Design Issue: Atypical Artists

Les- Owner of Swampgas & Gossamer
Old Town is well known for the quaint art galleries and shops that give downtown some color and personality. One particular shop owner, Les of Swampgas & Gossamer, is a master of atypical design. When walking into his shop on Pine St., one is instantly reminded of the movie, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” From the floor to the ceiling are metal worked sculptures, statues, machinery, and antique artifacts that all in one way or another tell Les’ story. Although many of Les’ designs are not for sale, he opened his shop to let people come in and see what he has found to inspire himself and others around him. He discusses his need to live simply and feels that what he is doing now has been more than fulfilling. Les emphasizes the need to be brave in order to achieve what you want, and has found his passion through design work that comes to him through inspiration and imagination. One particular inspiration comes from an antique basket on a pole that he uses to ‘capture’ sounds and stories, a method he has shared with the young and old which in turn inspired them to creates their own stories. So if you find yourself wondering the art galleries on First Friday, head over to Swampgas and Gossamer on Pine St., marvel at the collections, and discover how Les has turned simple objects into a plethora of meaning.

Ryan Brookes- Beer Cap Art
Aside from enjoying a delicious beer, have you ever wondered what you could do with the materials that helped keep the beverage enclosed? Denver-based artist Ryan Brookes has taken items as simple as the bottle caps and turned them into wonderful, and atypical, designs. What started as refurbishing a damaged desk sophomore for Brookes has turned into a year and a half full of new designs and thousands of recycled bottle caps playfully placed on anything from picture frames, coffee tables, and beer pong tables. Brookes has also started to work with breweries such as O’dell and New Belgium who will begin to donate bottle caps as a form as recycling to his small yet growing business. Aside from the bottle cap donations from well-known breweries, Brookes will also have one of his tables featured in Mugs Coffee Shop on Laurel and has begun to collaborate with other beer cap artists around the country in making new designs. For now, Brookes’ art is just a way to earn some extra cash. In the future, he hopes to see the business take off with the help of donations and collaborations, but most importantly, from the help of his friends. If you are interested in purchasing a table or sharing an idea, you can follow Brookes on Instagram at @beercapart.


Cary Frank- CSU Art History Undergrad

CSU is home to many great minds and artists, and one atypical artist that stands out is junior Cary Frank. When asking Cary about his creative process, he explains that many of his ideas pop into his head without warning or comes from the literature he has been reading. Cary’s visions create atypical pieces as he uses unconventional, 3-D canvases such as furniture and clothing instead of a traditional flat canvas to display his art. He also finds a great means of expression through using acrylic paint to display vibrant colors that easily capture one’s eye and pulls them in. Although art remained a hobby for Cary through high school, it was during his senior year that he decided to pursue art as a profession. Cary also advises other art students interested in turning their eye for creativity into a career to not stop creating for any reason, and that the constant practice and creating keeps your mind continually working and thinking of the next project. When asked if he had a favorite project that he’s created, Cary states that his favorites change with the completion of each new project, and looks forward to new ones such as painting a guitar. It is the great minds like these that keep CSU diverse and different from the rest. Embrace your own atypical creativity.