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Golden Photographer Blog

Eclectics: David Ocelotl Garcia

Walk into David Ocelotl Garcia’s Denver studio, and your eyes will have no idea where to go. The room is filled with sculptures, drawings and layouts for murals. Garcia who refers to his style as abstract imaginism, is known for his murals all over Colorado, but he is also a talented sculptor. His work can be seen in Denver’s Meow Wolf (installation), the Colorado History Museum, Museo de Las Americas, and Rino Art Park, to name a few. In 2022, Garcia completed an ambitious project for the National Western Center bridges project in Denver. 


The People’s Bridge of the Sun (Sun Bridge for short) is a mixed media public art piece incorporated into an actual bridge located at 56 Avenue on Natural Western Drive. It was headed by Garcia who was artist, director and manager of the project, with a staff of over 100 people, taking five years to complete. The bridge involved all forms of media including bronze and glass (mosaics with glass rather than paint for longevity) in reds, oranges and yellows representing the sun. Says Garcia, “One of the coolest things [about the bridge] was it had a community participation portion. “As far as I know, it was one of the biggest such engagements in the country in respect to a public art piece. I designed the bridge so that we could have workshops with the community and create art elements that would be incorporated into the bridge itself, with over a thousand sculpted faces.”

Photo of David Ocelotl Garcia in his Denver Studio

At age 11, Garcia was inspired by pictographs and characters from archaeology, as well as his dad, who was a folk artist. He never studied or trained classically in art but taught himself. Says Garcia, “I love abstract work because it’s so spontaneous and genuine. If I give you a brush and paint and say, ‘Just start painting. Don’t think about it, just have fun,’ you start channeling your instinct and intuition. I love that, and to me, that’s the essence of art.”


Says Garcia, “One of the reasons I want to do public art is I want to create representation for my people, the Mexican community, for Latinos, Chicanos. I want to inspire young people and make them feel like they belong here, feel uplifted, see themselves and be proud of their heritage.”


Garcia is currently working on a 300-foot-long mural in Napa, Calif., but will return to the second bridge in Denver, The People’s Bridge of the Moon in 2025. “Humans and nature are connected,” says Garcia. “Creating art is like planting seeds in the earth, seeds that will hopefully grow into a tree that will produce fruits to feed people. That’s how I see public art.”





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