver
on the Creatives at Roundish Tables
discussion series, all while teaching at STRIVE Prep Green Valley Ranch and running her own Moe Gram Art & Lifestyle brand, a one-woman community enrichment machine. Find out what’s on Gram’s mind as 2018 comes to a close via her answers to the Colorado Creatives questionnaire.
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Moe Gram's contribution to a Birdseed Collective street-art project.
Courtesy of Moe Gram
: Boredom is my creative muse. To be creative, I find myself having to fully exhaust myself of any sort of entertainment, emotional processing and tasks to be in a mind state that allows me to manifest any creative idea.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party and why?
Joseph Sherman: He was my favorite uncle and artist. Died when he was eighteen, and I was in the seventh grade. I'd love for him to see how I turned out and to enjoy his company as an adult.
: His artwork is beautiful, and he has a mind that I believe to be unlike any other.
: She is a brilliant mind and incredibly educated. I very much admire how she can use her strength, mind and power to be the exemplar for how a woman of color can command the attention of the masses.
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
Moe Gram painting the Place Matters mural in Five Points in June, 2018.
St. James Salsberry
The best thing about our local creative community is the way we are open to building relationships and collaborating with one another. I very much value the many friends I have made in our local community and the way we are committed to the work we do.
I don't know that this is the worst attribute of our community, but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately: I personally would like to see more equity in this distribution of shows and public projects between men and women. I don't believe this is due to a lack of talent. That said, the individuals trusted with making decisions are perhaps too comfortable with selection norms in place and are lacking the same level of creativity that is expected from the artists that are applying for the work.
How about globally?
I am still gaining experience on the national and international scale. So far, I am still adapting to the ways we artists have to market ourselves to more high-end clients/buyers. This is a place of discomfort for me as a young artist. I believe that as time continues, I might be more comfortable in these scenarios.
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
Gram leads the conversation at a Fall LIV'N networking event.
Create public works/murals internationally, develop and sell a culturally sensitive fine-arts curriculum that can be used in schools belonging to underserved communities, and enrich communities by providing creative opportunities for a wide range of generations.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I love Denver. My dad lived here when he was in college, so being here makes me feel more connected to my roots. I have grown a lot as an artist during my time here, and I am very thankful for the time I have spent in this city.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I believe the city could be more open to young emerging artists. Very frequently city jobs go out to the same groups of artists, and that can be perceived as lazy. I'd like to see the city and the Urban Arts Fund be more open-minded and creative with how they distribute funding. Perhaps even more gender equitable as well.
What’s your dream project?
Art by Moe Gram.
My dream project is inspired by a Takashi Murakami installation I saw when I was at the Paris Museum of Contemporary Art. He painted the ceiling, the walls, the floor, and included sculpture, paintings – paintings that were a part of the murals and so much more. A dream project would be to do the same thing in a major museum but in a very Moe Gram way.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I have a ton of Colorado Artists that I am so in love with, but a group that I very much appreciate so very much is the Denver Papier-Mâché Club
. They are currently inspiring me to be more playful in my work and not to hold on so tightly to such serious messaging.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Moe Gram leads a discussion for Creatives at Roundish Tables.
I am currently preparing a solo exhibition to be announced in early 2019, a group collaborative show with an amazing group of women artists, a collaborative show with artist Robyn Frances and an empathy campaign that will hopefully (fingers crossed) become a series of public works that encourage members of Denver's society to practice more empathy for self and others.
Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
, Karma Leigh
, Max Coleman
, Eriko Tsogo
, Victor Escobedo
, Donte Janae
, Justin Henderson.
Moe Gram will perform with Robyn Frances, Susan Sahab, Kaitlyn Tucek and Eriko Tsogo in Tedious, a special event on Thursday, December 13, at 6 p.m. at Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, in conjunction with Joshua Ware’s art exhibition Urban Aggregate.
Learn more about Moe Gram online at Moe Gram Art & Lifestyle.