Saturday, June 9, 2012

BALLARD: My Little Ponies, Monster, and Ice Cream Truck!

It's art walk night in Ballard!

If you've never seen My Little Ponies gone horribly right or technicolour print art, you should absolutely kick it down to Annie's Art & Frame shop on Market Street. Artist Corey Skillman is in attendance, and there's wine, chocolate, strawberries and fantastic conversation (mostly involving out-of-vogue art techniques, Doctor Who, and fabricating shoes). Corey calls her exhibit "Leftovers", a collection of works created from 'left over' bits of re-purposed materials and recycled rubbish. One of my favourite pieces, "Isabella," is a My Little Pony modified with her grandmother's old jewelry, expired magic sculpt, blood, sweat and tears (it says so on the label).

Corey Skillman @ Annie's Art & Frame
"We go through life using and discarding. We obtain something and get rid of it when we're through. But what really happens to the remains? Where do they go? A landfill? A passing dumpster diver? Warhol once stated that the leftovers were the really interesting things in life, and as an artist, I couldn't agree more. Shifting the lens from things that are 'consumable' to things that are 'consumed' is a notion I have always found intriguing. So here it is, a show completely dedicated to garbage. Everything in this show is made from 100% recycled trash. Salvaged from the bowels of humanity, and reconstructed with a new purpose and life." ~ Corey Skillman

Corey's print art is intricate, delicate, and vibrant. Her self portrait is a mixture of intaglio and relief techniques, and is comprised of 5 different plates which were placed incredibly precisely and required over 4 hours to print.

Corey Skillman, "(Weezel) Self Portrait"
 As much as I'd love to hang out with Corey and snack on chocolate and strawberries for the rest of the eve, there are a few more art spaces I'd like to check out. I snag my friend Noah Beasley, mastermind behind Improbable Cog, from Corey's show, and we're off! Well, actually we get distracted on our way out the door by tiny wind-up robots...

But our first stop after some necessary robot play time is Monster Art & Clothing, a wonderfully eclectic venue dedicated to supporting local artists and designers. This is the only shop in Seattle so far where I've found an entire wall of fantastic socks, a corner dedicated to giant fuzzy hats, and so much local art than I'm continually impressed that they manage to find space for it all. Monster regularly displays the work of Xavier Lopez Jr, Justin Hillgrove, Jesse Link, Antik Ink, Fable & Fury, Fairy Tale Fibers, Sock It To Me, Kombat Glamour, and many more! With live art outside and an aerial dancer inside, what's not to love?

Live! Aerial dancing @ Monster
Live! Robot art @ Monster
Their featured artist this month is Jules Anslow whose colourful 3-dimensional compositions literally pop from the upper wall. "My painting style could be described as neo-Dada surreal pop cartoon. I enjoy creating pieces that inhabit the space several doors past mildly absurd, that invite the viewer to temporarily abandon decorum and expectation." ~ Jules Anslow

Some of my favourite art pieces at Monster this month are the pop culture stencil portraits on vinyl records by Mike Mullins. Mike has participated in live art events all over the Seattle area, and in addition to art on records, he also creates posters, patches, jewelry, buttons, and magnets - all available through his company Spooky Designs.

Our wanders following Monster take us into Curtis Steiner Studio, a beautiful little shop filled with jewelry, decorative antique-inspired art, hand-printed "Souvenir" cards, and all sorts of curios from near and far.

Curtis Steiner Studio
Pendants @ Curtis Steiner Studio

I can't walk away without buying a card for my collection, and I will absolutely be back for another unique piece next month.

On our way out the door, I spy across the street one of the most amazing sights of (almost) summer: an ice cream truck! This one is called Parfait, and not only does it sell organic and delicious ice cream, it's after 8 o'clock, and it's still open! Parfait is Seattle's original artisan ice cream truck, and all of their custard-based ice cream flavours are made from four simple and completely organic ingredients: milk, sugar, eggs, and and cream. Noah and I sample the Ballard Bee Honey and the Vanilla Bean, and I have to say that the taste is exquisite, easily unlike any ice cream I've ever had before. I hope they have their Earl Grey Tea, Pumpkin Spice, and Fleur de Caramel on the truck next month!

Noah @ Parfait
After ice cream, we stop into one of my favourite small businesses in Ballard. Velouria is an independent gallery devoted to featuring clothing and accessories by local designers that create their work without any sort of mass production. This month, the featured artists are Jean Lee and Dylan Davis from Ladies and Gentlemen Studio, a duo of artists that re-purpose and embellish vintage found objects and make them into new and exciting knick knacks. Some of my favourites are the suspended "Terrarium Globes" filled with small landscapes and tiny animals.

Ladies & Gentlemen Studios, "Terrarium Globes" @ Velouria Gallery
For our last stop of the night, we return to Annie's Art and Frame to kick it with Corey for the last half hour of her opening. We run into a few other friends, and I do my best not to finish off the chocolate and the strawberries. It's hard, but I manage; ice cream might have helped... I also manage to leave Annie's at the end of the night without taking home one of the tiny wind-up robots. That's even harder, but I know they'll be there waiting for my next trip to Ballard.

Support your local art scene! Cheers!

~ BCDuncan

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