A collaborative project rooted in music, artistic expression, & community engagement supported by the Crested Butte Music Festival, Crested Butte Creative District, and the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum has come to life in the #playoutside piano.
The #playoutside piano is an interactive experience combining art and music in one instrument that anyone and everyone can play. All individuals will be able to access the piano in the courtyard of the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum beginning June 30, 2018, to express themselves and have fun!
One of the primary goals of the project was to foster positivity and community pride through collaborations between locals, visitors, artists, the Creative District and it’s member organizations like the CBMF and CBMHM. Richard Buchanan, a born and raised Coloradoan who received his B.A. in Art History from Western State Colorado University, was selected as the featured artist to paint the piano with a series of impasto paintings of hands.
When describing his inspiration, Richard says, “Hands serve as a parallel between being a painter and a musician. These hands are painted with thick, luscious brushstrokes to evoke a desire to touch.” Touch, play, create and engage is just what the #playoutside piano was designed to do. In a whimsical touch, Richard says “the hands painted on the piano belong to residents of the Gunnison Valley.”
CBMF’s Executive Director Crista Ryan says “the piano is an amalgamation of Crested Butte, a physical display of the artistic, creative and amusing qualities and individuals who make up our community.” #playoutside endeavors to highlight the appreciation Crested Butte and its residents have for art in its many forms. Everyone is encouraged to play the piano, congregate with friends and family in the courtyard, and overall enjoy the unique sense of place in downtown Crested Butte.
The installation kick-off will occur at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum’s Black and White Ball on June 30, 2018, and the piano will stay in the courtyard until July 30, 2018.
About the #playoutside artist Richard Buchanan:
Richard Buchanan has been selected as the featured artist to paint the piano. He was born and raised on the front range of Colorado. He received a B.A. in Art History in
2013 from Western State Colorado University and an M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art in 2016. Richard has received numerous awards including the Richard Kubiak Memorial Curatorial Award for curatorial excellence, and the American Austrian Foundation’s Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts. Richard has exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, and Colorado. He continues to show in galleries across the country. Richard’s works can be found in private and public art collections in the United States, and Austria.
CBMF: You attended Western State Colorado University’s art program…How did living in the Gunnison Valley and learning in this unique environment influence your art?
R: While I was studying at Western State Colorado University, I dedicated my time to researching contemporary art history. I would get so excited about what I was learning that I started drawing at my night job on the mountain. The friends I made during this time are my strongest asset, and I am proud to be apart of the community in the Gunnison Valley.
CBMF: What inspires you to create your art?
R: Melodrama, psychological intensity, and the unexplained drive to work. By reinterpreting what I experience, I’m trying to uncover a personal subjective reality. The environments my figures occupy are often suggestive – they exist in conceptual space and often represent the connection I have with the sitter, a thought, or an idea. I intensify the mood and emphasize the link I have with my models. Somewhere between what I understand about myself, and what I perceive to know about my subject, is where I’m searching for my reality.
CBMF: What are some of your favorite musical artists and how does music affect your artwork?
R: I love so many different types of music and musical artists. There are too many to mention! Music is an essential component of my studio practice. I always play music during my sessions to relax myself and entertain my models.
CBMF: What do you hope people take away from this painted piano project?
R: I recently started creating paintings of my hands that play with the double entendre of the tactile quality of thickly painted brushwork and the act of touching. I love the gratification of texturally satisfying brushstrokes, but in a gallery setting, people only get to look at my paintings. I want people to experience what I experience as a painter and interact with my work outside of a gallery.
Hands also serve as a parallel between being a painter and a musician. These hands are painted with thick, luscious brushstrokes to evoke a desire to touch. Each hand is approximately the size of an actual human hand to create an empathetic response. The goal is to encourage people to engage with the art, play the piano, and at the very least have a laugh.
If you interact with the piano, don’t forget to film it or snap a photo, tag @crestedbuttemusicfestival and use the hashtag #PlayOutside on Instagram.