CRUSH Walls hosts an annual art festival in Denver’s River North Art District every September. This year is no different with the exception that there will no longer be an indoor gallery and attendees must follow the appropriate guidelines following COVID-19. From September 14-20, 2020, a group of around 100 selected artists will transform the walls and alleys of the RiNo District into an outdoor art gallery that the public can enjoy.
Thomas Evans (Detour)
Thomas Evans, otherwise known by “Detour,” is muralist who will participating in this year’s CRUSH Walls art festival. Evans grew up in a military family, where he was constantly moving, but now calls Denver his home.
Evans says his passion for the arts began with more performance-based art, such as dance. “It wasn’t until 2014 that I just decided to do art full time,” he says.
Explaining the name Detour, Evans says, “It was from a breakdance VHS tape from one of my favorite crews in the Bay area called ‘Originality Starts Alone.’’’ He continues, “I used to be really big into dancing in high school, so when I hit that VHS tape, it had the word ‘detours’ in there and I really liked that.” This is a name Evans has gone by for 20 years now.
It was not until recent years that Evans got involved with large scale art. “It went from doing a lot of smaller works and then getting a little bit larger on canvas,” he says. “I did not start to do my first mural until 2015, maybe early 2016.”
Lindsay and John Lamb of Like Minded Productions discovered Evan’s work early on when he was doing work outside of their former shop.
“They gave me a small wall and they asked my friend if I could paint her and she agreed,” he says. From there, Evans says he began to practice more with spray paint.
Evans describes his recent murals, portraits of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as “really emotionally charged.” These two murals have gained lots of attention in the community and on social media as many people snap pictures to help create conversations around the racial adversity in the country.
In addition to making art, Evans recently finished up a book called Be the Artist that is now for sale.
While COVID-19 has cancelled the tours Evans had set for the year, he says he has been doing virtual book clubs with various organizations and doing all he can to push the book as much as possible.
Check out Evans’ work at iamdetour.com.
Justin Suarez (Aerosol Kingdom)
New York based artist, Justin Suarez, will be participating in this year’s CRUSH Walls art festival for the first time ever.
Suarez has been in the Midwest working on projects in Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is looking forward to bringing his art out West.
“I started spray painting on things that did not belong to me when I was 17. And over the years, that has led to a lot of large-scale public art projects,” says Suarez.
Eight years ago, Suarez says he “made the plunge to doing full-time art.”
“I like to get really heavily involved and passionate about spray painted stencils — so hand cutting stencils and being able to reproduce images on a large scale,” he adds.
Suarez’s epithet and website name, Aerosol Kingdom, was first used to describes a series of work he had done. “That name definitely represents the work that I do in the sense that I am very passionate about painting wildlife and that I am doing that with spray paint,” he explains. “It felt like an appropriate name.”
“I applied to CRUSH Walls through the open call that they had, and I was really lucky to be chosen as one of the artists,” he says.
With people being limited to the activities they can do following the restrictions of COVID-19, Suarez says, “This might be a time where people are hungry for art in that way because it changes the outside environment in a positive way. It is uplifting towards people.”
“Denver is the place that I am super excited to go this year. It is going to be one of the first times that I have gotten my work into that part of the country,” Suarez adds. “Denver has had a fantastic mural art scene for many, many years.”
Check out more of Suarez’s work at aerosolkingdom.com.
For more information check out crushwalls.org.
Photos courtesy of Thomas Evans and Justin Suarez.
The power of words and pictures has always been an important aspect in Brooke’s life. Brooke’s current position as an intern for Jaunt Media Collective — YOGA + Life® Magazines and Spoke+Blossom Magazine — allows her to grow as an aspiring journalist along with combining her two passions: writing and photography. She currently attends the University of Colorado Boulder, where she plans to graduate with a major in Journalism and a minor in Studio Art. Brooke moved out to Colorado to be apart of its active environment and to be surrounded by its gorgeous landscape. She is often found with her camera in hand ready to capture any moment. Brooke enjoys traveling, going to see live music and hanging out with her dog.