It’s no secret that Denver has some of the most talented artists in the country, or in my opinion (ahem), the world. So it should be no surprise that Friday night played host to some pretty rad music gigs and art shows, including that of local BMX legend and artist, Brian “Yellow” Gavagan. A friend of mine had hit me up earlier on in the week asking if I’d like to check out some of Brian’s work and, since my schedule was pretty much free, I accepted the invitation.
The opening was held at Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada. It’s a tiny, cute little coffee house with some of the most well dressed baristas I’ve ever seen. It’s relatively small but the atmosphere was calm and totally appropriate for the occasion. It also helped that there was a big, yellow short bus parked in front of the shop with a “RIDE” sign instead of a “STOP” sign attached to the side, which you might have guessed, belonged to Mr. Gavagan. I knew I was in for something interesting.
With elongated canvases decked out in abstract shapes and colors on one wall and landscapes of places like Wyoming on another, the versatility of Brian’s work was showcased well. There were also smaller prints and sketches for sale strewn about the shop’s coffee tables. Onlookers ranged from straight laced looking parents to some of the Denver BMX scene’s best riders. No matter where you look, it seems you can find art lovers from all walks of life.
One piece in particular caught my attention. It was a pencil drawing of a bunch of t-shirt designs that Brian had created over the years all thrown together in this chaotic not-mess. There was so much going on in the piece that I was really glad to have snapped a picture of it to look at later. I could have studied it for hours and in all honesty, had I had some extra cash on me I probably would have bought it.
In addition to having some pretty sweet artistic skills, I had a chance to chat with Brian and get an idea of who he is and what inspires him to create such cool works. Being a pro rider, BMX has clearly been a huge influence on his life. When asked how BMX has impacted him as an artist, he stated, “I think that being ‘fearless’ and just going for it on a blank canvas is a similar feeling to doing a big air or trick on my BMX bike. Looking at a big, blank canvas or knowing I need to produce work for an upcoming show can be daunting and I’ve learned to just move through that and get it done. Working with color really helps, actually. I like to let the colors speak to me, and my emotions. In the winter I typically feel content with one or two colors like black, silver or gold… now that Spring is approaching I feel drawn to bright colors.”
As a fledgling artist myself, I can totally relate. It seems that art has a way of scaring the shit out of those who find themselves attracted to it, but also helps serious artists really take advantage of their talents.
I’m super stoked to have had the opportunity to check out some of Brian Gavagan’s work and discover a new local artist. If you have a chance, stop by Two Rivers Coffee during the month of March and see some of Brian’s paintings in person. Oh, and for all of you partiers who happen to frequent Pete’s Kitchen after a long night of bar hopping in the Capitol Hill area, check out the mural on the west wall of the building. That’s Brian’s too.