Not to be tied down to just one category, Barry Bartel is the first to win two within the Denver Lawyers’ Arts and Literature Contest: photography and sculpture.
“I never really considered myself an artist,” Bartel says. “But I’ve always enjoyed photography and woodworking.”
We beg to differ – he is clearly a multi-talented artist and lawyer! And, his adventurous life path has led to a wealth of inspiration. Bartel grew up in eastern Colorado and learned woodworking from his father. Following college in Kansas, he moved to Haiti for three years with his wife before returning to Oregon for law school. After establishing a legal career in Colorado, Bartel and his wife decided they wanted to relocate to Bolivia with their two kids. They lived there for five years, working as directors for development projects through Mennonite Central Committee.
Although they’ve since returned to Denver (where Bartel practices at Holland & Hart, with a focus on natural resources and commercial litigation) he still cites traveling – and specifically, Bolivia – as his artistic inspiration. In fact, his winning photograph ‘Spices in a Bolivian Market’ was taken in a small rural market with a Canon AE-1 print film camera. A woman had blankets spread on the ground with bags of spices everywhere, and each day she would roll the bags back up and put them in the saddlebags on her donkey to head to the next market.
His winning woodworking sculpture is similarly inspired by the world: the pieces of wood are from each of the five time zones they have lived in, with the clock on each piece showing the time in that time zone. From left to right, the pieces are: Myrtlewood from Oregon, Pine from Colorado, Black Walnut from Kansas, Mahogany from Haiti, and Tarara from Bolivia.