Street Art

Karl Addison Paints the New Federal RTD Station in Denver

August 15, 2016

Karl Addison recently painted the exterior of a new Federal RTD Station in Denver, Colorado scheduled to open this October. Below he reflects on his work and painting the piece.

All photography by Henrik Haven

"Years of process and development lead you to where in life with your art and your craft exactly? Is it fulfilling, enjoyable, passion, madness, obsession, light parts or those 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 my 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 that is my foundation and stepping stones to the highest peaks of self-fulfillment. I can always learn technical skill 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 extends from being singular as a painting on wall - but into an environment. Something that treads on those lines of being an installation and an experiences. This project has take well over a year to produce. From the first moments of discussing the possibilities with a dear friend David Walker in the beginning of 2015 at Turkish restaurant at Kotti in Berlin. Finalizing the concept in Malaysia, writing out the full concept, budget, timelines, sketches and past examples. Flying to Denver in March 2015 to give an interview of my concept to a panel 18 plus people. Then the waiting game.... and "luck" is the only word that comes to mind when I hear I got it.

The majority of my work is rooted in color theory and the blending of simple hatch lines within an analog process to create dimensions of color and depth of what you are viewing. I love working with local communities and the people that inhabit those places - they are the ones that take the 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 the roles of their space between the silhouettes that are place holders frozen in time and 3 larger giants who peer down in fascination. The giants are overlaid on a smooth gradient of color blending from a rich warmer purple, to soft creams and ice blues, to a deep rich purple into blue. The color transition goes into green and lighter subsection exceeding to the far left along 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.” Each cinder block is painted one by one with the same color blends as the gradient - a map of larger color blocks so the viewer can start to translate 90 colors used.

The Federal RTD Station is one of 8 stations opening up in Denver this October. It's 11 miles of new track - each station with a different Contemporary Artist. A huge project - and extremely honored to be a part of it all." —Karl Addison