Missing Denver? Tour the city’s art scene

If you have cabin fever, see the city through the eyes of a customer service field tech.

May 22, 2020 | By: Cathy Proctor, Kristi Delynko

“If I see something that catches my eye, I take a picture of it.”

As a customer service field technician for Denver Water, Eddie McCarthy drives all over the utility’s service area inspecting and maintaining meter equipment and responding to customer’s questions and concerns.

And over the last year or so, he’s snapped more than two dozen pictures of the large wall murals that adorn buildings across the city and the metro area.

The picture that started McCarthy’s collection was the portrait of the late Lemmy Kilmister, the founder and frontman of English heavy metal rock band Motörhead, created by local muralist Patrick Kane McGregor in 2017 on the wall of the building that houses Wax Trax at East 13th Avenue and Washington Street.

“My favorite piece is Lemmy,” said McCarthy, who is originally from Ireland and spent several years in the United Kingdom with the Royal Navy before moving to Colorado 21 years ago.

A wall mural of a man, smoking a cigarette, with long hair, mustache, and a cowboy hat.
A wall mural of the late Lemmy Kilmister, the founder and frontman of English heavy metal rock band Motörhead, created by local muralist Patrick Kane McGregor at East 13th Avenue and Washington Street. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

“That image spurred me to take notice of the incredible transformation some of Denver’s established buildings were getting. It’s a fantastic piece of artwork and when I came by it, I really saw the true character of Lemmy in that mural.”

Over the months his collection grew.

“We’re out and about all the time responding to requests to check equipment and customer concerns. And you’re driving in an area that you are accustomed to, and pretty soon you see a work of art on the side of a building — and maybe a water hydrant or two — that was not there last week,” he said.

When the stay-at-home orders were issued in March to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, McCarthy was one of many Denver Water employees who continued to report for his work throughout the city.

A wall mural shows a nurse and a skull wrapped in personal protective equipment, putting on gloves.
Some of the more recently created wall murals in Denver focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

“A lot of our customers are appreciative of us being out here dealing with any service issues they may have. They talk to us from a distance, and they are grateful for our efforts to keep the water flowing,” he said.

McCarthy said he was thinking of everyone working from home when he decided to share his collection of images.

Some of the recent murals McCarthy has seen depict nurses or other images related to the COVID-19 circumstances.

“And with fewer people on the streets, it’s easier than usual to view the city’s murals and hopefully is providing inspiration in the form of a blank wall to the artists for buildings that may be in  need of a new lease of colorful life,” McCarthy said.

A man stands next to a Denver Water service vehicle.
Eddie McCarthy, a customer service field technician for Denver Water, takes pictures of Denver’s vibrant wall murals that he notices on the job, driving throughout the city checking equipment and responding to customer concerns. Photo credit: Denver Water.

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