Surrogate family inspires art at Denver Art Society

While most people over the weekend got ready to go out with their significant others or recover from the unusual spring weather, others worked hard on their passion. In the Art District on May 19, those that worked on their passion were at the Denver Art Society. Several artists prepared to showcase their work to the public to view or buy.

Denver Art Society

Grace Noel works from a paint tray on a wall mural. She keeps a studio in the basement of the building, which she shares with other artists who use the space to work on their own art. Noel called the building its own work of art. Photo by Esteban Fernandez •

Artists with various styles and inspirations come together at the Denver Art Society to not only produce their work but to support and teach each other. Grace Noel, a member of the Society for four years, uses woodcarving and painting techniques to tell fantastical stories and make complex yet poignant statements.

“It’s not just a culture anymore,” Noel said, explaining that art is meant to be experienced.

One of Noel’s works depicts a girl with wings standing on the edge of a cliff and beyond, the unknown. Noel explained that the cliff was detailed with the culture of her family, various patterns and designs and that she was the girl jumping into the unknown.

Denver Art Society

Mike L. Meyer combines a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft and Escher to create a surrealist painting. He hopes to have the piece done in the next month. Meyer had his first art show when he was 17 and has live painted for bands during concerts. Photo courtesy of Esteban Fernandez.

“I’ve learned a lot from her work,” said fellow artist Jose Salcedo.

Salcedo creates his own fantastical works based on characters from Marvel and even the Star Wars franchise. Ranging from Deadpool fighting a T-Rex to a villain wielding a lightsaber, Salcedo’s creations are copied for the stills to be sold.

Not all of the work is inspired directly from a fantasy background. Kind Illusions artist Manning Turner takes pictures of cannabis on a microscopic level while the plant is still alive. The intent of
the work is to have the public view the substance as more than a connection to drug culture.

“First Fridays are always fun,” Turner said. “It’s fun seeing people freak out at the work.”

Denver Art Society

Loren Lichti chisels away at a piece of alabaster sourced from Fort Collins at the Denver Art Society in Denver May 19. Lichti eschews power tools when sculpting stone, relying on hand tools to work. A sculpture can take up to two years to finish.

Turner wasn’t afraid to joke about how some people would view his fellow artists who had works that were risque and yet thought provoking. One unnamed artist took tasteful nude pictures of women. On the other side of the gallery Loren Lichti had stone sculptures made from alabaster that take approximately two years to complete.

“Welcome to the Denver Hippie Commune,” Turner said.

The Denver Art Society allows people to make statements through their art, but it has done more for others. The Denver Art Society has become a second home and a new family.

An artist by the name of Dino Castellano spoke of his difficult past and how the Society helped him overcome many hardships. Castellano is a former alcoholic who used the Denver Art Society to stay sober.

“I quit drinking and I started to draw and paint,” Castellano said.

For four years Castellano has made and sold countless pieces of art for the Denver Art Society but his fellow artists have been a source of happiness and sobriety.

“It’s like we are a family,” said Castellano.

After a recent surgery, many members of the Society visited Castellano at the hospital.

“The only thing this place doesn’t have that would make it home is a bed,” he said.

Author: Matthew Plimpton

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