Crush Walls covers RiNo District alleys

Managing Editor Alexander Elmore (LEFT) admires the Star Wars wall in Alley 5. Photo: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

Managing Editor Alexander Elmore (LEFT) admires the Star Wars wall in Alley 5.
Photo: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary through the week of Sept. 3–8, Crush Walls—an art venue located in the RiNo district just north of Downtown Denver— hosted many local, national, and international artists to come in and liven the alleys and streets with brand new works of art. This event allowed for open interpretation by viewers passing by.

Taking place throughout the streets and alleyways of Larimer and Walnut, between the 20th and 30th street blocks, the lifeless, grungy color palette was brightened with a plethora of color. The walls ranged from psychedelic, abstract patterns to bright, colorful murals with symbolic images of women and animals.

Starting in the Expo Alley off 35th St., the washed-out blues and grays of the cement alley walls and warehouse units were distorted and graffitied by artists Elvis, Eric Karbeling, DinkC, and Shitty Kitten. Using the entire canvas, from dingy rectangular windows to bulging and protruding AC, electrical, and water pipe units, the artists took the abstract architecture to their advantage to create different shades, shadows, and irrational, unrealistic human normalities that look bigger than life.

Over the course of the district, there were many walls covered by a single piece of work in some of the alleys, one of them being between Blake St. and Walnut St. in Alley 5. Once entering the alleyway, the entirety of the left side was dedicated to none other than Star Wars. Headlined at the very top with the phrase “ALL Kings DESTROY,” the work of art featured many fan-favorite characters, such as General Grievous, Yoda, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and R2D2 wearing a baseball cap.

Meanwhile, on the right side, it seemed like a shrine to the filmmaker Steven Spielberg, containing images of his successful movies. Jurassic Park and E.T. were mainly the ones portrayed on the right side of Alley 5 with dinosaurs and aliens taking over the black and blue canvas.

Other works of graffiti took a political and serious narrative. Near 27th and Larimer St. in Alley 2 was an image of a Native American on a horse with a raised axe in his hand. Below him was a frightened red coat falling to the ground amidst a background of what seemed to be smoke and fire. Above the Native American was a text box that said: “You’re evicted, time to leave. Don’t matter if your family’s lived here 30 years!”

Throughout all the aspects and interpretations of visual art, there was more to Crush Walls than just that. Because it was the 10-year anniversary, there were many tours, spokespersons, and after parties taking place on certain days. The first annual Crush Concert sold out on Sept. 8 in the Mission Ballroom off Wynkoop St. that featured Natalia LaFourcade, a Mexican pop rock singer from Mexico City.

Overall, because it was a special year for the RiNo district and its fellow art companions, the festival and its activities were celebratory, with art that was visually aesthetic and pleasing to the eye.

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