Black History Highlight: Denver artists share their stories

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DENVER — Art is everywhere in Denver. One can drive down just about any road and find masterpieces. Black artists are responsible for a lot of the popular artwork in the city.

“It’s the perfect place for an artist to be,” said Thomas Evans, also known as Detour.

Detour is now a household name for many locals and is known for his powerful murals, which are often portraits of everyday people.

“I did my son’s friend Brenton on that wall in boxing gloves,” Detour said. “You don’t have to be like the supermodel to kind of get on a wall with me.”

“I just like to paint ordinary people doing their thing,” said another artist, Rochelle Johnson.

You don’t have to be famous to get Rochelle Johnson’s attention, either. Insider her Denver gallery are paintings of regular people.

“I like to catch people in their environment doing what they do naturally. My paintings are really about urban people,” Johnson said.

On the streets of Five Points, it’s common to see another Denver artist. Black Jackson is a photographer.

“All self-taught. I graduated from YouTube University, basically,” Blake Jackson said.

Detour, Johnson and Jackson are not competitors, but comrades.

“I think it’s pretty tight-knit, I think everyone kind of knows everybody here,” Jackson said.

These creators all agree that the art scene in Denver is better when everyone is included.

“It’s always good to have every sort of background represented. That’s why having a black artist is really important, just as much as having Latino and Latina artists are important,” Detour said.

To find out more about Thomas Evans, check out Detour’s Instagram 



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