Do you talk about the issues facing the community?

Our tour is as much about what’s going on in the community as it about the street art. We are not the arbiters of issues like gentrification and don’t pretend to be. We do, however, feel strongly that those coming to enjoy the art should be exposed to issues affecting the art and the community in which it's made. To that end, we spend half the tour raising issues like:

  • How a city as rich as Denver can have 7,500 people experiencing homelessness.
  • Why city policies have exacerbated the problems of housing affordability.
  • How artists who created a culture in RiNo are being priced out by those coming in to enjoy that culture.
  • Why murals are considered “art” but graffiti is considered “vandalism.”
  • How the mainstreaming of street art can serve corporate interests.
  • The conflicted feelings of some artists. They’re getting paid more often for work than they did just 10 years ago. But they’re getting paid by the people who contribute to the increase in property values that push out studios, galleries, and long-time residents.

Are you from Denver?

Erin has lived in Colorado since 1988 and in Denver since 2000. James has lived here for 10 years.

Are you artists?

Both of us have written for newspapers and magazines, but we are not visual artists. (Erin can draw but only if you are using the word “draw” in the most liberal sense.)

Do the artists know you’re featuring their work on your tour?

We have interviewed more than 30 of the artists whose works are represented on the walls of RiNo. All knew what we were doing and all but one were supportive.

Do you pay the artists?

In 2018, we gave 5% of our proceeds back to a locally run arts collective. Because housing affordability and gentrification are also major focuses of our tour, our 2019 contributions will be focused on helping groups struggling with housing affordability and/or homelessness.

Do you make money off these tours?

Yes, we do. In addition to being something we love to do, it’s also a business for us. That said, a lot of our revenue goes to offsetting the costs of marketing, insurance and our time -- both in researching and in conducting three tours a week.

Do you give credit to the artists?

We credit any and all photographs of artists that we use. We also urge our tour-goers to tag the artists in any social media posting, and we seek out social media posts of art in RiNo to tag the artists.

We’ve heard you’re in real estate.

Guilty as charged. We are real estate agents who help buyers find homes in Denver. We also believe we are not just real estate agents. We’re also socially conscious liberals who think critically about our community and donate to causes like Doctors Without Borders, ACLU, The Gathering Place here in Denver, and RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services).

What’s with use of “graffiti” in your name?

In modern vernacular, “graffiti” has a specific connotation as a criminalized art form. In that way, our name may be mis-chosen as we talk mostly about the murals. From an art history perspective, however, “graffiti” is used to denote any scratching of a message onto public walls, and it’s in this way that we chose to name our tour of these beautiful scratchings on public walls.