Celebrating the Artists of Loveland & South

Article by Alexandra Rambo, Christa Shively

Photography by Al Milligan Photography / Flourish Branding Photography

Originally published in Loveland & South Lifestyle

Ben and Charlotte Zink: Metal Art

After twenty years in Berthoud, Charlotte Zink has yet to take the Colorado landscape for granted. She graduated in 1987 from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a BA in Studio Art and Art Education. She and her husband, Ben, moved to the east coast briefly before deciding to come back to Colorado and raise their children. She decided then to take some time off from teaching to become a full-time artist and mother.

Her children are now grown and Charlotte spends most of her time outdoors creating small worlds out of metal. Her inspiration comes from her interactions with nature. She chooses to not use photos, but rather to pull from the present moment. Part of her artistic process is in considering the landscapes where her art will be displayed, whether in gardens or other exterior installments.

She typically works in steel, an expensive and unforgiving material that takes quite a bit of preparation. After she draws the images, Ben cuts them out. The metal that remains after is then used as inspiration for future pieces to insure the least amount of waste. While there are more precise options, Charlotte has her husband use a plasma cutter. Charlotte has this to say of the collaborative effort, “I offer a fluid, feminine sense of design and form to the metal, and Ben works as our solid fabricator and engineer.”

As a resident of the area before the boom, she finds it exciting to be living here now amidst the growth, and is grateful for the support of the art-loving community. She is currently organizing the Berthoud Studio Tour and painting in the cold weather, a juxtaposition from metal that gives her some reprieve from the more physically strenuous medium of metalwork.

Quote: “For me, making art objects is a way of translating my inner visions and thought processes into a tangible outer reality, something we can look at, touch, appreciate and share.”

Heather Rubald: Renewable Fiber Artist

Denver born artist, Heather Rubald, moved to Loveland about seven years ago. She worked in the theater arts, but found a passion in working with her hands, something she often did in the form of crocheting backstage between scenes. Heather considers herself more of an inventor than a student, as she often teaches herself through trial and error, experimenting with different fabrics and materials, such as plastic bags. She became interested in the renewability of materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

After she had made a few pieces, she started asking others if they had any bags. Before long people were saving them specifically for her. Heather explains, “Once people started saving and giving their bags to me, it was like a sign from the universe.” Heather mainly uses the traditional brown or white grocery bags. She also enjoys working with the large black ones meant for yard waste when she can get her hands on them. Her favorites, however, are multi-colored bags, which are difficult to come by.

She began with functional pieces, purses and bags, before stepping into art installation. Making large-scale work from such cheap, easily accessible materials was a revelation for her. She is now trying to educate others about sustainable art practices. She wants people to understand that the simplest things can make the biggest difference. She believes that if she can make these things beautiful, she could help create a conversation around sustainability. 

Quote: “ Beauty is a tool that you use to keep people engaged with a topic that may be unpleasant.”

Jesse Tallent: The Tallent Company

The Tallent Company, a local marketing and design firm, did not have to search far for their name. Colorado-born husband and wife team, Jesse and Amy Tallent, moved to the Northern Colorado area while in college. While their business focuses on creativity and media, they both initially started their careers in Fire Service, Amy as a Public Information Officer, and Jesse as a Firefighter in Fort Lupton. 

Eventually, what began as design work on the side, blossomed into a business dedicated to helping local businesses and non-profits get off the ground. This was a major gap that they noticed in the local marketing industry. Amy, a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and Johnstown’s first female councilwoman in twenty years, handles the communication and strategy side, while Jesse is the creative force behind the brand.

Jesse says that being a small business that focuses on small businesses means that they have had to diversify their own portfolios in order to grow with the community. Sometimes a business just needs a social media nudge and sometimes it involves a full education on designing a brand. Jesse seems to have found his niche though, which he credits to his own experience of how hard it is to maintain a business, and having knowledge of the services that can alleviate the marketing burden.

Jesse also loves the traditional mediums, preferring to sketch in pencil and to paint, before digitizing. Plus, he’s never forgotten about his fire-service past. The company does lots of work with fire stations for t-shirts, stickers, and other items aimed at local engagement. In his opinion though, the most rewarding part of his work is when his kids say, “Look! There’s your sign!”

Quote: “We want our work to look like it comes from our customer.”

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