If you’ve gone for a walk around a Denver neighborhood recently — you may have seen the captivating murals by one local artist. Austin Zucchini-Fowler has been doing art nearly his entire life — but jumped into Denver’s mural scene just last year. His medium of choice is painting and he’s best known for using pointillism in his pieces. His subject matter usually focuses on animals and mountain scenery. Yet as the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the state and tested the strength of healthcare professionals — Zucchini-Fowler decided to show his gratitude for front line professionals.
The first piece he created — titled “Healthcare Hero” — can be found on a wall near East Colfax Avenue and Williams Street. The piece features a medical professional with angel wings and boxing gloves. It quickly received widespread attention and garnered him a large social media following as well as features on local news channels. Since Zucchini-Fowler has created two more murals in support of front line employees. Titled “Frontline Fighter” — the mural features a different medical worker in angel wings and uses the same pointillism technique that Zucchini-Fowler is known for. This second mural can be found on a wall near the EXDO Event Center in RiNo.
“I am an introvert at heart so receiving attention is definitely new to me,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “I did the mural at no cost and simply wanted to give thanks.”
Zucchini-Fowler’s latest piece features a chef. It honors front line restaurant employees who have adapted their business during the stay-at-home order. This mural can be found on a wall near the corner of Walnut Street and 26th Street in RiNo.
Throughout Zucchini-Fowler’s journey in creating this series, he has formed partnerships with other local artists and businesses. Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery has donated over 3,000 pints of wine to those who work in the medical field. The pints feature Zucchini-Fowler’s work. Robin Munro — an accomplished Denver street artist — collaborated with Zucchini-Fowler to create the lettering seen in the mural dedicated to food workers.
“The healthcare community has sent me the most meaningful messages,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “I tear up reading some of them. They have told me that the image has boosted morale and helped their mentality as they are battling COVID-19.”
As for the future of the series — Zucchini-Fowler plans on creating many more gratitude murals.
“The attention did inspire me to spread the message in other ways and new works of art,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “The RiNo community has been really gracious to me and donated several walls for me to continue my work and plans of making more walls of gratitude.”
Recently, Zucchini-Fowler received an official license for the reproduction of his works. He is donating the digital images of his murals to hospitals and healthcare workers to use in any way. He only asks that all proceeds of his images go towards research and treatment of COVID-19.
Health care workers and organizations that are treating COVID-19 patients may reproduce and display the images “Healthcare Hero” and “Frontline Fighter” in connection with their work. Any proceeds from the use of these images must be for research and treatment of COVID-19. All use must credit Austin Zucchini-Fowler @austinzart.