Street artist Gamma is laying out Longmont's history, one spray can at a time

Gamma Gallery Facebook page
Gamma began the mural with an image of Chief Niwot (bigger picture on next page).
Finding a wall in the city and making it his own is how Gamma Acosta began his career in art. Since then, he has become one of the best-know street artist in the Denver/Longmont area. But it didn't happen overnight. "It was just through word of mouth," he says. "I just started painting and people just started talking about it."

See also:
- A father tattoos his three-year-old son in an eye-catching new mural
- Gamma Acosta on Street Cred, graffiti and the importance of street art
- Cheba Hut downtown has new murals by Gamma Acosta

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Muralist Mark Cline on working for himself and how art keeps him alive

Mark Cline
What started simply as a passion led to a career and a way out of a halfway house for Mark Cline, who has become a successful street artist, muralist and chalk artist. It's a profession, he says, that allows him to do exactly what he was born to do.

"I am an artist," says Cline. "I am also a musician but I like art more because I can depend on myself and not have to depend on others. It's keeping me alive."

See also:
- Guerilla Garden founder Jolt on the changing history and perception of street art
- Track your favorite Denver street art with our interactive Google map
- Unseen Denver: Fifteen photos of secret Mile High street art

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Guerilla Garden founder Jolt on the changing history and perception of street art

Jolt at Guerilla Garden, the art gallery he founded.
Back before the organized bike paths, the boom of posh lofts and even the construction of Elitch's, downtown Denver painted a very different scene -- a scene of abandoned buildings, empty factories and graffiti.

Lots and lots of graffiti.

"Denver has always had a big scene for (graffiti)," says Jolt, one of the best-known names in Denver street art. "Being from north Denver and eleven years old or so in '93, when the scene was really booming, the influence was just around me in the neighborhood. It was easily accessible. It's a culture I grew up in."

See also:
- Jolt gets some justice from Gangland
- Track your favorite Denver street art with our interactive Google map
- Gamma Acosta on Street Cred, graffiti and the importance of street art

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Track your favorite Denver street art with our interactive Google map

Categories: Art, Street Art

Emilie Johnson
While sitting in traffic on 22nd Avenue, it's hard not to look out the windows at the buildings around you. And that is when you notice it -- the large, colorful mural taking up the entire side of an abandoned building on Park and 22nd. The artist behind the piece used spray paint, but the result isn't graffiti; it's street art.

In our latest photo series, we're exploring some of the pieces behind Denver's growing street-art community through the stories of the artists who see the city as a canvas for vibrant artwork. From the well-known names to some Denver newcomers, we'll be introducing artists who are on a mission to make the public take notice of the "art" in their street art.

See also:
- Jolt gets some justice from Gangland
- Twenty most memorable Denver graffiti and street art photos on Instagram
- Gamma Acosta on Street Cred, graffiti and the importance of street art

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Menswear Mondays: Artist Marc Huebert on his high art and laid-back style

All photos by Mauricio Rocha
For many artists, fashion can be an extension of their personal vision. Others dress minimally, so that their art can speak volumes. Local painter Marc Huebert falls into this latter category. Read on to learn how his street art plays a role in his street fashion, and to peep some of his works of art around the city.

See also:
- Menswear Mondays: Pianist and composer Pudgy Swollen on his spacey style
- Menswear Mondays: Artist Juan Nunez on his bleached DIY look
- Menswear Mondays: sacred clown Bradley Mccollough on his utilitarian fashion

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Photos: A father tattoos his son (or does he?) in Certified Customs' new mural

Categories: Street Art

The photo that started it all
Photos courtesy of Nando Mondragon and Gamma.
In this week's issue, we told you about Certified Customs Tattoos' new outdoor mural, which is drawing looks from neighbors and passersby because of what it depicts: Shop owner Nando Mondragon tattooing his three-year-old son, Chico. But images can be deceiving... Read "Skin Deep" for the full story behind the mural, and keep reading for more photos of Chico, Nando and other works from Gamma Acosta, the artist who created the mural.

See also:
- A father tattoos his three-year-old son in an eye-catching new mural
- Photos: Ink Slingers Ball and Tattoo Expo leaves its mark
- New public murals cause the wrong kind of awe

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Black Eye Coffee wants to bring street art back to LoHi

black eye coffee group-1.jpg
Dustin Audet, Ali Elman and Gregory Ferrari, owners of Black Eye Coffee.
In many pockets of Denver, there are visible connections to our city's past that are, with each passing year, slowly being erased in favor of a more modern aesthetic. This concerns Black Eye Coffee co-owner Gregory Ferrari, who is promoting a Kickstarter campaign to install a large, early twentieth-century-style mural on the side of his Highland business. "A lot of the buildings in our neighborhood were built in the late 1890s and early 1900s," says Ferrari. "Our building was the original Coors Theater, built around that time. The mural is a recreation of an old, circus-style poster of a man fighting a kangaroo. We wanted it to be a part of the Black Eye branding, but it's also fun. And it's a pull from that era, because this was always a working-class neighborhood -- even though that's changing with these million-dollar homes that are coming in."

See also:
- Black Eye takes the coffee-drinking experience to a richer level
- Photos: Purple Door Coffee now brewing in Five Points
- A.J. Boik: Local artist launches Kickstarter to make custom portrait for victim's family

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Designer toy shop Plastic Chapel closes its doors, but not its spirit

Scribe's lowbrow poker dogs are seeking a new home.
When Dea Webb and Dave Wendt opened Plastic Chapel eight years ago in a literal hole in the wall in Baker, the designer toy emporium was not only a pioneer business in the neighborhood, but it also owned a retail niche that hadn't been explored much in Denver. They opened the chapel doors to make public the collectible vinyl toys they loved (and that Kidrobot popularized on the coasts), and even though the space was closet-sized, they also began to host gallery shows for lowbrow and graffiti artists.

See also:
- Best Toys for Grownups -- Living Room, 2006: Plastic Chapel
- Slide show: DIY Designer Toy Show at Plastic Chapel
- Task One creates designer toys based on television favorites for "As Seen On TV"

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100 Colorado Creatives: The Ladies Fancywork Society

#100: The Ladies Fancywork Society
The Ladies Fancywork Society -- a somewhat anonymous collective of crafty women -- has been delighting Denver for a half-dozen years, working covertly in the dark of night to create yarnbombed installations that sprout out of nowhere in the strangest of places. They've made us laugh and look in wonder as trees grow sweaters and flowers bloom on chain-link fences. As they say in their statement, "They believe in taking ownership of our surroundings, and putting skirts on the world is their way of doing it." It's a whimsical message that anyone can make art, underlined by the feminine...and maybe a little of the feminist.

See also:

- Fancygasm
- The arts in Denver: Ten people to watch in 2013
- Lucky '13: Lauren Seip of Lowbrow Arts and Ladies Fancywork Society
- Fifteen best Denver ART moments in 2011

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Photos: Meet the local artists behind Westword's best-looking boxes

westword boxes general.jpeg
The annual Westword Music Showcase is always a good time, but in one small but noticeable way, this year's event has become a permanent street party. During the course of the 2012 musical mayhem, eight local artists shared their time, paint and skills with Westword to completely re-envision our traditional red street boxes. Steven Kuc of Soldier Ink Design, 2010 MasterMind and self-proclaimed Art Pimp Eric Matelski, Scott LeFavor, Yeyo Mondragon of Certified Customs, Maximilian Shiffman, JOUVELT and Mike Hornbeck for SOAPOINT, and Annie Denison all lent their names and brands -- and in the process gave our boxes some serious street cred.

Continue reading for photos of each box in its new location.

See also: Find these Westword news boxes, painted at Music Showcase, around Denver

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