From street artist to artist on the streets, Velasquez brings mural work to downtown Glenwood Springs
Art does not require years of art school or expensive paint brushes — it’s what you make it.
For Jeremy Velasquez, having an art career and being a newly featured muralist on Grand Avenue, were not things he would have expected when he was younger.
“I never thought it would be a career and that I would utilize this as a job,” he said.
From street art to being a sought out artist, Velasquez has lived the life of an artist, though he might not have been called that by some when he was younger. Now he prefers working with local cities in the region and the state of Colorado to bring more art into communities, and to encourage others to do the same.
“It’s so easy and I don’t think people realize that,” he said.
The recent mural project that he painted on Grand Avenue features a bighorn sheep above the Double Black dispensary between Seventh and Eighth Street on Grand Avenue. The mural sits facing south and can be a little hard to see from some locations, making it a treat when it can be spotted, much as it is when spotting one of the sheep who call Glenwood Canyon home.
“I was actually surprised by how few people saw me up there.” Velasquez said. “I would occasionally have someone see me and wave, but not as many people as I expected.”
Spray paint art has only received a positive image in the last decade. It has become much more prevalent in cities for adding character to a building, or even covering up old eyesores. Places like Denver, Grand Junction, Rifle and now Glenwood Springs have all started adding more murals to their buildings and walls.
Glenwood Springs has a funding source called the facade grant which helps local businesses to update the exterior of their buildings to keep more of the charming appeal of the small town. The grant fund repairs included items like helping pay for new signage for storefront improvements.
Recently, Jillian Sutherland, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority of Glenwood Springs, opened the grant application to approve and match more artistic art projects like murals.
This gives Glenwood Springs an opportunity to add more art and local artists more opportunity to display their hard work.
This project was a long time coming when it was originally slated to be on the north-facing side of the building. It did not end up working out on that side which made the building owner Karen Sherriff and Velasquez really sad.
When Sutherland and Sherriff noticed the wall needed updating for aesthetic appeal, they knew the perfect person and the perfect concept to use.
“I got a hold of Jeremy and we met and he was really excited and told me about his background and I thought oh good, he’s a local artist,” she said. “This is really terrific.”
Velasquez said he has always loved the city of Glenwood Springs, growing up in the area, and being asked to paint a mural in the area has meant the world to him.
“This is a huge dream and I didn’t think it would happen,” he said. “It’s a huge honor and definitely something on my bucket list.”
Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at email@example.com or 970-384-9131.
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