Fort Collins is one of the luckiest towns in the world. This is true for hundreds of reasons, one of them being how well local art is supported. Every single first Friday of the month, year-round, rain or shine, downtown Fort Collins holds the First Friday Gallery Walk from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Several months ago I did a photo review on the Gallery Walk. Readers seemed to enjoy it, so I decided to do round two of the Gallery Walk. It’s really difficult to visit every gallery on the list in one evening, so this time around I tried to hit every gallery that I missed on my last Gallery Walk (with the exception of a few that were closed).
I started my night at the Downtown Artery. This was the first time I’d been in since their renovations and the place looked great! The art was a little more spread out, there’s a fantastic back patio, and they were serving free wine and appetizers.
The first piece of art that caught my eye was this gouache (paint) and ink work of an owl. The piece is by Dusty Ray and titled Great Gray. This artist had a unique style that shined through all of his work displayed in the Artery. He had many different owls, tigers, chimpanzees and gorillas with multiple eyes, eyes missing, extremely large teeth, or teeth missing. Some were a bit frightening (such as the gorillas) and others seemed calmer.
Ray is selling this piece for $100, as well as many of his other animal works of art.
After walking down the hall, I noticed a really cool black and white photograph of a stairway titled Steel Stairway. This photograph was taken by Shawna Turner and is being sold for just $30 (originally priced at $60). I like this photo because of the angle it was taken in. It’s a twist on an object we see in everyday life. Sometimes the most interesting photos are of things we see everyday, but taken from a different perspective.
Further down the hall I spotted a very unique piece by Emily Lewis. Lewis is a designer for PhoCo, a photography and design company that works inside the Downtown Artery. I’ve never seen anything like this piece, called Going Sunny Side. It’s cute and simple, but looks like it took A LOT of work. It sits inside a 3D frame with layers and layers of cut out paper to create this one scene. Lewis is selling this piece for $150, including frame.
After I finished my wine I headed out down College Avenue to The Center for Fine Art Photography. There are so many talented photographers showing off their work in this location, which made it very hard to pick my favorites.
This first one I really enjoyed because it feels like it’s trying to tell a story. This photograph was taken by Jenny Riffle and is titled Dead Horse Bay. This is a small body of water off Barren Island near Brooklyn. It possibly gets this name because in the nineteenth and twentieth century the area was used to process fertilizer made from dead animals. Now it’s mostly used as a landfill for New York’s garbage. This photograph makes me want to learn more about the story of this man in the photo, but at the same time it lets the viewer take any interpretation they want. Riffle is selling this photograph for $950 unframed.
The next piece that caught my eye was Detangling by Summer Lee. Again, I think it tells an interesting story. There’s so much to the photo. A dad is combing out his child’s hair and the child looks extremely unhappy, but the dog is just sitting there staring off into space. It’s kind of comical in a way, but also serious. I can’t quite put my finger on it, which makes it interesting to me. The piece is being sold for $95 unframed.
This last photo is likely my favorite of the bunch. It’s titled Detroit Dream and was taken by Amanda Hess. It’s not just a photo, but a collage on somerset velvet paper. The technique is really cool, and I love the overlap of the skyscraper and the girl’s head. It reminds me of some interesting shadow pictures I took when I lived in NYC, which is why it’s one of my favorites. This piece sells for $300 unframed.
Next I wandered over to a fairly new gallery, The Purple Bee Fine Art Gallery. This gallery is tucked inside the small mall on Oak Street on the second floor.
As a lover of winter and all things snowy, I fell in love with this painting by Mark Keathley called Warm and Cozy. The titled says it all. The painting has fluffy snow, a cozy cabin, cute deer wandering the forest — it’s the perfect winter setting. The artwork at The Purple Bee is not priced, so you’ll have to visit the gallery to enquirer about purchasing a piece.
As a kid at heart, I love all Disney movies. Clearly Thomas Kinkade does too, as he painted over a dozen small canvases of various Disney movies and Disney Land scenes. Below are obviously Peter Pan, The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast and The Little Mermaid. Please click on these photos to enlarge them so you can examine the detailed work that Kinkade has done. These are stunning and capture each movie perfectly.
The last gallery I went to on Friday was The Fine Art & Frame Gallery. This is one of my favorite galleries in town, not just because the serve free wine, but because they have so many different art mediums at a time. This time around, a photo of our beloved Old Town Square was hanging inside. Judging by the Christmas lights and leaves on the ground, I’m guessing it was taken in late fall. Old Town Square is one of my favorite spots in Fort Collins. You can take this photograph home for $197.
The last piece of art of the night was Entertaining Thoughts by Ford Smith. Smith had a lot of very interesting giclee paintings, but this was my favorite due to the amazing technique he used for the reflection of the brightly-colored trees on the water. The colors are stunning and the patterns are unique.