September 30, 2011

Kristen Ramirez - "Spin a Tale, Emerald City"

Kristen Ramirez has spent last few months with six of her Cornish College of the Arts students to plan, design and fabricate this latest project for the Red Wall. On September 23, 24, the panels were painted and installed. A collection of words and images, framed in a playful equation, seeks to engender participatory dialogue from the public, as they engage with the work. Opening a street level space for commentary through utilization of the offered vocabulary.

"I am an artist who makes work about place. Responding to the urban environment, I enjoy excavating how messages get layered on top of one another to create a noisy collision of stylistic and cultural contrasts, textures, and colors. The work I have proposed for the Broadway wall aims to activate and elevate this urban space by bringing a sense of play to the rapidly evolving Capitol Hill neighborhood. Drawing on puzzles, carnival games, and game show attractions, I want to create a kinetic and interactive artwork that asks passers-by to complete a formula." - Kristen

August 10, 2011

Vis-a-Vis Society - "How We Came To Be Here"

Vis-a-Vis Society's Drs. Ink & Owning describe their recent presentation at the Red Wall. This final iteration of their project completes a one-year residency. All photos by Rebecca Hoogs.

"On July 14 for Blitz Capitol Hill Art Walk, the Vis-a-Vis Society continued their scientific-poetic research, adding to their installation as part of STart's Capitol Hill Wall Project in Cal Anderson Park. Colorful blankets of science were spread out on the grass in front of the Vis-a-Vis Society's large-scale graphs to invite passersby to hang out, fill in a survey, and enjoy some free peanuts.

Dr. Ink helped facilitate another constellation of glowing data on the smaller graph, answering the questions: (X-Axis) How Fast Does Time Seem To Be Moving?, and (Y-Axis) How Far Are You From Where You Want To Be? Individuals were given glowing electric tea lights to place at the point that best expressed their own answer to these questions. Each interactive graphing session on this grid resulted in a new starscape of data, helping us to observe the larger patterns of our collective, personal experience of time and distance, as well as to tell the stories (the naming of the constellations) of our current shared time-space moment.

At the same time, Dr. Owning added qualitative data to the quantitative bar graphs for "How We Came To Be Here" -- people's individual stories in answer to the question: "How did you come to be
here?" These answers were culled from Vis-a-Vis Society surveys gathered throughout the year at the wall.  These written answers were grouped by the multiple choice category that the survey-taker
originally selected (as graphed by the four different color bars on the wall) indicating how he/she came to be here: Carried, Driven, Dreaming, or Self-Conveyed.

Further data was collected via a new poem-survey, asking people torelabel the four bars of the graph with variables that were personally meaningful to them in their life right now, and corresponded roughly to the proportions of the graph. (For example, they might relabel the four variables Carried, Driven, Dreaming, or Self-Conveyed as Love, Work, Popsicles, Loss.) The surveys also asked people to speculate on the questions: What happened on this wall?  Who made these marks? What was important to these people? After some further processing, we'll have more findings to report!"

We remain statistically yours,
Drs. Ink & Owning

July 20, 2011

HIV30: Take Action Seattle

On July 14, HIV:30: Take Action Seattle unveiled the first of three banners to grace Broadway in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This community project is a collaboration of a number of organizations including Gay City Health Project, Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit, Pride Foundation, and Lifelong AIDS Alliance - full list of supporting organizations here. For photos and updates, check out If you want to get more involved, the project would like "your stories, photos and anything else you feel should be commemorated regarding HIV/AIDS in Seattle" - contact: Robert at

More info:
Seattle Gay News
Capitol Hill Seattle

Capitol Hill Seattle reports on the vandalism of the HIV:30 banner.

July 13, 2011

Nicole Bernard, Jess Rees - "Mapping Capitol Hill"

Sign Savant
The latest project to grace the red walls is a neighborhood history project by Nicole Bernard and Jess Rees, two Capitol Hill residents, entitled “Mapping Capitol Hill”. The installation opened on Broadway (between Denny and John) on Thursday, June 9, 2011 and will be up through at least summer 2012.

"The project is a 23 foot wall mural using large scale reproductions of historic maps of the
neighborhood highlighting main transportation corridors in 1893, 1950, and 2011 as well as greater
Seattle transportation and history timelines. The aim of the artists is to peel away layers of history built up over the last twelve decades and share with neighbors site-specific details about the area in which we all live. We tend to think of a neighborhood as ours. Timeless, changeless, and pure. But of course cities and especially the Capitol Hill neighborhood are vibrant and dynamic places. It is the nature of a living neighborhood to develop and grow - sometimes the changes are celebrated, sometimes painful, and sometimes bittersweet. When something we love seemingly disappears, it’s hard to see how transformations are always positive, but it's in the character of a lively neighborhood like Capitol Hill tobe in a constant state of flux."

"Nicole Bernard and Jess Rees, two local history buffs, decided to look into just exactly how
our neighborhood has changed by examining its most basic element--the streets. Amid the
disruption of new construction, the project also celebrates the anchoring landmarks of Capitol Hill--
places like Broadway Market, Bobby Morris playfield, or repurposed Auto Row buildings along the Pike/
Pine corridor. Jess and Nicole create a visual narrative of how the footprint of our neighborhood has
changed--or remained the same--over the years. From carriage pathways and electric trolleys to Sound Transit’s light rail station opening in 2016 transportation has evolved. Nicole and Jess situate these evolutions in the context of greater Seattle history and urban growth. Visitors and neighborhood residents alike are invited to explore this dichotomy and also participateby celebrating our streets and locating places of special significance on these historic maps. Intersecting layers of complexity of our many histories are what make Capitol Hill such a lively, dynamic, and special neighborhood. We invite everyone to share their Capitol Hill stories and memories on the Mapping Capitol Hill facebook page, which can be found at:

Jess Rees is a local artist and musician whose work can be seen at Nicole works for a regional sustainability research center in downtown Seattle and has lived in Capitol Hill since 2004. Nicole and Jess can be reached for comment or further questions at"

May 17, 2011

Specs one - "Watching Emeralds"

"SPECSONE aka SPECSWIZARD aka MIC MULLIGAN & S. FUTURE, came from Earth and Space. sound and form. started rhyming and making beats in 1979. started Graffing in 1983. we've only just begun!"

Specs one, a Seattle native, is a musician, visual artist, and elder in the underground art community. He's a noted MC and beat-maker; dubbed by writer/journalist Charles Mudede as "Seattle's Baudelaire", and often described as "The Holy Ghost of Northwest underground hip hop". Wandering the streets with Specs is to hear tales of various scenes dating from the late 70's, now since vanished, to the street happenings of today. In addition to working on songs, film scores, performing live, and writing; Specs also has produced a series of comics under Capstan Media, and recently published 'Mux Adapter', a graphic novel. For the Capitol Hill Wall Project, he will be painting a 60 ft. mural on Broadway entitled, "Watching Emeralds"; a homage to his hometown.

 Day one photos:

Vida Rose - "It's Always Been There"

Vida Rose recently updated her comic mural on Broadway due another instance of vandalism which has been plaguing her project (for background on her work go here).


April 9, 2011

Links to posts
"In her first Portraits of Place: Neighborhoods in Transition post, TXT-Urbia co-founder Karen Johnson introduces us to a light rail construction site moonlighting as a stage for urban theater..."
"Jesus candles for Slats"

March 12, 2011

Amanda Moore - "The Open Town" - WALLRUS Project by SEAT

To follow the progress of this project:

More on Amanda's animation project from Seattle University's The Spectator here.
SEAT website here.

March 6, 2011

Amanda Moore - "The Open Town" - WALLRUS Project by SEAT

Article on the current SEAT project from

Animators make good use of the 'big red wall'

"The city has a new Mecca for cutting-edge art, but you don’t need to visit a gallery or pay an entrance fee to see it.
If you’ve passed through Capitol Hill in the last couple of months, you’ve almost certainly noticed the giant red wall spanning roughly a city block along Broadway and John. Built to enclose the ongoing construction of the future University Link Capitol Hill station, the wall also plays home to new work from some of the area’s most respected artists.
Sound Transit offered up the space as a way to turn a drab work site into a must-visit destination for art lovers, and the plan is working.
Perhaps the most ambitious piece on the wall is the Walrus Project. A four-year animation project from the Seattle Experimental Animation Team, Walrus will give seven of the city’s top animators six months each to create their own unique animation piece.
Webster Crowell is co-creator of the experimental animation team and came up with idea to use the big red wall for the Walrus project. He said one reason the artists were interested in the wall was because it gives them a chance to collaborate.
“It’s a pretty hermetic working situation for most of us where you disappear into a project for months, and we’d always see each other at film screenings and talk about how it would be nice to work together,” Crowell said. “We wanted to help foster an animation community, and having something that was four-years long and wasn’t going to be fly-by night seemed like a nice investment of everyone’s time.”
Unlike a mural, which is painted and then remains static, the animation project is constantly changing. The first artist to take a crack at Walrus was Clyde Peterson, who used the space to create a giant chalkboard animation. The animation came together slowly, frame by frame, until Peterson had an entire film completed, which he recently released as a music video for the Portland band The Thermals.
Amanda Moore will take over the space next week to create an animated title sequence for her own ambitious project, "The Open Town." Using characters such as a contortionist, a disgraced police chief and a vaudeville tycoon, Moore will create her own story about the city’s turbulent past.
“I want to tell a story that’s the story of Seattle,” she said.

Moore is kicking off her six-month stint on the wall with a party next Thursday at 6 p.m. Stop by to learn more about Moore's project, or just check out the entertainment, which will include a vaudeville actor and musicians."

March 3, 2011

March 1, 2011

Vida Rose - "It's Alwasy Been There"

"This comic is a love letter for the street, its' passerby and inhabitants. I made the original sketch when I was homesick, mosquito-bitten and very far away. It brought me a kind of delight and comfort... and now I'm delighted to share it with the neighborhood I grew up in." - Vida Rose
Courtesy of Artist

Sign Savant
This latest project by Vida Rose, a Seattle native, is a homage to the Capitol Hill neighborhood where her family had settled a generation ago. From the project's inception, there's been a number of changes to the design due to occurrences outside of the artist's control. The original sketch for the comic panel is shown at the bottom of this post. Within a day of the artist completing her painting, through an unfortunate misunderstanding with the contractors responsible for cleaning up vandalism on the red wall, her work was painted over. The artist then re-painted her painting, only to find that a few days later, someone had come along and written "i deed it" on top of the work. Undeterred, Vida decided that the intrusion on her work could be incorporated into the panel and subsequently re-painted the vandal's marking in her hand, altering it to fit within the theme of the piece.

The first iteration of her project which was painted over. 

The original artist sketch.

January 9, 2011

Gretchen Bennett - "Crazy In Love"

One last look at Gretchen Bennett's wheatpaste project, "Crazy In Love".
Jen Graves / The Stranger review here.
More photos here.
For more information about the artist -

Sign Savant

photos by dk pan