Vail Mountain School students collaborate with pop art legend DeVon

Vail Mountain School fifth graders and their art teacher Sam Mizwicki worked with renowned pop artist DeVon to create an original work that was auctioned at the school's annual gala.
Vai Mountain School|Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Vail Mountain School fifth-graders worked with famed pop artist DeVon to create “Gore Ranger,” a work of art they sold at the 41st annual Vail Mountain School gala.

“What’s better than to see the world through the eyes of a child?” asked Rayla Kundolf, manager of Masters Gallery.

The artwork was a group effort, depicting life in Vail as seen through the eyes of local 10-year-olds.

“I think it’s cool because DeVon took all of our pieces and turned it into something great,” said VMS fifth-grader Teddy Bruno.

“Working with DeVon has provided the students with the opportunity to think like an artist and give their own spin of the place they call home.”Rayla KundolfManager, Masters Gallery

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DeVon’s says his art is inspired by the works of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein. His work often incorporates collage and photography, as well as traditional paints to create a story.

He used those techniques and more in working with VMS students.

Serious Job

DeVon asked his fifth-grade proteges to find, tear and cut out as many images as they could from magazines and books that reminded them of life in Vail. Background images and pop-art moments were also chosen by students to create an inspired tribute to the valley.

The canvas is packed with images that resonate with any local or visitor to Vail.

While it is not surprising to find images of local heroes Lindsay Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin on the canvas, the fifth-graders took their jobs seriously and found images that create a full view of life in Vail. The canvas pops with cutouts that inspire laughter and joy, ranging from the Yeti popping out of the Gore Range to summer-inspired activities.

“DeVon’s art has a playful approach that is relatable to children,” said Sam Mizwicki, Vail Mountain School’s art teacher.

Each child is represented in the final piece.

“It celebrates their creativity and individuality,” Mizwicki said.

When it was finished, fifth-graders and their families gathered at Masters Gallery in Vail Village to unveil “Gore Ranger,” named after the mountain range that rises above their school and is also an iconic image of Vail. The fifth-graders and their families got the first look at the collaboration with the artist.

Gore Ranger was auctioned at the annual VMS gala. The gala supports teachers and programming and funds student scholarships.

Each class gives a gift to the auction.

DeVon donated his time and talent to the school to help the fifth-graders create their contribution.

“Working with DeVon has provided the students with the opportunity to think like an artist and give their own spin of the place they call home,” Kundolf said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail

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