Meet Denver Collage Artist:

Dolan Geiman


Tell us a bit about you and your back story leading to where you are now as an artist?

To answer this question, I’m going to drop you in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia some decades ago. To the left, you will see the foundation of an old wooden barn now a skeleton of what it used to be. Beside that there is a corncrib full of old corncobs, wooden chairs, piles of broken whisky bottles, and metal advertising signs. To your right, you will see a large, brick colonial farmhouse built in 1796. Hand-hewn chunks of limestone resting below red clay bricks make up the foundation. If you look closely at the bricks, as I did on that day, you would notice that they contain small bits of quartz, gravel, rock, and shell.  I pulled and scraped at the bricks until a small piece of shell came loose in my hand and then ran with it to my mother. My mind was expanding and tying itself in knots as it tried to figure out how the shell got into the bricks.
My mother told me an old farm worker story. She described the women and men 200 years before me who dug deep into the creek, pulled up large chunks of thick muddy clay, packed the clay into rectangles, and then put them into a large oven. I couldn’t comprehend this type of creating entirely, but something ignited inside me and I became intensely interested in making something, anything. That summer and many summers after that, we smashed poke berries in big horse troughs and dipped T-shirts and skirts in the purple brine to create our own dyed fabrics. We constructed wooden mouse-trap-style games out of old wood scraps. We boiled old marbles on the stove until they cracked and made beautiful sun-catching prisms.
Everything I did involved some type of creativity. My mother was never at a loss for new activities. When I was a little older, she started her own art career as a watercolor artist. I went with her to help her set up her booth but mostly just to get in the way. Along the way, many of the things she did started to sink in. Through her sales she was able to put me through college and suggested I study art. During school, when I needed money, the first thing that came to my mind was “What can I make to sell?” I relied on my creativity because it was the one thing I possessed that set me apart from others. I had no second thoughts about selling my art. After college, I switched gears a lot but always found avenues to sell artwork, whether on the street or in a gallery or at a friend’s office over a lunch break. I learned that if I treated my artwork as a business, I could figure out formulas for selling and creating that would last longer than a few months. And here I am!

What inspires your art work?

My artwork represents the intersection of my rural, Southern upbringing with my love for storytelling and found objects. I handcraft each work from the array of materials I’ve been salvaging and collecting since I was a child. My portfolio is vast, styles and mediums quite varied, but most of my artwork could fall under the categories of collage and/or assemblage. I craft paper collage pieces representing humans or mythologic heroes and the flora/fauna I so adore. I like to spend time reminiscing on the past while flipping through the pages of decades forgotten magazines, intently searching for the perfect shape, color, or texture within a periodical’s pages to add to my archive of collage elements. I’ve become increasingly precise and intricate over the years; my latest large-scale paper collages feature thousands of individually hand-cut pieces.

What materials do you use / What is the process like of creating your unique art pieces?

Likewise, my more dimensional pieces, such as my faux taxidermy series, are founded in similar collage and assemblage techniques. Like my collage work, these works are united by the labor-intensive processes involved in their construction: hand-carving wood forms, flattening salvaged scrap with a mallet, cutting hundreds of metal strips with tin snips, smoothing and sanding rough elements with a metal grinder. These tactile wall-sculptures are replete with a dense array of found material, ranging from the industrial to the organic, all gathered in my travels cross-country these last many years.

My artistic process originates at the moment I begin rummaging through an abandoned barn, a derelict warehouse, or a gnarly industrial scrapyard. I love to discover vast bounties of discarded and historical items inspiring the work that I produce in unique and often unexpected ways. Each piece of art I produce contains material truly special to me for its ability to tell a story and stir wonder for the rugged American landscape.

Do you have any events or projects coming up you’d like people to know about? 

Where can people purchase your art or commission art from you?

I look forward to my spring and summer of art festivals in Denver, around Colorado and beyond. I am constantly updating the Show Schedule page on my website (, so that’s a great spot to check if you’re looking for art festivals where I might be spotted! I’ll definitely be at the Cherry Creeks Arts Festival in Denver over the Fourth of July weekend this summer.

My art is otherwise available online on my website – – where you can find everything from availale originals to limited edition art prints to information on commissioning a unique custom work.

Do you have a favorite series or piece that you’ve done? What story does it tell? 

That is a really tough question – I love everything I make, for different reasons, and because each one tells a different story. Perhaps I will highlight my Vaquera Sudoeste (Southwest Cowgirls) series, which I have made in both paper collage and metal wall sculptures. These are a sisterhood of unique, beautiful, incredibly strong women. I set out to create a family of powerful heroines reminiscent of the influential women in my life, incorporating elements from Mexican, Southwestern and Western tradition to pay homage to those who will not back down – and some of the most influential, unforgettable, and formative humans I’ve had the privilege to cross paths with. Western mythology and folklore is ripe with male heroes, but noticeably fewer heroines. I was conscious in my desire to create a new female icon of the West. These Vaqueras represent qualities – strength, nurture, tenacity – I so deeply admire in the women I love.

What do you love about Denver?

I love the vibe here (you are aptly named). I love that people really respect (revere? Appreciate? All?) the natural world, and being so close to nature is such a gift. If I could be outdoors, adventuring around in a new, quiet, earthy space all the time, I would do just that.

Are you from CO? Why did you choose to call your neighborhood home?

I am originally from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and by way of Chicago and many, many art fairs criss-crossing the country since I started my art career, I have landed here. We intentionally sought a place with ample natural spaces to explore – that is definitely one of my favorite things about being here. Always a pocket of something green, something treed, something mountainous to get into (and get lost in).

What are your favorite local Denver businesses/places?

Great question.

  • Compass Fitness → absolutely killer workouts, great people, awesome welcoming environment
  • Sacred Thistle → mother-daughter owned; uniquely gorgeous plants, furnishings, books…
  • Fifty Two 80’s A Totally Awesome Shop → you just have to go.
  • Skratch Labs / Boulder → wonderfully cool founder, great product. I love that this is local!

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