Animals

Have You Met Denver International Airport’s Blucifer?

When you arrived at Denver International Airport, did you ever notice that a frightening blue horse was waiting for you? The dark blue horse with the brilliant red eyes will definitely make an impression whether you visit during the day or at night.

In February 2023, the well-known monument in front of Denver International Airport celebrated its 15th anniversary. But even people who have seen the dreadful blue mustang before may not be aware of the statue’s backstory.

What Is Blucifer?

A massive statue known as Blucifer is situated close to Denver International Airport. It is inevitable for anyone arriving at the airport for a flight to pass this statue. Blue Mustang is actually its name. The horse’s appearance and the statue’s sordid past, however, have earned it the moniker “Blucifer” among the locals.

The statue of the horse is 32 feet high. It is comparable in height to the length of a bus. Its massive weight is nine thousand pounds. It is therefore more than twice as heavy as the typical hippodrome. Or, almost nine hundred pounds lighter than the heaviest hippos ever recorded.

In the day, it’s difficult to ignore the vivid blue hue. It is especially striking at night. At night, the airport lights up the statue, attracting attention to the towering figure. Additionally, it has red-lit LED lights inside its eyes. There have only been two light changes in the previous fifteen years.

The airport in Denver includes Blucifer. Located on Peña Boulevard, it has grown to be both a beloved and dreaded aspect of the airport for numerous visitors, residents, and employees.

The Story Behind Blucifer

There is much to learn about the history behind Blucifer’s construction. This sculpture of a blue horse has acquired a nickname due to lawsuits and even death. In spite of this, the horse’s story is both touching and depressing.

Lawsuits

The Denver International Airport encountered some difficulties in obtaining the artwork after placing the order. The artist consistently missed deadlines. At one point, the city of Denver even sued the artist to recover all of their money.

But in the end, the lawsuit was irrelevant. Denver paid the outstanding amount and received their sculpture, despite the fact that it was extremely late.

The Artist

Even though Blucifer has only been in existence for 15 years, it has a long history. 1992 saw the initial commissioning of it. But the horse wasn’t completed until 2008 due to a number of different issues.

It was commissioned as part of Denver International Airport’s strategy to highlight the airport and attract more tourists by bringing in public art. They paid $300,000 for the commission on this horse.

Luis Jiménez is Bluficer’s artist. The majority of the monument was created in his New Mexico art studio. Regretfully, Luis passed away in 2006 before he could complete the statue. One of the portions broke free and fell on Blucifer while he was working on him. The part damaged his artery in addition to pinning him down.

Luis’s family and friends made the decision to complete the Mustang in his honor after he passed away. His son put in a lot of effort over the course of two more years to see that Blucifer was completed and delivered to Denver International Airport.

The Eyes

Gleaming ruby eyes are frequently connected to evil or even devils. The explanation for the lights is far more pleasant, though. Luis had a store selling neon signs. His son remembers the neon signs and the vivid colors they emitted with nostalgia. Eventually, Luis began gradually transitioning to fiberglass, but his son and the neon signs were never far behind.

Regarding the color selection, Luis had a terrible situation while tinkering with the Blue Mustang. His horse, Black Jack, served as a muse for several of his artworks. The horse entered their home one night in an unexpected way.

Bright red eyes greeted Luis as he descended to investigate the ruckus. Before he knew who the offender was, it startled him enough to raise the hairs on the back of his neck.

Therefore, even if the eyes might seem a little frightening to those who are unfamiliar with the tale, it’s a touching way for a family to cherish a special tale and preserve their loved one’s memory.

The Color

Luis frequently employed hues reminiscent to automobile paint. He particularly liked the glitzy hues found on lowrider automobile types. Even though his sculptures may only appear to be one color—as is the case with Blucifer—there were actually at least six colors. Although the majority of the colors were very close in shade, they nevertheless managed to add depth and dimension that single, solid hues could not match.

Luis passed away prior to choosing the colors. Several sketches and notes described the horse as being, among other hues, a shade of pink or yellow. But in the end, his son chose to go with blue.

Their horse was the reason for this. Black Jack was regarded as a blue Appaloosa, even though his color wasn’t quite as vivid blue as the statue’s. For the horse statue, they therefore chose to go with the more realistic shade of blue.

Will Blucifer Stick Around?

Many people were critical of Denver International Airport as soon as the horse was raised. The terrible statue was desired to be taken down, or at the at least, to have its glaring red eyes altered to a different color. Conspiracy theories were sparked, Facebook pages were created, and the horse became the talk of the nearby cities. Some even proposed painting the horse orange and blue to symbolize support for the nearby Broncos football team.

Nevertheless, there was no way they were going to take it down before then because Denver’s airport has a regulation requiring art to be up for at least five years.

Now that the horse is commemorating its 15 years at the airport, it is clear that this date has passed, and there is still no indication that the artwork will be removed anytime soon.

The popularity is mostly to blame for it. There is always someone talking about the horse, even if it’s not always positive. People will continue to think about the airport as long as the horse is in the news.

Even though the airport has received a lot of complaints about the horse, they are confident that the public outrage would be far greater if they leave it up. It is now unquestionably a part of the neighborhood and would be missed if something were to happen to it.

The Future

The airport has implemented several safeguards to ensure the horse is present for an extended period of time. It is a resilient statue that can withstand strong winds, hail, and rain. Even though it was recently the target of graffiti vandalism, it survived repairs undamaged.

The statue is insured for two million dollars by the airport. In order to ensure that everything is functioning as it should, it also receives yearly cleanings, touch-ups, and inspections. The horse doesn’t appear to be leaving its location anytime soon, even with all of these safety measures.

This horse has gained popularity in spite of all the criticism and the unflattering moniker from the neighbors. People enjoy making up tales about the airport gatekeeper and entertaining travelers with them as they approach the airport. As much a part of Denver as the backdrop mountains are, Blucifer is now. Things simply wouldn’t be the same if the horse lost its eyes, changed color, or was subdued.