Posts filed under art practice

The serious business of play (dates)

I call them "play dates" but I'm serious about experiencing art with my artist friends.

  Artist Rachel Setzer, shown in profile with "Naida, the Proud Princess" by Edward S. Curtis

Artist Rachel Setzer, shown in profile with "Naida, the Proud Princess" by Edward S. Curtis

Rachel Setzer and I took in "Double Exposure" at the Seattle Art Museum recently. She understands my love of tintypes, daguerreotypes and other old-fashioned photo technology, so Will Wilson's prints were a big draw for both of us.

You can see the cooperation between photographer and portrait sitter, which has a different vibe compared to Edward S. Curtis' documents of a 'vanishing' people. However, the Curtis photos far outnumber the contemporary work.

  Will Wilson, "Talking Tintype, Andy Everson, Artist, Citizen of the K'  ómoks   First Nation"

Will Wilson, "Talking Tintype, Andy Everson, Artist, Citizen of the K'ómoks First Nation"

The exhibit is more of a Curtis survey with a few living, Northwest Native artists added for local color (pun intended). I think Rachel and I found the exhibit aesthetically pleasing, but still a let-down. Fortunately, Amy Sherald's work is just around the corner.

  Amy Sherald, "Saint Woman"

Amy Sherald, "Saint Woman"

It's on view as part of "In This Imperfect Present Moment," an exhibit of 15 contemporary artists whose work local art collectors are lending to SAM. Valencia Carroll and I visited the show for some in-person inspiration. After gawping over Amy Sherald's painting, I also found another favorite by Lawrence Lemoana. His banner prompted me to see a disturbingly familiar parallel between Dave Meinert in Seattle and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

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Bottom line: if I'm going to venture out of the studio...

  Genevieve Gaignard, "Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred)"

Genevieve Gaignard, "Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred)"

geeking out over Genevieve Gaignard's photography with friends makes it worth the effort.

The time to collect art is NOW

Here's what I imagine happens in an art collector's brain when they decide they NEED to have that art in their lives:

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When I delivered a collage to this new collector, I was privileged to see her reaction in real time. She and her husband had seen "Rare & Exquisite" in the show I curated at Columbia City Gallery...

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... and the collage stopped them in their tracks. The husband loves maps, and he'd mentioned he would like "something more 3D" for this spot on the wall. 

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If you've been itching to take home original art, you're in good company. This weekend, the Seattle Art Fair returns for its fourth summer, drawing collectors and art galleries from around the world.

  Inaugural Seattle Art Fair, 2015

Inaugural Seattle Art Fair, 2015

A few things to remember:

  • Buy what you love (of course) and buy local if you can
  • Your support makes it possible for the artist to make MORE art (and pay their bills)
  • You can always pay for the work in installments -- just ask

One last thing: Wear comfortable shoes if you're going to the art fair. Wouldn't it be a shame if you had to leave your favorite new artwork at the booth/artist studio just because your poor feet couldn't support you for one more minute?

Liberty Bank Building: new (old) faces

Back to work on the collage portraits for the Liberty Bank Building. This week I'm staring down some formidable faces.

  Dr. Rev. Samuel B. McKinney (from the Liberty Bank & McKinney family archives)

Dr. Rev. Samuel B. McKinney (from the Liberty Bank & McKinney family archives)

Dr. Rev. Samuel McKinney was an activist who moved mountains. During his tenure as leader of the iconic Mount Zion Baptist Church, he co-founded Liberty Bank as well as a housing complex for the elderly and working poor. He was also a gracious person with a resonant, Morgan Freeman-as-God-level voice. I just hope I can do his portrait justice.

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And just a few days ago, I learned about the architect DeNorval Unthank Jr. He and fellow architect Mel Streeter teamed up to design the original Liberty Bank. "De," as he was called, was also the first black man to earn an architecture degree from the University of Oregon. One of the university residence halls has been renamed for him.

  Unthank Hall sign unveiling (credit: Around the O/University. of Oregon)

Unthank Hall sign unveiling (credit: Around the O/University. of Oregon)

So... just making a couple more collage portraits of Northwest icons. No pressure.

Liberty Bank co-founders: George Tokuda

I'm starting to make faces -- collaged faces -- for the Liberty Bank Building portrait series.

This is George Tokuda, one of the original Liberty Bank's nine co-founders. He and his family owned Tokuda Drugs, a longtime fixture of Seattle's Central District. community.

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His daughter Wendy Tokuda was kind enough to send me the original photo of George; she remembers "how proud he was to be on the bank board. It’s where I got my college loan!"

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George was a native Washingtonian, born around 1913 in Mukilteo where Japanese immigrants worked for a lumber company. The area (now a hiking trail and nature preserve) is still known as Japanese Gulch.

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George's family later moved down to Seattle, where he opened the drugstore in 1935. But as a Japanese American in the Pacific Northwest during World War II, he was one of thousands rounded up and sent to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho.

  Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Learning how much George gave to his communities -- and how much was taken from him -- I find the city of Mukilteo's logo and welcome sign painfully ironic.

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So I altered my photo of this lighthouse sign...

  Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

... replacing the lighthouse tower with the ruins of the Minidoka guard and entrance gate.

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I'm deeply grateful to Wendy Tokuda, the Mukilteo Historical Society, HistoryLink and the Liberty Bank photo archives for the opportunity to honor Mr. Tokuda. 

Posted on June 15, 2018 and filed under art practice.

Resin-ating with history

I'm gonna have some fun with newsprint and resin paper. Have you ever tried this technique?

I plan to use it in the collage portraits I'm making for the Liberty Bank Building apartments. If you've seen my work, you know I often layer translucent images over patterned paper and other materials.

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For this project, I get to incorporate newspaper clippings about the bank from that time. Not the originals -- I'm copying the images onto newsprint. 

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I'll add fine art paper to the collages for color, mostly from my current hoard. (It's not "hoarding" per se if you use it eventually.) 

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Later, I'll start piecing together "suits" for each founder. My paper stash gives me a lot of options here, but I may have to pass up some of my favorite patterns. These folks were founding a bank in the late 1960s, after all. I'll try to avoid anything too wild, but again... no promises.