First Thursdays are synonymous with art in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. My friend, Autumn, invited me to join her and her friend, Amy, this past Thursday. It was cold so we went straight to the Tashiro Kaplan artist lofts. The entire triangular-shaped block is devoted to artists’ spaces and the lower levels are galleries. We got to stay inside and visit dozens of galleries. When the weather is nicer (for two weeks in July) walking around outside is fun. A lot of artists set up booths in Occidental square.
We saw a wonderful installation that filled an entire room.
Cut paper was the medium for this intricate piece.
This installation caught my eye because artist Ellen Hochberg used women’s garments as her canvas. The leaf motif represents the female form. Here, we see the form on garments that span a woman’s life–from infancy and childhood to womanhood. Check out her website for other amazing work in ink and oil.
We used out smartphones to learn about encaustic. These two pieces showing skeletons of a leaf and bird were ethereal. The layered way technique created an otherworld-ness to these pieces.
They say smoking kills, and these paintings, show the subject smoking during a gruesome and violent situation (granted, the cigarettes are hard to see at this scale). I don’t know if that’s the message intended by the artist, but we noticed the cigarette theme and decided to take our pictures next to various paintings in this series. I was trying to juxtapose joy and pain (hence my silly smile). Autumn was far more stoic, and Amy was pretending not to look.
The Seattle Freeze was the theme of this installation. I met artist Troy Gua and chatting with him for a moment about the “cool distance” people who move to seattle encounter when meeting people here. But like the protective exterior of the duct-taped teddy bears, under all that toughness is a soft, cuddly toy. So too, perhaps, are Seattleites.
Autumn and I said goodbye to Amy and then we wandered to Occidental Square, where we found more yarn bombing! This is the same set of work that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This time, I found out who the artist is: Suzanne Tidwell created it.
No art trip is complete without a drink so we popped in at Merchant’s Café, Seattle’s oldest restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that in 1890, it was full of men on their way to the gold rush. The bar is gorgeous, carved wood and stained glass ceiling lamps illuminate the room. It’s a real piece of history.
Other neighborhoods have art walks throughout the month too: West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Belltown, Georgetown, to name a few. For artists like Amy, Autumn, and me, art walks are inspiring. They’re also a great way to get out, socialize, and support the local arts community. Before you buy a mass-produced reproduction at a department store, consider an original piece from a local artist. Many are very affordable and there are so many mediums to choose from: paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, and more.
Have you been to an art walk recently? Do you buy art? Make it?