In early June, as protests demanding racial justice were at their height in the city, artists Detour and Heiro began a campaign of murals depicting Black Americans killed at the hands of police. A portrait of George Floyd, whose murder in Minneapolis sparked marches and rallies across the nation, was one of the first to go up. It’s still visible on the side of Ready Temporary Service’s auxiliary building on East Colfax Avenue between Race and High streets.
But Floyd’s face was marred in the last week. Someone threw a streak of yellow paint right in the middle of it.
Detour, whose real name is Thomas Evans, declined to comment. But Monica Brown, Ready Temporary Service’s general manager, said this is the second time something has happened to the mural. The yellow paint appeared sometime in the last few days, she said on Wednesday afternoon. About a month ago, she added, someone also spray painted “Fentanyl Floyd” across his face.
Both times after she saw that the mural was defaced, she said she reported the incidents to her landlord. Brown said one or both artists returned to fix the piece after the first time it happened.
Meanwhile, issues over race and power have spilled into street art across town.
During the recent CRUSH Walls event in Five Points, artist Jolt painted a mural depicting a rhino, developer Kent Wolf and “Love This City” artist Pat Milbery as scheming gentrifiers.
It was a message that channeled frustration over the RiNo Art District’s hip, new presence within the borders of Five Points, Denver’s historically Black neighborhood that’s experienced rapid displacement in the last decade. This is not the first mural that Jolt has painted in this spot that depicts a rhino railroading residents of color.
Jolt’s piece from 2020 was recently covered with a thin coat of white paint.
Later, words appeared that were written in Jolt’s “signature” lettering: “This mural has been censored. …Due to white fragility.”
Another message was added after that. On Wednesday, writing painted in green could be seen that appeared to further criticize Jolt.
One of the latest statements read: “This artist is a racist and a bigot.”