Friday, January 30, 2009

Polish Home Dom Polski

Did you know that there's a Polish club on 18th that you can eat at? Welcome to the Polish Home. I'm always amazed when I find out about these really interesting places that I've walked by forever and never even noticed.

It's in the midst of a remodel. I certainly never thought it was a club you could visit (they have day memberships so you can eat/drink in the bar). It's rumored that Jimi Hendrix's first public performance was in this hall.

I had the Polish Platter with a cabbage roll, sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, beets and pierogis. Washed down with a tasty Polish beer. They also had items like pork tenderloin and pork hock.

Our friend, Yann, is in town and being half-Polish, we figured we'd take him to dinner here for his birthday. Dave found out about the place on his iPhone app. that locates restaurants near you.

Afterwards, me, Yann, Dave and Brian all walked down to 15th for a drink. Everything was packed (and by everything, I mean Smith), so we ended up at Liberty. You know those nights where you just randomly meet new people out having a good time? Well, this wasn't one of them. This was the type where REALLY drunk, loud girls crash your table, spill your drinks and say weird things. There's a reason I'm usually home by 9pm. I'm such a grandpa.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Scare bear (tshirt by Snorg Tees)
Bear paraphernalia normally drives me nuts (in a bad way), but I couldn't resist these two shirts. "Will hug for food" will be my new motto during after they close down our office early this summer! Thanks to Lanae and Tirzah for letting me know about 'em!

Image by Pierre Benker (tshirt by Woot)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Amy Johnson has created the first site-specific installation at the KJM Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College. The title of the show is Depleted and it opens up Friday, February 6. “Amy Johnson uses installation art to explore the tension between the myths and realities embedded in her Southern heritage and the cultural expectations for women.”
Jeffry Mitchell had this to say about the show in the February issue of City Arts - Tacoma, "Amy Johnson achieves her most focused work to date in a compelling exhibition comprising cryptic sculpture and storybook collages. Johnson combines salt, found antlers, an antique bath tub, paper, gold leaf and ink in surprising ways to transpose classic fairy tale themes into a darkly beautiful and mysteriously open-ended installation. Materials matter here."
The show is up through February 28 so check it out!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's Happy Hour again at Licorous

Jeffry, Johnathan, JM at my art opening (2006)

My sweet co-workers gave me a gift certificate to Licorous for my birthday. I haven't been there in forever. I just love the crew of Licorous and Lark.
Lark was the very first place that showed my art and for that, I will always have a crush on them. From when I first met them (JM, John, Kelly, Michelle, Joseph and too many more to list)they've been supportive, generous and loving. I felt really honored to show there for as long as I did.

Iris and Daisy at Lark, 2006
I had been thinking about them recently because John will be doing a dinner for the Henry benefit. (I had totally planned to go but car repairs will be requiring my dollars instead.) I'm sure it will be loads of fun and deliciousness.

Brown butter-hazelnut financiers w/ espresso caramel +absinthe
It was great to eat there again. And they have the best cocktails. When we were leaving, Michelle told us about their mid week (T-Th) happy hour. From 5-7pm and 10-12pm, drinks are $4 (house wine or house cocktail)! There's not a miss on the cocktail menu, so it's a great deal. And Chef's Choice Tartine and Pretzel Dots with Coppa are only $1. You could have a nice happy hour for $10!!

Thanks co-workers! And thanks again, Lark!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We were alone then...

deer for my father, joey veltkamp

We were alone then and I was singing this song for you
Joey Veltkamp and Gretchen Bennett

February 5–March 12, 2009

Just in time for the sweetest month of the year, Gretchen Bennett and Joey Veltkamp give you, We were alone then and I was singing this song for you. Rooted in sentimentality, they take you on a journey with stickers, steers, rockers and deer standing in for the people and places they have loved along the way. Each artist's work involves a cataloging and documenting of their influences and a translation of the emotional and psychological impact those influences have on them.

By using cinematic stills (or their equivalent), they isolate one moment from a sequence to illustrate the stories that have impacted them most. This reverb and generation is the central fabric of their work; tales of cattleman and wranglers, poets and hangers-on and the sweet kids who just want to get backstage. We were alone then is a view into their world through a rarified filter, a bear hug with a bear on the other end of it. Listen to the melody cause their love is in there hiding. A simple rhyme to occupy their time. This one goes out to the ones they love.

Opening Reception:

Thursday February 5th
7-10 p.m.
1914 2nd Avenue

Box of chocolates!

From the Vita press release:

"Valentines Artist Series. Seattle artists Robert Mercer and Joey Veltkamp will hand illustrate and personalize our coffeehouse confection box for someone special. You choose the artist." ~

Robert Mercer, hand illustrated chocolates (image via M Hebb)

"Robert Mercer is nationally renowned for his work on The Shins album Wincing The Night Away..."

Joey Veltkamp, hand illustrated chocolates (image via M Hebb)

"Joey Veltkamp has become a Seattle legend for his adorable and often hilarious illustrations."

$50/box, hand illustrated and inscribed. Includes the six coffeehouse confections: Café Au Lait, Shot in The Dark, Cup of Joe, Eggnog, Gingerbread, and Hazelnut Mocha.

Available exclusively at the four Seattle Caffe Vita locations. Orders must be placed by February 7th.

Monday, January 19, 2009


+ROOM-ROOM at Henry Art Gallery (photo by Jamie Drouin)

My friend Yann Novak will be back in town in a couple of weeks for the opening of his show with Jamie Drouin. There will be a live performance on Friday, February 6 at Henry Art Gallery.

+ROOM-ROOM will mark the second time you and Jamie Drouin have collaborated at the Henry Art Gallery. How did you guys meet and start working together?

We actually met at The Henry in 2006, it was the first time the Decibel Festival collaborated with The Henry. Jamie and I were both participating in the festival and The Henry hosted a panel discussion we were both on. Neither of us knew of each other but recognized interesting similarities in our work. We kept in contact after that and the first time Jamie came down to collaborate with me we ended up doing the Auditorium performance at The Henry.
Your art takes the unnoticed ambient noise of space/environment and makes it noticeable. How did you take that from a concept and develop it into your art?

My process arose from my inability to justify using sound that was designed on the computer. When working with the computer the possibilities are limitless, but using a sound just because it sounded interesting felt mildly impersonal. It's personal because I chose it, but there is no dialogue between the listener and I of how I got there. My goal was to convey emotional states that I experienced to my audience. By limiting myself to only the sounds I could get out of the recording at hand, my work felt more connected to that time and place of both the recording and the state i am trying to convey. This process also levees artifacts of the original recording which gives the listener a doorway into what the recording is, where I have taken it, all presented in the piece's final form when the audience is presented with it. The act of taking a recording from A to B depends on the format of its presentation. I generally don't edit a recording duration so if I am composing a performance for instance, I will start with a recording of the appropriate length say 45 minutes, If I am composing for a track on a compilation, I will start with a much shorter recordings say 10 minutes. After that, it's all alterations in the computer which I purposefully try not to understand so that the process of discovery and the alterations of the recording stays as impulsive and emotional as possible. By doing that I hope to keep the work as genuine as possible.

Yann Novak (photo by Robert Crouch)

What's coming up in 2009 for you and Dragon's Eye?

I have a new CD coming out in February on Jamie's Infrequency label called The Breeze Blowing Over Us. Then I will be performing here in LA at a festival at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary exhibits) in April. Then back to Seattle at the end of April to install my show at Lawrimore Project. Then a little later this year in August I will be doing some sound for an Alex Schweder installation at SFMOMA and in October I will be going to Wyoming for a residency at Jentel.

As for Dragon's Eye, I am focusing on releasing work from new artists and from artists that have not released full length solo releases on the label. Lissom from SF in March, Celer from LA in May, Jamie Drouin in July, Ian Hawgood from Tokyo in September and Corey Fuller from Bellingham in November.

I know it's only been a couple months, but we're really excited to have you back in Seattle! We miss you!

I'm excited too! Though it feels like I just left. Time has gone so fast since I left.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

See Listen Taste Feel

You already know The Henry Art Gallery throws the BEST parties! Their Bashes are legendary.
This year, they're working with the fantastic Danish artist Jeppe Hein to create See Listen Taste Feel!
There will be art, dancing and food by the sweet & talented John Sundstrom (Lark).
Dinner tickets are still available. And if you just want to party, you can get in for $100!
All money raised goes to support the amazing art, exhibitions, residencies and community programs The Henry gives us for practically free -- all year round.
It promises to be, "Part installation, part dinner, part dance party..."
More information can be found here.
See you there!

Image courtesy of artist Jeppe Hein and 303 Gallery

A great reminder from a great friend...

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coming Soon to Capitol Hill!

Folks, it's official! Cupcake Royale will be opening up their 4th location this June!
Look for it at 1111 Pike Street, between 11th and 12th. It will be on the ground floor of the new Tom Kundig building. It's going to be amazing folks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dirt on Delight

Pickle Jar, image via James Harris Gallery
Northwest favorite Jeffry Mitchell is one of 22 artists to be included in a show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia. The show is called Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay and opens this Friday.
Jeff said he's really proud to be included in this show. He graduated from Tyler School of Art so it's a real full circle moment. Jeff's piece is the lead image, too. Considering who the other artists are, that's pretty damn cool!
"The artists in "Dirt on Delight" include the current generation (Nicole Cherubini, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jeffry Mitchell, Sterling Ruby, and Paul Swenbeck), artists who emerged during the 1990s (Ann Agee, Kathy Butterly, Jane Irish, Arlene Shechet, and Beverly Semmes), those who established clay as a critical material during the 1960s and 1970s (Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, Ron Nagle, Ken Price, Adrian Saxe, Beatrice Wood and Betty Woodman), and historic and outsider figures (Lucio Fontana, Peter Voulkos, and Rudolf Staffel, as well as George Ohr and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein)."
Congrats, Tiger!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Say hello to Scott Foldesi

Bench, 2008

Hi Scott. I first saw your work at the Hideout (if only I had a dollar for every time I said that, isn't Greg Lundgren great?) back in 2006. I loved your Gas Station painting. It reminded me of Ed Ruscha's Standard Station paintings, but in reverse.

Entrance, 2008

Your canvases are so white and modern but feel completely timeless. If it weren't for the subject matter, I'd have no idea which decade they come from. Is that "timelessness" intentional?

I’m aware of work that I see that looks dated but it’s not something I think about when I’m painting or choosing what to paint.

Tree, 2007

There's a palpable sadness in some of your paintings. I feel all alone when I look at them, even the ones with people. I'm not exactly sure what the word is, somewhere between desolate and forlorn but without the attached pessimism. What adjectives would you use to describe them?

I guess minimal would be the main word I would use. I think the stripped-down compositions can be interpreted as being desolate but it isn’t a particular feeling that I’m trying to suggest. I am more interested in painting the essential elements of a location or object and formal issues. However, the places I paint are familiar to me but they are not necessarily places that I enjoy spending time. So, I guess some of that is bound to come through.

Check Out, 2008

Other paintings of yours have a beautiful Hockney-esque quality in terms of light and subject. If I just saw your work, I would assume you were from California. Where do you think that comes from?

Using photographs as source material, I like to use images that have contrast. This usually means photographs that were shot in either sunny conditions or under artificial lighting. It translates to more intense color and greater contrast against a primed, unpainted canvas. I sometimes use images shot under artificial light at night but if the dark sky isn’t painted in it can be mistaken for a sunny day. The high contrast of the painted subject against the often light colored, primed canvas gives the impression of a bright environment. It’s a rare event here in the Northwest except for a few months out of the year.

Motel Pool, 2008

Speaking of source material, how do you choose your specific images?

I haven’t really developed a process for choosing images. I sometimes take my own photographs but I have been relying more on finding images from other sources, usually the internet. That means a huge amount of time spent searching images on the computer and saving anything that has a composition, location or object that I respond to. A large majority of images never get used but I often sift through them to find new ideas. It’s very impractical and not time efficient.

Motel, 2008

Your art feels like a promised future that was never quite realized. Like a suburban tract from 1950s that never got developed.

The subject matter is mostly places that are often the same by design, no matter what part of the country it is located in. A person can go to a particular chain store or strip mall in one state and basically have the same experience in another state. That’s one of the reasons I like to use images taken from various sources. It doesn’t matter if I took the photograph because visually it is essentially the same as what I have experienced. I suppose that’s some type of utopia for some developers and big chain retailers.

Tabloids, 2008

Like Rachel Maxi, you have mastered the use of the mundane things and places. I can imagine few things more boring than a bus stop, bench or shopping cart. And yet I could stare at one of your paintings of one of those objects all day. How do you pull us in like that?

I like Rachel’s paintings. Formal aspects like composition and color palette are important to me, as well as good paint handling. Not necessarily in a traditional sense. I can be drawn into almost any painting that is set up well and painted well. I love the physical properties of paint and paintings that take advantage of those properties. I know that’s vague but it’s meant to be as it covers a large range of painting. My most successful paintings combine all those qualities.

Safety Net, 2007

Scott, congratulations on American Dreams. It's fantastic. I think you're going to be overwhelmed by the positive response!

Thank you for the kind words Joey and thank you for the interview.

Drive Through, 2007

Thanks again!

Last night was one of the most fun nights I've ever had! Many of my favorite people all gathered together in one room (Vermillion) to celebrate.

Lots of yummy food, especially the fleur de sel cupcakes from Cupcake Royale!

Lots of handsome men and beautiful ladies!

Tons of kind, fun, good-spirited people!

Well folks, birthday week is officially over! The love I've felt this past week was amazing. Thanks to all of you for sharing it with me!
Thanks again to Kate Hailey for taking photos.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Say hello to Dawn Cerny

Study for Marriage Portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln

Hi Dawn! Your art is such a perfect reflection of you. The same person that makes high-minded art about aristocracy is also the same person that gave us "Nice Rack".

Nice Rack, image via Some Space Gallery

I first met you at your opening of Schönbrunn (A Failed Attempt at Something Grand) in 2006. After that, you just seemed to be everywhere all at once with shows at SOIL, SAM Rental/Sales, TAM and then shortlisted for a Stranger Genius Award. If people hadn't known you before, they certainly knew all about you after 2006. Were you just hunkered down in your studio that entire year?

I was so tired at the end of 2006 I just sat down and cried. The Schönbrunn and The Artful Scheme of Happiness had both been researched for a little over two years and then it took about a year to six months to make the work. Before I start any show I spend a lot of time at the UW Library doing research, writing and walking around the campus processing things. Then when it comes to making things I put all of that esoteric stuff aside and make a crap load of stuff. When it is time to edit the show I trade my beret for my mortarboard.

#1 Century in the USA, image via 4Culture

A lot of your art references another time. Have you always been a history buff? What attracts you to the past? Does the art world owe a thank you letter to your 7th grade history teacher?

I think that setting things in another time, or finding the larger historical patterns, helps me look at issues in “my time” in history with a grain of salt. I think for some time I have been hiding behind history to tell very personal stories that I didn’t know how to articulate in my own way.

The same could be said about my use of humor -- I tend to use these armatures to keep me safe as I work out things that concern me. I would however like to take this moment to formally thank my 7th grade history teacher and Vice-principal of Solvang School Mr. Bob Raleigh. I think that year was American history and we had to memorize the Declaration of Independence.

"This is never going to end.", image via Some Space Gallery

You frequently show with Alice Tippit. Your two styles merge so well. What draws you to the idea of working collaboratively?

Alice and I are both extremely perverse and I think we were lucky to find each other. Our collaborative style is largely based on the comedy duo: one person sets up the joke so the other person can “bring it on home.” I immensely admire Alice’s skills and her insight. I like working collaboratively because you get to become this whole new artistic entity. I think this is why a lot of musicians start side projects---so they can stretch their legs a little in a new direction without having to quit the band.

Bad Idea, Alice Tippit and Dawn Cerny, image via Francine Seders Gallery

Your installation at Henry Art Gallery this year is the most personal work I think I've seen by you. Was the title, "We're all going to die (except you)" about your brother and your response to his enlistment? Or was it broader statement about death and war and grieving? [Side note: Have you ever heard of Unbunny? He has a song called, "We're all gonna die"]

No, I haven’t heard of Unbunny…but I am going to look him up! It is crazy how many songs are about death when you start looking for them. The shows catalyst was really seeing the mourning costumes in the Henry’s collection around the same time my Grandpa had died and my brother had joined the Air Force. I think before that, I was thinking about the idea of the “epic” and how if you make a battle that has no specific “sides” than it reads as a metaphor for something larger where good and evil can’t be distinguished anymore. I saw those costumes and was like “Oh Shit. I am going to do a show on death: what a terrible idea.” I knew if I was going to do a show about death, war and the sublime I wanted it to pivot between something that felt “personal to the artist” but also design places where the audience could find their place. "We're all going to die (except for you)" as a title reads very personally (like it could be for my brother) but it has larger implications about how we all live in on (in objects, stories, the environment, psychologically, etc.) I think that it is most important that people know they count.

Waiting Room, photo by Malcom Smith (image via The Stranger)

Installation view (image via The Henry)

Your art is funny despite the underlying themes. Is that just a natural reaction to death, like nervous laughter?

I think my work is funny but I am never sure why other people see my work as more funny than it is depressing. Much of the time I am insinuate a punch-line and people must feel that and laugh. I try to be very honest with my own failures (personal and artist) and that is always good for a laugh. I do use humor but it is always jokes based upon human frailty and sadness--- they are only joke people who have know deep sadness can laugh at. I have a deep love for people and tragedy and I think this must mean deep down that everything I make has that love too. (I am Oprah)

Monkey Man

My favorite piece of yours is the double Mary Todd. Where did that come from? I remember seeing it and whispering, "". I could look at it forever. Please tell me a museum purchased it!

Oh man, that piece has got MAD voodoo in it. We had it up in the dining room (ooooohh that made me sound rich!) and we had to pack it up because it is soooooooo Mary Todd Lincoln. I spent a year reading and doing work about her and Abe and I think when it came to executing it something “else” took over and it completely was crazy/pretty/occult/life-size Mary. It has not sold but Shoreline Community College bought a large etching I did as a study. It hangs, ironically, in the Library.

Installation view of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln (image via artist)

(image via artist)

What does 2009 look like for you?

Patrick Holderfield and I were both asked to do works for Gallery4Culture this June in conjunction with Seattle’s centennial celebration of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. I had only learned about the A.Y.P. four weeks before I had been asked to do the show so it has been a really amazing excuse to do a lot of reading and thinking about the last 100 years here in Seattle. I have only been here for the last 11 years but trust me, the 89 before I got here were far more interesting.

I am still looking at death and cool and drugs…while not being/doing any of them.

I am learning to say “No.” more and be let go of disappointing people.

I am trying to eat less candy. (I just lied about that one…)

I am going to kick my egos ass in the next two years.

(image via artist)
Is there anything you want to add?

Everyone be patient with me. I promise I will work hard and seek out my blind spots. Also, the X-files is a really important thing to watch in conjunction with reading any Joseph Campbell & everyone should read the book "Please Kill Me" it will make you proud to be American.
xo dawn

(image via The Henry)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Standing Under Understanding

I swung by Vermillion last night. The new show by Jason Puccinelli and Jed Dunkerley looks great! They painted the walls behind the paintings (never seen that at Vermillion before) and it really makes the art pop.

It's opening tomorrow night. Check it out. Vermillion openings are always fun and this should be especially rollicking.

"Puccinelli, working in impressively detailed large-scale oil canvases says, "These paintings make no attempt to illustrate the theories of my childhood. Instead they are visual representations of the epiphanies - the moments where I briefly understood my world." "

"Dunkerley paints gouache landscapes that represent a "fictitious world in which neither mysticism nor nature govern the world's phenomena, but rather the mechanisms and doings of engineers, carpenters, lab workers, and technicians in the employ of vast clandestine public utility corporations." "

Then swing by Grey Gallery & Lounge for Wayfare: Paintings by Joseph Arnegger and to see Emily Pothast's fantastic show, Eternal Return.

1/9/2009 -- Wayfare has been bumped back a week due to transportation problems caused by flooding.