Adding hues to urban views in Denver's River North (Photos)

Artists from around world visit RiNo for Crush Walls event

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Walking down the alley between Larimer and Walnut streets, the sound of spray cans fills the air. Artists stand on ladders or lifts, painting the sides of buildings in every color of the rainbow.

Pat Milbery, who lives a few blocks away from his mural spot on the Larimer Lounge, said he likes to use bright colors in his art because it helps lift the spirits of passerby looking at the work.

“I think people need it,” he said of adding colorful works to the sides of buildings.

His mural, which includes a large tyrannosaurus rex and a purple octopus holding a boom box, has vibrant pinks and teals. Milbery painted the mural with Patrick McKinney.

The pair are both part of So-Gnar Creative Division, which Milbery founded. So-Gnar has several murals across Denver, including three in the “Love This City” project.

“We’re very lucky to paint as much as we do around the city,” Milbery said.

More than 60 artists from around the world came to the River North neighborhood for the 2018 Crush Walls event, which happened from Sept. 3-8. This year, artists also used the pavement as a canvas, adding colorful designs to the streets of the neighborhood.

While the event brings in artists from around the globe, several local painters participate as well. Wemfer, a local artist who is a veteran of painting in Crush, said it helps bring members of the Denver art community back together.

Wemfer said he took time off from his everyday job to paint during the weeklong event, calling it a “spray-cation.”

He added that he works on whatever space the city will offer him. Recently, Wemfer painted an electrical box near Coors Field with purple and black as well as stencils of the Colorado Rockies logo.

Wemfer uses shapes to create motion within his works. He started with a white base-layer and then works across it with one color at a time. By the time he’s finished there’s no white space left.

Artists add their Instagram handles to murals so that people can tag them when they take pictures. It helps connect people back to the work, Wemfer said.

“It makes people happy.”

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