Local Latino Artist
of the Month
- Cal Duran -
Cal Duran grew up in Colorado but has roots that bridge India and the natives of this land. Using ancient traditional processes, he works in clay and sculpture and explores the parallels between his hybrid identity found in myth, religion, and ritual. Cal explains it best:
“Have you had a dream where it felt as if it was real? Do you feel the earth guide you to something that feels right? Have you felt a portal of some distant reality exist alongside of us?
“Art has been a portal to channel my indigenous ancestors, where I slip under an emotional spinning vortex of creation. The makers of my blood flow through me. I channel the artisans, craft-makers, mud-dwellers, star-makers, dream-weavers, and earth-brothers and sisters — the ones who paved the way and forged the path. My work carries spirit and my truth is in everything I create.”
Ten foot Skeleton altar erected for Día De Los Muertos at Museo de las Americas. 2018
"I had a vision from spirit of a giant skeleton altar. I was privileged to use Museo's collection to honor the ancestors of Colorado and the roots that lay deep within our culture." - Cal
Address the use of color in your work.
Oh beautiful woven light of the rainbow light that surrounds my heart! Color for me brings me joy, like a woven blanket of the colors of nature and the blessings of this earth. Color for me melts my spirit into a cosmic journey of pure electricity of creation. Purple holds my soul, green turns my veins into the plants of the past, orange radiates the colors of transformation. I use vibrant, bright, bold, and earthy colors in my work to honor my ancestors. Colors activate my senses and I will always be a bright rainbow in the sky.
Altar , copal burner to my star family. 2019
"This altar was made from a vision I had connecting me to my star family, the origin of who I am, after a month in Peru." - Cal
Tell us a bit about being a Latino artist or the Latino artist community.
For me, as a Latino, a mestizo, and a brown man of mixed blood from many indigenous tribes, I make sure to honor my fellow brown artists with open arms and support. We must help each person on their artistic journey with praise as it takes courage to hold space and create from the heart.
How do you incorporate your heritage, identity, &/or culture into your work & why?
I first want to acknowledge the native tribes of this land the Ute, the Cheyenne, the Arapahoe, the Hopi, and all other tribes that cultivated and payed homage to this land.
My identity lays beyond this dimension, deep in to the ancient. I find myself staring off into space, following the imagination, finding parallels within my culture. The earth tribes guide me to a place of knowledge, light, and love from so many past lives and ancestors. My hands and body are from the earth, roots that lay deep into the creative consciousness.
I incorporate spirit in everything I make. I am here as a vessel to tell the stories of the past. I create to honor the divine architypes of my culture; To teach and learn from the knowledge of all the ones before me. My truth lays deep within everything I make. I am in so much gratitude to be able to create and find a safe space through creation and art.
Altar to the brave towns people of Longmont who drove away the KKK. Firehouse Art Center. 2020.
"I was given the opportunity to honor the brave man, Hilario Cortez, who helped drive the KKK out of Longmont in the 1920s. I got to go deep in his roots and visit with his grandchildren to honor him authentically. This was such a great venture. It connected me to how Latinos have been persecuted and was so empowering, especially in a hard year." - Cal
Community Día De Los Muertos altar set up by CHAC. 2020.
To see more of Cal's work, visit:
In addition to being an artist, Cal is an educator.
He does workshops in his studio at Recreative Denver, located in the Art District on Santa Fe. (Just one block from Green Lady Gardens!)
All images are the property of Cal Duran.
Some content may have been edited for clarity.