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Colorado artist Kelton Osborn designed this steel wall relief—and its matching other half—for the new RTD station at 38th and Blake. —Photo courtesy of Quick-Bend Design LLC

The Train to the Plane Comes with a Side of Art

Thanks to RTD's Art-n-Transit program, some stations along the University of Colorado A Line will incorporate public art—including a pair of sculptures by local artist Kelton Osborn.

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On Saturday, April 23, RTD is celebrating the opening of its new University of Colorado A Line (it travels 23 miles from Union Station to DIA) with free rides all day on all lines, plus celebrations at various stations along the route. Thanks to RTD’s Art-n-Transit program—which aims to beautify transit projects and aid community development—many of the just-opened stations will feature public art. At the 38th and Blake location, that beautification comes courtesy of a Colorado native.

Courtesy of Quick-Bend Design LLC

Kelton Osborn grew up in Pueblo and now resides in Denver. An architect by trade, he began focusing on his art after losing his job in 2009. Painting and sculpture are his main mediums, but Osborn enjoys experimenting. One consistency: He’s interested in abstraction, often with references to the structure and materials used in his previous profession.

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His latest work—actually, a pair of works—are featured on the north and south side of the new station, one on each of the outer facing main piers of the pedestrian bridge. Both pieces, entitled “Conflux | Redox,” are 15-feet wide and 24-feet tall. Osborn spent a year designing the steel wall relief sculptures, which are inspired by the history of the Globeville area and the fact that the neighborhood was once home to smelters for steel manufacturing. He hired JunoWorks to do the actual fabricating from his drawings and 3-D renderings; like Osborn, the company works out of RiNo’s Ironton Studios. The colored panels (pictured, right) add brightness and also reference slag, a byproduct of the manufacturing process. Depending on how you approach the piece, the undulations will present differently, the colors popping or just showing hints of their vibrancy.

The color was powder-coated on aluminum to avoid rusting, but the rest of the sculpture incorporates Corten steel, which is designed to rust to a certain point and then serve as a protective surface, meaning the artwork will look different every time you see it. As the weather impacts it, Osborn sees potential for the patina to run and streak the wall underneath the structure. “I call it industrial graffiti,” he says. “I want to allow it to paint below itself. I want it to change.”

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