The biggest work of his career. That’s the statement Karl Addison made regarding the intervention he painted for the RDT Federal Station that will be inaugurated this October in Denver. Accompanied by the artist’s own words, the following photographs by Henrik Haven visually sum up the monumental workload.
“Where exactly do years of process and development lead you in life with your art and your craft? Is it fulfillment, enjoyment, passion, madness, obsession, or those light parts or dark parts of your inner self seeking to find themselves?
I’m the first to admit I’m not that great of a painter. I can look back at what I was painting 6 years ago and without any doubt I can tell you it is/was terrible. But that has never stopped me since the time I drew stick figures next to my older brother that could, and still does draw perfectly. So where does that leave me? I have ideas, concepts and a lot of vision. So those are my foundations and stepping stones to the highest peaks of self-fulfillment. I can always learn technical skills with enough focus and dedication – art for me lies between the ideas and the root theories of where it gets breathed into the world.
What I’m proud to share now is creating a public artwork that goes beyond being a singular painting on the wall – it’s an environment. Something that treads on those lines of being an installation and an experience. This project has taken well over a year to produce since the first moments of discussing the possibilities with a dear friend, David Walker, in the beginning of 2015 at the Turkish restaurant at Kotti in Berlin. The concept was finalized in Malaysia by writing out the full concept, budget, timelines, sketches and past examples. I flew to Denver in March 2015 to do an interview about my concept to a panel 18 or more people. Then the waiting game…. and “luck” is the only word that comes to mind when I heard I got it.
The majority of my work is rooted in color theory and the blending of simple hatched lines within an analog process to create dimensions of color and depth in what you are viewing. I love working with local communities and the people that inhabit those places – they are the ones that take ownership and passion for their public artwork to the next level.
I focus on this theme, working with an open-call system to get local people to play roles in their space as the silhouettes that are frozen in time place holders, and 3 larger giants who peer down in fascination. The giants are overlaid with a smooth gradient of color blending which ranges from a rich warmer purple, to soft creams and ice blues, to a deep rich purple fading into blue. The color transition turns green with a lighter subsection exceeding to the far left along the Ashlar Stone facade. Inviting the theory of train stations in Japan, the idea of a soothing atmosphere to help relieve stress from the “come and go” plays a big part here. Each cinder block is painted one by one with the same colors used in the gradient blends like a map of larger color blocks so the viewer can translate the 90 colors used.
The Federal RTD Station is one of 8 stations opening up in Denver this October. There are 11 miles of new track – each station has been painted by a different contemporary artist. It is a huge project and I am extremely honored to be a part of it all.
It’s a collective effort to create something on this scale. A huge thanks to the team at RTD, Libby, Lindsey & Michael and also to Amy Faulkner for the hours and hard work she put in to support and make sure the whole project ran smoothly from start to finish. Also, to Henrik Haven for coming in and spending two long houred weeks documenting the process and creating beautiful stunning photos. Thanks to the Denver community that helped support, and stopped by to say “hello.”
Much love to all and a grateful thank you to all.”
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