Step right up the 12th annual Georgetown Carnival on Saturday, June 10 from noon to 10:00 PM. This colorful community arts festival celebrates the creative diversity Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. FREE family fun all day long!
This year’s edition features free concerts by Northwest rock stalwarts Mudhoney, Young Pioneers, Tom Price Desert Classic, and Thee Sgt. Major III, joined by Pink Parts, Gibraltar, Mia Day, Shasta Bree, Sazerac, Jacque Larrainzar, Kelli Francis Corrado, Barton Carroll, Danny Godinez, Tobias the Owl, Our Dead Fathers, Megan Krantz, and R L Heyer. DJ Brownstone, Selector Dub Narcotic, and DJ David Baca will spin platters between acts.
The festivities begin at noon with the traditional performance by Georgetown’s Eagles Aerie #1 Brass Band (the oldest performing band in the Pacific Northwest.) Young acrobats from Georgetown’s School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA) and students of Seattle Drum School perform. Spin art, Minions, arts & crafts booths, art cars, food trucks, beer and wine gardens, Equinox Studios interactive art, and carnival games provide entertainment for audiences of all ages. Georgetown Clown Town includes OddMall Alley, J. P. Patches museum, sideshow attractions, and a show of contemporary clown art by Augie Pagan, Kelly O, Tamlin Marx, Doug Parry, Emilie Shepherd, Hector Tellez, Marc Palm, and Henry.
Another annual attraction of the Georgetown Carnival is Hazardfactory’s Power Tool Races! Contestants of all ages fashion amusing drag racers from power tools of all varieties. They compete in thrilling side-by-side heats for trophies awarded in several categories.
Georgetown’s many galleries, studios, nightclubs, restaurants, and boutiques participate with special programming. Don’t miss this festive, FREE event on Saturday, June 10 on the streets of Georgetown’s Airport Way S business corridor.
Fantagraphics Bookstore, in association with Short Run and the University of Washington, is pleased to welcome Russian cartoonist Victoria Lomasko on Saturday, March 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Lomasko will present her new collection of graphic journalism Other Russias, with an exhibition and slide talk, followed by a book signing.
Victoria Lomasko is a fixture at Moscow’s trials and protests, documenting the tumultuous processes that shape today’s Russia. Not content to limit herself to the political life of Moscow, Lomasko travels around the country and the former Soviet republics, exploring the domestic, psychological, and spiritual condition of its diverse marginalized groups. She’ll discuss dissenting views of Putin’s policies – a topical subject in turbulent times. A feature review in the current issue of the New Yorker observes, “It’s a portrait of opposition politics that is also a portrait of deep cultural divisions. Neither Russia’s strengths nor its problems, Lomasko’s book argues, can be attributed to a single force.”
This event coincides with the Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring contemporary visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) only minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-658-0110.
Fantagraphics Books commemorates its 40th anniversary with a series of talks, exhibitions, book signings, performances, and parties celebrating four decades of publishing the world’s most influential contemporary cartoonists. These accomplishments are chronicled in the new book, We Told You So: Comics as Art, An Oral History of Fantagraphics Books.
The festivities begin with a panel discussion on Fantagraphics’ first 40 years on Friday, December 9, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the elegant Folio library, located at 384 Marion Street in downtown Seattle. Moderated by Fantagraphics publisher and co-founder Gary Groth, the panel includes Love & Rockets creators Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Stranger Genius honorees Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney, and contributors to Fantagraphics’ colorful history. A reception will follow. Admission is free to the public.
On Saturday, December 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery hosts an exhibition and book signing with artists above, joined by legendary Seattle cartoonist Peter Bagge, with a special musical performance by Simon Hanselmann. The exhibition features art and artifacts from the formative years of Fantagraphics Books. (This occasion also marks the 10th anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore and coincides with the holiday editions of the Georgetown Art Attack.) This event will be followed by an anniversary gala at the nearby Georgetown Stables, 980 S. Nebraska St. Bonus: It’s the colorful holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack!
Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of the historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-658-0110.
Don’t miss the Georgetown Carnival on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 10:00 PM. In addition to Hazardfactory’s World Famous Power Tool Races, the festival features acrobats, art, carnival games, crafts, confections, and music by El Vez, Lisa Prank, Star Anna, Less Than Equals, Danny Newcomb & the Sugarmakers, MKB Ultra, Paper Dolls, and many more. This year’s Carnival includes a colorful new attraction organized by Celeste Kean and Larry Reid. Georgetown Clown Town includes art, performances, balloon making, magic and more. The Clown Show at The Stables event space, (one block north of the bookstore), features contemporary clown art by Ron English, Marion Peck, Edward Matlock, Doug Parry (pictured below), Tatiana Gill, Kelly O, Extremo, Owen Smith, Seth Goodkind, Greg Swanson, Allen Gladfelter and many more. Performances in the clown tent include magician Just Sage, Unexpected Productions Improv, Sideshow Ben, Clown Burlesque and more. Enjoy cold refreshments in the Clown Bar beer garden while entertained by a variety of clown activities. Free fun for all ages all day long.
This Saturday, April 30 is Independent Bookstore Day, when book lovers everywhere are encouraged to support their local bookstores. In Seattle alone, over 20 stores are offering a rich variety of programming and incentives to make the rounds.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is hosting a reception from 1:00 to 3:00 PM for Underground Seattle, a handsome minicomic produced exclusively for the occasion. The book includes stories by some of Seattle’s most accomplished cartoonists including Tom Van Deusen, David Lasky, Eroyn Franklin, Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney, Kelly Froh, Robyn Jordan, Max Clotfelter, Laura Knetzger, Joe Garber, Tatiana Gill, Pat Moriarity, Seth Goodkind, Marc Palm, Colleen Frakes, Ben Horak, Brendan Kiefer, Roberta Gregory, Allen Gladfelter, Marie Hausauer, John Ohannesian, and Ryan Thies. Many of these amazing artists will be present.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle‘s historic Georgetown arts district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 2016-658-0110.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present an international multimedia tribute to late Italian cartoonist Guido Crepax. The tribute features original art by contemporary American cartoonists including David Lasky, Peter Kuper, Benjamin Marra, Roberta Gregory, George Pratt, and Mark Wheatley, as well as reproductions from the Complete Crepax Volume 1. The opening on Saturday, April 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM includes film shorts by Brazilian artist Alex Korolkovas, a sound installation by Sérgio Rocha of Portugal, a limited edition companion publication, and other exclusive Crepax merchandise.
Guido Crepax created his signature character Valentina in 1965. A mod photographer and globetrotting badass inspired by silent film star Louise Brooks, Valentina’s fashion sensibility, unabashed sexuality, and sense of adventure personified the proto-feminist paradigm as portrayed in post war European film, fine art, and pop culture. The Complete Crepax represents an ambitious project aimed at introducing American audiences to the work of this influential artist, translated into English for the first time. Volume one includes adventures like “The Subterraneans,” “Valentina in Sovietland,” “Un Poco Loco,” and adaptations of classic gothic horror stories “Frankenstein” and “Dracula,” among many others.
This April 9th event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring adventurous visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way S., just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Daniel Clowes is among the most accomplished artists of his generation. Join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday, March 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM as we celebrate the publication of Patience, his most ambitious graphic novel to date.
Clowes came to prominence with his groundbreaking Eightball comic book series in the 1990s, which was characterized by biting social satire rendered with a singular graphic sensibility. Eightball also included several cinematic long form stories such as Ghost World, which was adapted to film in 2001 featuring Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch in the lead roles. Clowes received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation. His work has been embraced by the art world as the subject of solo exhibitions at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Oakland Museum of California, and many others. He has received the Pen Literary Award as well as prestigious cartoonist honors including multiple Harvey and Eisner Awards. Patience is the first all new full-length graphic novel from Clowes in five years. Best described as a psychedelic science fiction romance, the artist mines new territory with a profoundly innovative approach. The full color artwork is both buoyant and intense – living up to its billing as the most anticipated graphic novel in years.
Meet this extraordinary artist on Saturday, March 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. He’ll sign advance copies of Patience as well as previous publications from Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring contemporary art presentations throughout the thriving arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
When not working as an Emmy-winning writer for animated series like Camp Lazlo, Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob Squarepants, the cartoonist Kaz has been drawing his weekly Underworld comic strip since 1992, including a long run in Seattle’s alternative weekly The Stranger. Come celebrate the first comprehensive collection of his clever creation on February 13 with a book signing and art exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Underworld: From Hoboken to Hollywood collects the most memorable strips from the 23-year lifetime of the strip, together with photos, anecdotes, and related Underworld ephemera. The strip chronicles a degenerate society populated by parodies of vaguely familiar pop culture characters.
Meet this exceptional artist on his first visit to Seattle on Saturday, February 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. This event coincides with the Valentines edition of the Georgetown Art Attack, celebrating 8 years of compelling visual and performing arts presentations throughout the romantic industrial arts corridor. An interesting sideshow at the Kaz event will be local artist Ellen Forney revealing her Kaz-designed full back tattoo for the first time. Forney was a featured artist at the very first Art Attack in February, 2008. Her profile has increased dramatically in the intervening 8 years.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates its 9th anniversary in wild style with the Cheech Wizard Show, Mark Bodé, Laura Knetzger, and more! Our festive holiday gala on Saturday, December 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM marks the debut of Cheech Wizard’s Book of Me featuring a fabulous group show of tributes to the alluring art of the late Vaughn Bodé and a rare reunion of his extended family.
The Cheech Wizard Show includes original drawings by Vaughn and Mark Bodé in addition to an amazing array of local and regional artists: Michael Leavitt premieres a new piece from his ongoing HiPop Project ahead of his solo show at New York’s Jonathan Levine Gallery next May; Seattle hip hop pioneer Specs Wizard creates a new work following his spectacular entry mural at the current Hip Hop Legacy show at the Museum of History and Industry; Bay Area underground-cartoonist-turned-painter Hector Tellez and Seattle game designer and fine artist Augie Pagan will be joined by Intruder contributors Marc Palm, James Stanton, and John Ohannesian, together with graphic artist Mike Poetzel, Fantagraphics production manager Mike Baehr, and more. Bonus: This show coincides with the colorful holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack!
The party continues the following day as we host Laura Knetzger signing copies of her new Bug Boys collection on Sunday, December 13 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Laura recently returned to Seattle from Brooklyn and is a welcome addition to our lively comix community.
You’ll find a wonderfully diverse yet carefully curated selection of alternative comix, graphic novels, classic comic strips, and badass books at Fantagraphics Bookstore, open every day at 1201 S. Vale Street, just minutes south of downtown Seattle in the heart of historic Georgetown. See you all soon.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present some of Seattle’s most compelling cartoonists throughout the month of November.
On Saturday, November 14, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Tatiana Gill debuts her latest collection of revealing journal comix Omnibusted: Stories I Told Myself 1999-2009. Her work is characterized by courageously confronting issues of social anxiety and substance abuse in an accessible, and often humorous fashion. This self-published book represents her most ambitious work to date. This event coincides with the entertaining Georgetown Art Attack featuring exciting visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
The following day, Sunday, November 15, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, we welcome literary luminary Jonathan Lethem presenting Best American Comics 2015 with local contributors Peter Bagge, Megan Kelso and Jim Woodring. Lethem, a best-selling author and MacArthur Fellow, served as guest editor for this year’s edition of the long-running Best American Comics series (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He will moderate a panel on contemporary comix with acclaimed local cartoonists Bagge, Kelso, and Woodring, whose works are included in the book.
On Small Business Saturday, November 28, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, we celebrate the publication of Prison Island by Northwest cartoonist Colleen Frakes. This captivating graphic memoir chronicles her upbringing on McNeil Island, America’s last federal island penitentiary, where her parents worked in correctins. The book provides fascinating insight into her unorthodox childhood experiences.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Come celebrate Seattle’s amazing comix community on Friday, October 30 as Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery hosts Short Run Marathon III, a pre-fest reception and art exhibition. The show includes the work of Short Run featured artists Charles Forsman, Melissa Mendes, Jim Woodring, Krish Raghav, Bruce Bickford, and special guest Sam Alden, with live music by Lisa Prank.
All artists, as well as other Short Run exhibitors, will be present. They’ll be joined by Sam Alden debuting his graphic novel New Construction with a slide presentation and signing. An award winning cartoonist, Alden is a storyboard artist for the popular animated series Adventure Time. Join us on Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for this festive party with complimentary refreshments, Halloween treats, art, music, and more. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
And don’t miss the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival on Saturday at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on Saturday, October 31 as artists from across the country and around the world present their self
Join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday, October 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, as we celebrate Cartoons for Victory with visiting editor and comics scholar Warren Bernard. This event features an exhibition from Bernard’s fascinating archive of World War II home front ephemera. Bernard returns to Seattle following the recent Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, MD, where he serves as executive director. He co-authored the Eisner-nominated Drawing Power, which examines the role of classic comics in advertising.
Bernard will give an informative slide presentation at 7:00 PM at the reception on Saturday. Senator Bob Dole, a decorated WWII veteran, comments in the foreword, “When they were drawn, these cartoons had topical points to make that went beyond slapstick or simple comedy. As I look at them now, collected in this volume, they bring back memories of what those times felt like.”
This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring contemporary visual and performing arts events throughout the historic neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, only minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will celebrate Seattle’s lively small press and comix community on Saturday, August 8 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Hot Off The Press: A Cool Summer Small Press Fest features tables of indie publications from the Intruder, Short Run, Yeti Press, Pity Party, Fluke Press and other regional imprints.
The event includes a reading from recently released short fiction collection The Octopus Rises by provocative literary personality Ryan Boudinot. Also featured are prominent minicomics artist Noah Van Sciver presenting his exquisite new graphic novel Fante Bukowski and an exhibition of original art from the second volume of Gina Siciliano‘s ambitious graphic biography, I Know What I Am: The True Story of Artemisia Gentileschi. The festival marks the debut of Desperate Times: The Summer of 1981, edited by Maire Masco, collecting the six issues of a tabloid zine that serves as a time capsule of an emerging counterculture that would later rock the world. The show will introduce the Extruder, a new publication from the Intruder comix collective, as well as other new handcrafted comix and zines.
The Hot Off the Press book fair will include tables of local self-publishers set up on the recently completed pedestrian plaza outside the bookstore. This event coincides with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring colorful contemporary art presentations throughout the historic industrial arts corridor. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at the corner of Airport Way S., just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to announce the global debut of Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design from Port Townsend’s Feral House press. The reception, book signing and companion exhibition by one of the country’s most influential graphic designers opens Saturday, July 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The exhibition continues though August 6, 2015.
Chantry’s idiosyncratic style dramatically impacted contemporary graphic design throughout the 1980s and 1990s with his emphasis on hand-crafted techniques just as digital graphics were becoming ubiquitous. His new book collects captivating essays and illustrations that document the essential elements of graphic arts before the invention of computer technology. Chantry’s unique aesthetic was central in the formulation of Seattle’s grunge youth movement in the 1990s and influenced a generation of designers in all fields. His artwork has been the subject of exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, including a solo show at the Seattle Art Museum in 1993. His work remains relevant and his insights instructive.
Meet this amazing artist from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coinciding with the July 11 edition of the festive Georgetown Art Attack. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Exotica Night at Cafe Racer with the Tiki-Graphs. Music by Martin Denny and other tiki and exotic favorites by Cheryl Serio and the Spyrographs. Original music, incredible musicians, fun food and drinks. Come at 8pm for Bingo and the music is 9pm to 11pm at Cafe Racer at 5828 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present the debut of Josh Simmons latest work, Black River, with an art exhibition, short film screening and book signing on Saturday, April 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
Simmons returns with his first full-length graphic novel since 2007’s acclaimed House. A group of women, one man, and two dogs make their way through a post-apocalyptic nightmare in search of civilization in this epic horror comic. Simmons will present original pages from the book together with prints, two film shorts, and a book signing. Adding to the atmosphere, Fantagraphics Bookstore is located along the former banks of Seattle’s Black River, which dried up after the dredging of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in 1916.
Joining Josh Simmons on April 25 will be his colleagues from Seattle’s adventurous Intruder comix tabloid celebrating the release of their 15th issue. The Intruder regularly publishes the work of the region’s most accomplished contemporary cartoonists. Simmons contributes a two-page story in the latest issue.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
It’s fitting that Daniel Clowes will make a rare Seattle appearance on Record Store Day. This Saturday, April 18 marks the annual celebration of these essential establishments. Clowes will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, which shares space with vintage vinyl purveyor Georgetown Records.
Throughout the 90s, Clowes cartoons were associated with Seattle’s illustrious Sub Pop record label. His “Punky” character adorned multiple product lines, and he created memorable covers for some of the label’s marquee acts.
Don’t miss the unveiling of The Complete Eightball 1 – 18 and a chance to meet one of America’s most influential artists at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Record Store Day from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. No matter where you are, please support your local independent record retailer.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to host the return engagement of one of America’s most influential artists, Daniel Clowes. His cynical satires of popular culture in the pages of the wildly popular Eightball comic book series helped define the attitudes and aesthetics of an entire generation. His appearance in Seattle on Saturday, April 18 marks the global debut of The Complete Eightball 1 – 18. Clowes will be available to sign a limited number of advance copies of this collection as well as other publications from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
Clowes’ meticulously rendered artwork and cinematic narratives set a standard for the alternative comix movement. Eightball comics combined long form stories spanning multiple issues with wickedly funny invectives on contemporary culture. The early issues included Like A Velvet Glove cast in Iron, a mysterious excursion into madness that set the stage for his later effort, Ghost World. This stunning story was adapted into the feature film of the same name became a generational touchstone while earning Clowes an Oscar nomination for best screenplay adaptation. Equally appealing are Clowes’ clever observations of the human condition including “Message to the People of the Future,” “Paranoid,” “My Suicide,” “Chicago,” “Art School Confidential” and many more.
Fantagraphics Books celebrates the 25th anniversary of its publication with a deluxe two-volume slipcase set that authentically recreates the original layout of this iconic comic book series. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet this extraordinary artist and the debut of the exceptional Complete Eightball collection. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery welcomes comics scholar and author Bill Schelly on Saturday, April 11 as he presents his new biography Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America. Schelly will give an entertaining and informative slide talk on the illustrious career of one of the pivotal figures in American popular culture. A book signing will follow the presentation.
Harvey Kurtzman wrote, edited and drew popular titles like Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat for notorious publisher EC Comics. In a departure from their lurid line of crime and horror comics, Kurtzman created the satirical Mad in 1952. EC Comics soon fell victim to the hysterical crusading of politicians, child psychologists and religious zealots when the Comics Code Authority effectively banned most of their titles. Kurtzman’s Mad persevered, and ironically became the instrument that indoctrinated an entire generation in the principle of art in the service of degenerate discourse – laying the foundation for the cultural upheaval of the 1960s.
Kurtzman’s many contributions to midcentury American humor are explored at length by Bill Schelly, with insightful interviews of Kurtzman collaborators like Hugh Hefner, Al Feldstein, James Warren, R. Crumb, Jack Davis, Gilbert Shelton, and more. Episodes like the FBI investigation during the McCarthy Era and his litigation with EC publisher Bill Gaines are detailed for the first time.
Don’t miss the debut of this amazing publication with a slide talk, exhibition and book signing on April 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
Mark your calendars now for the return of incomparable cartoonist Daniel Clowes on Saturday, April 18 with the global debut of The Complete Eightball, followed a week later by provocative Seattle artist Josh Simmons on April 25. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S., minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
This time we’re tackling two highly energetic and powerful worlds of art: pop surrealism and lowbrow art. And as guests we have two legendary players on the Seattle scene. Read on for details.
The Guests (see bios below.)
Kirsten Anderson, owner and founder, Roq la Rue Gallery
Larry Reid, curator and events coordinator, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
We’re looking at two art movements that have long been intertwined: pop surrealism and lowbrow art. Both share a deep humor and irreverence, along with a passion for stretching the limits of illustration—and representation in general—to places where the conventions of such drawing and painting don’t generally go. But if both share a sensibility, they also diverge deeply.
I won’t recount the history of lowbrow, as in the early days of Robert Williams, the horizon-bending work of underground comix, and the hot rod art of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Wikipedia provides a basic intro. Suffice it to say that lowbrow begins as an amalgam of comics, album covers, tattoos, California car and surf cultures, and film noir. But it has always stretched these modes, reinventing them, taking them new places. One good way to get a sense of vividness of lowbrow is to look at the work of Robert Williams.
One of the fascinating things about lowbrow is its deep relationship with many other trends in the past fifty years, including punk rock, Chicano art, street art, graffiti. And the attendant cultures are cultures of immersion, for both artists and the audiences: tattooing, cars, comics.
Pop surrealism shares a lot with lowbrow, but has its own vocabulary, its own style. As the name suggests, it builds on the mystery and strange juxtapositions of surrealism, filtered through modes of pop culture, especially commercial illustration. Pop surrealism is about fantasy, but not the fantasy of sword and sorcery and dragons. Rather, here is the fantasy of the irrational, of dreams, of playful weirdness, carefully and often darkly rendered.
Maybe the best way to get a sense of pop surrealism is to take a look at, say, the work Femke Hiemstra or Peter Ferguson or Mark Ryden. The differences from Robert Williams are evident, but there are odd commonalities as well.
We have only two guests this time, and that’s intentional. Between them, Larry Reid and Kirsten Anderson have both played impressive roles in the culture of Seattle. Reid has long been a curator, writer, advocate, and instigator in Seattle, goes back to co-founding the famous Rosco Louis Gallery in the 1970s and the wild days of CoCA in the 1980s. Anderson founded Roq la Rue 16 years ago, focusing on pop surrealism and later broadening to cover a range of contemporary art. In those years, she has been a prominent writer, publisher, and curator in the field.
The Guests in Detail
Kirsten Anderson opened Roq la Rue Gallery in 1998 after curating several highly successful group art shows in various locations in Seattle. In addition to curating and running the gallery, she edited and co-published the landmark book Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art, which was the first survey of the art movement, in 2004.
She served as the “Editor At Large” at Hi Fructose Art magazine for seven years (until stepping down to focus on other projects in 2014), where she wrote about art and artists integral to the Pop Surrealism/New Contemporary scene as well as major players in the international contemporary art world. She occasionally writes for other publications about art and lectures about the history and current state of Pop Surrealism/New Contemporary and the artists affiliated with the genre. She is regarded as an authority on the main tenets and history of the genre, as well as having a discerning eye for discovering new talent.
Larry Reid has been an advocate for challenging visual and performing arts in the Pacific Northwest and beyond since co-founding Rosco Louie gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square in 1978. He has since served as director of Graven Image gallery and the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), and as curator for Experience Music Project (EMP) and Fantagraphics Books.
Over the course of his career he has presented the work of countless regional, national and international artists including Lynda Barry, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Nirvana, William S. Burroughs, Robert Crumb, Lydia Lunch, Ann Magnuson, Chuck Close, Keith Haring, Sonic Youth, Mike Kelley, Karen Finley, Eric Bogosian, Charles Peterson, Einsturzende Neubauten, Von Dutch, Henry Rollins, Daniel Clowes, Gary Panter, Mudhoney, and many more. He has served as a peer panelist for various private foundations and public agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts (1990). He has contributed to several books including Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art, Edward Colver: Blight at the End of the Funnel, Tiki Art Now!, Jini Dellaccio: Rock & Roll, and Sub Pop USA: 1980 – 1987.
Reid currently works as curator and events coordinator at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community, where he also serves as president of the Georgetown Merchants Association (GMA) and co-chairs the Greater Duwamish District Council (GDDC).