Ed Dwight (credit: CBS)
There are so many unique and wonderful visual artists in the Denver area. With tons of available gallery space all over the city, artists of all types are finding ways to display their work, make their own statements and inspire others to do the same. If you aren’t familiar with some of the brilliant work being done in the art community in Denver, here are five local artists that should be on your must-see list the next time an exhibition is announced. Here’s a look at these great artists and where you can go to see them in action.
3636 Chestnut Place
Denver, CO 80216
Kagen Sound is known for his fascinating hand-crafted complex wooden boxes. He has been honored many times over as a master craftsman, including by the Karakuri Creation Group, the world’s only guild for makers of secret boxes in Japan. If you’ve never seen a box like this, you’ll be amazed at the craftsmanship that goes into each piece. Each box is like its own puzzle, with tons of different pieces and details that create each work of art. Check out his Pattern Cryptex, with rings that surround the box, using 1,678 different pieces of wood inlayed in the pattern surrounding the puzzle. As you figure out the right pattern, the box will open. You can find Kagen’s work at Ironton Studio by appointment.
Ed Dwight Studio
3824 Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80207
His resume includes titles like Air Force Test Pilot, Aviation Consultant, Real Estate Developer and IBM Computer Systems Engineer, however Ed Dwight is best known for his amazingly detailed sculptures, one of which includes the beautiful tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that is on display in City Park. You can also visit his studio to check out his series of more than 70 different bronze sculptures that depict the evolution of jazz as an American art form with subjects that include Miles Davis, Bessie Smith, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Waller and many more. His sculptures are incredibly detailed, with his own unique style shining through, so be sure to visit his studio to check out his amazing work.
Related: Top Public Art In Denver
2501 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205
Xi Zhang was born in China and studied painting at the Beijing Institute of Art and Design. He then moved to Denver to study at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, where he graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in painting. His work combines the world of pop-icons with technology and other resources to create works of art that highlight American hybrid and Chinese culture under the impact of globalization and technology. You’ll find his paintings to be vastly detailed, with winks and nods to many pop culture and historic icons, all of which with a slight sense of whimsy behind them. Check out his work at Denver’s Plus Gallery where he is a regularly featured artist.
Pirate: Contemporary Art Gallery
3655 Navajo St.
Denver, CO 80211
Phil Bender is the owner of Denver’s Pirate: Contemporary Art Gallery in Navajo Street Arts District. He’s also a brilliant artist in his own right, with a unique look at everyday objects and a keen ability to highlight the usual in unusual ways. You can find his work often at Pirate, where you’ll see creations that combine multiples of ordinary objects like square pans, white bags, tennis rackets, Christmas ornaments, pallets, trivets and more. The objects become unique works of art as he carefully arranges them, highlighting different messages and allowing the viewer to create their own story. Visit his gallery on Navajo Street when you can, and be sure to ask him about his own works of art, in addition to all the other brilliant artists on display here.
Related: Top Abstract Art Exhibits In Denver
1740 Wazee St.
Denver, CO 80202
Brandon Bultman is an emerging artist in the Denver area that you definitely want to seek out. He creates large-scale sculptures that immediately provoke many unique responses. In 2012, he had his first solo exhibition at Robischon Gallery, which involved a decaying, overturned 1959 Buick station wagon that had been planted with native grasses. The description explained that it symbolized the cycle of renewal and growth that follows even the most catastrophic events. Bultman has had numerous showings throughout Denver and Rhode Island, and he often still shows at the Robischon Gallery. Be sure to stop by to check out his compelling work, as they always inspire great discussion and introspection
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.