I’m a local who loves “Blucifer,” the freaky, famous blue mustang outside Denver International Airport.
The Blucifer Blue Mustang sculpture is one of the city’s more alarming public art works and impossible to miss as you drive along Peña Boulevard. With red glowing eyes, many find this Horse of the Apocalypse unsettling, and the history behind it is even stranger.
In this guide about Mustang, I share history, folklore, and conspiracies about the famous “Blucifer.”
Table of Contents
- About Blue Mustang‘s Artist, Luis Jiménez
- The Story of Mustang (“Blucifer”)
- Conspiracies about “Blucifer” and Denver International Airport
- How to View “Blucifer”
- FAQs About “Blucifer”
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About Blue Mustang‘s Artist, Luis Jiménez
“Blucifer”, formally known as Mustang, is a cast-fiberglass sculpture created by artist Luis Jiménez. He was known for depicting Hispanic-American themes, and much of his fine art has been displayed in venues throughout the Southwest.
Some pieces have even been featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, one of the best museums in Washington DC.
Jiménez’s work is heavily influenced by the lowrider car culture. On many of his works, you’ll notice the gorgeous, glitter paint effect that’s often seen on lowriders. Jiménez was also inspired by Diego Rivera, and had pop culture influences in his work as well. He focused on common people in his artwork.
Jiménez was commissioned in 1992 to begin the blue Mustang sculpture. He missed several deadlines and was sued by the City of Denver for $165,000 — the amount it had paid him up front. Jiménez then countersued the city, and in mediation, they struck a deal that he would finish his sculpture. (Source)
Luis Jiménez was tragically killed by the blue Mustang statue as he was working on it. A large section of “Blucifer” came loose and that part of the sculpture fell on him, severing an artery in his leg and killing him in his New Mexico studio. (Source)
Jiménez’s family completed the sculpture with help from professional lowrider/race car painters Camillo Nuñez and Richard LaVato. The sculpture was sent to California to be assembled, then shipped to Denver and unveiled at the Denver International Airport in February of 2008.
The Story of Mustang (“Blucifer”)
This mighty mustang hits some impressive numbers. Here are some interesting facts about “Blucifer”.
- A 32-foot tall statue
- Made from polychromed fiberglass
- 9,000 lbs. heavy
- A brilliant big blue horse, although early sketches show him as yellow or pink
- Bolted onto a concrete base on a median on Peña Boulevard
- Insured for $2 million. The sculpture was commissioned for $300,000, although the city paid $650,000 in the end.
- Anatomically correct. Ahem. You can Google illicit pictures of the blue mustang if you’d like, but I shall say no more!
Okay, for starters, Jimenez’s estate doesn’t really like us calling him “Blucifer.” If you’re going to talk to anyone at DIA or in an official capacity, show some respect for the demon horse and call him Mustang or the blue Mustang.
Let’s take a look at some of the inspiration behind the azure Appaloosa statue, shall we? Many people believe that Jiménez ultimately chose to paint the blue mustang that color because he had a blue Appaloosa of his own named Black Jack.
The brilliant coloring is thanks to Jiménez’s background as a lowrider artist, and his bucking stance is meant to symbolize the freedom of the American West.
Some people also surmise that the artist chose the blue body as a nod to a local legend. In the San Luis Valley, one of the best places to visit in Colorado, it’s believed that among the wild horses, there was one particular blue mustang with red eyes who could fly.
The feature many people find the most unsettling, his red glowing eyes, are a tribute to Jimenez’s father who had a neon workshop where he produced signs. DIA is rather proud of how rarely the lights need to be changed (because they’re LED flood lights, not because they’re powered by the souls of the undead. I’m pretty sure.)
Conspiracies about “Blucifer” and Denver International Airport
Part of the fascination with the big blue horse that watches over Peña Boulevard is due to a bigger fascination with Denver International Airport.
For decades now, the airport has fostered some pretty big conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, aliens, underground tunnels, and murals with secret messages. There are all sorts of delicious rumors that will creep you out if you happen to be in the airport in the wee hours.
Let’s take a look at a few conspiracies about Denver International Airport:
- DIA Conspiracy Theory #1 – DIA was built by the New World Order: A large plaque commemorating the airport’s construction and time capsule (to be opened in 2094 — I can’t wait!) says the airport was funded by the “New World Airport Commission.” No one seems to know what this commission is, or anything about it. This led people to suspect the group was part of the New World Order. Naturally.
- DIA Conspiracy Theory #2 – DIA houses the Illuminati headquarters: Ooh, I hope this one’s true…see, the aforementioned time capsule also has a Freemasons symbol on it, along with symbols of the Illuminati. The airport also went wildly over budget, leading people to suspect the money was being spent on other things like underground secret society headquarters.
- DIA Conspiracy Theory #3 – DIA artwork points to the apocalypse: This is where our buddy “Blucifer” comes in. Artwork around the airport, including murals with gargoyles perched on open suitcases and the big blue Mustang himself, are said to hold clues. Supposedly, these point to the secret societies hiding in the deep recesses of Denver International Airport — and to our impending doom. Gulp.
- DIA Conspiracy Theory #4 – Underground tunnels allow the secret elite a place to hang out: The tunnels are also said to allow the elite a place to hide when the apocalypse hits. Oh yeah, and it’s where they keep the Lizard People, out of plain sight of the rest of us, which I find very unfair. (In actuality, the tunnels are used to move baggage around the airport).
To be clear, none of these DIA conspiracies are true. See here for more explanation if you really need it.
How to View “Blucifer”
The only way to view DIA’s Blue Mustang sculpture is while driving by on the road approach to DIA.
I’m afraid there’s no good (legal) way to get up close and personal with “Blucifer.” Believe me, I’ve explored all the possibilities because I desperately want a selfie with him.
The demonic horse is positioned in a center median with busy lanes of traffic on both sides. There are no designated pullouts to stop and take a picture. The best you can do is have someone else drive while you snap a few quick shots in passing. But don’t despair — don’t you think having fewer photos just contributes to the overall mystique of this magnificent demon horse?
FAQs About “Blucifer”
Why does the Denver airport have a blue horse?
Denver airport has a blue horse because the city of Denver commissioned a sculpture by artist Luis Jiménez. Denver has a proud history of public art, including a giant broom and dustpan outside the Denver Art Museum, one of the best museums in Denver.
There’s also a big blue bear peering in the window of the Convention Center, and two 6-foot tall dancers cavorting by the Performing Arts Complex. You’ll find many more statues all over town and in the surrounding suburbs.
What is the meaning of “Blucifer”?
The meaning of “Blucifer” is attributed to several things. First, the mustang sculpture is rearing, showing the wildness and freedom of the Southwest. Second, the bright colors of the mustang sculpture are a nod to the artist’s background as a lowrider painter. If you look closely at the blue, it’s shot through with glitter and sparkle, just as many lowrider cars are.
Why does “Blucifer” have red eyes?
“Blucifer” has red eyes as a nod to the artist’s father. Jimenez’s father ran a neon sign shop, and the glowing red eyes are LED flood lights reminiscent of his father’s work.
Who made the horse statue at the Denver airport?
The horse statue at the Denver airport was made by Luis Jiménez. He was commissioned, then designed and constructed most of the mustang sculpture himself. However, the artist died before his work was completed.
Who finished “Blucifer”?
Luis Jiménez’s family, friends, and staff finished “Blucifer” after he died. Two painters with experience painting race cars and lowriders — Camillo Nuñez and Richard LaVato — also helped complete the statue.
✈️ Colorado Trivia: How Many Airports Are in Colorado?
Hopefully, this look at “Blucifer” has given you plenty to think about! The next time you drive down Peña Boulevard and stare at this controversial piece, you’ll know all about how the blue demon horse came about. To see more things around the City of Denver, quirky or not, check out Nate’s list of 61 Things to Do in Denver!
(Featured Image Credit: Ted Alexander Somerville / Shutterstock)
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