Our week-long series about artists Evan Mann, Michael Ensminger and Jason Thielke (inspired by the feature I Just Know What I Like in this month’s issue of 303 Magazine) is coming to an end. Our final question is something I would hate to have to answer myself (if I was an artist, which I’m not), but I think all three of our featured artists did so with an element of grace and without evading the question (something that media peeps truly appreciate).

Today’s question: As an artist, what do you want to communicate to people? And why do you feel so many artists are reluctant to answer that question?

EVAN MANN: I want to communicate the absolute most important thing I can think of. I imagine that is the goal of every artist. Vital words should not be reserved for deathbeds–they are for now. I hope to communicate how much God loves people, although indirectly, in the visual sense. I don’t create pictures of Jesus holding the lamb–I paint the divine mysteries of Christ, the glory of his creation. I want viewers to see something more than mere aesthetic–I want them to see the hope that is greater than this life. To answer this question requires vulnerability, a willingness to expose your heart before a possibly critical audience. It is scary to give an account of why you are alive. It requires a level of brokenness, knowledge of one’s self, an understanding of where you came from and where you intend to go.

MICHAEL ENSMINGER: I can’t speak for other artists as to why they do or don’t want to answer that question. As for myself, more than communicating anything specific with my work, I like to spread a sense of wonderment. I want to take your breath away.


JASON THIELKE: It’s hard to talk about because I’m just doing it. It’s coming out, and I don’t really know how to talk about it. I don’t know…maybe I don’t want to say something that will pigeonhold me. I don’t really know exactly what I’m doing yet, so I don’t know exactly what I”m trying to say yet. In general, I just don’t want to be stagnant. I want people to feel moved, and I don’t care how.

For more information on any of these artists, please feel free to comment on this blog directly or email us at [email protected] At 303, we have a strong interest in promoting Denver–we are sincere advocates of this community and are happy to help get you more information or in touch with someone who can.

Thank you to Evan, Michael and Jason for being part of our first annual Art Issue.


Laura Standley, Editor in chief