Colorado Crush 2015 Street Art Festival in Denver Recap

Posted by Billyjam, October 28, 2015 10:51pm | Post a Comment

"Breaking down stereotypes surrounding graffiti and street art" all the while presenting it as a "positive medium of expression by bringing people together through art, music, and fun" was the outlined mission statement for Colorado Crush 2015 Street Art Festival that took place September 19th & 20th in Denver. The excellent annual public arts event in the Mile High City is the collective work of such street art enthusiasts as Jonathan Lamb of Like Minded Productions. Lamb and crew working hard behind the scenes at last month's successful Colorado Crush 2015 can pat themselves on the back for accomplishing their goals. 

Following the success of Colorado Crush 2014 (reviewed on Amoeblog), Lamb and the other organizers of this annual aerosol art festival raised the bar even further. This they achieved by inviting such a high caliber of street artists working in varying styles, and by expanding the outdoor art festival's wall space. This year it was again centered in the RiNo arts district of Denver, filling the walls of the long alley that lies in between and parallel to Larimer and Walnut streets for several long colorful blocks. This year they expanded that outdoor gallery to outside that area, providing additional wall space for more artists to paint their vibrant street pieces. The festival was concentrated into the two weekend days but officially began on the Monday when some artists began working on their pieces early. And as at previous Colorado Crush events, organizers rented heavy duty gear to help make the artists job as easy as possible as they tackled high walls.

MD MN + Look At Art [John John + Jake Merten] Amoeblog interview @ Colorado Crush 2015

"It's more spread out this year," confirmed Jonathan Lamb (an artist himself) of the annual aerosol outdoor arts event that featured murals all done on location by accomplished artists from near and far. These included such talents as Colorado Crush founder Robin Munro, British artist Dave Shillinglaw, Denver based artist Detour (video interview below), and LA artists MD MN and Look At Art (video below). "There's a lot of awesome stuff here," John John, aka MD MN (pronounced Mad Man), from LA enthused at Colorado Crush 2015. Added his art partner Jake Merten, aka Look At Art, "It's really stepped up from last year. Everyone's on their game and there's some amazing artwork going up."

The LA artist who currently lives in Chicago added how in Denver "people really love to keep up with it here. They even have graffiti tours in Denver which is great because this is our fine art. This is our passion!" Jake and John John, who began their careers together in LA, were a big hit at last year's festival and hence got invited back again in 2015. And as a show of appreciation got not just the same prime location as last year to do their art but had the wall size doubled in scale to a massive 20 foot high and 80 foot long wall space - an unnamed piece that was a "search for paradise…kind of the trek between Colorado and California and [what] the journey represents" according to Jake of their self described sci-fi/comic book stylized collaborative piece.

However for all of the accolades that Colorado Crush 2015 accumulated one thing that many, including myself and local hop-hop artists and fans, felt was noticeably absent this year was live music. "They don't have the hip-hop stage this year which I'm disappointed about. And I felt like that brought a lot more  people here," observed local hip-hop artist Kalyn Heffernan. Last year's highly entertaining hip-hop stage, that was set up in the big parking lot in the center of where much of the art was being created on the surrounding walls, featured such homegrown talents as Babah Fly  and Catch Lungs, and such visiting acts as Sunspot Jonz and Aspect One. I asked Jonathan Lamb why no hip-hop this year and he said it was budgetary issue, that they ran out of money and that was what they cut.  Hopefully next year they will bring back the live music to this otherwise excellent art event.

Detour (Thomas Evans) Amoeblog interview @ Colorado Crush 2015

Colorado Crush 2015 Street Art Festival

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Jonathan Lamb (1), Colorado Crush Street Art Festival (2), Colorado Crush 2015 (2), Md Mn Art (1), Detour (2)