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Plattas: Art on the streets of Aspen

by Barbara Platts

in aspen, galleries are as popular as fur coats. At my last count, there were just fewer than 30 venues and that’s not including exhibits in any of the other towns in the Roaring Fork Valley. Or any of the galleries that fill the large houses in town and on the mountains. This plethora of art retail probably feels excessive for some. But it allows for a vast selection of pieces, ranging from fine western art to contemporary glass sculpture.

But head into one of the newest spots in town, Gallery 1949, and a different type of art is currently situated on the walls. It’s the types of work that are splashed on several walls in Manhattan and that almost sold out at a show in Green Point Gallery in Brooklyn last month. At first glance, these slightly cartoonish works, typically created with a mix of colored pencil and ink, look complex. But that’s only the half of it. Once a person spends a bit of time looking at the different characters and how they all intertwine and connect, a story starts to appear. A story that gives a brief glimpse into what goes on in the mind of artist Matthew Denton Burrows.

Burrows, 26, is a Manhattan-based artist who was recently named one of the top street artists to watch by Paper Magazine. He was born in raised in the big city before going to LeHigh University in Pennsylvania. There, a professor took an interest in the doodles he made in his notebook during class and told him he had a real talent.

“He gave me permission to take it seriously,” Burrows said. “He taught me how to really see things.”

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After getting his bachelor’s degree, he went for his masters in illustration at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. There he worked on his ability to tell stories through his work. Today, he continues to do that, both on paper and on the walls of buildings in the city. He is currently the project manager for the Center-fuge Public Art Project, which showcases new and experienced street artists on trailers and walls around a construction site in lower Manhattan. The artwork changes every two to three months.

“It’s always about bringing in new people and celebrating people who have done [street art and graffiti art] for a long time,” Burrows said.

Burrows also co-founded Dripped On Productions, a company that integrates street art, graffiti and fine art into the entertainment industry. They are currently partnering with music festivals to bring art to multi-day music events.

Burrows has made an impression throughout New York City. Now, he brings his artwork to a much different place, a small ski town in the Rocky Mountains.

“I don’t want my artwork to be tied down to one gallery or one city,” he said. “It’s about getting to new places.”

Gallery 1949 will exhibit Burrows’ work until Feb. 20. The artist is aware that this is a different type of art then visitors to Aspen are used to seeing, but he’s excited to bring a new style to town for people to see.

And we are excited to have him.

For more information on Burrows, check out his website at dentonburrows.com.

Barbara Platts urges Aspen visitors and locals to check out Burrows’ work. It’s different, but it’s incredibly meaningful. Reach her at bplatts.000@gmail.com.


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