100 Colorado Creatives: Donald Fodness
What's your day job?
I teach Sculpture and Foundations at the University of Denver for Sarah Gjertson and Susan Meyer.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I fantasize about building an earthship in the mountains and living self-sufficient off the grid raising my own food. I would still make all kinds of large scale projects and continue my drawing practice but I would also build weird things like sculpture gardens, furniture and Mad-Max style wood pellet cars. I would still like to teach on occasion and make sure to travel often to study classic works of art as well as stay current with a range of contemporary visual cultures.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I have found there is a lot of support for the arts in Denver. It is easy to get involved and have your work validated here. The artists here lift each other up rather than step on each other, which I think is really great. The galleries and institutions offer a lot of service and support as well. Of course we could always spend more money supporting the arts even on small levels. That is one reason I like the CSA (Community Supported Arts) program that BMoCA and the Denver Botanic Gardens are fostering.
What I think would most help Denver right now is to create physical links to other cities that have similar confines. The internet has allowed for the quick dissemination of ideas, and images, as well as to easily form connections. Often times those connections cannot compare to face-to-face interactions and there is no substitute for experiencing art in person versus on the screen (unless it was intended for that format). The spacial distance between culture centers here in the West is both desirable and challenging. I have lived in, or spent significant time in, various locations in the Midwest and West and know that other cities in this region feel the same constraints. It would behoove these cities, or exhibition opportunities in these cities, to create lasting partnerships that exchange artistic voices more regularly.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
This is almost like asking who is my favorite family member. I have so many favorite visual artists in Colorado. All people who I feel close and connected to as friends and value as creatives. Many of my favorite artists are respected and recognized in the community already. So rather than single out one overall favorite visual artist, I will mention a musician: Matthew Hunzeker. He performs Folk Noir as a one man band with instruments he pieces together using various cultural detritus. These instruments recall the bedpan guitar or cookie tin banjo but he also incorporate electronic parts and found digital samples. In addition to his music I am really inspired by his hermetic lifestyle. He lives off the grid in a small rural studio collecting water and living in rhythm with the sun. It reminds me of when I used to have a converted chicken coop as a studio and live in my van.
Throughout the year, we'll be turning the spotlight on 100 superstars in Denver's rich artistic community. Watch for the next installment on Show and Tell -- and go to the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Who rocks YOUR world locally? Do you have a suggestion for a Colorado Creative? Leave it in the comments section below.