Art Now: 7,000 Reasons Wants to Paint Your Portrait

Denver artists Jonathan Saiz and Wes Magyar have big plans to paint thousands of portraits. They're doing it in public for the next month.
7,000 Reasons is a new art collaborative teaming together two of Denver’s best-known artists, Jonathan Saiz and Wes Magyar. The duo’s goal is to paint 7,000 portraits of people (and sometimes their dogs and cats) in a 7-inch-square format.

As a project, 7,000 Reasons is full of optimism. The portraits are rendered in happy shades of blues, oranges, pinks and greens and the subjects, by and large, are full of bright eyes and big smiles. The goal is to spread a little joy via up the close and personal faces of its subject. "We know life isn't all rainbows and unicorns, but 7,000 Reasons will be!,” the website proclaims.

7,000 Reasons is a commercial enterprise that promises good art at a good price. Each portrait costs $143. The artists work from photographs so subjects can submit the raw materials in person or online. (Here is the link)

From now until mid-June, 7,000 Reasons will also be a bit of performance art. Saiz and Magyar are setting up shop at the brand new Dairy block development downtown at 1850 Wazee St. The public is invited to pop by to watch the artists in action or to look at some of the work.

We caught up with Saiz for a few quick questions about the project.

Why is 7,000 Reasons such a happy project? Don’t you know the world is falling apart these days?

Would you rather go down in a sinking ship screaming and crying, or laughing, sharing silly jokes with loved ones about the beautiful fragility of life? A bright and loving attitude might save us.

Can you tell us how you work together? Who does what?

Wes and I go back and forth on different elements of the pieces until they are “done”. Sometimes my crazy-colored backgrounds influence his style and sometimes the other way around. We try and keep each other surprised and inspired.

Why 7,000?
Optimism!  That crazy high number is just barely possible in a perfect world so we made it our goal... and…7,000, $143 paintings adds up to $1 million.

Will you paint my pet snake?
Yes, if it’s coiled then one panel will do.  if uncoiled, we’ll sell you a triptych.

Why should people stop by The Dairy Block?
The Dairy Block is  buzzing with new stuff daily now — food, art, cocktails, people watching and it’s the new HQ for Stuart Semple’s  (city-wide public art project) “Happy City.” Come visit!

Magyar and Saiz at their pop-up at the Dairy Block. Images provided by 7,000 Reasons.
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