100 Colorado Creatives: Artist and Westword Artopia star Valerie Savarie

am i dreaming.jpg
"Am I Dreaming?," Valerie Savarie.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Just come out to the galleries and experience art. I think a lot of people feel intimidated by going into a gallery -- (as if) they will either be pushed into buying something, or will feel stupid for not knowing enough about art. Art is for the people; all people. I get great ideas from talking with people that come to my shows and feel inspired when I can make that connection with the public. I learn new things about life, about what my art says to someone and what it says to me just by talking to people that venture inside the gallery.

Art is a way for us to communicate that doesn't require words; it creates a feeling when we experience it that we can't always put words to. Art opens up dialogues, so go out to the galleries, experience some art, meet some people and exercise your brain -- you will be happier for it.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

I can't narrow this down to just one person; really, Navajo Street Art District would have to be my pick -- even though it's entity. I am a member at a gallery there -- Zip 37 -- but the art that comes from the district is so wide-ranging and unique. I admire it all; I am proud to call it home.

I can say, however, I do have my favorites within the district. (It's hard to accurately describe something that was created to be experienced, not read, about but I'll try!) Katie Hoffman is at Zip 37. Her art is, well, simply delicious. I can't get enough of it -- it's stunning, emotional, thought provoking. I can get lost in her paintings, not in just the imagery, but the technique and skill used to achieve the final piece. The morphing of space and elements is magical. I would love to be a fly on the wall of her studio to see how she does it, and what she listens to while creating.

Over at Pirate, I would say Jason Theel would be my pick. He creates these fantastic ceramic piggy bank sculptures ranging from teeny-tiny to grand. I remember him describing them before I ever saw one; he said he "makes pig sculptures with no eyes." When I went to his show, I was absolutely blown away -- they where not at all what I imagined. I decided I had to have one (well, two.)

My guess is that most people that see his work wouldn't even know it was a pig unless they had been told so. Danma vs. V2R2 (Dan Ma & Veronica Reeves) over at Next are just over the top -- pushing boundaries, challenging viewers, hitting you in the face with bold colors and enticing imagery that you have to look away and think "what just happened - what did I just see?" Then of course, turn around and take a few seconds. They make art that bridges gaps between gender, culture, age and reality. They are who I wish I was when I was their age, but since I can't go back in time, I simply absorb as much as I can from them without being too creepy.

I don't know a lot of the members of EDGE, but I do know they live up to the name. Many of the members explore art in ways that can make us feel uncomfortable, because it makes us question who we are, what we believe, what is truth and what is deception. I so admire and respect that approach to art.

Don't forget to use the hashtag #Artopia to tag your conversations on Twitter and Instagram. To buy tickets to Artopia, visit our Ticketfly site. Use the promo code ARTOPIA to get $5 off!

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