A dynamic art gallery, striving to push the boundaries of art in the western region.
Visions West Contemporary is a dynamic art gallery, striving to push the boundaries of art in the western region. Since our inception, the gallery has been motivated by a passion for nature, animals, environmental issues, and the West. The gallery’s program has evolved to include a heavy focus on art which references nature’s influence and the importance that its presence plays on the individual and society as a whole. We have built a unique international roster of artists who have authentic voices and whose work demonstrates technical diversity, independence of thought, courage, and passion. The gallery provides an interesting and fresh platform for art in the Rocky Mountain region. We have searched the world to bring you art that surprises, delights, and provokes further discourse and thought. Not what you’d expect.
* * * Valet service on Walnut Street between 26th and 27th * * *
Visions West Contemporary is pleased to announce a solo exhibition, Midnight, a photo series by Los Angeles based artist Reine Paradis. An opening reception will be held on Friday, March 1st from 6-8pm. The exhibition will continue until April 6th 2019. READ MORE
Next Exhibition: Docufiction
April 12th – May 18th
An exhibition featuring the work of Julie Blackmon, Drew Leshko, and Travis Walker. Working in a narrative style, the artists in Docufiction create scenarios that are unreal and unexpected. Click images below to see more from each artist.
RiNo Stories: Visions West Contemporary
If you’ve ever taken a selfie with the golden penguin at 26th and Walnut, you know something about Visions West Contemporary. Step inside, however, and you’ll be fully surrounded by whimsical, vibrant contemporary art.
We spoke with Owner Nikki Todd and Gallery Director Nathan Larramendy, about why they focus on animals, how Reine Paradis created her spectacular images in “Midnight,” and how to start collecting art the sneaky way.
RiNo Art District: Visions West Contemporary has been in Denver for a while. Can you tell us more about the history of your gallery?
Nikki Todd: We opened the Denver gallery in LoDo, and we were there for ten years. Our lease was coming up, and we saw what was going on here in RiNo and we really wanted to be a part of that. We were lucky to find the space we're in now, and we’ve been here two years now.
RiNo Art District: What is Vision West Contemporary’s specialty?
Nikki Todd: I would say a big focus of the gallery is nature and the environment—animals. Because we're in the West, a sub focus of the gallery is art that speaks of the West but in a more contemporary non-traditional fashion. We're not a Western art gallery at all.
RiNo Art District: Why animals?
Nikki Todd: So I think it's always just been a passion for me and a great love. I grew up in upstate New York which actually is pretty rural‑ animals, horses, dogs. And so it just seemed like all the art that I was always attracted to had that element in it. When I got into this business of being a gallerist, it was a great niche because there weren’t a lot of galleries with that as a total focus (not that it's our total focus). It's not traditional animal art. I wouldn't even call it wildlife art. Julie Buffalohead, who just had an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, uses animals to tell a story about herself and her community and the world. So in that niche, we've developed a great collector base.
RiNo Art District: What’s your latest show?
Nikki Todd: We currently have Reine Paradis, a French, L.A.-based artist. I was immediately taken with Reine’s work because I think it's really fresh, and I haven't really ever seen anything like it. Reine makes all of her own outfits, props and photos. She actually creates these maquettes from a vision in her head, and then she finds the locations. So it's kind of crazy. They’re in her mind. She looked for a building like that tower for almost two years before she took the photograph.
RiNo Art District: What do you like about this current show?
Nathan Larramendy: There's so many things I like about Reine’s work, but definitely the sense of adventure. This show documents a trip from California to Florida, this wonderful adventure that her and her partner Carl made a film about called “Queen of Paradis.” It will be screening in Denver, March 20th. I really love the performative nature as well of Reine’s work and ultimately the presentation is just spectacular. The frames become much more than a than a photograph. They become this really wonderful object.
RiNo Art District: Imagine somebody lives in Denver who has never bought a large-scale work of art like these on your walls. How would you prepare them to maybe make their first purchase?
Nikki Todd: Reine’s work is great for a young or a new collector. It's a really good price point for what you're getting. You can get a fine art piece for under $10,000, which is a great price.
Nathan Larramendy: We also work with such a huge range of artists for early collectors as well, starting with works on paper that might be $2,000 upwards beyond $10,000. Collecting art, I think, is sometimes taking baby steps for getting your first piece and feeling comfortable and getting the bug. It grows from there.
RiNo Art District: Like getting your first tattoo!
Nathan Larramendy: Exactly. I have this wonderful couple right now—husband and wife—, and they collect art together. It's a real passion in their relationship, something that's bonding for them. They go out and see shows; they really think about what they want to own and live with. And so I always like seeing that as well.
RiNo Art District: Many galleries have payment plans or ways that people can purchase art over time.
Nikki Todd: We absolutely encourage that. That’s a great way to own a piece of artwork over time, interest free.
Nathan Larramendy: I know some people who started that way and became big collectors. One man liked to buy a piece without his wife knowing, and he'd sneak in and give us $50, and then he'd sneak in later and give us $100 and then kind of surprise her at the end. They ended up being some of the bigger collectors that I know now.
RiNo Art District: Do you represent any artists in Denver?
Nikki Todd: We do. Johnny Defeo is one of my favorites, and I just did a studio visit with him yesterday.
Nathan Larramendy: His solo show will be here in September. At the end of this month, he's doing a mural out front of our gallery on the dock level to bring his art into the street.
RiNo Art District: How do you typically find new people to represent?
Nathan Larramendy: That's the biggest question in the art world. It's always the hardest to answer.
Nikki Todd: We have a good core of artists that we like to work with, but you never know. We’re always looking for that spectacular, unexpected artist.
Nathan Larramendy: That's the joy of it. The hunt. And really, it's about building relationships, especially when you have a business that's been around for this long. These people become your family, so you really foster a working relationship.