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Denver Artist Fights Crime With Art

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4)- What is typically a dull drive down Interstate 70 in north Denver near Commerce City is getting a little more colorful thanks to a local artist.

"A lot of my murals kind of involve roses and I try to work on trying to communicate unique beauty," said Thomas Evans, an artist who also goes by the name Detour.

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(credit: CBS)

Detour creates unique murals all across the metro area, often featuring a friend of his and people who are active in their community.

Thomas Evans or Detour (credit: CBS)

While stuck in traffic one day, Detour said he noticed a perfect blank canvas on the Tuff Shed factory near I-70 and Grape Street.

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(credit: CBS)

He went to the business and asked to turn the rather drab wall into a piece of inspiration.

(credit: Thomas Evans, an artist who also goes by the name Detour)

"We said, 'Gosh, that sounds fantastic!" Phil Worth, Vice President of Marketing for Tuff Shed, told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann.

Phil Worth, Vice President of Marketing for Tuff Shed (credit: CBS)

With the company's permission, Detour got to work a couple weeks ago, incorporating bright colors and shapes into the mural. Not only is the giant mural an attention grabber for business, Worth said Evan's work will also help deter crime.

(credit: Thomas Evans, an artist who also goes by the name Detour)

"For a lot of businesses that are in these industrial corridors, graffiti tagging can be a problem," Worth said. "What a great way to address that and give people something beautiful to look at."

almost done
(credit: Thomas Evans, an artist who also goes by the name Detour)

That is exactly why the Denver Urban Arts Fund, a City of Denver graffiti prevention program, is funding Detour's largest mural to date.

Detour creating his art (credit: CBS)

"Detour's mural is a stellar example of what the Urban Arts Fund was created to do – first and foremost, to deter future vandalism," said Michael Chavez, Public Art Manager with the City of Denver. "The site he chose for his largest ever mural was tagged often. He boldly transformed the space into a vibrant, colorful expression of positivity. We could not be happier with the result."

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(credit: CBS)

Detour said he is grateful to have the city's support with his latest project.

"It's just a testament to the artist community in Denver," he said.

Detour completed the mural featuring his friend Cindy Cervantes this week. He chose to depict Cindy because she is an active member of her community, helping kids and young adults interested in music and other arts.

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(credit: CBS)

"I still can't believe that it's me up there," Cervantes said through a smile. "It's definitely humbling."

The hope, Detour said, is the massive wall of color will brighten the dreary days drivers are stuck in traffic.

(credit: CBS)

"When they get that anger inside them because it's so slow, I want them to feel a little bit better that they have something beautiful to look at," he said. "Maybe they'll calm down a little bit."

Tuff Shed is so impressed by Detour's work, Worth said the company has already asked him to create another mural on their building near I-25 and 6th Avenue.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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