By Tori Mason

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Matt Achziger was bold, colorful and unique – just like his art. His work rarely suffered, even when he did. The 28-year-old artist struggled with drug addiction for years. He lost his battle on Feb. 11, 2019 in Aurora.

(credit: CBS)

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“It’s a lot better to remember him through his art than his bad days,” said his friend Jalen Porter. Porter works at Centennial Vapes near DU, where dozens of Achziger’s pieces hang on the walls.

“He did art shows all over Denver. Getting up at six in the morning and loading up 500 canvases in the back of a truck,” remembered Porter.

Matt Achziger (right) (credit: Achziger family)

The sales from his remaining artwork will go to the wife and daughter who Achziger leaves behind.

“He would come in here for eight hours a day, Monday through Thursday, just working on pieces. They all have a different part of him in it,” said Porter, pointing to his favorite canvas on the wall. “I don’t think I’ve had a piece that I don’t like in here. College kids come in here and they’re all like ‘Wow, if I wasn’t broke I’d be buying all of this art’,” laughed Porter.

(credit: CBS)

Matt’s brother, Stephen Achziger, said art is what helped him stay clean.

“He used a lot of turquoise during his recovery. When that color starting popping up more I started to feel a lot better,” said Stephen. “I don’t want anyone to remember him as a heroin addict. He was passionate, he was kind. He was a little rough around the edges, but how can you not be when you have so much on your shoulders?”

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(credit: CBS)

Stephen held one of Matt’s pieces titled, “In Bloom,” while speaking with CBS4’s Tori Mason

“This is the first piece he created after his daughter died of SIDS,” said Stephen.

The family decided to name the foundation they’re creating in honor of Matt, “In Bloom.”

“In Bloom” (credit: CBS)

“We’re flourishing with it. We’re making something beautiful out of it,” said Stephen.

In Bloom will support drug rehabilitation programs in Colorado, so other families don’t have to experience the same loss.

“Too many amazing people are falling because of relapse, because of lack of knowledge,” said Stephen, “Too many good programs have been shut down and too many lives have been lost.”

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For more information on Matt Achziger and his art, visit: https://www.achzigerdesign.com/shop

Tori Mason