Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!I

Bear Suit from Halloween 2005?
The truth is -- I love costumes. In fact, I wish that we could wear them anytime without it being weird.
A co-worker of mine was telling me about his buddy who will dress up in a polar bear suit on random Friday nights. He'll walk through Queen Anne to the grocery store, pick up two bags of ice and then slowly trudge back up the hill. I love that visual!

Caveman and Hippie (my dear friend Konrad), 2002?
So if I do see you and you are wearing a costume, I won't make a big deal out of it. I'll just *silently* think, "Cool, someone feels fancy today!"

Skeleton Bandito & Cowboy (Chuck), 2000?
When I think of Halloween, I think of this girl! Amy Sleeth and I have probably spent the majority of adult Halloweens together. Most of the photos have been lost during various moves (I always keep them on the fridge), but here's one I found this morning.
Happy Halloween, Amy!

This might have been during our Murder City Devils Phase, 1997?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Neck and neck with sunbeams"

Ryan Molenkamp (obligingly standing in front of his painting)

Tonight was a preview for Ryan Molenkamp's "The San Juans" show at Vermillion. I really like them. They read even better in person than in photos. The perspective for the oil paintings is like old-timey cartography/bird's eye view.

I immediately related to the high-contrast black and white paintings. But as I was leaving, I got to spend some more time with the color paintings and got really mesmerized. The photo didn't turn out but there's a really handsome painting of brown palette with an explosion of color in the upper right. You should really swing by Vermillion tomorrow for the opening.

And every time I go into Vermillion, I always think to myself, "Why am I not coming here more often?" The happy hour has the BEST prices for great wine or cheap beer! On top of that, the food is delicious! Try Diana's homemade mac 'n' cheese (add meatballs!). The art in the front gallery draws you in and then you walk back and end up in this great room with a big party going on. Surpsingly covert. Cheers to Martin and Diana for a cozy buildout.

cast darth vader wtih succulent
(a present martin received)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say Hello to Brad Woodfin


Brad Woodfin is like John James Audubon's older, more complex brother. Specializing in fauna, his paintings seem to capture the very essence of the animals that end up on his canvases. As pretty as they are in pictures, Brad's paintings are really the kind you have to see in person. Like a lot of oils, the depth and richness just don't translate in photos.

If you would like to see them in person, head up to Canada during the month of December. Brad has his second solo show at Atelier Gallery in the arts district of Vancouver.

Brad is also one of the most humble artists I know and he's been a great role-model about not taking shit too seriously. Here's an interview we did via email.


Hi Brad!
What's the weather like in Montreal this past week? Seattle has been unseasonably sunny.
The weather is good, crisp! and congrats on your sunniness.
You and Steve recently relocated to Montreal, Canada. It sounds dreamy. Penthouse apartment in the city? Has there been any culture shock?
I don't know if I would say culture shock but I have learned a lot about what makes Québec so unique. I really need to learn French so I don't feel like a jerk all the time. It is also great to be back on the East coast and close to New England. It is sort of dreamy, like Family Affair without Buffy, Jody, and Cissy. Just Mr. French and me.
As you know, I'm a big fan of your work -- just like a lot of other people. Your story is kind of an artist's dream. Making really great art, selling decent but not getting near the attention you deserve. Sent a link to a gallery in Canada and heard back within an hour? And then your first show sold out (or all but one?)! And now you're having your next show in December?
It came at a good time for me as I could not find a place in Seattle to show, and I was moving to Canada. I followed a link from the Royal Art Lodge (sigh) to the Atelier Gallery. I must attribute laziness to landing the show because the gallery made it very easy to submit work, and after the initial contact John and Lisa at the gallery have been so awesome to work with. Now I have another show with them opening December 4th.
Your style is Chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark). Your animals are stepping out of the darkness into light. Is that metaphorical in any way personally?
I guess it is metaphorical in every way. The idea came from a scene in The Last Temptation of Christ and from ideas of Mark Rothko and Richie Hawtin as Plastikman. The idea that everything in life is always either shrinking or growing. I didn't want to be a minimalist or an abstract painter. I wanted to paint like the painters I love.
You have some direct influences, like Goya. Anyone else we might recognize?
Marion Peck and Salvador Dali first made me want to paint. Andrew Wyeth, Manet, I love all that old Italian and Dutch stuff.
How do you choose a subject? Is it based on the source image?
The subjects I choose all fit into a category I have made in my mind and I work from photographs I find.
You went to Evergreen and studied art, right?
Yes, I studied mostly printmaking there.
After having one show under your belt at the gallery, was the second one easier to prepare for?
Yes, a little bit. I just wanted it to be better than the first so I was a lot harder on myself. The paintings were all done in a short period of time and I knew they would all be shown together, so I think there is more camaraderie between them.


Your gallery also had an early Royal Art Lodge show. They are great. I know that Marcel Dzama has shown locally at Greg Kucera Gallery. I love his stuff.
Yes, that's how I found the gallery. I love their work because the Royal Art Lodge stuff seems very tender. It seems devoid of irony. Irony has become the most boring thing in the world to me. [such a great quote!] Jon Pylypchuk is amazing, he is maybe not as well know as Marcel Dzama, but god, so good. So inspiring.

Can you think of any noticeable differences between the two cities approaches to art?
I don't know either art scene that well, I think you were the closest friend I had who was in the Seattle art scene and I love your approach to art, both as a fan and as an artist. Québec's funding for the arts is good, so there is always a lot going on. It is all really new to me. I am sure in both cities there are great approaches to art. Canada is so much smaller than the states. There are only a handful of cities that are playing the game. Toronto seems to want to mimic New York and Los Angeles so Montréal seems a little more punk rock. I guess they may be similar in that if you want to make it big, maybe you leave both Montréal and Seattle for greener pastures.

Egret (facing left)
You have the best taste in music -- especially French pop. Is Montreal a musical heaven for you?
Benjamin Biolay played here this summer and just the fact that he would play here....awesome. Pig in shit.

Brad (photo by Steve Rohde)
I bet folks who have only seen your art and photos of you bet you're really serious. You look like a brooding artist. But you're actually one of the funniest people I know! Your one-liners are legendary. And a really amazing painter to boot!
Thanks for chatting Brad. Looking forward to seeing you guys soon!
Thank you Joe, see you in December.

Monday, October 27, 2008

George Tsutakawa

I just now noticed that there is a George Tsutakawa show up at The Wing Luke Asian Museum.

The Fountain of Wisdom by Tsutakawa
Photo by my friend, Keith Daly

His fountains have really wormed their way into my heart over the past two years.

Gerry & George Tsutakawa
Image by Craig Fujii
I don't know how I missed Sheila Farr's great article (May 2008) about the re-opening of the Museum (which includes a George Tsutakawa Gallery with an inaugural show called, "Flow, Form and Function: The Fountains of George Tsutakawa.") And here's a sweet review Regina wrote back in 1990.
A gate by George & Ayame's son, Gerard Tsutakawa.
Photo by Keith Daly
Did you know that Wing Luke was the first Asian American to hold an elected position in Washington State? Or that he was 40 years old when he died in a plane crash? More info on Wing Luke here.

Say Hello to Bonnie Dain


Ciao Bonnie! (Normally, I don't say 'ciao' but Bonnie really does live in Rome.)

You have the best life! Apartments in Rome and Seattle, vacations to places like Marrakesh and Amsterdam. You make paintings for a living and your boyfriend plays online poker professionally! I'm so jealous!


How did you get your start in illustration? You briefly went to art school? And then moved to Seattle.

I've been into making art from day one. When I was little I entered every art contest I could find. In high school I was really lucky because we had an excellent art teacher and our school even offered advanced placement art classes. By the time I was a senior I was taking art classes at the local community college for college credit. After I moved to Seattle I took a two year course at SCCC in graphic design, something my high school art teacher was always encouraging us to explore, so I took his advice and gave it a go. I really enjoyed graphic design and print and it seemed to be a way to actually work creatively and also have a career so after that I went to Cornish College of the Arts and got my BA.

licensed by American Greetings

Much of your early work was for Starbucks? How did you transition from working for Starbucks to working for yourself?

I was hired on as a Graphic Designer at Starbucks right out of school. It was a fantastic studio to work in, I truly spent some of the best years of my life (so far) there. The studio was extremely creative. A lot of the designers were also painters or visual artists, some were even musicians. So when a project came along that needed illustrating, they called upon us designers with fine art skills to work on them and it pretty much happened like that. Before I knew it I had an illustration portfolio and that's when I decided to get an illustration rep.

cd cover for Hear Music

I don't remember how you ended up in Rome.

I came to Rome sort of by chance. I moved here with my ex husband who came for a teaching position. He left and I stayed! I have always loved Europe and wanted the experience of living in another country, so in the end it all worked out for the best.

I think I love just about everything I've seen of yours, but I'm especially fond of your maps. Do you have any pieces/subjects that stand out as favorites?

Oh yeah the maps are a lot of fun! Sassy, sexy people, animals, textures, nature, I love all of it.

What things in your daily life influence your illustrations?

Definitely people. I am a constant people watcher and they are so so inspiring, especially here in Rome. You really see all types. But I can be inspired by anything from the colors of the bark on the trees to the weird purse of the lady on the bus, you name it.

You are represented by Lilla Rogers. How did that happen? I think I read on her blog that it's easier to get into Harvard than it is to get picked up by her.

When I decided to find a rep I started shopping around and Lilla Rogers Studio was the perfect fit. I liked the other artists she was representing and the studio is very professional. I've been with them for six years now.

NYC Village Voice

Your clients include LA Times, New York Magazine, Spin, Macy's, NYC Village Voice and American Greetings. Is there a dream company or magazine you'd like to illustrate for?

All the projects are a lot of fun. As far as things I'd like to do? Maybe bigger projects would be fun. For example, Susy Pilgrim Waters, another one of the artists represented by LRS is doing a project with murals for the walls of the NYC public library. Now that would be amazing! Something for the Obama campaign would be cool too.

When are going to get to see you in a gallery? Have you thought about showing in that type of venue?

Hopefully someday soon. Right now I'm working on a series of paintings now based on animals and women's accessories.

Do you have any fun trips planned in the future? (Like say Seattle??)

Well, in last two months I was in New York City, Marrakesh and Barcelona so i'm ready to stay put in Rome for awhile now. But I am planning to go on a Mexican cruise in April with my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary.

We all miss you and you have to come meet Violet!

I miss you too joey!! I can't wait to meet her!

Hugs and kisses, Bonnie.

thanks joey! oxoxo bon

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What did we do... deserve this weather?

It was an amazing day for a walk.

If we could only get a weekend of these every once in a while during the winter, we'd be golden!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Geomagnetic (2008)

I recently stumbled upon the art of Anthony Cozzi. I'm always a sucker for beautiful Seventies imagery. These celestial giclée prints feel like something that has been hanging in your family's ski cabin since before you were born.

Owl Eyes (2007)

Anthony describes his art as, "... a combination of digital elements, and nature's raw and majestic beauty."

It must some magical combination of digitally manipulated photography and collage (with drawing and painting thrown in?).

Star Lifter (2007)
No matter how he gets there, I really like the end result. He has a shared spirit with a lot of Northwest art-makers.

Flying Squirrel Pizza Co

Bill Coury is making the world a better place, one pizza at a time.
Flying Squirrel Pizza Co officially opened yesterday.
I wasn't able to make the opening but I hear it was delicious!
Chef/Owner Bill Coury left Starbucks in 2008 to pursue his pizza passion.
"The pizza has a NY-Style crust -- bubbly and tasty,
topped with the best ingredients. The goal is to make pizza
that everyone can feel good about eating. My guilt-free pizza
is made with organic ingredients when possible and the menu
also features a weekly farmer’s market special created with
ingredients from local farmers’ markets. There is a lot of care
and attention put into the pizza, appetizers, and salads at
Flying Squirrel. [menu]

via tom cummings, added 10/26/08

So next time you're hungry for pizza (and I'd recommend soon!),
drive on down (no delivery) to Seward Park and check it out.

Flying Squirrel Pizza Co
4920 S. Genesee St.
Seattle, WA 98118

Sunday - Thursday 5-10PM
Friday and Saturday 5-11PM

Friday, October 24, 2008

18 years later...

Mini Mead High School reunion.
Pat, Taudd, me, Jen, Scott

The whole Facebook thing seemed to bloom wildly this past week in regards to high school friends finding each other. A tiny group of us met up for the first time in in 8 - 18 years. I was surprised that it triggered nostalgia. When I got home, I looked through my old photobooks. I'd post some pics but I think they might kill me! Time marches on and we're getting older!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Say Hello to Troy Gua

The Handshake

I first saw Troy's art this summer. We became Facebook friends and then discovered that we have a mutual friend. All three of us went out to lunch last week and talked about Prince and high school and art.

Troy's paintings are hyper-graphic iconic images in perfectly matched complementary colors. The morphed pairings create a camouflage of acrylic. They're really striking and they're hard to read so you really have to visually investigate. Then you realize that it's both John Wayne and Elton John superimposed over each other. Which is funny in and of itself, but then you realize that John Wayne was an avowed homophobe while Elton John is an avowed homosexual. Funny and smart!

Troy and I had a little interview via email.

The Mona Lisa Marie

Out of all the Faces, do any make you laugh out loud (lol, i think the kids are calling it now)? You were saying something about Pope John Paul Stanley. Just saying it makes me smile because I start to form the visual.

Yeah, they all sort of make me “lmao”, if you will, which I suppose is why I do them. My wife Catherine and I sit on the couch and brainstorm these silly combinations that sometimes actually have deeper connections than you may guess. For instance, “The Mona Lisa Marie”, which is DaVinci’s Mona Lisa combined with Lisa Marie Presley, portrays two very famous women who, besides sharing a name, share a fame that is due in whole only to the trickle down effect of fame from the men who created them. “The Boy King of Pop”, King Tut and Michael Jackson, refers to two boys thrust into early fame and glory only to end up behind masks, figuratively and literally. But I gotta say, with The Pope John Paul Stanley, it’s really just about the conjoined names and the hilarity of seeing those iconic images combined. Maybe I’ll come up with some kind of connection in there. The Holy Father and Star Child? Lol!

The Boy King of Pop

You make art full-time. When were you able to quit your day job and just get nuts about your art?

Well, a little over three years ago I met an angel named Catherine who saved me from a life of gray meaninglessness and encouraged and inspired me to be the true Technicolor me that I was meant to be, so here I am. I quit my crappy job working for my brother (which I do not recommend - and I don’t just mean working for your relatives, I mean my brother specifically. Bad, bad idea.) about two years ago, and I’ve been working my arse off ever since.

Tabloid Trinity: Paris, Lindsey, Britney
Handcut paper, wood, glass

You've had a few distinct series. Circles, Flags, Faces (what I like to call Face Paintings). What would you say connects them all?

I’d like to think that all my work has a very distinct crispness and a unifying ultra-modern aesthetic. I think my work is super bold and stays with you long after you walk away. I want my work to etch itself into the viewer’s minds, to be stamped onto their brains. Forever. Does that sound too aggressive? Oh well.

The Davids

You are another artist who seems to always be showing. Are you going to slow down? What does 2009 look like for you?

I don’t want to slow down – gotta keep this train a-rollin’! Yeah, I try to keep myself out there as much as possible. I’m trying to break into the “scene”, make it “big”, or just plain make “it”, but being more of a homebody than a scenester doesn’t really help. Having my work out there is a good start. I’ve got a show in January (come one, come all!) that I’m hoping is gonna set a killer tone for the new year.

Your next show is a continuation of the Face Series?

Yes sir. I’m pretty excited about it – all new 48” x 48” pieces. I’ve got some pretty good ones planned. I wanna tell you some of them, but I don’t wanna give anything away! Okay, how ‘bout “The Elton John Wayne.”

The Ronald McReagan

Do people tell you, 'Hey, I got an idea for a painting?' I'll bet that's really helpful! ['cuz you should totally do Mary-Kate and Ashley]

All the time, and they’re usually pretty bad. Like the idea of doing famous twins, for instance – who look exactly alike. ;)

Do you get many fan emails? Was I the first? I really liked your paintings as soon as I saw them. They make me totally jealous!

I usually get “friended” (yes, I am using the new vernacular) on Facebook or Myspace by people who see my stuff somewhere or are fellow, totally jealous artists. [True fact! I did.] It’s funny you say that, because besides being an amazing artist yourself, you are so extremely supportive of other artists that I can’t even stand it. It makes me sick, actually. I’m completely jealous of you, Joey Veltkamp.

What was your favorite tv show as a kid?

Hmm, good question. Well, growing up in a Boob Tube Dictatorship, I was subject to hours and hours of mind-numbing newscasts and Lawrence Welk shows. Primetime was not my time, although I dug me some Love Boat and Dallas. The 6 Million Dollar Man, when I could get it. The AM found me watching as much Star Blazers as time allowed before I had to take off for school. I loved Sesame Street and JP Patches too. Do you know who that is? Movies were much more influential. Stars Wars had a huge impact on me. Still does.

The Divine

Do you show outside of Seattle/Western Washington? Any place locally you've been wanting to show at?

I’ve been in a few shows out of state. I was in an emerging artists show at Lana Santorelli Gallery in New York and a couple of small shows in Dallas (what?!) as well as the Expressions West juried show at the Coos Art Museum in Oregon earlier in the year. Y’know, I just really want to show at a gallery that’s gonna help me achieve my goal, Joey; art world domination, and then rest of the world domination. It’s just that simple.

Anything else you want to add?

Besides the fact that it has been a pleasure getting to meet you and chat with you, Joey Veltkamp? Seriously, it has been a pleasure, and thank you for taking such an interest in my art. I feel it deserves an audience, a big, huge, planet-sized audience, and I hope your readers do too! TROYGUA.COM, pass it on!

My pleasure! Can't wait for January, mostly cause it's my birthday, but also for your next show. ;)

The Escape

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


totem pole, near 1st & yesler, seattle

carving on the side of the bldg
3rd & columbia, seattle
Reservation II by Josh Keyes.

The last image is by Josh Keyes. He has a show called Mist at OKOK Gallery.
Josh was born in Tacoma and the icon of the totem appears frequently in his art. Like many of us here, "From and early age Keyes was captivated by Northwest Native American mythology and iconography."

I've never stopped to think about how strange it is that I walk by even one totem pole daily, let alone two! We're really lucky in weird ways here in the Northwest!

This is one of the weirdest reasons we're lucky:

"Go West" by the Cult just came on my iPod. I don't know what that means but it certainly feels relevant.

Go west young man
Are your dreams in the new lands?
And my life is over
While your's just beginning.