Getting to know you: Julie Alpert

Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Baso Fibonacci. This week, Julie Alpert!


Julie Alpert’s watercolors are made of crazy patterns that manage to seem both contemporary and nostalgic. A lot of the fun is in her deliberate omissions: a table and a lamp are ghosted out of a 70s kitchen to let the wallpaper steal the show. We also love the fact that when she’s not making watercolors, Julie performs as a dancing taco in Seattle art band The Bran Flakes.



Where is your studio?  Converted bedroom in my Columbia City home

Native Seattleite or transplant?  2006 transplant from Washington, DC

What’s on your studio soundtrack?  How Was Your Week podcast

Who is your art history crush?  Lee Bontecou, though she is still living

What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Beach days and evening bonfires

Where is the best coffee in town?  It’s a tie between Empire Espresso and Vivace

What is the last book you read?  The World in a Frame by Leo Braudy

What is your most treasured possession?  Beautiful ceramic cake-topper figurines of my husband and me by Saya Moriyasu

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  Maid at a Motel 6 in South Lake Tahoe

What super power would you like to have?  Time travel

What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Chris Buening’s Front Tooth Fail. I loved this when it was on view at SOIL last year. It’s an arrangement of objects that tell the story of a tooth that, regardless of his efforts, Chris could not protect from damage and loss.


Thanks Julie!

See more of Julie Alpert’s work on Artsyo.

    Getting to know you: Baso Fibonacci

    Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Ryan Molenkamp. This week, Baso Fibonacci!


    If you live on Capitol Hill, you’ve probably walked by Baso’s giant self-portrait on the temporary wall that hides the light rail station construction. It shows him exhaling a host of colorful, whimsical birds — he says that his goal was to express his own frustration and make it into something beautiful. Aside from his street art, Baso is most known for his big, colorful paintings of Northwest animals. You can see his rabbits, raccoons, bears, and bobcats up at Vermillion right now (show ends September 7th).


    Where is your studio?  Pioneer Square

    Native Seattleite or transplant?  Born on the outskirts of Rome, grew up in Barcelona

    What’s on your studio soundtrack?  Gangster rap and jazz

    Who is your art history crush?  Duchamp

    What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Eating and drinking with the homies around town

    Where is the best coffee in town?  Haven’t been there in years but probably Lighthouse Coffee in Fremont

    What is the last book you read?  “Rant” by Chuck Palahniuk

    What is your most treasured possession?  My cat

    What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  Night shift motel receptionist on Aurora

    What super power would you like to have?  Mind reading capabilities

    What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Julia Haack’s Punch, also like all Julie Alpert‘s pieces

    Thanks Baso!

    See more of Baso Fibonacci’s work on Artsyo, and catch his show at Vermillion on Capitol Hill before it comes down September 7th!

      Getting to know you: Ryan Molenkamp

      Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Susan Melrath. This week, Ryan Molenkamp!


      Ryan’s work is darkly beautiful. His abstracted Northwest landscapes are full of catastrophe: erupting volcanoes, cracking rocks, flash floods.

      Ryan has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life, and he remembers being 3 years old when Mount St. Helens erupted just a few hours away. Fear of Volcanoes is a nod to the enduring impression of that early experience.


      Where is your studio?  I have worked in all sorts of spaces, from a 6′ x 10′ raw, dank windowless single door “pantry” space in my friend’s basement apartment, to a loft studio that was right above the peanut sellers for Mariner’s games, but these days I’m working from home on First Hill, taking over the dining room and spilling paint all over my carpet, but don’t tell my landlord that.

      Native Seattleite or transplant?  I’m PNW born and bread, with a short stint in wild Alaska.  I’m from just north, Lake Stevens, where much of my family still reside and where I go swimming whenever I can.

      What’s on your studio soundtrack?  I could write you an epic novel about the different bands and music I’ve listened to through the years, while painting madly for hours – how it has become such an important part of my practice, how influential it is upon my work, but no one wants to read that, right?  Instead, lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ratatat Vol. 2 Mix Tapes (especially the songs with Biggie on them), The Walkman, Come, Slow Magic, Still Corners, and so many other things…I’m presently listening to We Were Promised Jet Packs as I write this line.

      I will add that there are, occasionally, these moments, typically when listening to some instrumental rock like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, where I lose myself in painting and the sound and am almost on autopilot…not to sound too ridiculous, but in those moments everything else really does drain away.

      Who is your art history crush?  Oh my – I’d say Lee Brontecou and Peter Doig, but they are both actively making art works, as is Gerhard Richter, whose writing has been a big influence  – but if we are truly talking about a bygone era, then Pieter Bruegel, aka Bruegel the Elder, not that I would want to date him, but damn, the imagery of those works….this also reminds me, I need to watch The Mill and the Cross, in which no less than Rutger Hauer plays Bruegel.

      What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Sitting around a campfire with a bit of drink, having hiked up some mountain that day.  (I guess that’s more of a regional activity, but what other cultural city is so close to such things all the time?)

      Where is the best coffee in town?  Mexi-coke

      What is the last book you read?  Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars by Camile Paglia – good stuff for anyone who wants a nice, entertaining and clean and highly opinionated summation of art history – kind of a cliff notes of art history.

      What is your most treasured possession?  My young, growing art collection – don’t make me choose a favorite!  Although, Jennifer Zwick’s Self Portrait as an Effing Cheetah always brings a smile to my face.

      What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  Stripping peeling paint off of houses on an extended ladder 25′ in the air, by myself, and encountering a yellow jacket nest up there.

      What super power would you like to have?  I wouldn’t mind owning Super Woman’s Lasso of Truth, that could come in handy.

      What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Brown’s Bible by Guy Laramee – now you know what to get me for my birthday.

      Thanks Ryan!

      See more of Ryan Molenkamp’s work on Artsyo.

        Getting to know you: Susan Melrath

        Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Allyce Wood. This week, Susan Melrath!


        With bold colors and simple shapes, Susan Melrath captures everyday actions and interactions that often pass by unnoticed. She layers pure color over pure color to create a depth that draws you into the story of the moment.


        Where is your studio?  500 square foot bonus room over the garage – right under my own roof, in Redmond.

        Native Seattleite or transplant?  Yo, Philly.

        What’s on your studio soundtrack?  It varies…when I’m working on the computer I turn everything off. My left brain needs silence. When I’m painting I like a variety of music - Indie bands, old rock and roll (really loud), and yes, KUOW and podcasts of This American Life.

        Who is your art history crush?  Probably Matisse and Bonnard. They shared the same vision of art and were dear friends. “Vive la peinture!”

        What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Cooking with fresh local produce, gardening, hiking, bike rides, swimming, hanging with friends…every activity is more fun in the sun.

        Where is the best coffee in town?  The coffee in my cup every morning.

        What is the last book you read?  “Garlic and Sapphires” – about Ruth Reichl, New York Times restaurant critic, and “Letters Between Friends” – the letters exchanged between Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse from 1925 to 1946.

        What is your most treasured possession?  Excluding my dogs (because while they are a possession, I don’t like to think of them that way) it would have to be old family pictures. Or my Macbook. Or everything in my studio. Tough question!

        What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  In the art department of Morton Thiokol Aerospace Corporation drawing exploded views of rocket motors. Ironically, it was also the best pay.

        What super power would you like to have?  Time travel….is that a super-power? Can I be like Samantha in Bewitched? If not, I guess just flying.

        What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Oh man, just one? I can’t decide, it’s either “Rose Garden” by Harold Hollingsworth, or “We Were Made to Cross That Line” by Susanna Bluhm. There are so many beautiful works on Artsyo.

        Thanks Susan!

        See more of Susan Melrath’s work on Artsyo.


          Getting to know you: Allyce Wood

          Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Joey Veltkamp. This week, Allyce Wood!


          Allyce’s watercolors and pencil drawings on paper are soft and sad and beautiful. Plants are a favorite subject, and her new work is a nostalgic and precisely-rendered series of plants that used to be alive: hollow driftwood, crumpled leaves, and withered shoots.


          Where is your studio?  I share a live/work studio in Pioneer Square with my husband, Pete Fleming, who is also an artist. It is best described as an art-space with a “sleep zone.”

          Native Seattleite or transplant?  I am a native Seattleite – with the exception of a few months in Glasgow and Oakland, it is the only town I’ve ever lived in.

          What’s on your studio soundtrack?  NPR and podcasts get me through most days: 99% Invisible, Snap Judgment, and various PRX Showcases such as “The Imaginary Lives of Girls” are my regular programming.

          Who is your art history crush?  I completely adore William Morris. Besides making beautiful work, his resolve to make his work enjoyable both for himself in process and for those who got to experience it. Currently I have stronger connections to more contemporary artists, finding them easier to relate to.  Scottish installation artist Claire Barclay is so very talented in spatial consideration, symbology, and textures – dreamy!

          What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  I love to visit the seaside and hike – The city is great but any chance to visit the Hoh must be taken!

          Where is the best coffee in town?  The best coffee is free coffee, even if it means you made it hours ago and it’s gone cold.

          What is the last book you read?  Steve Martin’s “The Pleasure of my Company.” He’s an author I repeatedly go back to. His range of creative depth is inspiring, and the humanity offered in his writing is soft, faceted, and as you become meshed with his characters and their problems, you empathize but never pity them. It’s a strange relationship to have in the world of fiction.

          What is your most treasured possession?  There are things in my house I adore, but I worry about the term “treasure” as it implies a strong materialistic attachment. I can say that if my house is on fire, I would try and grab my passport, and whatever expensive machine is near me, but really all that paperwork can be filed for and my computer is a piece of 2006 trash.

          That said, my wedding ring fulfills all the requirements needed to be considered “treasure” – this band designed by Pete and made by a Glaswegian artist is my final answer. It means everything.

          What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  I’ve had many jobs – of the few that were bad, they were deemed so because the tasks that needed doing were uninspiring or overly physically taxing. A specific moment that comes to mind was when I was working at a grocery store as a teenager. An industrial sized bag of garbage exploded on me due to maligned bins just moments after my manager had refused to give me time off for Prom. (Prom!) That filth was the last straw – I quit on the spot and threw my uniform into the same bin!

          What super power would you like to have?  There are a couple I’d fancy:

          “Schedu-Later”- with the ability to single handedly schedule daily activities without double booking!

          “Eagle Eyes” – with the power to see without glasses!

          “The Callous”- fingers so thick and tough, no Pencil or X-acto could defy them!

          What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  (s)pace of mind: pink 1 by Timea Tihanyi – I had the pleasure of seeing this piece in person and its structural strength paired with its delicate material choice is fascinating. It’s so rigid, so concretely assembled but the ceramic “frosting” that holds it together speaks contrarily to the impulsiveness of building. I love it, and I love to think who would live inside.

          Thanks Allyce!

          See more of Allyce’s work on Artsyo, and visit her blog to keep posted on new projects.


            Getting to know you: Joey Veltkamp

            Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Counsel Langley. This week, Joey Veltkamp!


            Joey draws everyday objects like blankets with loving detail. Sometimes he hides ghosts under the blankets, and more recently he’s been incorporating playful messages into the fabric.


            Where is your studio?  I keep my 2nd bedroom as my studio (I get up a lot in the middle of the night and make art — or watch Real Housewives)

            Native Seattleite or transplant?  I moved here from Spokane in 1996. I can’t see myself leaving the Northwest.

            What’s on your studio soundtrack?  Usually, it’s playlists of my current favorites. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey.

            Who is your art history crush?  Josep Grau-Garriga

            What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Drinking a Rainier in Lake Washington at the T-Dock.

            Where is the best coffee in town?  I’m partial to Cupcake Royale.

            What is the last book you read?  I just re-read Life After God by Douglas Coupland. 

            “And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.” ― Douglas Coupland, Life After God

            What is your most treasured possession?  Friends & family in the more spiritual sense. In the material sense, the pieces of art I’ve collected.

            What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  My first job here was in Tacoma. I didn’t hate the job, but I hated the daily commute!

            What super power would you like to have?  I was at a friend’s brunch a few years back and this question came up. Without missing a beat, he replied, ‘The ability to control crows.’ That sounded like the spookiest thing ever. So I guess my super power would be whatever the opposite of that is.

            What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  Black Pattern Watercolor #21 by Julie Alpert 



              Getting to know you: Counsel Langley

              This post kicks off a new series! Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. This week: Counsel Langley!


              Counsel works at two extremes: she paints loosely with drips, pours, and splatters; and she draws meticulously in tightly controlled grids and concentric circles. She derives inspiration from computer chips, outer space, dramatic weather, and architectural drawings (to name just a few). The geometric abstractions that result are mesmerizing. Here’s one from her new series “Highway Design” (book pages, acrylic, ink, and graphite on canvas):



              1. Where is your studio?  I don’t have a studio right now actually. This means all my work is happening all over my tiny home. It is kind of crazy making.

              2. Native Seattleite or transplant?  When I was four my Pop drove me up to the Northwest from the central coast of California in his Toyota Corolla that he’d modified so we could both sleep in it.

              3. Who is your art history crush?  I have a huge crush on Albrecht Durer. His self-portrait is hot.

              4. What is your favorite Seattle summer activity?  Taking the kids to Seward Park is pretty fantastic.

              5. Where is the best coffee in town?  Fresh brewed at my friends’ house.

              6. What is the last book you read?  Mother-Daughter Revolution by Elizabeth Debold, Marie C. Wilson, and Idelisse Malave

              7. What is your most treasured possession?  It might be this black and white photograph I have of me when I was 2 or so. We lived in a place with a sky light and every day at a certain time light from it would directly hit our table. I had some plastic animal figurines; some were opaque, others transparent. For a time I would, every day, set them up in that beam of light and gaze at the play of light over them. I did this consistently enough that my mom found a camera to borrow to capture a photo of it. It is one of just a few images from that time and it is one of the most accurate portraits of I have of myself.

              8. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  Telemarketing photocopiers didn’t go so well.

              9. What super power would you like to have?  I want to have the ability to see outerspace first hand. I want to be able to travel fast enough to cover those vast distances and be fine without ships or suits or any of that. Just me out there surviving and checking things out.

              10. What’s on your studio soundtrack?  Music is pretty much central to my functioning. It connects me directly to the passion that runs through me; stuff I was constantly, completely connected to as a young child. Music turns my focus away from the to-do list, the bills, the chores, and clears the way for that desire to make something to comes through fully. It also helps me hone in on certain complex emotions that I want to feel, taste, roll-around and investigate as I work. For this I have a slowly, always shifting playlist that I add to and remove things from. It is made of the songs that have I’ve collected along the way. Some things are always there, Queen, Bowie, Heart, Arcade Fire, Bjork, Bach cello suites, others make an appearance for a time and then wear thin. The list generally hovers around 40 songs. I let the whole thing go, stopping often to repeat a song many many times (fortunately my kids seem to be made of the same stuff so there’s no complaining when I get going on an obsess). On repeat at the moment is the Bowie/Mercury duet of Under Pressure which makes me cry a little every time and throws love and compassion for every friend into sharp relief, also When I Grow Up (Fever Ray), Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes and Space Oddity (thank you Col. Chris Hadfield), Ready to Start (Arcade Fire), Everlong (Foo Fighters), A Place Called Home (PJ Harvey), Play in the Summer (Trans Am), Wolf Like Me (TV on the Radio), Crazy on You (Heart), Ain’t Talkin Bout Love (Van Halen), Emerge (Fischerspooner) and Level (Raconteurs), Nirvana doing Where Did You Sleep Last Night and It’s So Easy (Guns-n-Roses) and Dolly Parton’s Jolene.

              11. What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  This was a tough one. My favorite right now is Susanna Bluhm’s Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.



                Artsyo Gets Real – With Seattle Storefronts!

                We have exciting news:  we’ve been in the local art business for almost a year now in a purely online way, but things are about to get real.  We just found out that Seattle Storefronts picked Artsyo for their 2013-2014 roster!

                Storefronts is an awesome program that matches artists and arts-related businesses with empty retail spaces, rent-free.  Which means that very soon we’ll have a real-live gallery space to play with!

                But of course, the Artsyo gallery won’t look anything like a regular gallery.

                With the help of a few local designers, we’ll turn our storefront into a cozy, stylish little studio apartment.  Then we’ll hook the designers up with a group of Seattle artists, and together they’ll incorporate a rotating collection of art into the space.

                Once we have our little apartment set up and filled with some amazing art, you can come on over!  Just think of us as your art collector friend with impeccable design taste who throws great dinner parties.  (There will be dinner parties!)

                Here’s the goal:  we want to take the intimidation factor out of the gallery experience.  We want to invite you in for a cup of coffee.  Then we want you to hang out and play a little Scrabble with us.  All the while the art will be living with us, and we’ll be living with the art.  We might talk about it or contemplate it or admire it, but the scary-quiet-gallery, I-don’t-know-if-I-should-like-this-or-not anxiety won’t be there.

                We don’t know yet where our space will be, so stay tuned!  If you’re not already on our list, sign up to get Artsyo updates about our Storefronts space, and otherwise!  And lastly, great big thanks to Seattle Storefronts for helping us with our mission of making art collecting a more accessible, more fun activity for everyone!!

                  Susanna Bluhm featured on Artsy Forager

                  Susanna Bluhm’s lush abstracted landscapes caught my eye at a Seattle art auction last fall, and I’ve been taken with them ever since. She works from photographs of places she’s been, sometimes combining two dissimilar landscapes into one – Croatian islands with traffic islands, for example.

                  I featured Susanna’s work in my guest post on Artsy Forager this week — head on over and check it out!

                  They Call It Way Too Rowdy, We Call It Finally Free, oil and acrylic on canvas, 95×72

                    Artsyo Goes Mad

                    This article was published in the Artsyo newsletter and is republished here for blog readers.

                    In anticipation of the Mad Men season 6 premiere tomorrow, we picked out a few pieces on Artsyo that would fit right in at the Sterling Cooper Draper office.

                    FOR THE SCD CONFERENCE ROOM:
                    Ann Vandervelde’s Alaskan Glaciers, with its abstract style and blue / green / neutral color palette, would preside coolly over a meeting of the partners.

                    ANN VANDERVELDE Alaskan Glaciers

                    FOR ROGER STERLING’S OFFICE:
                    Mollie Bryan’s Frogger would have Roger Sterling’s guests seeing dots, minus the “Italian hospital” feel.

                    MOLLIE BRYAN Frogger

                    FOR DON DRAPER:
                    Don always goes in for the abstracts, and we love the deep textural quality of the piece above his couch. Outgrowth, a painting from Stallman Studio made by layering and excavating, fits the bill.

                    JASON HALLMAN & STEPHEN STUM Outgrowth


                    ONE MORE FOR ROGER:
                    With its abstract figurative quality, Lynn Shirmer’s Occluded would be a perfect companion for Roger in his more introspective, contemplative moments.

                    LYNN SCHIRMER Occluded

                    Happy viewing this Sunday!

                    P.S. If you enjoyed this Mad Artsyo episode, sign up for the Artsyo newsletter for more like it!