Buying gifts for the holidays can be downright intimidating. What do people want… or even need? Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, oh my! This uncertainty can lead to spastic and random gift choices. You might find yourself feverishly sweating over your laptop and eventually clicking “Order” on a dieting book for your mother-in-law just to have something to give her. With the holiday season in full swing now, are you feeling stressed yet? If you are, no worries- we’ve gotcha! Instead of being swallowed whole by big corporations and an intimidating level of choices, there is an easy solution to this problem… shop local. So for this special holiday local artist spotlight, we will focus on three Denver artists, Myah Mazcara, Shannon Bonatakis, and Jeff Hughes. The best part about this group of artists (besides how rad they are), is all their work is available at the same store in Denver’s Larimer Square, making it just that much easier to cross off your shopping list!
Myah Mazcara is a kickass Denver based artist who uses a muted color palette and otherworldly imagery. One of the coolest aspects of Mazcara’s art is that her pieces are all part of a larger narrative. With each piece, it adds to the story with repeated characters and themes. Mazcara’s art has been featured on Burton snowboards and art blogs such as Supersonic and Platinum Cheese. Her work is available to buy at Sally Centigrade, which was co-founded by Mazcara and focuses on “lowbrow and pop surrealist imagery”. Sally Centigrade is located in Larimer Square and offers small works from local and big name artists. If you’re not in the central Denver area, her work is also available online and at Made Life in Boulder. These prints run for around 40 dollars a piece but offer a unique and local gift for your loved one. Letting your loved one know that their gift is part of a larger narrative can be a fun addition to their gift and maybe even encourage them to buy more pieces related to it. In a way, your gift can become part of their story. Who could ask for a better gift than that?
Shannon Bonatakis is (in my humble opinion) one of the coolest local artists around Denver. Interested in storytelling “through the female lens”, her art is made up of dreamlike pieces that are often reminiscent of fairy tales. Inspired by growing up with seven sisters, her work has some serious ~girl power~ energy. Bonatakis has been featured in the local Rooster magazine, but her art has even reached Disney, creating multiple pieces and children’s books for the company. Some of her pieces feature familiar female heroines from pop culture such as Alice, Coraline, and Chihiro. Her work is surreal, melancholy, and emotional, which can make the perfect gift for any female heroine in your life. A few of her prints are available at Sally Centigrade, but there are more offered on her website and pieces are 20% off until December 14th! Her prints usually range from $30-75 so make sure you grab yours!
Jeff Hughes is the artist that we all aspire to be. Establishing his career as lead designer for a nationwide engineering company, he eventually rid himself of his corporate shackles and moved to Denver to focus on painting. Hughes’ work aims to evoke feelings of a dream, thought, or memory, but never a fully formed one. For Hughes, his work is more about conveying a mood rather than a clear thought. He enjoys using repetition and overlapping shapes, as he believes that it helps create movement and depth in the piece. His work is a little more ~exclusive~, however one of his pieces (pictured above) is available at Sally Centigrade for $200. Whether you’re an art collector or just enjoy fine art, Deceased Denizens of the Rockies could be the perfect gift to go above your fireplace this Christmas.
With this goldmine of local artists right in your backyard, hopefully this local artist spotlight has eased some of your holiday shopping woes! Let us know in the comments if there are any other local artists that deserve the spotlight before the end of the holidays!