Art About People: Annie Decamp shows art at Colorado Snowsports Museum
Artist Annie Decamp is sharing her life-long love of skiing with the Colorado Snowsports Museum this weekend.
At an opening reception on Friday, Aug. 21, from 3-6 p.m., Decamp will show her snowsports inspired work. All pieces will be for sale, including a series of “ski smalls.” Pricing ranges from $95 to $1,100, and she is happy to work with young art collectors on a budget.
“She is interested in the story of human migration, perseverance and cultural preservation and adaptation, as it is relevant to our historical past as well as our present,” the Colorado Snowsports Museum wrote in a release about the event.
Decamp’s subject matter often combines her love of history with her love of people. She was born in Denver and lived on a Native American reservation in New Mexico as a toddler: her father was in medical school and working on the reservation. At age 5, her family moved to Northern California, and she grew up skiing and racing at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe.
After high school, she studied history at the University of California, Berkeley. Her love of American Western history permeated her art when she started studying old photographs from that time period. As a figurative artist, she started noticing the humanity in the images, and began designing pieces so as to leave the interpretation entirely up to the viewer.
“I never want to take on the responsibility of being the storyteller. For me, it’s more helping people connect with humanity, with all of our likenesses and dislikenesses,” she said. “My art is about people.”
She raised two kids, now aged 26 and 24, in Palo Alto, California, and worked in business and technology. At that time, she primarily worked in jewelry and owned her own store. But once she sent them off to college — her son graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder — she decided to move to Colorado in 2013.
“If I’m going to be empty nested, I might as well find a new nest. I had come back to visit Colorado, and I got out of my car in Boulder, and my whole body just said, ‘You always belonged here and you need to come back,’” she said. “Colorado was calling. It was the best decision I ever made.”
From then on, she took advantage of her new creative atmosphere and started working in encaustics. Encaustic is an old method of “painting” where the artist mixes pigment with hot wax. The result on a canvas yields a slight relief and, as Decamp writes on her website, “brings a sense of warmth and accessibility to the painting and its subject.”
As her practice has evolved, she’s incorporated oil paint, charcoal and digital work. Now, with her mixed media style, she’s able to achieve a vibrancy and richness that’s entirely her own.
“When people see it live, they get excited about the layering and the texture that comes forth. I think it creates more of that human connection somehow,” she said.
Subject matter for Decamp is as much about her interest in history as it is about her interest in connecting others with it, mentally and emotionally as well as financially.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she was organizing a Denver show called 29 Lives, where 29 artists would offer at least 29% off pieces to all buyers aged 29 and under. Though the show was postponed, she’s still passionate about bringing art to young collectors.
“It’s a lifelong love, but I think a lot of people have barriers to entry,” she said. “I wanted to bring art to that generation and allow them to get art at a better price.”
Now that she splits her time between her Denver and Aspen studios, she’s driven by the Colorado Snowsports Museum many times, but hadn’t stopped in until she delivered artwork recently.
“I was so blown away by a museum that is so small in footprint but so rich in content,” she said. “I can’t say enough about the people who run it and how well put together that museum is. I wish I had visited it years ago.”
She hopes to work with the museum on a future show where artists would use antique ski boots in their creative pieces.
For more information on the Colorado Snowsports Museum, visit snowsportsmuseum.org. Eagle County has implemented mandatory face coverings indoors, and the museum is enforcing local, state and national social distancing guidelines.
If you go …
What: Annie Decamp Solo Show Reception
When: Friday, Aug. 21, 3-6 p.m.
Where: Colorado Snowsports Museum, Vail
Cost: Free to attend
More information: Visit snowsportsmuseum.org.
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