The salt of the earth…
A phrase we have all heard through religion and in day-to-day compliments, but with artist Lindee Zimmer, it is much more literal phrase. Growing up in Boulder, surrounded by the mountains, gave her a unique perspective in how an environment shapes the people who live there and how they connect with it. After completing her first mural right out of high school on the Boulder Public Library, she began to think a lot about how murals and paintings interact with communities and can create ‘spaces’ and comfort as well as pride. So after getting some teaching under her belt she decided to put some miles on her passport and began traveling to places far and wide to connect with communities and see how they used the materials around them, from their own communities, to not only paint but to bring people together at the same time. Now after many miles, many collaborative walls, and many piles of pigments, she has set about making her own paints for projects (using the soil on natural pigments of the area she is painting) and taking local collaborative efforts to a completely new level to bring that soul into the art she does. We were lucky enough to get our hands in the dirt with her between all her travels, being the founder the Fort Collins Mural Project, and cranking out a few murals around town. She is currently taking a small break from painting walls to be a student (versus a teacher/organizer), while recalibrating and learning skills to be a better facilitator and community member.
Lindee on Art, Books, and Libraries
- What book as a kid influenced your imagination to pick up a crayon and begin making art?
I think the one that had the biggest effect on me was Shel Silverstein Where The Sidewalk Ends, it was my introduction to his works and his interesting illustration style that was often…’Less is more’. The emotional detail he covered in The Giving Tree with his simple line drawings is nothing short of amazing and the facial expression he explored in A Light In The Attic and Falling Up, really influenced a more simple touch from my brush and paint.
- What book are you currently reading that influences you in either a creative way or a professional way?
I am currently reading The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. which is helping a lot with the goals I set for myself as an artist this year. I wanted to focus less on gigantic murals and more on smaller and longer murals that I could incorporate local help with in my travels. A kind of holistic healing for a community that promoted healing and safety for whatever community I was a part of in that moment. From breaking down local rocks and soil in Blanca, Spain to mix paint for a mural based around ‘Belonging’, to the collection of pigments from the Atlas mountain region in Morocco with help from the the 99 Femmes to later be used in a long mural at Taman Art Space. The emphasis being community healing and doing these projects at the center point for the communities I was in so that they served as a daily reminder of the collaboration and could become a feeling of pride and accomplishment for women and children that helped.
- What do you think is the most important resource that Libraries provide to you as an artist?
I think above all, its main resource is giving the public a safe space to read and research. As an artist you are constantly looking for not only inspiration but also history and Libraries can provide both of these for free.
- What is your current/favorite/most-used branch of the Denver Public Library?
As much as I love the grandeur of the Central Branch I have come to love the Ross-Broadway Branch in the neighborhood I recently moved to. Small, friendly and plenty of parking make it a joy to visit.
- If you were offered a gigantic wall on the outside of a Library, what would your paint to display what a library means to you?
I think I would do some simple silhouettes of people in a theatre setting from behind and then lay out the ‘Imagination’ the Library provides, on stage as a performance. A parade of characters from varying stories of our youth and maybe get some input from kids on some new ones.
Ex Libris: Denver Artists is a series featuring local street artists, focusing on their connection to books and the importance of libraries to the artistic community. Series concept and interview by Sean Ryerson.