15-year-old artist Cody Oldham opens solo show at the MAC, plus more events this week

click to enlarge CODY OLDHAM

  • Cody Oldham

An Untouched World

Opening reception, Jan. 3, 5-8 p.m., on display through February, 513 Manitou Ave., manitouartcenter.org

Cody Oldham may only be 15 years old, but he’s already making a name for himself in the world of art. His water-based oil landscape and wildlife paintings have been featured in a one-man show at the Paquette Gallery in Salida and on the walls of downtown eatery Red Gravy. This month and next, you can catch his work at the Manitou Art Center’s Hallway & Slam Gallery, where it will hang until the end of February.

click to enlarge eventhorizon1-2.jpg

Oldham began honing his skills just four years ago, beginning with sculptures of dinosaurs before moving on to painting at age 12. His father, also an artist, encouraged him to embrace his passion, and Oldham began to teach himself basic skills from YouTube videos. He soon connected with his mentor, New Zealand artist Andrew Tischler, who has helped him to grow his craft.

“I live in the mountains and am surrounded by nature,” says Oldham. “Looking out the window in every season inspires me. I’m fortunate enough to live where a variety of 14-ers and other amazing landscapes are a short drive away.” He and his father take frequent hikes together, where Oldham snaps photos for future paintings.

Oldham’s paintings usually depict pristine landscapes, in the sense that they are devoid of humankind’s presence — no roads, no houses. He also enjoys painting wildlife; capturing their true essence challenges him. His process involves sketches from reference photos, blocking on canvas and then filling in the details one section at a time. Working with water-based oils gives him the look of oil with the benefits commonly associated with acrylics, including easy clean-up and less toxicity.

One of Oldham’s goals, besides continuing to distribute his work in various galleries and grow his online business, is to inspire other young artists to pursue their work, regardless of their age.

“Young artists need more support and encouragement now than ever,” says Oldham. “There are so many messages telling young artists that art isn’t a real career, that it’s ‘just a hobby.’ This simply isn’t true. People of all ages have more opportunities than ever these days to create careers that didn’t exist before. There’s never been a better time to be an artist.”

Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Jan. 2, 9-11:30 a.m., 559 E. Pikes Peak Ave., #101, $30, coloradosbdc.org

Getting a business off the ground is not easy, not even in entrepreneur-friendly Colorado Springs. The Small Business Development Center has designed a fast-paced, information-packed boot camp to help you get a true grasp on what it takes to go from idea to reality in owning your own business. Presenter Steve Imke is a small-business specialist who will give you real answers about the hard work required, and tips for a successful journey if you decide entrepreneurship is right for you.

The Gateway Show

Jan. 3, 9:30-11 p.m., 1305 N. Academy Blvd., $10-$30, tinyurl.com/rj667c9

If you’re longing for some comedic relief to help you forget that the end of the weekend signals an end to the holidays — or if you just want to celebrate that fact — Loonee’s Comedy Corner has a hell of a Friday night send-off for you. Stand-up comedians hit the stage and share their top-tier jokes. Pretty standard, right? They are then sent to an undisclosed location to get extremely high, the kind of high usually reserved for first-time tourists who eat the whole edible in one sitting. They come back and attempt to perform their craft a second time — “attempt” being the operative word. Get your tickets ahead of time because this event fills up fast and you’ll want a good seat.

Poetry Slam

Jan. 3, 6-9 p.m., 525 N. Cascade Ave., $5-$10, donations welcome, facebook.com/Poetry719

Poetry 719, Hear, Here! Poetry and The Next Us have teamed up for a stellar poetry event. Get some help with your current verse at a workshop, try out new lines at the open mic, or gather up your courage and sign up for the Spit Slam (rules require that you bring three new, original poems that have never been used in a slam). Whatever poem you use must be at least three minutes long and you can’t use instruments or take your clothes off. If you win the slam, you get a belt, just like a championship boxer, plus a future feature at an upcoming poetry event.

Colorado Springs Fitness Expo

Jan. 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 221 E. Kiowa St., free, coloradospringsfitnessexpo.com

The new year inspires people to find a fresh perspective in many areas of their lives, including physical fitness. Inspiration awaits at the 5th Annual Fitness Expo at City Auditorium, where you’ll find health and fitness vendors offering apparel, equipment, memberships and classes to get you started and keep you going after the motivation begins to wane. Even better, the event promises live classes including new trends like hot hula and dance-based options, plus classic favorites like Zumba and trampoline workouts.