A CHRONICLER’S TALE celebrating over a decade of
DRAWING ON THE RUN
There are few sketches that contain the vigor and energy of Tom Barnes’ work. Uncensored loose tangles of gesture and undiluted colors glow from the page. Apart from their merit as feverish, stimulating, hyper-saturated images, Barnes’ sketches serve as an archive of Seattle past and present, comprising a portrait of a city.
“Sketching from life has been a passion for me over the last decade,” says Barnes. “I was intrigued in the beginning to put lines on paper, to chronicle the culture of Capitol Hill [Seattle] before it disappeared forever. I did. I drew the life I experienced in bars and dance clubs, at festivals. I documented our life on the streets, and as many Sinner Saint Burlesque shows as I could get to! Beautiful women—wait—I digress: I filled many a sketch book, and my on-site drawings evolved into paintings which I would finish in the studio, using whatever came to hand—pencils, ink, watercolor, collage—to chronicle the soul of what I recognized as a vanishing culture. As the hole-in-the wall dives were being replaced with luxury condos on every corner—my sketchbooks chronicled a celebration, but also an extinction.
The line knows some eternal truth of what the hell is going on out there.”