The public art that RTD has been commissioning for light-rail stations -- and we've been profiling this summer -- is just the latest wave of transportion related work. Stephen Batura's painting "Winter Crossing" originally hung in Union Station -- but with all the construction going on there, this piece of public art has been taken down. Batura put aside his paintbrushes for a few minutes to talk to us about the work, which is moving to an as-yet unknown location.
Westword: Where are you from? Where do you reside now
Stephen Batura: I was born in Denver. I have lived in north Denver since the early '90s.
How did your collaboration with RTD come about?
I was contacted by the architect Ron Mason, who had seen some of my work previously. He wanted to include my work as an integral part of his firm's entire redesign of the Union Station tunnel that connected to the trains. The city approved my design and oversaw the completion of the work.
How did you come up with the Idea for this piece?
I usually work from historical photographs, and I spent weeks pouring over the digital archives at the Denver Public Library. I didn't know what I was looking for exactly, but something dramatic and unusual. The original black-and-white photograph was taken in 1951 by Robert W. Richardson. DPL approved the use of the image, which I mechanically cropped and stretched, then I did various color studies before beginning the mural.
When people are on their daily journey and walk past your work, what do you hope they are thinking and feeling?
I wish they had the chance to see it. The mural is no longer hanging at Union Station. RTD removed the work more than a year ago, but there are questions about how it was dismantled and where the pieces are currently at. I don't know the extent of the damage to the painting, nor if the work will ever be reinstalled.
How do you feel about public transportation?
I'm pro-public transportation.
What is your favorite piece of public art?
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I used to love to go to DIA and hear Jim Green's series of announcements for the terminal trains. He's since re-recorded them using different elements, but I still remember how particular and amusing the first ones were. His singing sinks in the Denver Art Museum washrooms are also wonderful. To view more of Stephen Batura's work visit his website. And watch for an update on the status of "Winter Crossing."