Culture Herd We Hunt – You Gather

Drowning in a Sea of Wax

Encaustic is melting all over Seattle.  It has been forming pools in nearly every art gallery recently and spreading.  Medias like that have a way of infiltrating ever corner of this city's art scene: it seems that if one artist does it, someone else has to 'one up' them until it is in everyone's repertoire.

But artists, please heed my warning.

Bad encaustic is certainly the majority out in the scene.  A friend once said that he thought most encaustic was the result of an artist trying to make a piece they fucked up somewhat acceptable, it forms a mask over a pile of shit.  I would absolutely agree.  Generally it is messy, unintentional (not in a good way), and trying too hard all at the same time.  It should never be used as decoupage.  This media can be an amazing addition to many forms of visual art, but not everyone can be good at everything.

And to all you artists that think you are good at encaustic:  bad news, you very certainly aren't.


However,  I have two artists to commend on their work with encaustic in two very different ways.

When standing in front of the paintings of Alicia Tormey I am brought to another world.   The large scale, vibrant colors, and complete control over such a difficult media combine to make her pieces absolutely unforgettable.  She builds depth with intention.  They are just lovely.


The newspaper based creations of Kate Hunt are a refreshing change to what I consider to be the 'standard'  Seattle sculpture scene (I don't necessarily know what that is exactly… but it just feels different).  The quality that comes from the unevenly covered stacks is fabulous - visual and actual texture combined.


If you think that you are worthy to show encaustic in Seattle, go and take in these artists - you probably don't stand a chance.  Way to go ladies.  Your work makes everyone else's look like an elementary school experiment.


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February ArtWalk Favorites


What do a drunk nun, a broken toaster and tools with testicles have in common?

...You guessed it: Artwalk here in Seattle.

Lets start with something comfortable... Like dead puppets.

Molly Hill: String Master 2010

Acrylic on canvas / 28" x 22" / $2,800

Molly Hill was showing @ Grover Thurston And although her show seemed a bit "kitch"...  Never the less: I fell for it.

Don't get me wrong, she's an amazing painter. Inspiring even. As a matter of fact, her work looks like N. Rockwell and S. Dali were domestic-partners raising an orphan daughter who only painted at the psychiatrists office. I dig it.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for direct symbolism, obvious paradox, and cliche topics in general. Stuff like puppets with severed red strings, a chained up monkey, or fore-staged subjects... what's that? the painting to the right has ALL that? DAMN. See?

Art like this falls into the "guilty pleasure" category for me. It's comfortable. you can glance at it, understand it instantly, and move on to stuff like inspecting proportions, colors, textures, and "craftsmanship". All of which Molly has in spades.

I suggest you click on Molly's Website Link below to explore her work in full, it's got all of the above and more.

Molly Hill - Website

Kate Hunt: Dollar Pieces 2009

Kate Hunt / Dollar Pieces 2009 / 2" x 7" x 5" / $200ea

Finally! Art with indisputable value... It's made of money.

Kate Hunts fascination with paper is unhealthy. Which is most unfortunate for her because it's so amazing that I doubt anyone will ever let her stop working with it. In Feb she displayed a large "sum" of work @ Davidson Galleries Money that made flags, newspaper that made pedestals, I couldn't help but wonder if any fire marshals have given her grief or insisted on fire-proofing.

Kate's work was fun. She used steel, encaustic, bailing wire, newspaper, and cold hard cash to create burnt out, charred, pillars, bowls and panes that made me feel like I was at a fire sale for an eccentric  printer whose house burned down. What I liked most was that she's got an obvious brand. I could recognize her work now anywhere I ended up seeing it, and that's the kinda thing that makes one famous...

Check Out her website for more cool sculpture. Kate Hunt - Website


Now lets get to Some Penis and Testicle Art shall we? I thought you'd never ask...

Ken Edwards: Garden Tool

Ken Edwards/ Garden Tool /Mixed Media / $950

Ken Edwards filled the Gallery IMA with tools designed to be more organic but still very masculine. They basically look like the tools that the natives in Avatar might use. I loved this one, but there's lots more to view on his website (See Link below)

I know it's not a new idea to re-invent mans common tools, but for a 35 year firefighter, I'm sure tools have varied meaning and memory even in retirement.

Ken Edwards - Website



Ruthie V: Gender

Ruthie V / Gender / Cement on panel / with Trowel Penis

Ruthie V, Showing in Feb @ Shift in the TK building, made quite an impression on people that night. What does it all mean? I mean I get the phallic nature of tool handles, but cement? was it to tie in the trowel or are you making a comment on how attached we are to them? either way, you had me at " that a penis"? It's not all about sex or genitalia with Ruthie, in fact this is the only penis I could find in her collection..

She had lots of great work in the show and she even knew enough to throw in one of those blantantly obvious shock value pieces to grab the lesser versed artwalkers who might have missed the subtle hint of brilliance in her other work. good show Ruthie.

Ruthie V - Website


Paul Young: Toaster

but it's plugged in...?

What's left? Oh yah, broken toasters and drunk nuns!

So here's the toaster... It's a piece by Paul Young in the infamous 619 (Western) building. via Gold Shoes Studios & Gallery on the 5th floor (Edd Cox's Establishment) You can find Lots more of Pauls work here

Anyways, i just liked it for the irony of it all. I mean it's plugged in, but has a sign telling me it still wont work... yet I have to try to push down the lever... I HAVE TO.



Nun Drinks BeerJamison Drinks BeerAnd what West Coast event is complete without running into one of the Sisters of perpetual indulgence. Aside from free condoms and lube, they also hand out sex-positive messages and try to loosen people up about sexuality in general, after all, if there's one thing I learned growing up in New England it was that we were most CERTAINLY founded by Puritans. And we've got a long ways to go before we find a comfortable "middle ground" about sex. I wish I got this sisters name, they're usually hillarious like sister buttercup panties, or bertha beads, and so on... here's our two photos, one with me drinking and the other with her drinking. (her being the one with a  beard here)


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why I like installation art…

I'm an artist.

"So what kind of artist are you?"

Oh, I do installation.


Actual definition:

A genre of art which incorporates any media, including the physical features of the site, to create a conceptual experience in a particular environment.

Really broad for something that can leave such an impression.

I like to define it as:

Anything(s) made out of any material(s) that is arranged for any reason(s) in a particular space(s) to communicate an idea(s). But, the most important thing about installation art is… it's temporary.  And it should be.  That's what creates the conceptual experience.

A few months ago at Artwalk I was enjoying the Toshiro-Kaplan building when I came across an installation of these bowls made out of salt crystals balanced delicately on lumber cut at different levels.  Unfortunately I do not remember the name of the artist or the piece but the picture of it in my mind is so clear and I will will certainly recognize when I see their work again.  There was such a feeling when I walked into the room.  It was not the only piece there, although you wouldn't know it.  Effective installation can't really ever be accurately transcribed because of the overwhelming change in perception, it should grab you and bring you to some other place entirely.  You should get lost in it.  And i was floating on those bowls - flying and bouncing across them - and yet I felt as if there was something that was supposed to be there but intentionally missing.  It was uplifting and eerie at the same time.

But who really wants to buy this stuff?  I don't.  Just like I love Damien Hirst's satirical pharmacy - yeah, its fucking fabulous but am i really going to hang 4 shelves of prescription boxes on my wall?  And where would i put those 126 salt bowls?  I am constantly trying to wrap my mind around how these artists are making a living, and at the same time I feel impassioned to follow this path.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I like installation art because I want to force you into my eyes, because of the challenge of it, because of the people who get it, because of the ability to change someones mind if for only a second.  When art surrounds you, you have no choice but to submit yourself to it.

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