The multi-dimensional and vibrant work of Boulder-based artist and Vietnam veteran David Grojean will be celebrated with a Sunday reception, “Cosmic Art & Ideas,” at the St. Julien Hotel. The event, put on by local author and organizer John Day, goes beyond a typical exhibit launch. Day said he hopes to stimulate connection, conversation and one-of-a-kind engagement.
“This isn’t just pieces of art on the wall,” said Day. “This is about fostering quality of life, and it’s something we can experience together as a community.”
The St. Julien event will be the first in a monthly series, organized by Day, where folks can gather at a different location, take in the creativity of others and explore their own artistry.
“I want to create a community of friends,” said Day. “I want to bring people together and get a feel for creating.”
Attendees of Sunday’s event will have a chance to win an original Grojean work by submitting a mini-essay that answers the question, “What is a cosmic idea?” In 50 words or less, folks can explore what they think would improve the quality of human life, enhancing harmony with nature and technology. The winner will be selected when the exhibit closes on Sept. 30. Responses can also be entered online at trilm360.com/cosmic-art-ideas.
“For me, it’s about participating with the artistic community more than it’s about my sales,” said Grojean.
In addition to getting up close and personal with the expansive collection of paintings, attendees will be treated to the music of skilled cellist and illustrator Lisa Haney. A range of appetizers and champagne will be served.
Using high-quality lacquers shipped from China, Grojean crafts thrilling abstracts on pieces of steel and plexiglass. The pieces, some splashed with resin, play well with the light —offering layers not often found on a typical acrylic-based canvas painting. Found objects are often incorporated within Grojean’s captivating work. From a delicate abalone shell to a tiny glistening pearl, the unexpected details present in Grojean’s work delight the eye and call viewers in for closer inspection. From gleaming marbles to the skull of a boar he uncovered on vacation, one never knows just what could surface in his imaginative creations.
“I’m touching my heart everyday,” said Grojean. “I have learned to live through my art.”
In each intrinsic piece, Grojean writes the word “Yes” — a word he considers a zen poem — somewhere in the sea of swirling colors. He also has the word tattooed on his back.
Oftentimes, Grojean can be found in his Walnut Street studio, blasting classical music late into the night as he conjures up his latest offering.
“It’s an evolutionary process,” said Grojean. “One painting spawns the next and the next. I may come across a mud puddle with a beautiful mark in it and put it in a painting. Those things happen all the time, if I keep my eyes open.”
While his work graces the walls of galleries from Scottsdale to San Antonio, it’s Colorado where he finds the most inspiration. It is a place he feels fortunate to have laid down roots.
“I’m in Boulder because of the energy this town provides,” said Grojean, who moved to the Front Range in the early 1970s. “I love the business community, the intellectual community. I meet people who aren’t necessarily in the arts, but they are doing something to contribute to the progress of man.”
With bold color and a sense of movement, Grojean’s work appeals to a wide range of onlookers. Some pieces are reminiscent of fiery planets radiating warmth, while others capture the undulating grace of a cool blue sea. No matter the scale or scope, each exudes a presence all their own.
“My work is about making positive affirmations,” said Grojean, who received his master’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1977. “I consider them visual poems.”
From drawing as a child to sketching illustrations for the American military newspaper “Stars and Stripes,” Grojean — a Vietnam veteran — always saw art as a gift he had to pursue. After two years in the Marines, he attended the American University in Washington, D.C., where he received his bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
The journey of Grojean’s path into an art career is marked by plenty of perseverance and hard work. When he couldn’t make a living just on his creative efforts, he worked as a taxi driver, drove a school bus, did construction and planted trees throughout Boulder.
“I have more ideas than I can possibly execute,” said Grojean, who admits to sometimes going over a concept for a painting for six months prior to ever letting a drop of paint on canvas. “I often think about how lucky I am to be on this path. I can’t imagine what else I would do.”
By involving the community in though-provoking interactive involvement, Day said he hopes to elevate Boulder’s culture.
“The community of Boulder is great, but I don’t feel it has evolved to where it can go,” said Day. “I see this event catapulting that.”
If you go
What: Cosmic Art & Ideas: Grojean Art Show & Entertainment
When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: St. Julien Hotel, 900 Walnut St., Boulder
More info: trilm360.com/cosmic-art-ideas