Art Interruptions 2016

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), selected seven emerging public artists to create temporary art installations in the Rainer Valley East-West Neighborhood Greenway. Artists include Ruben David, Melissa Koch, Vikram Madan, Ulises Mariscal, Kemba Opio, little talia (Talia Silveri Wright), and Junko Yamamoto.

On October 1, 2016, we held a Walk for Fun event as part of WALKTOBER. WALKTOBER is hosted by Feet First and encourages people in Washington to explore their surroundings by walking for fun, walking to work, and walking to school during the month of October.

The installations include a series of stencils featuring images of various community members that bring positivity to the pedestrians of the Greenway; tiny sculptures inspired by historic and present-day forms of transportation in Seattle; and a collage of butterflies representing cultural diversity.

All photos by Mark Woods.

About the Artists and Artworks

Huitzilopochtli 2336
Ruben David

Ruben David's Huitzilopochtli 2336 showcases the Rufous hummingbird, which annually migrates thousands of miles from Mexico to its summer breeding grounds in the Pacific Northwest. Known as the most fearless and ruthless of all North American hummingbirds, they echo the fierce Mexica (Aztec) god of war and sun, Huitzilopochtli. Accompanying the hummingbird installation will be an audio component that will feature the natural sounds of the birds in flight (one day per month, three hours a day) during the four-month exhibition. Dates will be posted on the artist's website. Ruben David primarily works with multi-media and video installations and has exhibited at the NEPO 5k, the South Lake Union Block Party, and the Art of the City Street Festival.

Jazzed
Melissa Koch

Melissa Koch's temporary installation uses imagery inspired by butterflies as a metaphor for cultural diversity, cross-pollination, and the beat of life. Over 200 butterflies will cascade down a tree, flutter by a nearby street sign, and embellish the entry to a building on the Greenway. Jazzed celebrates the importance of the butterfly as one of the earth's pollinators and its significance as a representation of transformation. Koch combines drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, and more recently, mixed media and cut Tyvek installations to create multi-layered visual narratives that explore myths and stories. Her art practice and creative life purpose are an ongoing commitment to innovating and exploring new ideas not only technically and aesthetically, but also addressing the impact of our social, economic, and environmental experiences.

Mini-Murals
Vikram Madan

Vikram Madan's artwork Mini-Murals is a menagerie of whimsical vignettes sprinkled behind Greenway street signs with the intent of enriching the Greenway pedestrian experience with unexpected elements of humor and surprise. Featured are assortments of human, animal, or anthropomorphic figures. Madan grew up in India where he became an engineer. Years later, he followed his heart into the visual and literary arts and currently creates art that is humorous, quirky, fun, lighthearted, philosophical, thought-providing, and, sometimes, all of these at the same time.

Greatness Starts Here
Ulises Mariscal

Ulises Mariscal photographed people in the Rainier Valley neighborhood and created different visual scenarios that represent the Greenway and the values of the community. Greatness Starts Here is a series of six stencils, created from photographs, featuring various community members that bring positivity to the pedestrians of the Greenway. Mariscal began painting at the age of 12 in Mexico City and was always impressed by the great murals that David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera left all over Mexico, along with the political and social message each piece has. Their murals have influenced the work of Mariscal with the hopes of inspiring the same type of power in people.

Flavors of Us
Kemba Opio

Kemba Opio created two portraits fabricated entirely out of collaged aluminum cans donated by the local DRY Soda Company. The portraits feature two different African-American women, one being Opio's older sister and the other a local musician. The images serve to reflect the beauty and diversity within women, and in particular, women of color. Originally from Georgia, Opio relocated to Seattle in 2009. Before moving to the Northwest, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007. In 2012, she began working as a buyer for a downtown Seattle women's boutique and continues to work as a freelance artist and painter; exhibiting her artwork throughout the country.

Miniature Mobility
little talia (Talia Silveri Wright)

Miniature Mobility honors the history of Seattle transit (especially in Rainer Valley) — from street cars to light rail — with a transportation-themed scavenger hunt. The tiny artworks, measuring approximately 1.5"x.75" will be installed in unexpected locations along the Greenway. The transportation-themed sculptures are inspired by historic and current-day street cars including buses, trains, bikes, and other forms of transportation. Talia Silveri Wright is an emerging street artist and sculptor living in Seattle by way of Buffalo, NY. Fascinated with scale, Wright began to work in miniature in 2009 and has since worked on an ongoing street art project, Minis In Situ. This photographic series features miniature sculptures placed throughout Seattle (and beyond), photographed, and left for passersby.

Gathering Existence
Junko Yamamoto

Gathering Existence is based on the idea of gathering everything together with a furoshiki, a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport gifts, food, clothes, and other goods. Yamamoto will create an installation by wrapping a cluster of street furniture (pole, utility box, signal light, bollards) with vinyl stickers collaged with repetitive patterns and forms. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan until she was 16 years old, Yamamoto moved to the U.S. to study abroad. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999. Yamamoto's work is included in public collections at Swedish Medical Center Foundation, Group Health Bellevue Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and the Idaho Trust National Bank.