Meet Seetwist, a former musician capturing the urban art and artists of Denver

Categories: Interviews

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Ansel Adams, famous for capturing a multitude of black-and-white landscape photographs -- many of which likely adorn the walls of your dentist's office -- once said, "You don't take a photograph. You make it."

Seetwist Productions lives, breathes, shoots and essentially embodies those words by profiling some of the most prominent street artists in Colorado. You may have even seen his work and probably didn't even realize it. Millions of people have seen Seetwist's video on Cartoon Network for Children's Hospital, a new show on Adult Swim, which features Guerilla Garden.

The mastermind behind the camera is Eric Seetwist, a former musician, current train-yard sightseer and founder of Seetwist Productions. The focal point of Seetwist's creative endeavors is to capture both art and artists within their respective environments and to keep the most sacred parts of urban art true to its colors while showcasing its soul, passion and voice.

We grabbed a few moments with Seetwist recently and asked him about how he started documenting street art in Denver, what the most compelling this is about his subject matter and what he's listening to when he's shooting.

Westword (Rachel Romero): How did Seetwist Productions get its start, and who does it consist of?

Seetwist: I first got my start walking along train tracks with some friends and photographing the hand-drawn monikers and paint-stick drawings that brakemen, BNSF employees and train-riders would leave. After taking about 100,000 photos or so, I began to notice pieces from local artists and started documenting the pieces I found in the street, as well.

My Flickr account started to gather some attention on various online forums, and eventually I was asked to document a legal wall being painted. Seetwist Productions is myself (Seetwist is an acronym for See The Way I See Things), and occasionally my good friend Kofi, who accompanies me to the larger shoots to get some extra footage.

Ww: What is your relationship with The Dope Group?

ST: I've been friends with various members of The Dope Group for close to a decade now; I did some photography work for them when their new line of clothing was released, and I do some time-lapse projects here and there for them, as well.

Ww: What equipment do you use?

ST: I use a Canon SD900 as my pocket camera, as well as for my macro shots and panoramas, and a set of Sony Alpha A100K DSLRs as my time-lapse cameras. For lenses, I usually stick to a Sony 18-70mm or an Aspherical 28-90mm for my standard shooting and a Quantaray 70-300mm for my telephoto shots. Kofi uses a HP M-527 and a Sony A1100, and we're about to go HD with an Olympus Pen EP-1 here shortly. My remotes are interval timers made by Aperture.

Ww: You have close to 5,000 photos in your Flickr account, mostly of urban art of graffiti around town. What is the most compelling or interesting thing about your subject matter?

ST: The dozens and dozens of different styles that people can create with just a marker or a spray can. The 5,000 photos on my Flickr site are just a small portion of what I put online; I have close to five Terabytes and over 2,000,000 photographs of local graf pieces in my collection, and I'm constantly amazed at how diverse people's styles can be.


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