The Yakima Arts Commission, an advisory group appointed by the Yakima City Council, developed an idea to harness the creativity of Central Washington artists to invigorate windows of empty downtown storefronts by displaying their work as part of a project called, "Windows Alive!". "Windows Alive!" is part of an ongoing effort to bring public art in Downtown Yakima. Current window displays are located on Yakima Avenue between the Hotel Maison and Third Street.
Below is a sample of the artwork and statements from the five selected artists.
Current Artists for Fall/Winter 2021
Wax painting or encaustic painting is a passion of mine. My love of nature and beauty is what captivates me the most. Abstract art serves as my primary focus.
My process deals only with heated wax, layer upon layer. I use encaustic paint which is a mixture of beeswax, damar resin and dried pigment. I prefer to paint in layers of full strength paint versus layers of diluted paint. A textured ground is used on a wooden panel as I sometimes include egg shells, coffee grounds and various items to build up the surfaces. Each piece is fused as layers are applied.
Shannon Larabee began making paper in 2015 while living in Eugene, Oregon. Her first explorations with paper making included using spent beer grains from the robust brewing scene in her Eugene neighborhood. Since then, she has expanded her paper fibers to include denim and cotton scraps from the textile industry as well as hemp by products. Shannon moved with her husband to Yakima in September of 2019 and quickly fell in love with the beauty of the Yakima Valley.
Shannon enjoys making handmade paper to try and capture a sense of place using a technique called pulp painting. The process she uses to form these sheets is a wet, one pull process in which she applies all of the pulp for the painting in one session rather than layering pulp on an already formed sheet. She enjoys this one pull process because of the lack of control over the final image. The process requires remaining present and curious as the pulps combine in the water. She loves the “big reveal” of the moment the sheet is pulled from the water and transferred from the screen to the drying board.
In her most recent work, she has been mixing paper pulps to create a pallet of the place she lives—Yakima, Washington. She then folds and manipulates the sheets to capture the texture and geography of Central Washington. She is particularly attracted to the yellow rolling hills, the basalt columns, the orchard rows, hop fields and the big skies.
My name is Samantha and I've been drawing as long as I can remember. I have a hundred interests and there's not enough time in the world for all the things I want to create. When it comes to art, I've delved into subject matter that ranges from political statements to social statements, to erotic art and to pop culture.
Sometimes I get really infatuated with people in history and paint something as a tribute. I'm a fan of great minds, interesting characters in fiction, and deeper concepts. Some pieces have layers of thought, life experience, reading or underlying meaning. Some things were purely for fun, experimentation or learning. I sketch and journal my ideas. I paint on canvas and digitally.
What you see here is a collection of worlds and concepts I’ve come up with, some inspired by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh or Dali and some inspired by our local valley. Some work you might notice I was experimenting with color and texture. In many ways, this is a collection of inspiration and exploration, and there is meaning behind the individual pieces but I’ll leave it up to interpretation.
Leanna Zeibak is a local artist specializing in custom acrylic and gouache paintings of animals on canvas and paper, respectively. She specializes in dogs, but has experience painting everything from horses to cats as well (they can wag, too!). The spirit of her brand, Capture the Wag, is about capturing the essence of every animal’s personality.
Tieton-based artist, j alexander, celebrates his twin loves of hiking and found objects through his metal-based work. The discards that find their way into his work are often found on the trail and carried out by hand – sometimes many miles. As he transforms the worn surfaces of aged wood and rusted metal, the objects are renewed to tell a new story. Color rarely enters his work and nuance is introduced through texture. The finished work is an extension of peacefulness he experiences on the trails of the Yakima Valley.
Corene “Nezumi” Werhane is a fantasy illustrator whose work has appeared in games, on books, and on stage as theatrical backdrops.
I love the process of world building and character design.
As a kid playing video games I always found myself drawn to the imagery before the gameplay. I loved the beasts and monsters most, and I always imagined what kind of environment would evolve such creatures.
Most pieces start off in a variety of traditional mediums that are then finished with digital painting. This process lends itself to the organic progression of each story.
As I’m working on a character or setting there is a great deal of information given back to me from what’s on the “paper”. A face may start to look a little more defiant than it did in the sketch and I’ll lean into that, changing the body language to bring out that emotion even more, or shifting the color palette to heighten that emotion. Every character or setting has its own personality to be discovered.
About the Project
"Empty windows in unoccupied storefronts send a message that isn't very positive," said Yakima Cheryl Hahn who originally championed the "Windows Alive!" project. "The idea behind 'Windows Alive!' is to fill those storefront windows with beautiful art and create a more engaging and vibrant environment downtown. The project also gives local artists a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work."
Windows Alive Coordinator: Jane Cooper
For more details contact Jane Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org