Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dream House, The Fourth Amendment

This piece was created for an auction benefitting the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
It is inspired by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dream House, Artworks for AIDS

This piece was created for the Northwest AIDS Foundation benefit, Artwork for AIDS.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dream Houses, Mia Gallery, 1993

My second show at the Mia Gallery was held in 1993 and featured a group of papier maché sculptures that I called "Dream Houses."  I created the last group of these for a group show at the Mia Gallery in 1997, shortly before the gallery closed.  

Monday, February 28, 2011

On Sight: A Cultural Plan for Tacoma

On Sight, A Cultural Plan for Tacoma, was a large magazine format  with a color glossy cover.
In 1992, I was asked by graphic designer Julia Field to create illustrations for the Cultural Plan for Tacoma.  This was a unique project in that Julia and I attended planning meetings for the plan and over the course of several months the illustrations and look for the document were developed along with the writing.  It was an excellent process, and the resulting publication was quite impressive.

This piece was done for the section on individual artists.
This is an illustration for the Arts and Cultural Section.
An illustration of a cultural map for the section on Neighborhood and Cultural Identity
Flying tickets for the Marketing and Cultural Tourism section
"Artistic risks can be taken with the support of a financial safety net,"  from the section on Cultural Organizations.
From the section on Neighborhood and Cultural Identity.
From the section Arts and Cultural Education.
A "live/work space" for the section on Individual Artists.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Illustrations for Guitar World

Eric Clapton in 1992
As graphic designers who had worked in the creative freedom of The Rocket moved on in the quest for greener pastures in publishing, they often brought along their illustrator contacts.  Jesse Reyes took over at Guitar World and featured a number of Seattle illustrators including myself.  Here are a few of the pieces that I did.
Eric Clapton in 1994
Robert Cray
Thrash metal

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yard Art

Little Freeway
The day that I was scheduled to be on an artist designed garden tour, I was unexpectedly detained on the Strange Bedfellows float in the pride parade, but my little garden was on the tour.  Thankfully, Rose, my downstairs neighbor, was also on the tour.   My home studio was next to the long term I-90/Rainier Avenue South overpass construction site and there was a concrete pumping company at the end of the block, so I created a miniature freeway traffic jam.  Sculptures from the Eden II installation and my collection of river rock embellished my little parking strip garden.

Friday, February 11, 2011


"Vanity" leaves the studio at dawn after the usual all-nighter.
During the 90s my work occasionally appeared in Re-Bar, or on a Re-Bar float in Seattle's Gay Pride Parade.  Sometimes it was the remains of a previous installation, as with the exotic fruits from "A Fool's Paradise," or my Wind Puppets.  Other times I collaborated with Steve Wells and crew to produce parade floats.  I later created a stage set for "Pirates of Lesbos," one of the many theatrical productions that Re-Bar hosted.  I also worked on some of the numerous benefits that were put on there, including one for Babes and one for Reflex entitled "Mirror Mirror Off the Wall."

Ready for the parade.

Strange Bedfellows are ready for the ride.
Strange Bedfellows was a Wells brothers production in 1995.  After another all-nighter, Steve talked me into joining the bedfellows.  He had to race me home to grab my outfit and big wig.  Yes that's me in the blue.  It was great fun, and I even made the evening news!

After the parade, Strange Bedfellows moved to Fremont to be part of "A miracle on 34th Street, a celebration of life through miniature golf."  The event was a fund raiser for the Northwest AIDS Foundation and Rise n' Shine programs for children and teens affected by HIV and AIDS.
Strange Bedfellows set up on 34th Street.
As I recall, you had to hit the ball through the slipper.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Media to Metaphor: ART ABOUT AIDS

Graphic from the poster/program/mailer designed by Art Chantry
In 1992, I curated the Seattle portion of COCA's "Media to Metaphor: ART ABOUT AIDS," the traveling exhibit originally organized by Robert Atkins and Thomas W. Sokolowski for Independent Curators, Inc. in New York City.  This was an extensive broad ranging production including the gallery exhibit, 16 window installations, a video program,  projections on SAM, a panel discussion, a cabaret benefit and a DJ dance party.  I worked with two graphic designers to pull this all together into the poster/program/mailer:  Art Chantry did the main graphic (above), and Julia Field designed the program piece and helped me to organize my thoughts and the benefit for Babes.  

Artists in the gallery exhibition:
Curated by Independent Curators, Inc.:  (Art)ⁿ, Ross Bleckner, Kathe Burkhart, Nancy Burson, Steven Evens, General Idea, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Gran Fury, Kieth Haring, Adrian Kellard, Peter Kunz-Opfersei, Rudy Lemcke, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul Marcus, Duane Michaels, Donald Moffett, Frank Moore, Ellen B. Neipris, Diane Neumaier, Nicholas and Bebe Nixon, Gypsy Ray, Rod Rhodes, Jane Rosett, John Sapp, Dui Seid, Jo Shane, Rosalind Solomon, Masami Teraoka, Max (Torque) =, Doug [(Bruno) Hammett], Kathy Vargas, Brian Weil, David Wojnarowicz, Thomas Woodruff.

Curated by Carl Smool:  Juan Alonso, Fred Birchman, Tom Cantwell, Cheryl Comstock, Marita Dingus, Michael Ehle, Kevin Harvey, David Hartz, Sylvain Klause, Mary Molyneaux, Nancy Morrow, Barbara Quah, Grego Rachko, Kathy Ross, Harriet Sanderson, Wicktor Sandowicz, Tom Schworer, T. Ellen Sollod, Tom Thein and David Wickland, Peter Toliver, Mike Walsch, Alice Wheeler.

I wanted to expand the exhibition beyond the gallery, and so chose 16 artists to create window installations in neighborhoods including Downtown, the International District, the Rainier Valley, the Central District, Capitol Hill, the University District and in Kirkland.
Artists in the Window Project:
John Chapman, Jessica Klein, Alan Lande, Robert Yoder, Timothy Siciliano, Terry Amidei, Ted Link, Don Howe, Jill Beppu/Dan Neish, Jack Shields/Scott Fogdall (Heart to Art), Ron Travelletti, Skip Wright, Frank Video, Wicktor Sandowicz  

Program statements from COCA and myself.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Conquest's Wake

A polaroid of marquee letters titled the window.

When Wall of Sound took over the whole space at 2nd Avenue and Bell Street from Art in Form in 1992, Mark Sullo offered me the opportunity to do the windows. Coincidentally, I had just been invited by photographer John Stamets to tour the remains of the Music Hall, Seattle's last grand theater to open before the crash of 1929. I proposed that I create an installation from the detritus that I was collecting from the old theater. In order to buy a little time to create the elaborate installation, I gathered the rusting roof-vents from the old theater and placed them in the window.

The window as it was first installed.

Wall of Sound's main window with Conquest's Wake installed

I had volunteered to assist John in his late night excursions to document the slow but sure demolition. We would meet at the Music Hall at around 10:00 PM when the destruction crew was leaving, and we had the entire space to ourselves. I would assist in the setting of lights so that John could take the very long exposure photos capturing the slow disappearance of the incredible ornate Spanish motif cast plaster-work of the theater's auditorium. Then while the photos were being exposed, I had free rein to wander, in boots and hard-hat with flashlight in hand, the catacombs of the seemingly haunted cavernous space. Down the stairs leading from back stage cascaded a waterfall from the leaking pipes and the entire basement was several inches under water. Wading through those dark dank halls, my flashlight's beam bouncing all about, I found the old marquee letters, lighting fixtures, exit lights and miscellaneous paraphernalia from the sad dressing rooms. The strangeness of it all was thrilling. This was backstage like none that I could have imagined. In the wee hours of the morning, I would load my car, assist John with his equipment and drive home with another trove of treasure.

Night after night I would return to find new areas of collapse, and soon I got to know the demolition crew. Some members of that crew began to take a little extra care to remove panels of the ornate plaster more or less in tact. One night, a giant plaster finial was lowered from the auditorium ceiling into a waiting pickup. It was over six feet tall. Some took interest in my project and even removed a few special pieces for me to use, among them a giant shell, a medallion and heraldic shields.

By the last night I visited the Music Hall, the auditorium was gone and only the lobby and the stairway to the projection room remained. I gathered a few last gems of the now fallen balcony's ceiling and made my retreat. By then I had gathered remnants from throughout the now ruined theater including fragments of the exterior stonework, concrete interior details, and pieces of the theater curtains. I had also built a papier maché replica of one of the galleons that had jutted from the auditorium wall, to which I added the fiddle head with tuning pegs and a couple of interpretations of figurative instruments of the world. I had also now completed the conception of the piece as a contemplation of conquest. With its baroque Spanish encrusting, the Music Hall gave me the perfect metaphor. The ruins became the sea upon which the galleon sailed, the marque letters a hurricane and the drapery placed it all on stage. This window was first a wake for the Music Hall. It was also as much about the wake of conquest as it was a wake for conquest.

A view from the doorway shows the giant paster clamshell and in it two small plaster "Indian" heads that I found in the ruins.

An exterior view of the hurricane of letters

The hurricane of letters from the interior

Interior view of the installation

In the adjacent front window I created three lit boxes draped with black drapery from the theater. In each I hung one of John's photos. In the first hung a photo of the grand exterior, in the second one of the ruined upstairs lobby, and in the third the wreckage of the auditorium with its galleon still intact. Below each photo I arranged broken pieces from the scenes depicted.

The three shadow boxes with photos by John Stamets

Conquest's Wake was by far my most ambitious window installation and I am glad that it served to launch the expanded enterprise of Wall of Sound, my favorite record store. If you haven't all ready, be sure to check it out at its current location on Capitol Hill.

All of the photos on this entry are by Mark Sullo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"War in the Gulf, from the Artists Perspective"

"War Toy Bust" Mixed media: papier and fabric mache, collage, American flags and war toys

In 1991, Seattle's William Traver Gallery held an open invitational exhibition entitled "War in the Gulf, from the Artist's Perspective," in response to the Persian Gulf War, otherwise known as Operation Desert Storm. Many artists participated in this show.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bumbershoot 1990: Eden II

Eden II entry screen

Eden II: A Garden for the Post-Natural World was conceived by artist Lorna Jordan, performance artist Susy Schneider and myself for Bumbershoot, Seattle's arts festival, in 1990. We brought in Michael Ehle to paint backdrops, and I worked with my long time friend and artist Mike Freeman. This theatrical installation depicted a post natural garden made from recycled cast offs, and was a stage set for Susy to create a character who would bring it all to life for Bumbershoot audiences. Lorna created a computerized mechanical 'container garden' and Mike and I cobbled together a vast array of derelict materials that had been left behind by the former resident of his newly acquired property. The installation had interactive features where audience members could activate lights, sound and motion in the junk yard plants.

Installation views

"Flower Bed"

Susy entertains visiters.