Last night, RAW: natural born artists, an independent organization by artists, for artists, held their Solstice event at Casselmann’s Bar and Venue in Denver. Featuring artists from all genres, the show was a visual circus of talent and creativity.Operating in 54 cities across the country, RAW provides local artists with the tools they need to increase exposure and foster inspiration. As members of RAW, all artists featured in the Solstice event submitted their work and were hand-picked by RAW directors to be a part of the show.

Untitled by Liana Van de Water

Walking around the showcase, the variety of media was astounding. Artists used anything from copper to skateboards to jewelry to ink, just to name a few. In addition, each artist was provided with an individual space to display their work and stood nearby to answer questions and discuss the inspiration behind their pieces.Unlike your run-of-the-mill art show, RAW’s Solstice event was all-encompassing, including not only art but also fashion, photography, music, film, hair and makeup artistry and performing art. However, even with such a plethora of work, there was a common component amongst many of the pieces: a human element. Whether it was through the human form or through nature, many of the artists’ works incorporated this theme.
Liana Van de Water was one such artist. Creating pieces that illustrate the beauty of the cosmos, with its vibrant and awe-inspiring colors, Van de Water’s work revolves around the exploration of the universe. “My art plays around with the energy flow of the cosmos and how that flow connects to our own humanity,” said Van de Water.

Other artists, such as Justicia Vargas, used nature to depict human emotions. Working with acrylics and oils, Vargas muted shades of gray and purple were highlighted by brighter shades of blue and white. With titles such as “Blooming Through the Storm,” Vargas pieces conveyed a sense of hope and perseverance. In addition, the abstract elements of her pieces opened the door to limitless interpretations. “Even after I paint a piece I find something new,” said Vargas.

Blooming Through the Storm by Justicia Vargas

As a multi-faceted, multi-media show, RAW’s Solstice event added a fresh twist to the typical art show experience. By exposing local talent, the show provided a window into Denver’s art scene, uncovering unique works that you can’t find in any other art gallery. RAW showcases occur once a month. The next event in Denver entitled “Mixology,” is on July 19 at Casselmann’s Bar and Venue. For more information visit
Jessica Kleinman is an art and culture intern/writer for 303 Magazine. She is currently studying journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her posts on Twitter