by Mark Van Streefkerk
Xavier Raymond Kelley’s Instagram bio reads “Jumping and Art,” two concepts he says are more interrelated than you’d think. The 19-year-old sophomore competes on Seattle University’s (SU) track and field team in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, and High Jump events, and is also an artist rising to citywide recognition, poised for his first gallery debut “Going Thru thEMOTIONS” at Columbia City Gallery from March 21 to May 9.
An alumni of Franklin High School, Kelley’s athletic and artistic expressions only keep on growing. His first love was basketball, but Kelley picked up track his senior year where he excelled, eventually leading to a spot on SU’s team. Always an artist, Kelley explored drawing with markers and pastels long before moving to acrylic paint on canvas within the last year and a half. His latest work features Black athletes, basketball, ancient Egyptian imagery, and symbols that point to the complexities of racism.
“My background is definitely in athletics — that really informs my art and the concepts and motifs that show up in my art,” Kelley said. “Art and sports are very intersectional, and they’re both very acute forms of self-expression. Just like dance is a form of art, I believe sports is also a form of art and self-expression.”
Continue reading Xavier Raymond Kelley Debuts ‘Going Thru thEMOTIONS’ at Columbia City Gallery
by Chamidae Ford
On March 5 the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) opened its new Jacob Lawrence exhibit, “The American Struggle,” to the public.
“The American Struggle” takes us on a journey through American history, reframing the narratives we have heard for centuries.
During the creation of this series in 1954, Lawrence was spending countless days at what was then called the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library. He spent his time learning about not only the American history taught in schools but history told through other perspectives, which inspired this series.
Continue reading Seattle Art Museum Debuts New Jacob Lawrence Exhibit: The American Struggle
by Beverly Aarons
When third-generation visual artist George Jennings arrived in the Puget Sound area in 1997, he came with his grandfather’s small drafting table and a vision to transform his passion for art into a viable business. He and Nakeesa Frazier-Jennings, his wife and business partner, hoped to continue the Jennings’ family art legacy that began with George’s maternal grandfather.
Continue reading Third-Generation Visual Artist Talks Business, Art and Legacy
by Beverly Aarons
What happens when physical distancing, gallery closures, and solitude leave an artist alone in his studio for weeks during one of the world’s most frightening pandemics? In the case of visual artist Juan Alonso-Rodríguez you get introspection, reflection, wisdom born from a deep well of life experience, and a brand new body of colorful and lively work. If you didn’t watch the news and somehow ended up in social media “jail,” peeking through the door of his studio you wouldn’t know there was a pandemic. You would find a solitary man intensely focused on his craft — prepping canvases, applying paint, and contemplating the work at hand. You would also find the tools of a visual artist’s trade filling tables and shelves, finished work expertly hung on walls, and the buzz of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood just beyond the windows. When I spoke with Juan about his experience during this COVID-19 crisis, he was calm and even upbeat as he mentioned being more focused on making this time one of creativity and not just anxiety and fear.
Continue reading Visual Artist Juan Alonso-Rodríguez Finds Wellspring of Creativity in Pandemic Chaos