Sandra Fettingis did some amazing things during the first year of her artist residency at RedLine, including working with the Epic Program and ten high school students from Emily Griffith to make sanctioned street art that featured the teens' own warriors. “We created this mural as part of a workshop with teacher Brittany Belisle,” Fettingis explains. “The students picked out some words and phrases that just had a negative effect on them; we crossed them off together at the end. These characters on the inside are their inner warriors, and how they deal with negativity.”
Art is one way to accentuate the positive. “I wanted to show them, you can do this,” she says. “You can make money off of it, you can go and further this career, keep on this path if you want to and don’t let anyone say you can’t. Because art is not like a regular job. People need to feel like it’s possible.”
Fettingis makes it look very possible. She predominantly uses acrylic, wood and paint for her work, but she also incorporates metal and glass into many of her pieces. “I Know You Know That I Know” is her largest and most well-known piece to date, a geometric red, black and white panel displayed at the Colorado Convention Center.
And how does she explain her style? “Formulaic,” she says. “I try to create systems and formulas in my work. Generally, if you look at my work, it’s pretty much the same shape repeated over and over again, but in as many ways as possible.” She moves these formulaic patterns, showing their ability to be changed but still remain constant, reflective of the human experience.
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During the second year of her residency, she'll focus on “falling patterns” – including in the enormous mural Fettinger is creating on the west-facing wall of RedLine. She also has a huge sculpture – 40 feet by 20 feet – planned for the Alameda light rail station. Fettingis and the contractors are still ironing out the kinks, but she thinks the project will likely begin in July. “It kind of keeps you on your toes," Fettingis says. "That’s public art. It does get frustrating, but I do actually love it as well. It’s also another metaphor for life – whatever happens, you just go with the flow, work it out. And I always learn so much from it, just looking at things through that perspective, like you just have to figure it out. It’s meditative.”
Her new mural is viscerally inspired by the way vines grow and seem to reach down cement walls along the Cherry Creek bike path. See Fettingis's large, work-in-progress mural at the RedLine now, and find out more about Sandra Fettingis's work here.