Dear Darwin...

Castle Rock-based artist Carlos Michael Finn's new show, Tune In or Toon Out, encourages you to find your inner kid and just toon out.

"Dear Darwin" by Carlos Michael Finn

You can't help but smile when you see the paintings of Carlos Michael Finn. Playful mark-marking embued with bright greens, blues, and oranges is emboldened with a shiny resin finish, giving the images a powerful presence. Carlos manages to disentangle the many layers of thoughts, feelings, and personalities in each character he depicts, creating a multi-dimensional experience. Imagery is not only curious and thoughtful but joyful and just plain fun. I caught up with Carlos to ask a few interview questions before the last weekend of his show, Tune In or Toon Out, at KANON Collective, where Carlos is a founding member.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jean-Michel Basquiat is my favorite artist, along with Picasso, Pollock, Miro, and Klee. 

Other than art/artists, what do you draw inspiration from to create your work?

My work is inspired by Children’s Art. I once took a job at a daycare just so I can make art with 4 and 5 year olds. I also have done workshops with kids with learning disabilities, blind, or autistic children. 

Do you listen to music while working? Is there a particular genre that inspires you?

I usually listen the “Blues”or Jazz. On occasion I also listen to Native American Indian drum beats and chants. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is also a great African band I find interesting to listen to while painting. 

"Two Stache" by Carlos Michael Finn

Have you shown your work to children? How did they react to or interpret the work?

I like to show my work to children often. I usually collaborate and interact with them using my sketchbook or chalk on the sidewalk. Their excitement sparks creativity! 

I’m interested in how your own childhood experiences might be expressed through your work, either consciously or subconsciously?

I remember in second or third grade being fascinated by cartoons and often spent hours drawing them. Once, there was an art contest and I started drawing some characters but I didn’t finish in time, so I chose not to turn it in. Still to this day my work definitely has a cartoon feel to it!

How did you first become involved with Kanon?

Kym Bloom, David Menard and myself formed Kanon Collective in 2005. I remember we thought of the name and decided to spell it with a “K” !  What do you envision for the future of art district 40WEST and other artist-run galleries in Denver?

Artists need a permanent location/district that can develop and grow with the community without the chances of the increase of rent or the building being sold. Each county throughout the state should have it’s own individual Art District to promote creativity, accessibility, and growth for the community. 

Catch Carlos' show before it closes this Sunday August 2!

When: Friday 6 - 10 PM July 31, Sat & Sun 12 - 5 PM, August 1 & 2

Where: KANON, 6851 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80214

Safety Info: Patrons are expected to wear masks, maintain 6 ft distances, and use provided hand sanitizer.

Check out Carlos's website.

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