Garage doors

The artist next door: Charlo opens his first solo exhibition

When artists take to social media to promote their work, Nextdoor — a social networking service typically shared by neighbors looking for a pet sitter or discussing nearby construction — is likely not the first. platform that comes to mind. But for Denver artist Carlos Garcia Walterbach, aka Charlesit has sparked incredible opportunities.

Originally from Monterey, Mexico, Charlo moved to Orange County, California in 2013 to pursue a career in graphic design. Digital and graphic design weren’t necessarily his passions, but he wanted to be able to make money and avoid the starving artist persona.

He and his husband moved to Denver in 2019 so they could both pursue career opportunities, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, Charlo found himself away from the graphic design world and back to the sketchbook.

He turned to Nextdoor and asked if anyone had a blank wall he could paint a mural on. “Somebody told me he had a garage door, and I was like, ‘Oh, why not?'” he recalls. “It started this chain reaction that allowed me to do murals all over town.”

After he posted a photo of the first garage door, other people contacted him and asked for murals on their doors. While summer 2020 activities were all about staying indoors and baking sourdough bread for many people, for Charlo it was an artistic renaissance.

In 2021, Amazon saw what Charlo was up to on Nextdoor and reached out, asking if he could paint a mural at one of its Colorado warehouses. He ended up painting a mural in the lobby, one of the largest he had ever done. “I felt like I [worked] at Amazon for two days,” Charlo jokes. “I felt very honored to be able to function as a staff member who was able to have a joyful experience there.”

In June, he was part of the Demonstrating Artists program at the Denver Art Museum, where he addressed visitors and asked them three questions: What do you like about Denver? What do you like in art? What do you enjoy in life ? From there, he would create pieces that represented the responses and connections he made with people.

Click to enlarge

The puzzle mural will be on display this weekend.

Charles

On Saturday August 20, New collectionan artistic collaboration that funds artists’ projects, will host Charlo’s first personal exhibition in a space in Highland. There will be 57 works of art on display, divided into three groups. The first is a 187 square foot puzzle mural made up of thirty wooden panels; the overall mural is painted on the wood and visitors can purchase individual panels which will be delivered to them at the end of the exhibition. “I was really excited about scattering the pieces, and maybe the mural will never come together again,” Charlo says.

The next group is a series of 24 drawings he made this month, and the third group includes artwork he made at the Denver Art Museum.

The exhibition as a whole is titled The gratitude of flowers. “Being grateful is something that’s really close to my heart,” he says. “My parents in Mexico, they grew up in need, so they really tried to convey to my sisters and me to be grateful for what you have, because you don’t know if you’re going to have it tomorrow. When the opportunity to have an exhibition at the gallery presented itself, that was one of the first things that presented itself: how grateful I was.”

Charlo’s last name before marriage was Flores. “Flores” is Spanish for “flowers,” and at some point he thought of what the flowers would be grateful for. They would be grateful for the sun, for the water, for the wind, and even for the other flowers around them, he decided. The symbols of these elements are present in his wall puzzle.

All the artistic facets of Charlo will be exhibited in the exhibition. “There is a graphic designer, an artist and a muralist in me,” he concludes. “The designer, the muralist and the artist all sort of speak now in this show.”

An opening reception for The gratitude of flowers operates from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at 3758 Osage Street; free entry. The show will continue until August 28.