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.
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).
Come celebrate the legacy of Seattle’s early music and comix on Saturday, November 29 as Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery hosts the book launch party for Sub Pop USA: The Subterranean Music Anthology, 1980 -1988. The book documents the formative years of Bruce Pavitt’s fiercely independent fanzine, cassette label and music column. Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid was a contributor to the fanzine (under the pseudonym Lewy Louie.). Bookstore staffer Russ Battaglia contributed graphics and photos to the zines, which were graced with covers by Lynda Barry and Charles Burns. It was amazing to see the almost immediate impact Pavitt’s modest enterprise had on pop music. To those close to him, it came as no surprise that within a decade, Sub Pop would impact popular culture on a global scale.
The book includes essays, by Reid, Charles R. Cross, Ann Powers, Gerard Cosley, and Calvin Johnson, founder of K Records and early Sub Pop fanzine collaborator. Johnson will perform music at the party, which is the first time he will play Fantagraphics since Beat Happening rocked our wild warehouse party in 1994 (attended by newly anointed princes of punk, Nirvana). Many contributors to the old zine and new book will attend the reception from 6:00 to 8:00 PM – a great way to spend Small Business Saturday.
Fantagraphics Bookstore 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.
The Pacific Northwest enjoys a long tradition as a breeding ground for innovative illustrators and cartoonists. At no time has this been more evident than now. The Intruder comix collective is at the forefront of this new movement. On Saturday, April 12, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the publication of the 10th issue of the Intruder anthology with a lively party including an art exhibition, music performance, and book signing.
The Intruder is a free quarterly tabloid featuring an eclectic group of contributors from the fields of comix, illustration, fine art, and graphic design. Issue #10 features the work of Max Clotfelter, Aidan Fitzgerald, Billis Helg, Ben Horak, Tim Miller, John Ohannesian, Marc Palm, Darin Shuler, James Stanton, Tom Van Deusen, and more. In addition to the debut of the latest Intruder, original art, prints, and handcrafted books by these artists and others will on display at the bookstore though May 7, 2014.
The Intruder reception will be preceded from 4:00 to 6:00 PM by Michael O’Driscoll presenting his new self-published comic, Bedbug’s Book of Wisdom. This limited edition hardcover follows the exploits of O’Driscoll’s pesky protagonist cleverly mimicking the format of a children’s book. Additionally, Georgetown Records and Fantagraphics Bookstore welcome a musical performance by Lori Goldston and Kyle Hanson. Cellist Goldston is Stranger Genius honoree who has performed with Nirvana, Earth, and countless others. She’ll be joined on accordion by frequent collaborator Hanson performing songs from their recently released album. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring challenging visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic district.
Come down to Georgetown for the Second Saturday Art Attack on March 8. You’ll find challenging visual and performing arts not seen in anywhere else in the region. This month features contemporary art in a neighborhood that offers lots to do, eat, see, and drink. A small sample of attractions below.
• All City Coffee featuring Women of Equinox: Clair Putney, Lisa Geertson, M. Anne Sweet, Sophia Wheelwright, Stacy Rosevear and Syd Shera. Equinox is Georgetown’s largest artist occupied warehouse accommodating over 50 tenants doing amazing work from blacksmithing and metal sculpture, to painting and ceramics, with woodwork, leatherwork, glass, photography and much more in between. These women represent a portion of the creativity emanating from the World War II era factory building located on 5th and Michigan.
• Calamity Janes featuring Mark Tedin, game illustrator and art instructor, presents recent works on paper for show at Calamity Jane’s in Georgetown. Color pastels and graphite portraits of costumed subjects will be showcased for the Georgetown Art Attack and throughout the month of March.
• Eight and Sand presents Felt Nature, the art of Mary Clymer. This is a solo installation style show of Flora in felt. Mary is a local artist hailing from Renton, Wa. She enjoys working in fiber and experimenting with combining fiber and non fiber arts. Mary is inspired by nature, big dreams, bike rides and little mushrooms.
• Equinox Studios, of West Georgetown welcomes you to visit our big blue building. We run an art shuttle van to Airport Way and back, park here. 6555 5th Ave S, 98108. ?Open studios include ?Sarah Woodson, of Downing Pottery; Hand-thrown and neighborhood inflected mugs; ?Anne Sweet, graphic artist, feminist themes; Alex Miller, of Bizarre 1979, videographer and then some; Syd Shera, ceramic art.; Jeff Olhoeft, stone carver; Sherry Hussey, of Iron Idiom, glass bead making.?Tabasco Mills, blacksmith; ?Sophia Wheelwright, mixed media.
• Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery features TONY MILLIONAIRE. Book signing and art exhibition with music by Ashley Eriksson. Exhibition continues through April 9, 2014.
• Georgetown Atelier: open studio
• Georgetown Liquor Company features mixed media art by Rachel Setzer in a show titled “Pain Body”. An exploration of the anatomical body inspired by chronic pain. Each piece represents its location in the body and is intended to convey that different places hurt differently (and that each person experiences pain differently). Your pain is real, it is really part of you, no one has the right to deny or diminish it. However, just because it hurts, doesn’t mean that it’s in charge. Subject matter aided by The Anatomy Coloring Book (Wynn Kapit & Lawrence M. Elson), and series inspired by The Pain Chronicles by Melanie Thernstrom.
• The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall would like to apologize in advance for KARAOKE NIGHT ~ Swing by and Give the Performance of Lifetime ~ Find Your Eye of the Tiger at the Vintage & Artisan Market ~ Curated by Frida, Make Believe, Sire Vintage, Clocharde Shop & Beaver’s Den Vintage.
• Krab Jab Studio presents the enchanting, mythical illustrations of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.
• LxWxH Gallery “stereotype” is an interdisciplinary project that features 6 national artists who enter the visual field of race by dint of text. The exhibition’s title is a partial nod towards the word ‘stereotype’ having its first meaning as a plate used to press images. It is also a (quiet) suggestion that the written word might also exist as an image by other means. The text-based pieces in stereotype focus on poetics, type and typography as aesthetic markers that can outline and expand upon racial identities. In the offing is the possibility of looking at agency and authority in unexpected ways, not only in the white cube of the gallery, but also in the lived reality of viewer and artist alike. Artists: Barbara Earl Thomas, C. Davida Ingram, Duriel E. Harris, Francine J. Harris, Krista Franklin, Natasha Marin
• Machine House Brewery features a yarn installation by Jessica Steffl that spans the entire length of the brewery in one area.
• Mary Tudor and Ferrell, open studio. Mary Tudor, art with timeless, iconic, images verging on being meditative objects and Ferrell, art with spacial and abstract imaging. Music by Luscious Leopard Lips, the Georgetown atmospheric music DJ with a Theremin synthesizer.
• SANCA School of Flight has joined Art Attack via the Art Ride bus! Flying trapeze demonstrations by SANCA Flyers and Pay-per-Flight opportunities to fly for Art Attack patrons! Journalists and Press ride free (show your credentials)!
• Runway Cafe features paintings/drawings by Michael O’Driscoll who has been painting and illustrating in Seattle since 1996. His Bedbug character is now in ‘Bedbug’s Book of Wisdom’, a 40 page hardbound book of cartoons from his online Daily Cartoon postings.
• Spectrum House Salon & Photography presents”Peep Show” a collection of art works by pinup artist Suzy Todd. Oil paintings and watercolors of pinup queens that titillate and tease; from Rococo Hussies, to circus darlings, to sultry Lover’s eyes.
?AT A GLANCE: Georgetown Art Attack?Date: Saturday, March 8th, 6 – 9 pm?Location: Georgetown neighborhood, Airport Way S corridor between Lucile S and Bailey S; over 40 locations!?Features: Art, Live Music, Food and Spirits, Art Ride art bus (free). ?Website: www.georgetownartattack.com
In 1987, influential industrial rock band Big Black chose Seattle as the site of their last performance. The Georgetown show, with special guests Jesse Bernstein and Roland Barker, became legendary. On Monday, January 20th, Scarecrow Video will host two screenings of the resulting concert film, Big Black’s Last Blast.
It’s not only a document of this band’s final performance, but also a snapshot of Seattle’s music scene in the late ’80s. The three-camera concert video was directed by local artist Debra Geissel. (The on-stage camera was operated by her then-husband and current Cafe Racer proprietor Kurt Geissel.) The sound was engineered by John Nelson and mixed in Chicago by Steve Albini. Russ and Janet Battaglia of Fallout Records served as executive producers, and Monday’s screening will be presented by the film’s producers, Susie Purves and Larry Reid.
Scarecrow Video will host two screenings of Big Black’s Last Blast, at 7:00 and 8:30 PM. A small display of artifacts from the show will be featured, including the neck of Albini’s smashed guitar. The event is free, with a no-host bar, and is open to all 21 and over.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery loves local comix! Saturday, February 12 features the opening of “Lovesick,” an exhibition of emerging and established artists from the Bureau of Drawers cartoonist collective. The show includes original art, handmade books and prints by 16 Seattle comix artists and illustrators. Exhibiting artists will be present for a festive reception at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday, February 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM – just in time for Valentine’s.
The Bureau of Drawers formed in 2010 as an alliance of independent local alternative cartoonists. They meet weekly for an informal salon at Café Racer in Ravenna and have participated in high profile events at the Seattle Art Museum, Bumbershoot, and Urban Light Studios. The group includes accomplished cartoonists like David Lasky, Tom Dougherty and Scott Faulkner as well as promising young talent like Nikki Burch and Marc Palm. Other participating artists include Breanne Boland, Billis Helg, Tyler Hill, Calamity Jon Morris, Sean Robinson, Mark Stockbridge, Ed Trumbule, Adam Watson, Dalton Webb, and Stevie VanBronkhorst Expect an eclectic mix of topical works on the loose theme of unrequited love.
This event coincides with the 3rd anniversary edition of the colorful Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring adventurous – and amorous – visual and performing arts events throughout the historic neighborhood. For more information and a participant map visit: www.georgetownartattack.com. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St. (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.