| Art |

Graves vs. Jive at Indy Ink

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

See a slide show sample of the show.

Unlike the brutal and drawn-out battles common amongst opponents in politics and sports, rivalries in art tend to be less about victory and defeat as they are about playful competition among contemporaries. The dual exhibition showing at Indy Ink, 84 South Broadway, through March 6 titled Graves vs. Jive very much follows in this creative vein of friendly antagonism. In fact, despite being advertised as a face-off -- complete with a Warhol vs. Basquiat-inspired flyer displaying the two street artists in boxing attire -- the “vs.” might be more appropriately replaced with an “and” considering that the show is more a collaboration than a match up. Though the artists each display their individual pieces at Indy Ink, they also combined efforts on a number of joint ventures, combining Keith Jives’ fluid lettering and Mike Graves’ exaggerated creepy/cute creatures.

Since the bios Graves and Jive have written for themselves on Fighting Fifth website –- a online collective and retail space where the works of several street artists are sold -– offers little in the way any real insight into what drives these two to create and compete, Westword caught up with the two this week and put them through a grueling series of seven questions to see who would win if the rivalry were actually a cause of concern.

What is your background/training in art?

Jive: Self taught. 1 year at The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It didn't teach me much though so I left. I've been doing the "jive" thing since 1989. (god I feel old).

Graves: My background is pretty much self taught.I took a half a semester before I quit going to college.I have definitely been influenced by my friends Keith, Emit, Markhem Maes, Scot Lefavor.

What challenges do you find switching between a spray can and a paint brush?

Jive: Canvas size. Going from a 30-foot wall to a three-foot canvas is huge. A whole different world.

Graves: I kind have gone the other way, I started by painting and now I'm just learning how to use spray paint. It's a whole different medium for sure.

Who are your influences?

Jive: When painting, I am usually listening to music. I would say that music inspires me more than anything else. Maybe a beer.

Graves: Os Gemeos, Barry Mcgee, Doze Green, Phil Frost, Dali, Basquiat

Why make art?

Jive: I don't call it art. I just paint things.

Graves: It makes me happy.

How much of what you do is about competition and how much about self expression?

Jive: 0% competition. 110% self expression. I can't stand the politics and egos that pop up in the "art" world. They are a huge turnoff. I turn them into laughter.

Graves: It's all self expression. I just have to rub it in Keith's face that I'm better than he is.

If you were a boxer and this really was a VS match how would you taunt your opponent?

Jive: To quote Charles Bukowski, "Don't try."

Graves: I'd spank that ass!

What is your secret weapon/KO punch?

Jive: Taking a nice delicious nap.

Graves: Super ninja upper-cut!

WINNER: Too close to call. Get over to Indy Ink and judge for yourself.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.