On August 29, 2017, local artists John Hastings, better known as RUMTUM, and Pat Milbery teamed up to collaborate on a mural at Fort Greene, a bar in Globeville. The joint project had been a year in the making and was one of many pieces the two work on together each year. Westword caught up with the artists to learn more about the collaboration captured below.
Westword: Why was this collaboration important? How did it come about?
Pat Milbery: We’ve been trying to make something happen for over a year, and we finally made it happen.
RUMTUM: It just seemed to come together at the perfect moment. I called Pat while I had a few days off, and we started talking about looking around town for the next possible mural site. That night, I was at Fort Greene and asked the owner, Eleanor, if she was interested in us painting the fence on the patio.
Milbery: I admire the direction John [RUMTUM] has taken with art and his design. The idea to collaborate actually originated through the Denver music scene. I have worked on a lot of projects with John’s roommate, Alex, [aka] Nasty Nachos. That’s the fun element of collaboration; it yields more art.
What's different about Denver's collaborative scene?
RUMTUM: I see a lot of artists and musicians in Denver being supportive of each other and pushing limits on creating instead of creating boundaries. Most cities are the complete opposite.
Milbery: Collaborative art continues to diversify the art scene, which opens others up to experimentation. These one-off opportunities are cool because they become their own niche style.
Can you walk us through the steps of outlining a collaborative concept?
RUMTUM: Pat was busy painting on other sites at the time, so I started sketching up an idea I thought was fitting for Fort Greene. I think we were both surprised at how much life this mural took on with a little improv and reacting to each other.
Milbery: The first step is to really understand each other’s style and figure out how to cohesively blend them in a way that’s organic. I was kind of letting John guide this since he is a Fort Greene local, and I went in with a strategy to energetically find ways to complement and accent with color and gradient. I was doing more aerosol, and he did line work and brushes.
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What's your favorite thing about this mural? Was there anything out of the ordinary here?
Milbery: I’m a texture freak, so I enjoyed what texture that fence had and how much we left that. Through a couple layering mistakes, there’s also a flower that came about in the middle. We basically blended his line of work on top of my cap flairs. I feel like it all has a Dr. Seuss narrative with the playful plants. They remind me of human personalities because they’re goofy and out there.
RUMTUM: What Pat and I both brought to the table shines through the colors and line work unlike any mural I've painted yet; for me, it's more about the process than the image.
Watch RUMTUM and Milbery, along with 100 other artists, as they work on various collaborations in RiNo during CRUSH, September 11 through September 17.