Jazz’s work draws you in to the present moment. His vibrant paintings are an absorbing visual meditation. In his words, his work is “consciousness on canvas.”
Where’s your hometown? I grew up in Savannah, GA.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process? Sketching the shapes before painting.
How does living in Seattle influence your work? Seattle has a wonderful juxtaposition of architecture and nature. I'm inspired by the clean lines of buildings and the vibrant colors of flowers.
What’s one thing you want to make sure you do in your lifetime? I want to attend my retrospective at the MoMA.
How do you know when a piece is finished? A piece is complete when the left and right sides are visually balanced.
What do you wish more people knew about what it’s like to be an artist? I wish everyone knew that art is one hundred percent child's play. It's exactly the same thing we did as children.
Libby L. Gerber
Libby’s work explores the intersections between urban life, the environment, and society. Her Topography of Cracks ink drawings are intricate representations of cracks in Seattle’s sidewalks, foundations, and streets.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process? When I’m experimenting with a new idea or technique. It feels full of possibilities and I usually haven’t figured out how hard it’s going to be at that point yet.
Do you have any art-related skills most people don’t know about? Making art has taught me to become a master of the work-around. Luckily that skill is transferable to all aspects of life.
When does inspiration most often strike you? I get a lot of ideas when I’m walking. That’s part of the reason I’ve been drawing a lot of cracks: you see them everywhere when you walk around Seattle.
Are there any artists you know who have helped you become a better artist? I’m lucky to have had a lot of artist mentors. The ones who have helped me the most are those who have continued to make art over the span of a lifetime through the wild ups and downs of life.
How do you know when a piece is finished? I know a piece is finished when every time I try to work on it I make it worse instead of better.
Juliana Kang Robinson
Juliana’s art reflects on the themes of territoriality and power dynamics, and its physical manifestations in the form of territorial markers such as borders, mounds, and shelters. Born in South Korea, Juliana’s experience of territoriality is at once specific to her personal experiences and universal to the human tendency toward animalistic territorial behaviors.
Where’s your hometown? I was born in Seoul, South Korea and lived there until the age of six. I grew up in Virginia and lived in the Bay Area, Chicago, and New Jersey before settling in Seattle.
What’s your favorite studio tool? My Sakura electric cordless eraser.
What’s one of your favorite things about being an artist in Seattle? I feel like I’m more productive thanks to Seattle’s wet weather.
What’s one thing you want to make sure you do in your lifetime? Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
Have you ever considered creating art under a pseudonym? Mama Bear, it just feels more like who I am now.
Are there any artists you know who have helped you become a better artist? Yes, Robin Kaneshiro was my mentor and first printmaking instructor. He has always been so generous with his time and amazing brain & heart.
How do you know when a piece is finished? It seems to me that knowing exactly when to quit is part of getting the work right. Sometimes I feel that work is finished when there’s not much more I can do without diminishing it.
What do you wish more people knew about what it’s like to be an artist? Sometimes there’s a misconception that artists are only capriciously working off an inspired moment, but all the productive artists I know plug away at their art practice daily in a very regimented way.
Michèle’s work explores the symbolic world hidden beneath the surface. As both a fine artist and children’s book illustrator-writer, she is a visual storyteller. She whimsically explores difficult themes, and her work reveals an underlying and universal vulnerability.
What’s your favorite studio tool? It’s a toss up between my etching needle and my teeny tiny knife cutter.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process? Carving and proofing a newly etched copper plate. Drawing an etching needle through the waxy ground, placing the plate in the acid bath, and pulling that first print.
Is there anything about the creative process that always feels difficult? The most difficult part of the creative process for me is knowing when a piece is finished. I often agonize over the last details of a print and I sometimes place it in my incubation drawer to get some distance and find clarity. One of my favorite pieces sat in that drawer for a year before I knew how to finish it!
What’s one of your favorite things about being an artist in Seattle? I spend a lot of time working in the print studio at Pratt Fine Arts Center. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a very supportive community of fellow artists.
What’s something important about your work that a lot of people don’t know about? My work often revolves around uncovering what is hidden, especially as it relates to the things we keep secret from ourselves.
When does inspiration most often strike you? In the mornings, I love to start making marks in my sketchbook without any preconceived notions of where it's going. If I just begin drawing a mark, amazingly it flows into something - and it’s usually something totally surprising. This process never ceases to amaze me.
Christine’s abstract monotypes evoke both gritty cityscapes and lush pastoral landscapes. Her process of layering graphic elements on paper strikes a balance between turmoil and tranquility, like the far-off landscapes and dystopian tales she imagines in her work.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? I love the struggle of feeling like I’ve completely lost hope on getting a piece to come together, and I just keep plugging away and suddenly my intuition takes the wheel and I feel like, “Hey! I think this just might work out!” That moment is what motivates me to keep making art.
What’s one of your favorite things about being an artist in Seattle? That’s easy - I love love love my printmaking community at Pratt Fine Arts Center.
How does living in Seattle influence your work? The growing urban landscape juxtaposed with the natural abundance nearby influences my color palette, and provides the grittiness that is part of every piece.
What’s something important about your work that a lot of people don’t know about? My background is in industrial design. I think my work is a good example of how your life experiences shine through in whatever you choose to do.
What’s one thing you want to make sure you do in your lifetime? I would love to do an artist residency when my son is older. I want to see what the possibilities might be for me if I focus on my artwork full-time.
How do you know when a piece is finished? Often I just need to add a thin line or a small mark in a certain area and then BOOM - it all comes together. Other times, I walk away from a work in progress and come back to it weeks later with fresh eyes, and my brain has an easier time seeing how to finalize it.
Steven creates art in his Seattle-area garage using readily available building materials: plaster, wood, wood ash, concrete, burlap, and varnish. Steven’s working-class childhood and experience as a veteran shape his work through his choice of materials, themes, and rough, highly-textured surface finishes.
Where’s your hometown? Lincoln, Nebraska
What’s your favorite part of the creative process? The dialog that occurs between my thoughts, my hands, and the piece.
Do you have any routines or rituals as part of your artmaking process? Discipline: I work on some form of making art each day.
Do you think of a particular piece in your body of work as representing a turning point in your career? In 2015, I made a series of paintings and sculpture that addressed my personal connection as a veteran to the 2012 suicide data reported by the Department of Veteran Affairs. This series opened an internal approach to my work.
What’s one thing you want to make sure you do in your lifetime? Stay true to my own vision as an artist. Follow concepts that interest me. Chase the values which are important to my work. Remain honest with myself about what makes my work personal.
Barbara’s pastel paintings capture wide open Pacific Northwest spaces. Her exuberant personality manifests in the fresh, bold strokes of her work, brightening up any space.
Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me… What’s a Saturday? Every day is the same when you are a visually stimulated full time artist. We are fortunate to look out at Lake Washington so I see the horizon for shapes and light and then the sky for clouds.
Do you think of a particular piece in your body of work as representing a turning point in your career? Annually I select a small number of paintings that represent shifts in my art. I keep these as a reminder of where I am and where I want to go.
When does inspiration most often strike you? In nature, in wide open spaces around Seattle. In long light situations, typically late evening with raking shadows.
Have you ever considered creating art under a pseudonym? Absolutely. I don’t want to be labelled as only painting one subject, one material, or using only one technique.
What are the first steps you take when you start a new piece? I start with several sketches in various formats: portrait, landscape, square. Next I do a Notan, a black and white graphic version for design elements. If it’s going to be a large piece, I create large studies in color. Finally I take pencil to paper and begin the foundation of the piece.
How do you know when a piece is finished? Intuition. I rely on foundations and fundamentals. I don’t want to overwork a piece and lose the energy, confidence, and freshness of strong bold strokes.
Flora’s process embraces diverse methods, materials, and subjects while drawing on her interests in linguistics, poetry, culture, and abstraction. Her evocative abstract paintings reference varied autobiographical themes including maps of Spain, self-portraiture, and buildings.
Where’s your hometown? Madrid, Spain.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process? The energy that it generates.
Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me… Talking on the phone to my sisters, nieces, or friends in Spain.
When does inspiration most often strike you? During the night, or when I am looking at a given work I especially like, or when I am reading poetry… But, as Goya said, I always hope that when inspiration visits me, it will find me working.
Are there any artists you know who have helped you to become a better artist? Michael Ottersen helped me to better understand who I am and what I am able to do as an artist.
What are the first steps you take when you start a new piece? Look at the subject with half open eyes feeling the light and the dark areas. Make a short sketch on a piece of paper. Divide the space of the surface in four parts. Briefly draw the subject on the surface with a charcoal.
How do you know when a piece is finished? It’s a feeling. I can look at it with open eyes and see it as a whole: it doesn’t grate on my eyes.
What do you wish more people knew about what it’s like to be an artist? Being an artist means that we have developed a creative process. This process is a funnel that filters all our influences and interests, producing what we are.
Perri works with acrylic paints, color pencil, and graphite on canvas and paper, creating colorful abstract and figurative work. She carefully uses line and color to express a range of moods, from buoyant to mellow.
What’s your favorite studio tool? T-Square
Is there anything about the creative process that you tend to put off? I avoid titling my work until the very last minute. I only create titles for presenting my work to the public. Otherwise, 90% of my work would be nameless.
Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me… walking around Seward park, collecting leaves, or jogging to clear my head.
When does inspiration most often strike you? I am most inspired when I am at concerts (usually the lighting and combination of music and dance) or when I am amongst friends drinking wine and doodling on paper. I believe art inspires more art-making.
Are there any artists you know who have helped you become a better artist? Ron Anderson and Al Smith were my professors at Howard University. They taught me to be true to myself and my art, and to strive for greatness.
What do you wish more people knew about what it’s like to be an artist? Being an artist requires constantly checking in with yourself to remain emotionally and mentally balanced, so that the business management duties do not corrupt the beauty and simplicity of creating work that you love.