May 28, 2004: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Art: Denver Post: Dominican Republic RPCV Danyl Cook finds his calling as an artist

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: Peace Corps Dominican Republic : The Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic: May 28, 2004: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Art: Denver Post: Dominican Republic RPCV Danyl Cook finds his calling as an artist

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Dominican Republic RPCV Danyl Cook finds his calling as an artist

Dominican Republic RPCV Danyl Cook finds his calling as an artist

Dominican Republic RPCV Danyl Cook finds his calling as an artist

From "real" jobs, two find their callings as artists

By Ed Will
Denver Post Staff Writer

The careers of artists David Castle and Danyl Cook reveal some similarities.

Both men had an early interest in art, dabbled in it on their own while engaged in professional careers and finally went public with it in their 30s at the urging of others.

The two Denverites this weekend join some 180 other Colorado artists at the Denver Pavilions downtown for the sixth annual Colorado Arts Festival, today through Monday.

Castle became interested in art while studying computer science in college. He never picked up a paintbrush, however, until his computer career took him to Europe a few years after college.

"That is actually one of the places where I got, I think, a lot of my inspiration, having exposure to the architecture and so much art over there that is incredible," he said.

He started taking watercolor classes there, and 10 years later, that remains his medium of choice.

Cook, who works in pastels and charcoal, padded his college schedules with art classes as he earned two business degrees. But he became a newspaper photographer and reporter.

"I really loved my job but burned out working for a daily newspaper," he said. "I love it, and sometimes I miss it, but I just needed a new adventure. I had always done lots of volunteer work, so I joined the Peace Corps."

Art remained a private passion for both men until others urged them to share it.

"Some of my early watercolors were miniature format, little groups of flowers and things like that," Castle said. "People thought that they were so great that they would be great on cards or something like that."

Then fate stepped in just over two years ago, when he lost his computer job.

"I thought I would try a few (other things), and my art was right there at the top of my list, to see if I could really start focusing on that full time and make a living," he said. "I really have been doing that for about 1 1/2 years."

He followed the suggestion of his friends and created a line of note cards that he sells in two local stores and at festivals, where he also sells his watercolors and prints.

Cook came out of the creative closet in 1998 at the urging of a professor at Metropolitan State College, where Cook took art courses in his spare time from working at a nonprofit agency.

Danyl Cook: an untitled watercolor, his favorite medium.
"I had a professor (and) ... he said, 'Your work needs to be seen,"' Cook said. "He forced me into a juried show. And I thought, 'Well, fine, I'll just do it for him. I won't get in.' Well, I did get in, and then I was approached by three different galleries. It just took off from there."

Still, Cook has held on to his day job because he enjoys it and because of the fickleness of the art market.

"I have tried painting, but I just can't cozy up to paint," Cook said. "I don't know why. I just can't. I just really enjoy the pastels and the charcoal, the charcoal especially."

Castle gets a special feeling from his medium.

"It usually is almost like a spiritual sense of these pieces of color that I want to try and put together," he said. "One of the reasons I love watercolors is because of how the color interacts when it gets on the paper. It is very fluid. The water makes the colors interact a lot in many different ways."

Castle and Cook were among 500 artists who went through the judging process to enter the festival, Brian Nelson said.

Nelson, who has been the producer of all six festivals, said this year's is different.

"The focus is primarily on the artists," he said. "This is a pure arts festival with entertainment, as opposed to the last two years, when we had some pretty big entertainment that shared the limelight."

Gone will be the big main stage that held major concerts after the artists closed their booths for the day.

In its stead, the festival features three small stages of acoustic music hosted by Swallow Hill, Nelson said.

An area for children and sitting, as well as food and beverage booths, will be set up by each stage.

"It really creates an atmosphere that is enjoyable but directs the focus back on the artists," Nelson said.
Staff writer Ed Will can be reached at 303-820-1694 or .

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Story Source: Denver Post

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