Little Man Ice Cream will unveil a new mural painted by local Chicano artist Ken Marley (Aqua One) with an event on Thursday June 23, which will include La Casita tamales, Denver Fashion Truck, a live performance of Los Mocochetes and, of course, ice cream.
“I hope so [the mural] arouses curiosity to know and understand what the neighborhood’s roots actually are. And to appreciate the beauty of the ancient architecture, the ancient churches and the beautiful surrounding buildings, “says Basha Cohen, marketing director of Little Man Ice Cream.
Neighbors are encouraged to come to celebrate their “Northside pride” by sailing their lowriders to enjoy a fun night that showcases Denver’s chicane roots. Marley will also talk about where she got the inspiration for the mural.
“My style and my approach to this specific mural is Chicano expressive art,” says Marley. “My shapes are originally inspired by the Aztec calendar and the symbols have transformed into my unique typography. I started including these shapes and symbols in representative images, such as the sky, the church and the car. My brushstrokes, colors and shapes also have very expressive characteristics. The goal was to combine all these concepts into one visually very appealing piece. ”
The mural, titled “Sunset over the Northside,” depicts St. Patrick’s Mission Church facing east during a beautiful Colorado sunset as low-drive vintage cars drive through the neighborhood. Marley says he has always admired the St. Patrick’s Mission Church in the Lower Highlands. The church was built in 1907 with mission revival architecture and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Drawing inspiration from his growing neighborhood, Marley knew the church at 3325 Pecos Street, where his friends and his family have either gotten married or held loved ones funerals, he was supposed to be part of the mural.
Marley grew up in North Denver and began his artistic journey as a young man. “My artistic career began when I was just a teenager, visiting abandoned railway yards and warehouses [where] I’ve seen graffiti art writing, characters and styles. She made a big impression on me and I decided that was what I wanted to do, ”says Marley. He became the first person in his family to attend college and holds a BFA from Metropolitan State University.
But he didn’t immediately start painting murals. Marley started his own business, had a family and took a break from painting. “After ten years I had this empty void in my soul. I [wasn’t] doing what I love to do, so all this money and success hasn’t really been worth it, ”says Marley. She returned to MSU and took a semester in advanced painting. “My style has evolved,” she says. “My graffiti art, typography, Mexican Chicano symbols and elements have merged into a cohesive painting.” From that point on Marley began his journey as a muralist and was even invited to fly to New York to paint a mural on the side of a Chipotle in Manhattan.
It was no surprise that Little Man Ice Cream asked him to paint a mural on the side of his building given his impressive reputation in the art scene. The collaboration began when Marley told his son Kenny, a general manager of the ice cream shop, that he was interested in painting a mural at the Colfax location of Little Man Ice Cream. The store chose a different muralist for its Colfax location, but asked Marley to paint a mural for the Northside Denver location.
“Our patio has always served as a community center for the neighborhood and we now have a beautiful piece of art that reflects those aspirations,” says Kenny Marley. “I am so excited to see my father’s artwork displayed and shared with the rest of Denver. It will definitely resonate with any venue to come. “
“This piece was truly the most significant and significant piece of my career. I poured my heart and soul into it ”, adds the muralist. “With this mural, I wanted to bless the neighborhood I grew up in with true art that is important and relevant.”
Little Man Ice Cream Mural Celebration, 2620 16th Street, Thursday June 23, 7-9pm