If you’ve visited Aunt Helen’s cafe recently, you may have noticed a huge new artwork adorning the interior of the cafe.
A huge mural, painted in bright orange and yellow with shades of grey trees and a few deer, pays homage to dear Aunt Helen herself and co-owner Amy Hutson.
“That’s how they spend their summer. Aunt Helen will come out and they’ll hop in a van and go state to state to see the national parks,” said co-owner Bob Hutson. “We were stunned when we saw it; it exceeded our expectations.”
The mural was designed and painted by local artist and Brix Brew and Tap staff member Falk Houben.
“He’s such a great young man, so talented,” Hutson said. “We’re glad he’s coming in and doing it for us.”
Houben’s unique gritty pop culture flair also adorns the walls of Brix. From a pink raptor in a trucker hat and a raccoon in a beanie to a beer-drinking bear and a skeleton dressed for a hike, Houben’s artwork covers a variety of themes and themes.
“My work is definitely inspired by Colorado,” explains Houben, 33. “I’ve always loved animals; there’s always been a favorite place to work on animal art and character art. I love adding some character to them.”
Houben uses acrylic paint on canvas to create paintings that resemble street art, with their playful lines and vibrant colors.
“I really like this kind of modern street art, but the subject matter is very natural,” he said. “I love playing with animal art and putting a new spin on it.”
Born and raised in Koblenz, Germany, at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and surrounded by mountains in the west of the country, Houben moved to the United States with his wife in 2015.
“My wife was born and raised in Fort Collins and we met in Germany. We lived in Texas for four years before moving here,” he said.
For the most part, Houben taught himself how to paint and developed his own style. He did attend an art academy in Germany, but admits he wasn’t sure how much that had affected the style or developing his skills.
“If you’re an artist, you can express ideas or ideas, whether they’re good, bad, or weird, and you can free it from your mind and put it into the medium,” Houben said. “So I’m enjoying it.”
Since moving to northern Colorado, Houben is working to expand his art business into a full-time job.
“When I moved to Texas, it was amazing that I was able to make a living from art. But when you move, because art is so local, you have to rebuild all the connections you have,” Hoben said . “Together with Covid-19, it brought me back to the bartending business.”
Houben added that for a community like Greeley that is open to art and appreciates the artist’s skills, it’s easy to make connections.
More of Houben’s work can be seen on his Instagram page @Falk_Art and can be purchased at Brix.
“I was definitely trying to build an online store, but COVID gave me a little pause on that,” he said. “There were no art shows or mural art for a while. But slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal.”
For information on murals or custom work, please contact Houben at (817) 845-1692.