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 Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to host a release party and art exhibition for Regina Schilling’s Hey Lady #7 on Saturday, February 11. The new issue focuses on Sylvia Rivera, a civil rights pioneer who was a crucial voice for people of color, transgendered, and low-income communities throughout her life.
Hey Lady is a colorful celebration of women’s contributions to global art and culture. Olympia resident Regina Schilling selects a subject for each book and invites women artists worldwide to contribute portraits. Past personalities include artist and musician Yoko Ono, actress Nichelle Nichols, Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling, musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and artists Leonor Fini and Yayoi Kusama. The results are remarkably revealing. Each issue includes a brief biography and a button affixed to the cover. DIY publishing and contemporary feminist art at its finest.
The event on Saturday February 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coincides with the festive Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore 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.
Fantagraphics Books continues its 40th anniversary celebration with a book launch party and exhibition for Visual Abuse: Jim Blanchard’s Graphic Art, 1982 – 2002 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, November 12.
Blanchard relocated to Seattle in 1987 from Oklahoma City, where he self published his popular punk fanzine, Blatch. He soon found work as an art director at Fantagraphics Books, while continuing to create posters and graphics for bands associated with Seattle’s emerging grunge movement. He published several comix on Fantagraphics’ provocative Eros imprint, and later worked as inker for Peter Bagge’s influential Hate comic book series. His artwork has been featured in exhibitions across the country, including solo shows at Seattle’s Roq la Rue, and is currently on display at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles.
Visual Abuse includes two decades of Blanchard’s idiosyncratic graphics, informed by the outrageous style of Mad magazine, psychedelic posters and underground comix of the 60s, pop culture iconography of the 70s, and the neo-dada punk aesthetic of the 80s and 90s. As cartoonist Jim Woodring observes in the book’s introduction, “Blanchard is an inspired original whose work succeeds perfectly on its own iconoclastic terms as well as in the larger world of visionary art.”
The exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore will focus on Blanchard’s contributions to the Seattle’s music scene, including memorable posters, illustrations, and record covers for groups like Nirvana, Melvins, Tad, Accused, Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, and more. The artist will be present on November 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to sign copies of his new collection. The show remains on view through December 8.
This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic Georgetown arts community. 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.
Come down to Georgetown this Saturday, July 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM as Fantagraphics Bookstore welcomes acclaimed indie comix artist Sammy Harkham and wishes a fond farewell to the Intruder at the second annual Hot Off the Press book fair!
This colorful festival features tables of local handcrafted comix, prints, and zines by many of the Northwest’s most admired artists and small press publishers, including Short Run Micropress, Neoglyphic Media, Fogland Studios, Yeti Press, and Pity Party. Special guest Sammy Harkham will sign copies of the newly released Kramer’s Ergot 9 anthology as well as his alluring self-published serial Crickets. Another attraction is Seattle artist Josh Simmons signing the latest installment of Jessica Farm project, a highly conceptual series of books designed by Harkham.
The fair will also feature the final issue of the Intruder, a free comix tabloid that has been largely responsible for launching the careers of a new generation of Seattle cartoonists including Tom van Duesen, Max Clotfelter, Marc Palm, Ben Horak, Marie Hausauer, Brittany Kusa, and many more. Issue #20 will debut with a retrospective exhibition of contributors. Selected back issues will also be available. A festive after-party will follow across the street at Machine House Brewing.
This event coincides with the festive Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring lively visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic art community, including a performance by seminal Seattle punk rock act Chinas Comidas at Georgetown Records. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 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.
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.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is pleased to welcome one of the world’s most inventive cartoonists, Simon Hanselmann, presenting new work on Saturday, April 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. This event will feature an exhibition of original drawings from Hanselmann’s latest collection, Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam and Other Stories, as well as a musical performance and special guest appearance by his cartoonist colleague HTML Flowers.
Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam continues the artist’s tragicomic examination of life on the periphery of acceptable social norms. Megg the witch, Mogg the cat, their friend Owl, and Werewolf Jones struggle unsuccessfully with their depression, drug use, sexuality, poverty, lack of ambition, and complex feelings about each other. Fresh off their star turn in the New York Times best seller Megahex, Megg and Mogg decide to take a trip to Amsterdam for some quality couple time, although the trip gets off to a rocky start when they forget their antidepressants. It only gets better from there. See the Hanselmann feature in the current issue of The Stranger.
HTML Flowers is the pseudonym of 28-year-old cartoonist, tattooist, and musician Grant Gronewold. Collaborating with Hanselmann on the series Werewolf Jones & Sons, Gronewold is currently penning No Visitors. This new mini-comic series chronicles the morbidly hilarious, subtly perverted, often demeaning lifestyle of the chronically ill. No Visitors draws heavily on Gronewold’s personal experience living with the incurable, life-threatening illness Cystic Fibrosis. His work has been featured in Vice, It’s Nice That, The Lifted Brow, and other publications.
Please join us in celebrating the latest achievements of these gifted artists at what promises to be a memorable evening of imaginative art, music, and more. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s historic Georgetown art community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-658-0110.
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.
Join us this Friday, February 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery as we host an exhibition of international artists for the debut of Red Eye from Short Run Micropress. This event features a special appearance by Spanish cartoonist Ricardo Cavolo, signing copies of his bestselling book 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die.
Red Eye is best described as a curated chain letter. The publishers reached out to international artists whose work they admired and asked them to choose an artist from their community to contribute artwork to the book. The resulting handcrafted anthology features colorful Risograph artwork from Kwaichang Kráneo (Argentina), Olga Lavrentyeva (Russia), Zane Zlemeša (Latvia), Lutfi Zayed (Jordan), Emmi Jormalainen (Finland), Pierre Bolide (France), Bruno Toli (Croatia), Luntu Vumazonke (South Africa), and many others. Ricardo Cavolo will contribute a silkscreen wraparound cover. Work from Red Eye, as well as Cavolo’s solo book, will be on display. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to discover emerging international contemporary cartoonists and celebrate this ambitious book project from our friends at Short Run.
Thanks to everyone who came out for the Kaz signing. Good times. His Underworld exhibition will remain on view through Thursday, February 25. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t miss the publication party for Inner City Romance this Saturday featuring sweet original art by Guy Colwell. The exhibition fittingly opens on Valentine’s Day from 6:00 to 9:00 PM and coincides with the 7th anniversary of the colorful Georgetown Art Attack.
Guy Colwell’s comic book serial Inner City Romance appeared in 1972, illustrating the unvarnished reality of an emerging urban counterculture. As Matt Gonzalez observes in Juxtapoz magazine, “Colwell’s art is motivated by two primary sentiments: first, a deep political strain meant to expose and offer commentary on political, economic, and racial disparities that exist in our society, and second, an awareness of man’s uncomfortable relationship with nature and sexuality.”
The exhibition of original pages, prints, paintings and drawings by this accomplished artist is one of many highlights of the Georgetown Art Attack. Spend a romantic evening in the enchanting industrial arts district of Georgetown. Visit Fran’s Chocolates new factory across the street from the bookstore, explore art studios and galleries, enjoy dinner and drinks at one of two dozen bars and restaurants, and encounter spontaneous spectacles all over the historic neighborhood.
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).
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery begins a new year of programming on Saturday, January 10 with the fascinating exhibition Black Light: The World of L. B. Cole and a workshop by French comix collective Le Cagibi. Given the tragic assassination of cartoonists in Paris, this event takes on special significance.
Le Cagibi is an art gallery, publishing house, screenprint, engraving studio in Lille, France. In its 5 years of existence Le Cagibi has produced handcrafted books with inventive printing and binding techniques. These resourceful visiting artists will conduct a free workshop will take place in Fantagraphics Bookstore. Patrons are encouraged to bring garments for screenprinting. There will also be a presentation of Cagibi’s unique books.
L.B. Cole created some of the most remarkable, proto-psychedelic comic book covers of all time. Black Light: The World of L. B. Cole is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole artwork ever assembled. Editor J. Michael Catron will give a brief presentation on the career of this amazing artist from the golden age of comics.
This event on Saturday, January 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack, featuring lively visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. Seahawks fans can check in on the playoff action at one of several bars in the neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.), only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.