Street Art 15

And Art Space: Beautifying Boulder’s urban landscape, one mural at a time.

Nowadays, it’s common to see murals dotting buildings, storefronts and underpasses throughout city centers and small towns.

“The sentiment that murals are vandalism or not real art is becoming all but non-existent. The legitimacy of the work speaks for itself,” explains Leah Brenner, the Boulder-based founder of And Art Space, an organization connecting local artists with Denver and Boulder-area companies and spaces looking to incorporate mural artwork into their aesthetic.

Art has always driven Brenner. She’s kept an art blog, runs a Denver gallery and she started Boulder’s first rotating mural wall in Boulder at madelife. “That’s when I realized that this was something that needed a much bigger canvas than just one wall in Boulder,” explains Brenner. Thus, And Art Space was born.

“Experiencing art in this way removes a lot of the boundaries or expectations you find in a gallery setting,” says Brenner. The “And” in And Art Space focusses on inclusion and accessibility. “Including murals in public spaces like schools, businesses, alleys and streets allows for art to be experienced by all people regardless of status, ethnicity, age, disability or gender and there are no rules of how it should be experienced or understood.”

Brenner keeps a database of artists, and when projects come up, she curates a selection of artists that fit both the client’s goals and the art direction of the project. “With this growing acceptance of street art and murals, what I hope will be maintained is the authentic voice of the artist,” she adds. “I’m always accepting submissions.”

Meet the Local Artists

Sam Parker

1. How would you describe your artistic style?

Allegoric. Surrealist, Street, Tattoo.

2. What sort of impact do you hope your street art has on the community or environment it inhabits?

It will play a more important role as our urban, and suburban areas become more gentrified with condos and big box department stores. My murals will add a layer of personality and individuality as things become more homogeneous.

3. Where can people go to see your work locally?

I finished a mural in the parking lot at Alfalfas grocery on Broadway.

4. What has And Art Space offered you as an artist and creator?

Being a new artist in Colorado for the past year has been difficult to reestablish myself, And Art Space has been a conduit for me to get involved in local art mural projects in Boulder.

5. Who are some artists that inspire you?

Currently, I am inspired by James Jean, Jackson Ellis, Mike Giant, AJ Davis, Jim Woodring, Peter Ferrari, Morgan Alynn, just to name a few. Also hugely influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e prints. It seems like every other day I find a new source of inspiration.

“Rather Severe” – Jon Stommel & Travis Czekalski

1. How would you describe your artistic style?

J: Colorful cartoons and other abstractions.

2. What sort of impact do you hope your street art has on the community or environment it inhabits?

J: We hope that it inspires people.

3. Where can people go to see your work locally?

T: We have a public mural on a garage door between 26th and 27th on Larimer Street in the RiNo district, and a private office mural for Lumos Solar on Pearl Street in Boulder. We were very honored to contribute our mural in the RiNo district next to a handful of other great artists. We were invited by Jon Lamb of Like Minded Productions, who curates the Colorado Crush mural event. We painted our mural several months before the main painting event, but our mural was kept up for the year.

4. What sort of planning goes into your pieces before they become permanent fixtures?

T: We determine the size of the mural, the general direction for art, and a budget range we need to work within. We then create specific sketches based on the size, art direction, and budget. We consider the exposure of the mural to weather, graffiti, or other natural occurrences. We determine the desired longevity of the piece, the appropriate materials for the environment, what equipment will need to be rented.

5. Who are some artists that inspire you?

T: Interesni Kazki, Blu, Liqen, James Jean.

J:  Escif, San, David Ellis, Lister, Jim Woodring.

Mando Marie

1. How would you describe your artistic style?

I always have a hard time with pinpointing one style that my paintings fit into.  I am into illustration, but also like the work when it has layers and parts that are not perfect.

2. What sort of impact do you hope your street art has on the community or environment it inhabits?

When I come into a part of a city that has street art, I feel like I’m in a space that is ‘alive.’ Recently, I was in Valencia where some of my hero street artists are from.  Randomly coming across a Hyruo piece or biking down a small road and seeing some of Escif’s work was like treasure hunting and being in a museum at the same time. I think it would be awesome if my work gave people that same feeling.

3. What has And Art Space offered you as an artist and creator?

Leah is such a cool girl. Chill and easy to work with. She does the legwork by going back and forth with building owners on what is going to be painted. She handles all of the logistics that need to be worked out.

4. What sort of planning goes into your pieces before they become permanent fixtures?

It depends on what the building owner requires. If they are good with me just painting whatever I want, then I just check out the wall to get a feel of what I think the wall needs, take some rough measurements and get to work making the stencil.  I am really into repeated imagery. So usually one or two stencils that I then make a row of.

5. Who are some artists that inspire you?

Sister Corita, Kara Walker, Barbra Kruger, Eloise Wilken, Gustafson Tenggren.