Artist Floyd Tunson is nothing if not eclectic.
Take his upcoming show at Kreuser Gallery. Subject matter and styles diverge wildly. In one corner, a series on redlining, or the discriminatory practice of refusing financial services to residents in a certain area based on their race or ethnicity.
In another, a series inspired by his 2-year-old grandson, Seneca, who can’t enunciate his name quite yet and calls himself Eta.
Tunson has also been loving geometric abstractions and hand-colored cyanotypes, because no two are ever alike.
“Some things are very political, but you can’t stay on that path forever,” said the nationally known artist from his Manitou Springs studio. “It’s a balance. It’s an adventure for me. I’m still learning so many things about art and processes and techniques and aesthetics and what’s pleasing to me. I’m growing all the time. Something has to be fresh for me.”
“Echoes” will fill all three spaces in the gallery, and will be up through Sept. 24. Tunson will give a free artist talk at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
It’s gallery owner Abigail Kreuser’s first time hosting Tunson in her gallery.
“You can feel the energy in every single piece,” she said. “There’s so much emotion behind everything. He’s such a humble artist, yet he has influenced so many people in this town, from artists to gallery owners to art lovers.”
Tunson loves the process of making art — and what’s more, he loves the ever-changing nature of his process and discovering new ways to do the same things. He’s been plucking away at his craft since he was 4, after watching his older brother draw and feeling compelled to follow suit.
Since then, he’s filled his studio with photos, drawings, paintings, mixed media, sculpture and more. He tends to make large-scale pieces, though his last Springs show, at The Modbo in 2019, focused on small works all created with a simple uni-ball pen.
“I have to decide how far I’m going to take a series,” said Tunson, 74. “When I’m tired of one genre and want to go to another, often they’re overlapping. It’s a lot of echoing of things I’ve done in past, but when you come to them five or 10 years later, you’re different, so the work is different.”
He began his redlining series last year, inspired by the 2018 book “The Color of Law,” which details government’s hand in neighborhood segregation, and also a redlining show by a Black artist he saw two years ago in Seattle.
“It’s more metaphoric, less literal,” he said about his pieces. “Some could be construed as being direct. They’re in abstract form.”
After seeing dozens of paintings by his grandson, Tunson thought, “I’d better get busy,” as he noted in his artist statement for the show, and started his “Chasing Eta” series. He’s always been influenced by his kids. He watched them make art when they were little and noticed how they broke all the rules.
He took it upon himself to do the same.
“I had to undo a lot of stuff I had learned,” he said. “When you’re educated, you pick up a lot of techniques you think you must apply. It kind of stifles you. You learn all that stuff and spend the rest of your career trying to undo all that nonsense.”
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