By Jason Hitchcock | Photos By Hesh Photo
Some of you might know Vincent "Cheap" as your bartender at 3 Kings Tavern, slinging your drunk, punk ass drinks at happy hour, or you might recognize him from working with his girlfriend, Tina, at their shop, Fast Geek Boutique. The other possibility is you might have no idea who he is but have some of his art work and not even know it. Vincent calls Denver home though his family would constantly move from one place to another. This allowed the opportunity in the summers for Vincent and his twin brother to work on their interests. His was art and his brother, Charley the City Mouse, poetry.
Vincent says his mother still has stacks of paintings he did when he was a kid. After high school, he spent about 12 years in Fort Collins where he studied journalism for a while until he decided his real interest was in art. Specifically, photography for a short time and then painting until he got bored with school and years of having bad teachers drove him to the point of dropping out. Or as he likes to put it, "an extra long hiatus". Not deterred by shitty fucking teachers, Vincent didn't slow down creating his art and with the help of friends still enrolled in college; he was able to use studio spaces at the university. One of the nice things about living in a college town, (especially one with a decent art department) is the end of the semester students trashing their old supplies. All you have to do is not be afraid to do a bit of dumpster diving. After going on hiatus, he got into punk rock and started going on tour with a lot of his friend's bands. It was in the late 90s when record companies gave bands money to tour. Vincent also played guitar and trumpet in a band called Presidents Wives for eight or nine years.
Though he had to give up the guitar after breaking both wrists trying to punch his brother, missing and hitting a building. Being with the bands gave him the great opportunity to learn how to promote both bands and his art, something school had never taught him. "Some of the first work anyone ever saw of mine was work I did on flyers," Vincent recalls. From there he realized he could book a space, have a rock show and easily place his art work in the venue and have himself an art show. Occasionally he would have his brother read his poetry before the show, but according to Vinnie, punk rockers don't like being talked at so his brother had to dodge a lot of bottles.
Though he has had opportunities to have his work in galleries there is something that he enjoys more about putting work in bars and music venues. "I consider my stuff jovial and bars seem to match that atmosphere," Vincent continued. "I like being able to place my stuff in the bar also because I set the prices as oppose to the gallery where they have to jack things up. I can set the price for a piece at $50 bucks or whatever I want. There's something embarrassing to hear a drunken guy yell out '$500 dollars! What the fuck?' It also seems that art work at the galleries become like false gods. It's all quiet in the gallery. The painting's sitting up on their white walls and everyone is standing around." In the old days, bars were the common area where everyone would meet. Important decisions and politics were discussed in bars and an artist would show their work there, to become recognized. In Denver, a lot of good work can be still seen in bars or coffee shops around town.
The inspiration for Vincent's painting comes from watching people. No, not through a pair of binoculars, but out in public places (that might not sound much better). As a child, Vincent's family would go out to the mall or public places and sit around and watch people walking around. "It was something our family just did," Vincent remarked. Now don't be worried about sitting at the bar and Vincent drawing you at your best (drunk ass) moment. It's not how you really look but how Vincent sees the people around him. (I don't think he sees a lot of people with bombs on their chest running around, at least not in Denver) He is drawing people the way their mood reflects. Sometimes other influences sneak in, like after watching The Simpsons, his drawing will resemble a character from the show. Right now his work has what I guess could be called bunny people or bunny torsos. Vinny says he is not very good at drawing hands, so many of his characters don't have arms or hands. Drawing bunnys has relevance and a story too.
His rabbit characters are inspired from when he was in a band. The band members wanted to go on a Front Range tour and thought it would be cool to rent bunny costumes, but as Vincent put it, "They are fucking expensive!". They figured it wouldn't very wise to spend all of their gig money on costume rental. Not to be deterred a friend of Vinnys went home and made them a bunny suit that was used by all the band mates on tour. Once when loading gear after a show, Vincent's buddies took his pants from his backpack and left him with only the bunny suit pants to wear.