During a June 2010 residency at The James and Janie Washington Foundation, artist Garric Simonsen created a project called The Spectacle. The project was inspired by a parade where he saw vendors roaming the crowd with carts selling inflatable novelty toys and balloons. What attracted him to these mobile stores was the effort each vendor put into the presentation of their products. What also interested Simonsen were some unique connections these vendors shared with the business of being a self-promoted artist.
Artists put themselves into the public eye displaying things, trying to be noticed for their ability to produce unique items. Most commonly their art is engaged commercially and in some cases mass-produced to appease high demands from collectors. This project critiques the idea that art is a commodity. It also symbolizes the artist’s ability to withstand public scrutiny, standing as a metaphor that interprets what it’s like to be viewed as a spectacle.
The connections between an artist’s self-promotion and a parade vendor inspired Simonsen. During his one-month residency at the James and Janie Washington Foundation, he created one of these carts and stocked it with his own selection of inflatable novelties. The process began with finding an abandoned shopping cart and getting it back to the studio for modifications. He ordered his products from an online retailer and began outfitting the cart with oversized sunglasses, glow-sticks, balloons shaped like frosty beer mugs, giant crayons, little guitars and even a huge inflatable hammer called the “Big Bopper.” This Saturday, he will set out on a three-mile pilgrimage to the art district in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Everything on the cart will be given away for free.
The walk will start around 10:00am Saturday, June 19th from The James and Janie Washington Foundation (1816 26th Ave.) and continue down Capitol Hill jetting back and forth between Pike and Pine Street eventually landing in Westlake Park around 12:30pm. From Westlake Park the cart will make its way through downtown, landing in Occidental Park in Pioneer Square between 3:30pm-4:30pm. Finally the artist will head up Jackson through the International District and turn north on 23rd , through the Central District.
Romson Bustillo is creating art in the Washington Studio. He is producing beautiful mixed medium works out of paper and has finished a site specific installation entitled, To Make Hard Soft. On October 14th he will be leaving for Nicaragua, Chile and later Barcelona to collect ideas for future artwork.
Wood Sculpture by Romson Bustillio displayed at the Pratt Gallery for the Artist of JWJF show
Marita Dingus making shoes at the James Washington Jr. studio.
The James & Janie Washington Foundation is pleased to announce that Marita Dingus is currently the Artist in Residence at the Washington House. During her residency, Dingus is making shoes using some of the tools Mr. Washington used during his time as a shoemaker for the Army during WWII.
Ester Ervin wood sculpture the James Washington Jr. Foundation arttis show at the Pratt Gallery
The James & Janie Washington Foundation is happy to have two new Artists in Residence. Esther Ervin and Romson Bustillo are starting their residencies at the same time. Esther Ervin is a dedicated working artist who currently uses the gourd as her primary sculptural
medium. She has recently finished an Artist in Residency and the Pathways Scholarship at Pratt Fine Arts Center, where she has learned to work with metals. Her aesthetic is grounded in the use of multiple media.
Ms. Ervin has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from
California State University at Long Beach and a
Bachelors Degree (BS) in Biology from the University of
California at Irvine.
Her work in the local arts community includes
being curator at Festival Sundiata Art Exhibits and serving as an On Site Evaluator for 4Culture. She was the curator for the Art Gallery at South Seattle Community College for four years.
Romson Bustillo returns to the foundation after nearly a year of travel in Central American and Spain. He will be working with the Foundation staff to develop a Youth Workshop in printmaking and Social Awareness.
Romson Regarde Bustillo was born on the island of Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro City, the Philippines. He moved to the US when he was a young boy. He grew up in Columbia City in the south part of Seattle.
His work is represented in private and public collections nationally and internationally, including ArtCol Trust, the Washington State Art Commission, and the Wing Luke Asian Museum. He has been an artist in residence and instructor for Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum, and an NEA supported Artist in Residence for the Tacoma Art Museum.
Joe Max Eminger
Joe Max Emminger, Resident Artist Spring 2009, wrote us a nice note about his time in the Washington Studio. Joe often brought his dog Lily along for company. James Washington had a dog named Shemp and it seemed that Lily was always looking to find him...Joe's Letter: James Washington House Thoughts
Joe Max Emminger
I had a residency at the James Washington House for a month in spring 2009.
Mr. Washington was still there too. His garden is there, and his tools, his studio and his books. His clothes are in the closet, and the little bed he slept on for 50 years is still there. It was like he just stepped out for a cup of coffee and I stepped in.
It was a privilege to be there in the very same studio where he had worked for so many years. I am a painter and I don’t know much about sculpture. I tried something new at Washington House. Everyone was helpful and as a result I made four pieces of sculpture that I like. I started in a new direction.
Thank-you for the opportunity – it was wonderful.
Joe Max Emmiger