Arts & Entertainment


New gallery LightSpeed Curations has a lot going on
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LightSpeed Curations’ Jessica de la Luna, Nat Feather and Jacob Lonergan (Photo by Bryan Oller)

LightSpeed Curations’ ambition can barely be contained within its walls. It’s hard to peg the venue as anything other than a wildly creative work of art all its own. 

Yes, it’s a gallery, but it’s also a tattoo shop, a photography studio, an event space, a black light gallery and so much more. Housed in an unassuming strip mall a short walk from the vibrant rows of shops in Old Colorado City, it’s a multi-faceted gem hidden in plain sight that offers so much in one interconnected space. 

“Every time a new person [comes in] they’re like, ‘We love this space, the space is amazing,’” says photographer Jake Hopkins, co-owner with tattoo artist Nat Feather. “It’s like a fortune cookie. [On the] outside, it looks bland and nasty and then when you get inside, there’s a bunch of happiness.”

LightSpeed came together when Hopkins and Feather grew tired of how things were done in the industry — how little creative freedom they had and how other tattoo shops took advantage of their artists. “We didn’t really like the way [our industry] was being run. I went to Nat and was like, ‘This seems messed up,’ and he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s been like this for 30 years,’” Hopkins says.

It’s like a fortune cookie. [On the] outside, it looks bland and nasty and then when you get inside, there’s a bunch of happiness.”
— Jake Hopkins

Among LightSpeed’s displays: 3D pieces. (Photo by Bryan Oller)

Curator De la Luna in their future podcast studio (Photo by Bryan Oller)

The vibrant bathroom (Photo by Bryan Oller)

They hashed out their own vision, initially seeking a smaller space where Feather and maybe a couple other artists could set up shop. But through their “amazing” real estate agent, they found their current home on 25th Street — a much larger space that also allowed Hopkins to set up his photography studio — and their dreams quickly filled the space. They took ownership last April and opened in August.

LightSpeed has a lot going on. Feather conducts wild experiments with color in skin and on canvas in the tattoo parlor in back. Hopkins’ studio is hidden behind a wall where he works and teaches. A waiting room hidden behind another wall — that they affectionately call “the monkey room” — will become a podcast studio where they plan to interview artists.

And then there’s the gallery and event space up front — curated by Jessica de la Luna with events coordinated by Jacob Lonergan — which is taller than most any in town. They’ve put it to good use with massive paintings by Jesse Stockman when we visit on First Friday.

Mind=blown (Photo by Bryan Oller)

Binding all these spaces together is something unique to LightSpeed: the city’s only permanent black light gallery. Feather and De la Luna were intrigued by pieces at EDM concerts, night clubs and other venues that took advantage of black light (or UV-A light). But they were usually one-off or one-night exhibitions. Their hall allows them to display not just black light-enhanced paintings and works of art, but also provides a space for artists to experiment with ChromaDepth art that takes advantage of 3D glasses.

“We have so many artists that hear about our gallery and walk in with art that they have never shown anywhere. I think that that really sets us apart from the majority of the other galleries,” says De la Luna, who has curated locally for over two decades. Even their bathroom is a spectacle, with vibrant mosaics that glow bright in the light, but also in the dark.

With their Swiss army knife-esque venue, the LightSpeed quartet want their little slice of OCC to become a launch pad for artists to learn and grow. They believe that making a living with art should be an attainable thing and to that end, they offer below-market rates on classes and require no deposits to rent their space for events and workshops.

“Artist empowerment is like the biggest thing around here and I’m all about empowering the community, empowering people individually,” Lonergan says as we stand in their gallery and events space. A drum set anchors a corner, inviting passersby to play with it. “I feel like LightSpeed provides not only a space for someone to come in and create and display their art, but just to come and be themselves.”

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