Noah Larsen

Noah is a UI/UX designer and developer with a background in the arts, both as a creator and supporter. He joined the Leon board to help wrangle all things technical in an effort to support Leon’s mission of fostering emerging artists and the flowering Denver art scene.

Eric Nord

For the vast majority of his life, Eric Nord has been actively involved with performing and visual arts. The son of an opera singer, and an actress and painter, he was raised in an artistic environment that energetically fostered creativity. He graduated High School from The Academy of Performing and Visual Arts in Chicago, IL, attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and received a Bachelor’s Degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude from The University of Denver, majoring in Art History, and minoring in Business and Studio Art. While attending DU he was the recipient of the Peter Northway Memorial and DU Visionaries Scholarships, as well as an award for academic excellence from DU Art.

Throughout his career, in addition to being co-owner of Leon Gallery, he has worked in the financial, administrative, and production 

departments of some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including, The New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (where he served as Financial Director, overseeing a 35 million annual budget), The New York Society of Ethical Culture, Sperone Westwater Gallery, and The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. In 1994, he served as Executive Director of the E. E. Cummings Centennial Celebration, producing poetry readings, manuscript exhibitions, panel discussions, and walking tours, throughout New York City, in partnership with The New York Public Library’s 42nd St. Branch and Jefferson Market Branch, The 92nd Street Y, The Poetry Society of America, and The Metropolitan Transit Authority.

He has served as Treasurer on the Board for the Breckenridge Festival of Film, and is currently an Advisory Board Member for Denver’s avant garde music organization, The Playground Ensemble. His own art has been exhibited in recent years at Redline and The Vicki Myhren Gallery, and his music compositions have been performed Off-Broadway, at The Public Theater, and at the N.Y. Public Library.

Nord brings his extensive knowledge and experience in the administration and finance of non-profit arts and cultural organizations, his passion for art history and the everevolving conversations within art, as well as his dedication to the development and enrichment of the Denver Artistic Community

Eric Dallimore

Under his leadership, Leon Gallery has enjoyed a period of unprecedented success, 

initiating pioneering partnerships with artists, collectors, and cultural institutions. Eric received his BFA from Louisiana State University in 2004 and studied Economics at the University of Wales, Swansea in 2000. Life as a practicing artist has also been very rewarding, from solo exhibitions to public art sculptures, Eric continues to engage audiences with his driven works of art. Mr. Dallimore’s work has been shown in galleries and museums including Leon, Denver Art Museum, McNichols Building, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Understudy, The Buell Theater, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, The Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, and The New Orleans Museum of Art, Back to the Picture San Francisco.

His public art sculptures have been showcased across Colorado and Louisiana. In 2014, Eric was honored with the Mastermind Award for Visual Arts from Westword Magazine. Works of art created by Eric have been featured in publications such as Sculpture Magazine, 5280 Magazine, The Westword, Denver Post, The Times Picayune, The Advocate, and also an expose for his Burnt Negative Series in Time Magazine.

As an arts educator at Think 360 Arts since 2009, Eric has worked with over 65 schools across Denver to bring photography, printmaking, ceramics, woodworking, installation, and public art to over 1,500 K-12 students. In Fall 2015, Eric became the adjunct professor of Professional Practices at RMCAD, a senior level course designed to teach aspiring graduates how to create a sustainable business from their art practice. Eric has also mentored teens at Leon through First Lady Mary Louise Lee’s Bringing Back the Arts Foundation, as well as mentoring interns from CU’s Experiential Learning Center and the Pioneer Career Network at the University of Denver.

Tya Anthony

Tya Alisa Anthony explores the intersections of Ecology, Ritual, and Storytelling. While Anthony’s research driven practice is an investigation of Rituals interspersed into our daily lives, fact with a little fiction, her practice observes, reimagines and preserves inclusive spaces for people of color through sculpture, photography, collage and reliquary.

Anthony received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, (SUMMA CUM LAUDE) honored as Valedictorian, from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. Presently, Anthony lives and works in the city of Denver, producing performance, photography + installations. Tya is currently a TANK Studios artist, 2018 Redline Residency Artist and serves on the Advisory Board for Leon Gallery, a non-profit gallery and creative space dedicated to mentoring emerging artists across multiple disciplines, along with the Board of Tilt West, a non-profit dedicated to fostering critical dialog in art and culture in Denver. She has exhibited in Baltimore, MD and Colorado region including a permanent collection commissioned by the Octopus Initiative and Museum of Contemporary Art, Center for Visual Arts, LEON Gallery, and at RedLine. 

Frank Lucero

Frank Lucero is an independent curator and artist who lives in Denver, Colorado. Frank has a degree in Communication from the University of Colorado. Recently, he curated the exhibition, Liminal Space, at the Museo de las Americas which featured seven Denver Latinx artists. Creating access and opportunities for emerging and mid-level artists of color is a primary focus. As an abstract artist he works through issues of identity and place. Frank is a creative collaborator and as an award-winning community developer, he is always looking for the next great project.

Colorado Creatives: Jasmine Abena Colgan

Jasmine Abena Colgan is an assemblage sculptor, a photographer, an alchemist and a warrior who digs deeply into the roots of racism, as well as the difficult personal territory of her own biracial heritage and her diagnosis of vitiligo. In her current show, Human Currency, at Leon Gallery, Colgan focuses on the cowrie shell in an exploration of ingrained bigotry, spiritual feminism and African culture.

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Abena Colgan.

Read More

Alyssa Mora

Alyssa Mora is a hand-lettering artist and designer, born and raised in Denver, CO. Alyssa is a self-taught hand-lettering artist, who has worked over the past few years to learn more about the art of hand-lettering and to hone her craft. She is a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver pursuing a BFA in Communication Design, as well as the President of MSU’s Student Chapter of AIGA Colorado. She has been doing freelance work through college, including logos, commissioned lettering pieces, and other types of design. Inspired by typography and letter-forms, Alyssa has been expanding her skills between different media, from hand-done work to digital, from small scale to large murals. Alyssa is working to become a freelance designer with a focus in lettering. 

Michael Dowling

Born in Denver in 1972, Michael Dowling spent much of his early life as a typical kid apart from being an obsessive drawer. It wasn’t until the age of 25, and after several years studying various subjects as well as working in many fields, that Michael started painting. With that late beginning, Dowling dove full in and began studying extensively. At 28, he decided to sell a burgeoning art sales company and moved to Florence, Italy to focus on painting. He has since returned to his native Denver where he lives with his childhood love and three naughty children.Michael is represented in Colorado by K Contemporary, Chicago by Studio 6F, California by Peris Contemporary , Miami by G Rossi Fine Art and Little Rock by M2 Gallery. His work has been featured in the films “the Frame” and “Ink”, and will be the focus artist on the upcoming showtime release “Devils”. Michael has  worked with and shown at the Museum of Contemporary art Denver and Denver Art Museum, and has work in several private and public collections both nationally and throughout Europe. 

Camille Rose Shortridge

Camille Rose Shortridge, a French-American who grew up in Denver, has a long standing relationship with Leon. She started as a post-undergraduate intern from the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business after having completed a curatorial internship at the Clyfford Still Museum. Shortly into her internship, Camille was invited to become a Co-Director and Curator of the gallery. After 2 years, Camille moved to Paris, France in 2016 to pursue an MBA in Contemporary Arts Sales, Exhibition Display, Collections Management and Marketing alongside a Title 1 Expertise Certificate in Art History, where she graduated as Valedictorian of the masters program. This led her to a management position at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas, where she worked with artwork and artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Annette Messager, Mark Bradfor, and more. Camille has curated exhibitions in Denver, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Paris, France, and Mexico City, Mexico. Her work has been mentioned in Juxtapoz, Art Ltd. and Vice, both online and in print. She currently lives and works in Denver in Marketing and has an art studio at The Temple where she creates massive oil paintings. 

Human Currency

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Jasmine Abena Colgan

Website: www.photographsbyjazz.com

Opening Reception: July 18th, 2020

On Exhibition: July 18th – August 29th, 2020

Artist Talk: August 15th, 2020

Limited 10 Visitors for 45 minute appointments on opening night.

PLEASE NOTE – We require a face mask for entry into the gallery.

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sunday 10am-6pm

Artist Statement:

Human Currency is a collection of works that confronts institutional racism in the representation of the cowrie seashell. Each piece addresses a contemporary issue that signifies deep rooted historical practices of slavery, racism, fertility, womanhood, birth, and wealth. The cowrie shell is the symbol of life; Jasmine Abena Colgan uses the shell to share her belief that through womanhood, we will develop the change in the world that is needed today. A simplistic form portrays a beautiful depiction as a metaphor, which is vocalized through the African perspective in artistic material.

“The exploration of my culture has influenced my identity to be expressed from life conflicts, as a multi-cultured woman with American nationality, appearance of Black American, but heritage of Irish and Ghanaian. There has always been the constant battle of deciphering where I fit in as a mixed individual. This body of work is shared not only from the lens, but the intellect of a African-American, Fante-Ghanaian, Irish-American, and Black & White woman.

My artwork has developed through the use of natural and found materials; they reference pigmentation, slavery, labor, tribal and bi-nationality. I mold metaphorical structures that represent the similarities between history and culture brought into contemporary conversation. I have developed my understanding of what ​it​ means to be a woman of colors. By painting a mask of makeup, I am embracing my skin condition and expressing the persona of a ​halfrican​.”

– Jasmine Abena Colgan

10% of proceeds from your purchase will be donated to a non-governmental organization in Ghana through Tough Skin. A virtual card will be sent, and your name will be added and shared with the international community.

BIO:

Jasmine Abena Colgan is an Ameri-Ghanaian artist, educator, scholar, entrepreneur and social activist who was born in Colorado. Colgan will complete her masters in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder in Spring of 2020. Jazz is a master printer with 19th century, historical photographic printing processes including; platinum & palladium, silver and gold.

In 2019, Colgan was a NEST fellow and collaborated with a Ph.D. Candidate in chemistry to successfully develop the Ghanatype; a gold printing method using raw material from Obuasi (Obuasi mine initiated the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade). Her artwork is inspired from the contemporary diaspora of mixed culture in the social world; a woman who is black and white, Irish and Ghanaian, African-American, but declares herself a part of the vitilgan race and a woman of colors.

In 2017, Jazz was awarded the “Face of Vitiligo” at a world conference, highlighting her successful social empowerment while conducting field research for her non-profit organization, Tough Skin. She has been featured in publications such as PEOPLE magazine, was associated with TEDXMileHigh for Wonder: Women in Art Experience. Colgan has developed international relationships with several diverse communities and recently established Tough Skin into an enterprise that sources Shea Butter from Ghana to handcraft protective, organic skincare products.

IG: @the.spotted.zelephant

Website: www.photographsbyjazz.com

Available Works

Cowrie asa asa cotton twill and ink jet 44” x 40” A cowrie shell was photographed and printed in platinum and palladium photographic solution onto cotton paper. Each image is portrayed in a saturated monochromatic tile which narrates artistic rituals and cultural traditions. The prints were scanned and then printed onto a cotton fabric. The documented shell is collaged into an ‘asa asa’ and this tradition migrated over the Atlantic Ocean into what is called a quilt. $300 each
Cowrie asa asa cotton twill and ink jet 44” x 40” A cowrie shell was photographed and printed in platinum and palladium photographic solution onto cotton paper. Each image is portrayed in a saturated monochromatic tile which narrates artistic rituals and cultural traditions. The prints were scanned and then printed onto a cotton fabric. The documented shell is collaged into an ‘asa asa’ and this tradition migrated over the Atlantic Ocean into what is called a quilt. $300 each
Gold Cowrie Shells GhanaType photographic solution; raw gold and 100% cotton paper 5×7 Each sheet of cotton represents the skin of a human being. The blank sheet is marked with graphite which registers where color is allotted, and then a light sensitive solution is applied onto the surface and exposed to sunlight. After the sun exposure, the print is washed in a series of salt baths which removes any residual contents. The gold is displayed in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, blue and red. The gold was used to print the cowrie shell as a representation of materiality living longer than the human body. $600 each
Ghanatype Printing with Pure Gold, copy of original book with pages from the original. The GhanaType photographic solution is an experimental liquid that developed from a collaborative project with chemist, Marissa Martinez. The book is a study of an article written by Mike Ware who recreated the Chrysotype from William Herschel. $30 open edition / $150 limited edition- 13 copies (available for pre-order)
One Human’s Worth 6,370 cowrie shells and a burlap sack During the Atlantic Slave Trade, humans were trafficked and traded as one of the most valuable commodities to this day. When colonizers discovered that transactions were cheaper than exchanging muskets and metals for enslaved people, they began shipping cowrie seashells from Europe to Africa. According to National Geographic, “Each person bought for $100… was now worth $1000, and once acclimated could be sold for $2,000, or $60,000 in today’s dollars”. (Feb. ‘20, pg. 58) Although, currency was exchanged in a shell format, and this monetary system determined how much any African person was worth for exchange. The cost of a person fluctuates depending on the size and physical presentation of each individual. Even though the shells do not originate from Africa, they have been associated with African culture because of the historical weight. $60,000
Nana Kofi Bonnzie Nana is a title that is given to a male with high respect. He was born on a Friday and his family founded the village, Winneba in Ghana. His ancestors grounded the land and moved the colonizer away from their Earth, they prayed to the Gods that the oppressor would not take their homes. The water from the ocean raised high and washed the British out of Ghana. Men, it is time to take a step down. As we have watched the level of hierarchy fluctuate throughout the centuries, there needs to be a revolution. Let us take the reigns for a while and do something with the world. $12,500
Naa N’ku Müna’s Naa is a title that is given to a female with high respect. Her skin was said to have been soft because of the creamy N’ku (shea butter) she would apply to her skin. She was a woman of desire, belief and wish – her history has influenced our culture today. Her ancestors fought a great battle to end the slave trade. The seat of her throne holds the cowrie shell, it is said that she had four children of her own and was a mother to all children in the village. Locals still visit the site she was buried. Women, it is time to take a stand. We were leaders in our past to the point where we even made the colonizers fear us, this is why they took our power. We create life, we nurture, and have voiced our spiritual beliefs. We are the future, we will change the world. $12,500
Vanity make up cloths with brown make up, assorted seashells, light up vanity with light bulb, sprinkled with broken cowrie shell dust. Makeup cloths are destroying the ocean as our skin absorbs the chemicals that are mixed together to remove more chemicals from the face. The broken shell fragments are pieces that have broken throughout the creation of Human Currency. The light leads the viewer to look harder at what our bodies become after we are all granted a death that is promised. $1,250
Blood Shed Noose, cowrie shells, black paint, calabash, cotton fabric and cotton. This weapon was functional at one point. Until the addition of each shell from each death due to police brutality and supremacy actions, the noose was not able to function from the high number of shells. The rope is floating above a cotton sheet and a libation will be poured to honor the deaths of the souls lost in the world. A libation will be poured to symbolize the blood that was shed and honor the lost souls from violent acts of racism. $2500
Fabric of Our Lives 100% authentic cotton (handpicked from Walmart), burlap. A cotton apron expressing the labor in American workplaces and the strenuous hustle to fabricate a fashionable aesthetic. The cotton is painful, but the skirt looks good. $1,300
Hard ‘ER’ acrylic and make-up The ‘N’ word derives from the Spanish word négrè which translates into ‘black’. This derogatory, six letter word dates back to the 15th century and has made a cultural shift within the centuries, varigating from the French, Portuguese and eventually the transition into the English translation, Nigger. However, the word is deeper than the color of our skin. The ‘N’ word was the descriptive name that defined a low level of hierarchy for enslaved people, who were comparable to livestock; owned as property with human characteristics, bred to fulfill a lifetime of servitude. Colonizers would travel from Europe to the motherland and steal people from their homes before they were brutalized in a ‘civilized’ manner as the ships arrived to the New World. $500