Hard to believe CRUSH WALLS is seven years running now — and that’s not a swipe at the organization responsible for the RiNo mural fest. Just a musing on how quickly time passes, and how much things change.
In this case, the festival has grown bigger, more organized, and more elaborate (and expensive) than it’s ever been, culling arguably Denver’s best mural artists along with international names of well-regard. Some 75 or so artists and crews, not including the unofficial, satellite operations. Not a number to scoff at. The neighborhood itself, of course, has exploded with shiny, new commerce and smooth roads to replace the cracks and potholes we all loathed. The alleys (at least during the festival) are cleaner and safer — a great place to bring the family!
It’s all a bit Disney, the feel of it at times. Where wild things grew, created, and thrived, tangled in verdancy and violence, in the dark utility roads of our (un)fair city, now seem manicured. A marvel of organization and unity, control and beauty, soft to the touch, inviting to the senses. No Spidey sense necessary.
But the weeds always find a way back, and the beefs between artists and crews flair up as pockets grow fat and fires of inequity keep burning. Work will be dissed, and murals we loved and got used to will be missed. New players will emerge, while those who worked so hard for a bit of bricks in the shade will work harder to remain relevant, in hope of permanence. Though, we all know those too will be painted over.
How many old walls, thick with paint and histories, stacked by design and disdain will be knocked over, broken up, ultimately crushed? And how many new walls will rise to take their place?
For more information on CRUSH WALLS 2018, please visit https://crushwalls.org/