Cityscape Art that Sticks

Works of fine art like those in The Denver Art Museum depicting cityscapes generally fall under the purview of landscape art. Such pieces like cityscape art tend to serve a straightforward purpose: to depict the aesthetic beauty of a vast area of land. As such, they are prone to realism, and eschew the logic-defying or emotionally resonant expressionist qualities of most Modern Art. Of course, there are exceptions, but when one thinks of a cityscape art, their mind is unlikely to wander beyond guessing what specific landscape is being depicted, and appreciating the skill required to create such an accurate vision.

But when you’ve chosen to work with duct tape, realism isn’t necessarily your highest priority.

What The Denver Art Museum Would Say

DANYOL’s cityscape art depicts the Denver, CO skyline as a dark but meticulously detailed strip of shapes beneath a massive pinkish-red sky. It is cityscape art specific enough to be understood as a certain thing, yet abstract enough to warrant speculation about what that certain represents. The city itself, shown black as night, is more silhouette than landscape. This could be meant as a straightforward vision of Denver seen from a certain angle beneath a setting sun, cast in shadow. It could be implying a sort of distance and detachment from the city by way of obscurity. Or, it could be using the color black as a symbol of the power of architecture and engineering necessary to raise a metropolis in the mountains.

Interestingly, Denver in this cityscape art, rather than being shown in all its glory, is made almost minuscule by the sky above it. Though a distinction must be made—the cityscape art doesn’t show it as insignificant. It looks like many very beautiful cityscape art pieces. It appears in great detail, every spire and arch looking uncannily like they do in reality. But the emphasis on the sky cannot be denied, especially given the contrast between its vibrant color and the monochrome nature of the landscape below. The backdrop of the cityscape art—if it can even be called a backdrop as it undoubtedly draws the eye more than most—is a striking mesh of bright red and magenta. It’s something close to but not quite echoing a natural sunset. And that is the obvious take, that we are viewing a sunset in this cityscape art. Yet the pure potency of color on view here implies something greater, something more severe. It, combined with the vastness of the celestial veil over Denver, keys into a nigh-apocalyptic vision of terrible and beautiful cityscape art.

Materials in Cityscape Art

But of course, we cannot grasp at the message while ignoring the medium. This is a work of duct tape cityscape art, and that in and of itself is worthy of analysis. One can look at the use of duct tape in cityscape art as a novelty or a facet, while interesting, doesn’t add anything to the overall meaning of the image. However, it would be a bit short-sighted to make such an assumption. Ultimately, if cityscape art is made with anything other than traditional elements, there’s a reason for it. Duct tape as artistic medium brings to mind the genius methods of innovators and outsiders. It recalls the working class, the urban, the down to earth. And it does this while looking genuinely different from everything else. This creates cityscape art that paints Denver (or at least one artist’s interpretation of Denver) as a city that is both real and surreal, full of people you can relate to, no two of whom are anything alike.

The Denver Art Museum

DANYOL began his career in Colorado, and though he no longer resides there, cityscape art does, having found its home in the Denver Art Museum. And there couldn’t be a more perfect match. Just as this artwork melds the preciseness of true experience with the creative freedom of expressionism, the Denver Art Museum mission is to encapsulate the cultural spirit of Denver, while providing educational and artistic resources for the city’s population. The Denver Art Museum goals are at once practical and frivolous, indulgent and necessary—the ideal place to find a duct tape landscape.

© 2017 Duct Tape DANYOL featured in: Culture Hog Magazine