#7: Vanessa Barcus
Vanessa Barcus first conceived of Goldyn, an apparel store with a high-fashion edge, as an online boutique in 2007. Ten years later, now at home in its brick-and-mortar guise in LoHi, Goldyn is not only one of Denver’s trendiest go-to shops for the millennial crowd, but it’s also morphed into one of the artsiest, thanks to Barcus’s growing curated approach to fashion merchandising and her dedicated support for local designers, makers and fine artists. Barcus is looking forward to the next ten years, with a new, intensified focus on the local; learn more from her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
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If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Way to start out with an easy question! (Kidding!) Well, due to my obsession with all things ’60s psychedelia, I’d go with art dealer and gallerist Robert Fraser, the man who was truly at the epicenter of influence in the swinging London of that time. Though I might initially be inclined to say someone cliché like John Lennon or David Bowie, Fraser was really a huge tastemaker behind the scenes who informed a lot of what those people in the spotlight did, especially when it came to pushing boundaries and bringing avant-garde, alternative thinking to the forefront.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
So hard to choose just one! I guess I’d have to say Elon Musk, just because of his agenda of pushing green energy forward and the fact that he — hopefully — has the means to do it. It looks like we’re going to have to rely on ourselves and the private sector to make any progress happen right now. Aside from him, I’m inspired by some of the designers we work with at Goldyn, like Mara Hoffman and Ariana Boussard-Reifel, who are weaving their social activism into their work and putting their money where their mouths are, which I truly admire.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Since I work in fashion, I’ll speak to fashion trends. I’ll just go ahead and say it: I’m ready for the skinny jean to die.
What's your day job?
I’m lucky that my day job also happens to be my passion project, which is being the owner and creative director of Goldyn boutique.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I’d become the eccentric, weird arts patron that I truly want to be, wearing a different caftan or muumuu every day (oh wait, I already do that…). I’d support all my artist friends by buying, commissioning and collecting their art. I’d fly around the world meeting new artists and interesting people. At the shop, I'd carry all the out-there, eccentric, weird, obscure designers that my little heart desires, without concern about what would actually sell. I’d start a salon of like-minded friends and thinkers — not something as pretentious as that sounds, but something where we could create a community of fascinating, creative people. I’d throw even more art openings and shows for our artist and musician friends at the store.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
Love it! I’m partial, being a native and all, but not only is this place beautiful and offers a much better quality of life than New York or L.A., but there is so much creative energy coming into (and radiating out from) this city right now. It’s a fun time to be here; the city feels like it’s ours for the taking, where we can make of it what we want. Though the costs are definitely going up, it’s still easier to start a business or a creative endeavor here, and the community is so supportive. That’s my favorite part — the fact that we all support each other to succeed here.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Offer more access to government funding for creative projects, whether they be for art exhibitions, creative businesses, festivals or what have you. It’s already going on, but I think we could use more of it if we really want to be an epicenter for the arts and culture.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Reed Fuchs from Denver band DéCollage/Moon Magnet collective. He is a magical unicorn being brought from another planet to bring fun, free-spiritedness, openess and creativity to Denver.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
On June 2, we’ll be celebrating Goldyn’s tenth birthday, which is crazy to think about. We’re having a big blow-out party at the shop, needless to say. I’m happy to say that by year ten, we’ve finally aligned with what my higher vision for the business has been: We’re cutting out all of our bigger corporate-owned/commercial brands, and are now fully supporting independent artists and designers whose visions are in line with ours. Beyond that, I’ll be taking some personal time to travel to some inspiring places like the island of Roatan and hopefully Morocco later in the year.
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Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
I think she’s already being noticed, but photographer Kristen Sink is a standout for me. Again, I might be partial here because we work with her, but her fine art — both the digital work and her collodion wet plate work — is truly impressive and on the level of any international artist, and should be recognized as such.
Party with Vanessa Barcus at the Stay Gold(yn) tenth-anniversary celebration, with live music by Oko Tygra and RUMTUM, spins by DJ Jeromie Lawrence Dorrance, performance art by Werk Out Palace, photo-booth fun and cocktails from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 2, at Goldyn, 2040 West 30th Avenue. Admission is free. Learn more about Goldyn online.