Shunpike presents Storefronts South Lake Union, the first round of South Lake Union artist installations in 2019. Eight selected artists have explored themes of human connection, intersection, and liminality in their work. Over the course of their collaboration with Storefronts and Shunpike, they will further explore these themes in empty storefronts around SLU. Read on for select portfolio pieces and artist statements from each artist.
The Storefronts Program continues to support our creative community and our urban neighborhoods and businesses by providing opportunities for artists to do what they do best – create dynamic, engaging works that reach out to passersby, activate our built environment, and function as an incubator for our arts ecology, entrepreneurial projects, and urban revitalization.
ARTIST: Jasmine Brown
My paintings, photography and illustrations usually focus on the face. I paint portraits, masks and icons or take photographs that highlight individual beings. I use facial expressions and words that convey messages, illustrate a stream of thought, or give voice to the private thoughts of marginalized individuals. I incorporate poetry, symbols, or landscapes that represent the persona of the models I have encountered during my travels around the world. I am influenced by the sacred art of several world religions. African masks, Voodoo textiles, Buddhist thangkas, Native American carvings as well as Russian and Ethiopian icons have ceremonial significance and spiritual potency that I strive to embody in my work.” – Jasmine Brown
ARTIST: Paula Rebsom
My art practice is interdisciplinary and includes site-specific installations both indoors and out, large- and small scale, along with a more direct sculptural practice. Materials include wood, fabric, cardboard, and paper mache. I also utilize motion sensor and infrared cameras for some of my outdoor site-specific projects. In all of my work I am interested in using humor as a vehicle to grapple with realities I’d rather ignore. Sadness, loss, natural disasters, devastation and destruction of wildlife habitat are ever-present realities in our lives, and I frequently use the visual language of the façade as a way to both conceal and reveal these challenging aspects of our life and culture. Additionally, in today’s climate of political uncertainty and divisiveness, it sometimes feels as if there is nowhere left to hide or seek shelter.
I have sewn extensively as a hobby and business for many years but it wasn’t until recently that I began incorporating it into my artwork. I was excited to discover that quilts are a very versatile material to work with, capable of taking many shapes and forms. Quilts, like the wooden façade, have two sides to them, allowing them to provide different experiences depending upon which side you encounter first. They also have the ability to be soft and flexible, warm and inviting, in ways more rigid materials are not as capable of. It seems obvious now, although it wasn’t when I made my first quilt earlier this year, that I can use the visual language of the quilt as a representation of comfort, warmth, and protection in this uncertain time. – Paula Rebsom
ARTIST: Faith Hagenhofer
I work with textiles and fibers. I’m a feltmaker for over 25 years and over time have switched from bought materials to raising sheep, providing myself with art supplies. I work in both 2d and 3d, I’m adept with plant dyes and surface embellishment: sculptural handmade felt, laminate felt, hand stitching, machine stitching, and block printing. I’m also pretty keen on using these ancient skills in combination with current found/discarded textiles and to investigate the everyday objects that connote inside and outside, and the edges of belonging and not belonging. I use these to facilitate visually exploring and trying to understand the forces of human migration—through history and at present, forced and voluntary, individually and by group.
People(s) and place(s), home and all the forces, phases, longings, choices, movements, and forms that re-locatings take are some of what in the World concerns me. I find people-to-place relationships with each artistic investigation, whether I’m concerned with refugees, migration, borders, tourism, settler colonialism, urban/rural divides, water, or nostalgia. These themes are immanent and simultaneously historical; they reach into everywhere and everyone is touched—whether a stayer or a leaver. I’m pulled toward projects that stretch my art-making skills from foreseeable into invention, form and materials meeting the needs of the work. – Faith Hagenhofer
ARTIST: Paul Mckee
LOCATION: Harrison East
My artistic mission is to document the subjective experience of my time and place. I live in a 21st Century city, a subject that is in constant flux. The influences and sensations of the city constantly alter my subjective experience. I am aiming at a moving target from a moving platform. I find it useful to work at different rates. Sketching these scenes focuses me on a fast-changing subject. Working slowly helps me perceive all the simultaneous interconnections that I’d miss in a glance. I’m in awe of the interwoven diversity of contemporary cities. Urban life is richer and more dynamic than architecture alone. I use reflections in skyscrapers as a metaphor for the inner lives of urban dwellers. Every grid of windows symbolizes a life story. My paintings of reflections don’t rely on geometric perspective in order to give equal weight to each story. I select and manipulate shapes found in the multitude of reflections. I preserve the original character of the reflections while extracting parts that evoke the cultural and mental life of the inhabitants. My goal is to attach a new layer of meaning to a recognizable place. To manage the grids in the paintings, I adopt lists of words to name rows and columns. These lists are initiated by locations, building names or tenants to form an organizational matrix of words. This word collection becomes an important, if hidden, poetic structure for the themes in my artworks. I use several techniques to capture the experience of constant movement and change in the city. Rhythmic repetition is pervasive in skyscraper reflections and I emphasize this in my paintings. I meld flat reflection shapes into sculptural forms to evoke the original reflection’s undulation. The fluid character of reflections reminds us that even steel, glass and concrete structures are temporary. Culture is so rich and busy in the city that we sometimes miss a neighborhood’s total transformation. I want my work to capture fleeting moments of beauty. This “nostalgia for the present moment” should inspire viewers of my work to be more present in their cities. – Paul Mckee
ARTIST: Don Wesley
LOCATION: Harrison West
I want to bring people closer to the natural world around them and celebrate its diversity. I do this by spending time with birds, going beyond observation, and attempting to delve deep into their souls for unique insights to share with my audience. I love sharing their playful and cantankerous nature, trying to keep my art relaxed as I shuttle between the illustrative, subversive and at times, purely humorous. Many times, I will assign human qualities to the birds in my work with hopes of engaging my audience on a more personal level. For me, these hybrid souls are the most exciting way for me to express my love for our natural world. – Don Wesley
ARTIST: Jennifer Towner
LOCATION: Thomas East
Working in diverse mediums, the one thing that has been consistent throughout my career is repetition of forms, shapes, colors, and actions. When I am able to find a meditative space where my hand does what the mind wants, everything seems to flow and anxiety and stress disappears. The work flows freely, it’s neither good nor bad, it just is. I hope that the viewer can get lost in the colors, shapes and joyful feelings conveyed in the work. – Jennifer Towner
ARTIST: Xavier Lopez
LOCATION: Thomas West
My name is Xavier Lopez Jr. I am a conceptual, mixed-media artist living in Seattle. I write for the Post Intelligencer’s Art and Culture Blogs and received my MFA in sculpture and painting from the University of California-Davis. I have become known as a writer, painter, muralist, curator, performance-artist and sculptor. I am a second generation Latinx artist. As a child, I watched my father paint murals with the Los Angeles Chicano Art Movement. Issues of gender, race, identity and life permeate my work. I work with materials that have been pared down to their core elements, minimalized and purified so to speak to create fiercely personal narratives drawing from childhood and life events. I am part of a new breed of Latinx artists intent on making our own way as individual artists–as humans navigating the world as we see it. As a child in the seventies, before I even knew what art was, my father was in the Chicano Art Movement in Los Angeles and I would tag along to the Mechicano Art Center on Whittier Blvd mentally devouring the exciting scenes! Days passed as I watched my father paint, day-dreaming of the future. My parents often took us to the LA Museum of Art, where I saw Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes and my first conceptual sculptures. Later, in college, my mind was blown by the work of Marcel Duchamp. I have had many mentorships, receiving advice and encouragement from feminist Lynn Hershman, taking performance art classes from theorist Joanna Frueh, sneaking into Wayne Thiebaud’s classes at UC Davis and arguing about art with critic Dave Hickey. I understand firsthand, the power of art to change a person and give their lives new meaning. Beginning at UNR, I have been in many art exhibitions, community events, auctions and live painting events. In the last three years, I have been part of 8 teaching and artistic workshops with the Seattle Art Museum. I write for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, where I cover the Seattle Art Scene and spotlight under-represented groups. Recently, I was given the opportunity to work with La Sala at the La Cocina Seattle Art Fair Satellite and in 2017, my work was recognized by Author Marvin Carlson who added me to the Routledge critical theoretical textbook “Performance: A Critical Introduction–Third Edition, and my work is now part of university curricula across the globe.
ARTIST: Thelma Harris
When working with Polaroid film, I consciously sacrifice a certain level of control. There will most certainly be a number of imperfections. I allow the film to speak to the ephemeral moment capturing the light and the darkness. Whether I aim to capture a self-portrait or the ever changing landscape, I tend to leave traces of my vulnerabilities on the surface creating emotionally charged images. The photographs I create serve as a sort of documentation depicting metamorphosis and acceptance of those things I cannot control.