Photo depicting a view of Joe Nix's exhibition, with his art hung in dark wooden frames against stark white walls.

PHOTO ESSAY: Joe Nix’s ‘HOLD ON’ Show Features Machinery Art

by Ronnie Estoque

On March 3, renowned Seattle muralist Joe Nix had his first show in nearly six years. The exhibition, called “HOLD ON,” is located in Belltown where Nix has lived for over 15 years. At the grand opening on Friday, March 11, the venue was packed with art connoisseurs and community members, all eager to view his latest work that draws inspiration from everyday mechanical objects. The oil paintings in the exhibit infuse machinery with life through color, shape, and form. 

“My artwork is meant to pay homage to machines and pastimes that have been neglected or left behind in the age of technology,” Nix said. “Machines that are so very important to the growth and function of humanity.”

Photo depicting two visitors in embroidered jackets examining a mural by Joe Nix.
Two people taking a closer look at Nix’s art. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Photo depicting two of Joe Nix's pieces side by side in dark wooden frames.
Nix describes the art in “HOLD ON” as a kind of homage to the machinery that paved the way for our current tech-driven world, machinery that’s ironically been left behind. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Nix developed his abilities as a painter while living in Belltown and feels deeply connected to the community there. He was exposed to machinery and craftsmanship at a young age, as his father and grandfather were engineers at Boeing and the Navy and would often work on projects at home. Nix’s work can be seen throughout the city, with his murals adding life to public space and private businesses in neighborhoods such as SoDo and Georgetown. 

He is also the owner of Belltown’s Jupiter Bar, which features local artists, musicians, DJs, and arcade games. Nix says that having a consistent revenue stream has allowed him the time and space to create work that he is fully inspired to make. 

“I am always working on paintings, but once COVID shut down my bar, I decided to paint every day,” Nix said regarding a nine-month period when Jupiter Bar was shut down. 

Photo depicting a long mural from Joe Nix's "HOLD ON" exhibition. Two visitors have their back to it as they examine a separate piece.
Nix’s work has appeared as public murals and in businesses around Seattle, as well as other locations in the U.S., like Tennessee. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Photo depicting a crowded exhibit as individuals admire Joe Nix's work.
In “HOLD ON” Nix focuses on themes like machinery and engines. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Having spent the past six years starting and establishing the Jupiter Bar within the community, Nix is excited by the prospect of creating more art in the future. 

“Hopefully this show will open up opportunities for me to expand my work through paintings and murals, public work, outside of Washington State or even America,” Nix said. 

The exhibit will run at 2301 1st Ave. until March 29.

Photo depicting the entrance to Joe Nix's "HOLD ON" exhibit with a sign that reads "HOLD ON: An Exhibition by Joe Nix."
“HOLD ON” is Seattle muralist Joe Nix’s first show in almost six years, now on display in Belltown. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Photo depicting several visitors glancing at their phones as they admire Joe Nix's work at the "HOLD ON" exhibit.
Visitors admired Nix’s artwork at the show’s grand opening on March 11. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.

📸 Featured Image: Joe Nix has been part of the Belltown community for over 15 years. It was fitting that his first show after a long hiatus would take place in the neighborhood, just a few blocks away from Jupiter Bar, owned by Nix. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

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