Street art beautifies Denver in a significant way, taking some of our city's ugliest spaces — including problem graffiti walls — and transforming them into public art galleries that are respected and revered by the community. Although the street-art season will come to an end with the colder weather, the scene is still hot: Over 100 new murals have been painted in the second half of 2015, and that number is still rising.
Here are twelve of our favorite new street-art murals in Denver and Boulder. 12. Lauren Napolitano and Mark Pricks
3126 Larimer Street
Bar Fausto commissioned this beautiful and detailed serpent on the north-facing wall of its building in River North; it's a fitting piece along this stretch of street that's among the most colorful in the city. Both Napolitano and Pricks got their career start in the Bay Area of Northern California, and today they travel the world doing everything from mixed-media shows to murals of epic proportions. As described by Napolitano, this piece is "a serpent to represent wisdom, earth energy and healing."
11. Tom Bond and Anthony Garcia
4903 Washington Street
Where Wood Meets Steel is decked out with a brand-new mural created by artist Tom Bond and Westword MasterMind Anthony Garcia, with the help of a handful of aspiring young artists and students from around the city. The colorful tiles along three panels are now almost completely filled with detailed characters, symbols and objects ranging from logs to diamonds to geometric patterns. Garcia, who is still elated that his organization not only became an official non-profit but earned him a MasterMind award, gives a special thanks to Marina Chotzinoff of RiNo Arts District for curating the space.
10. Wazee Union
3501 Wazee Street
The exterior of the Wazee Union artists' incubator was recently painted by a huge roster of talent: Thomas Scharfenberg, Zombie 138, Efit, Jester, Vestige, Esme, Phero, Zpl, Reks63, Yen34, Nspire, Nice, Grype and Warcs93. The giant collaborative piece is breathtaking, an impressive nod to community and collaboration between Denver's most prestigious graffiti artists. See more detailed photos on Sharfenberg's Instagram.
9. Gemma Bayly
Cherry Creek Bike Path, Market and Speer
For a piece funded by Denver Arts + Venues as part of the Urban Arts Fund that sponsors murals around the city, Bayly tackled her largest work to date: "City of the Sun." Amazingly, she hand-paints every single line in her mandalas; for a piece this size, that translates to a staggering amount of woman hours. "Every single line represents a prayer of peace, prosperity and unity for the people of Denver," Bayly explains. See her indoor mural on our list of the best street art painted this summer.
8. Joseph Martinez
Cherry Creek Bike Path, Champa and Speer
For another UAF project, Joseph Martinez painted his first-ever solo mural along the Cherry Creek bike path. The stunning, surreal hummingbirds are a huge representation of Martinez's perfectionist illustrative style, usually seen in his matchbook paintings that pack an unbelievable amount of detail onto a tiny canvas. Follow Martinez on Instagram to keep up with his work.
7. Gamma, JHer, and Delton Demarest
Bella Vista, 120 East 20th Avenue
Back to the Future day came and went, but Bella Vista will boast this mural for a few more months (or at least until Gamma decides he wants to paint it again). The piece received international attention, including a nod from Telemundo. Artists Jher Seno and Delton Demarest were the guests on Gamma's wall who helped knock out the highly detailed tribute to the film.
6. David Shillinglaw
2706 Larimer Street
Eccentric Londoner Shillinglaw left town the week after Colorado Crush, but left behind one of the coolest new pieces in Denver. Shillinglaw's acid-trip of positive vibrations on the abandoned storefront next to Cold Crush remindsyou to smile and to love out loud. Like Minded Productions artist and unofficial RiNo wall curator Jonathan Lamb found him the space, surrounded by work by Scotty LeFavor, Jeremy Burns and others. Now it could be the prettiest block in the city.
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5. Amanda Marie
1203 13th Street, Boulder
Amanda Marie is an artistic powerhouse. The beautiful new pieces she painted at and art space are part of an ongoing project with that group and the Boulder Public Library, funded by the City of Boulder Office of Arts & Culture and Boulder County Arts Alliance through the BCAA/Endowment Grant Program. No one is more deserving than Marie, who also painted a piece on the Meininger Art wall this summer.
4. Jaime Molina and Pedro Barrios
2000 Central Avenue, Boulder
The City of Boulder is also the site of a stunning new piece by Jaime Molina and Pedro Barrios on the front-facing exterior of marketing and digital ad agency IMM. Look closely at any of Molina's characters and you'll find deeper meaning; here he presents the internal chaos yet beauty of the individual, welcoming viewers in.
3. Jason Garcia
Cherry Creek Bike Path, Speer and Colfax
Boulder tattoo and street artist Jason Garcia has created several recent murals worthy of a spot on this list. We caught this UAF-sponsored piece on the Cherry Creek bike path in September, when it was still in progress. The snake is visible from the light-rail trains passing above the path; a few riders got off and came down to talk to Garcia. The artist also painted two murals with Sam Parker for Colorado Crush and a live mural during the Big Gigantic show at Red Rocks; to see what he's up to next, follow Garcia on Instagram.
2. Guerilla Garden
Bar Dough, 2227 West 32nd Avenue
Juan and Katie Padro just opened Bar Dough in Highland, and had Guerilla Garden aka northside veteran Jolt, our Artopia 2016 curator, create this beautiful, whimsical piece on the exterior. Mother Earth vibes on point.
1. Hollis + Lana
Boulder art is killing it this fall. In honor of a First Friday showing at Madelife gallery, Hollis + Lana was commissioned to paint this huge mural on the exterior of the space. Hollis + Lana was also in the group of artists who painted at Colorado Crush, look for the duo's bizarre signature piece in our slideshow.