Frank Kwiatkowski: Blueprints: From Takeover to Makeover
11/03/2023 - 11/25/2023
Opening Reception: First Friday, November 3, 6 - 10 PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, November 18, 1 - 2 PM
“The show deals with staying put and coping with trauma. It is a story-based show. One story revolves around Conecutter. He takes from the city developers, transforms their materials, and puts the results out on the streets.
The other story is sewn together by Seamstress. She is a single mother who learns to sew to get out from being a model. Her daughter develops type 1 diabetes at age five. The two have to learn how to manage it. At the age of six, the daughter is hit and killed by a car that leaves the scene. Seamstress is devastated.” – Frank Kwiatkowski
Block relief printmaker and street artist Frank Kwiatkowski carves his “stories” on traffic cone (rather than on more traditional substrates like wood or linoleum). The paper or mylar that he prints on is often found in dumpsters behind architecture firms, hence the blueprints referenced in the exhibition title. His press consists of a large, heavy roll of ink-stained paper (another dumpster score) that he rolls by hand on the floor of his current dwelling. Pedicab driver by day and night, Frank is always on the lookout for art-making materials, places to wheatpaste his prints, and inspiration for the Denver-based stories he tells. In between passengers, he often bides his time drafting and carving his bold designs from a heavy stack of works-in-progress in his backpack.
While not exactly autobiographical, his narratives often draw on his own life experiences. The diverse cast of characters in his works as well are based on people he knows, including members of the arts community, the pedicab community, and Denver’s community, in general. The character Conecutter, of course, is based on the artist himself.
Funny and beautiful, tragic and heartbreaking, Frank Kwiatkowski’s artistic musings are graphic, raw, and pull no punches in the stories they tell.
Frank Kwiatkowski was born in Denver, Colorado on September 23, 1974. On October 3, 1982 he was hospitalized and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In august of 1999 he cut down his first traffic cone with the idea of using it for relief prints. The idea worked. Initially he used the exterior of the cone, but about three years later he realized the interior was much better.
In the summer of 2009, he started stapling prints on telephone poles. By 2011 he turned to wheatpasting prints. Mischievous in nature, he always was excited by the adrenaline that came with street art. His most repetitive themes are type 1 diabetes, needle use and gentrification. He has worked on films and graphic novels with plans to complete these projects in the future.