"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."
"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
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.