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Detour: Two Can Play That Game

Installation, Acrylic paint, harp wire, electronics

September 12, 2019 - December 15, 2019

Thomas “Detour” Evans is a Denver-based painter, muralist, and installation artist, internationally renowned for his brightly colored portraits and large-scale artworks. Inspired by breakdancing and hip hop, Evans often exists at the intersection of art and music, notably with his innovative use of technology to create touch sensitive surfaces that respond with sound. For years, the artist dreamed of creating touchable, interactive paintings that would stimulate multiple senses at once, breaking down barriers and assumptions surrounding fine art. That vision was finally brought to fruition with a major public debut during Evans’ stint as a Creative in Residence at the Denver Art Museum in the fall of 2017. As he mixes new media with traditionally accepted modes of representation, Evans challenges expectations of static artworks that are positioned literally (and figuratively) beyond the viewer’s reach. Through physical engagement with the work, museum visitors become active participants in the creative process as collaborators with the artist and fellow guests, resulting in a unique, memorable experience. For Evans, art should be “a part of your life, rather than just in it.”

Now a Colorado icon, Evans dedicated himself to a full-time studio practice a mere half dozen years ago, and quickly exploded into the Denver arts scene. His 2012 MBA degree from the University of Colorado Denver has served him well, implementing marketing savvy to build his artistic spirit of social activism and passion for community into a professional career. National acclaim came in 2016 with acknowledgement from the Huffington Post about They Still Live, a series combining photography, DNA mapping, and African objects, sponsored by The artist and his work have been featured by CNN, numerous digital and print publications, radio and television outlets, and most recently, on the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, for which Evans painted two portraits, one of the eponymous host and one of guest artist Jay-Z.

Evans adopted the moniker of Detour as a break dancer living in Germany, and has since traveled to locations across the globe, from Tanzania to Argentina and France. For Evans, experimentation is essential to growth, and the willingness to explore a different path—taking an actual detour—is what helped him to make a dramatic professional shift and begin to find his artistic voice. Yet, Denver remains home for the artist, who celebrates its distinct cultures, relaxed style, and supportive art scene with growth that parallels his own development as a creative force. In his artist statement, he says that his work “consists of channeling concepts and issues about the urban arts culture through portraits of minority and urban subjects,” hoping to raise awareness of certain communities with artistic interventions as a “building block between the viewer and the message,” leading to greater understanding.

For more about Thomas “Detour” Evans, visit:

Arvada Center’s In Sight, On Site exhibition