Miha Sarani dabbles, delves, and dives breathlessly between almost all mediums, from music to graphic novels to dripping abstract paintings. Many of his works are redolent of the figurative expertise of Old Masters, capturing chiaroscuro in a fresh light—yet he often veers into expressive territory, ranging from the comic to the empathetic, creating electric portraits of friends, acquaintances, and celebrities with equal ease.
Artist, Filmmaker, Armchair Anthropologist
A self-proclaimed cinephile, Salise Hughes is a visual artist who manipulates found film footage to create images that transcend traditional mediums. The resulting work is a study in play, decay, and recycling, in which Hughes reimagines and reframes both the banal (like the ephemeral, impressionistic sketches of daily life made on her iPhone) as well classic works of cinema that have made indelible imprints on our collective consciousness.
“My method of working is to digitally erase found or repurposed footage then reedit into my own narratives,” says Hughes. “This can become tedious since I need to erase each frame of film in a sequence. It usually takes about three months to complete a three to four minute film. To blow off steam during this process I do something completely different and shoot one take videos on my phone. This started when I would occasionally take long bus rides from Seattle to Portland and I’d just point the phone against the window and shoot. It’s very freeing since there’s no mental process involved; I’m only responding to my surroundings.”
Ezra Dickinson is expert at transforming space: whether through performance, dance (he was trained as a professional ballet dancer), murals, installations spanning entire derelict buildings, or bold signage spangling the streets of Seattle, Dickinson makes unforgettable marks. He is outspoken about rent control (pro); it’s likely you’ve seen some of his rent control signage around Capitol Hill or downtown Seattle. His sketchbooks are, unsurprisingly, filled with detailed observations of the urban landscapes of the PNW.
“I’m very intentional with my note/sketchbooks,” says Dickinson. “I have a separate notebook for each discipline: ceramics, designs, murals, meetings, etc. The sketches in these images come from a collection of books I’ve been keeping since 2010. The aim of these books is wanting to capture the world via pen as I travel. Giving myself however much time is needed to complete a given location, these sketches represent a range from 15 minutes to 9 hours. I see this drawing practice as a substitute to the camera: It gives me a far more intimate relationship with the locations I want to record.”
Genevieve St. Charles is the queen of ribald, brash imagery that culls from pop culture—her signature glossy paintings that riff on foodstuffs or beverages like La Croix or White Claw have been exhibited and collected extensively. Ironic (or not so ironic) La Croix “flavors” like Millennial Avocado Toast Housing Crisis are perhaps more apropos—or perhaps flat out nostalgic—than ever. In addition to her paintings, St. Charles creates murals, designs eye-popping, delicious posters, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. (Ever wanted a side table that looks like a luscious peach emoji? Yes, you do.)
“Whenever I’m starting a new painting, design, or illustration, I always start with pencil and paper,” says St. Charles. “For sketching, there’s something about graphite on paper that you just can’t replicate with an iPad. I concentrate on shapes, flow, and composition before getting into specifics; I want the piece to have a ‘flow’. Every one of my finished pieces started off as a tangle of shapes and half-formed ideas on a page of my sketchbook, drawn over and over in different ways, until a collection of lines finally behaves and the linework is ready to be polished digitally.”
Jake Millett is a master of the line. His paintings comprise striations that harken to geologic pattern; much of his work documents abstracted landscapes reminiscent of the mountainous Pacific Northwest. In these, cerulean undulating sediment is rendered in mesmerizing ribbons, stacked or cracked open like a slice of luscious layer cake. His sketches are less abstract, capturing everyday urban scenes and morsels of visual information.
“I primarily use my book to just slam down ideas as quickly as possible,” says Millett. “It’s a place where I visualize developing images. I rarely use color in my book. Color enters my work on the canvas, where I improvise and build the painting layer by layer, upon the skeleton of my sketch. My sketches are small and loose; the main goal is to find the essence and gesture of the painting to come. You will notice many little weird faces all over the place—cathartic little caricatures.”
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.”
Alexia Lewis is a polymathic poet, utilizing everything from performance to video, visual arts (including making watercolor paintings from the juice of overripe berries), Instagram stories, and writing as means to document and explore her experience. Her work melds unapologetic confrontation with vulnerability, all of it tempered with visual elegance and ease. What follows is a sketch that serves as a self-portrait through words.
“Deep down, I have a twisted, lustful desire for men who can’t or won’t show up for me. Yet I never even loved those. I do love [redacted]. I will never judge or question my feelings for him. Not ever again.”
Another day. Day x out of xx. She had already let go of any grand visions she had for her so-called future, and she feels delicious for it. Nothing to do except twiddle her thumbs, binge on “Westworld”, scroll endlessly, and sext with her ex ’cause she’s messy like that.
She’s a sucker for self-improvement, and all the classes and content are free or damn near so. She makes purchases of inner work with her parents’ money. That live webinar by Carolyn Elliot Ph.D. was pret-ty bomb, hitting all the right notes, really making her dig deep on what she always said she believes. Alchemize success by getting comfortable being adored and resented at the same damn time? Know that you are one with Universal Spirit, and embrace the shadow of you? That’s her type shit. Let’s get the book!
April 7th, 2020
“My love for twisting myself in knots to conform to mediocrity knows no bounds. My glory and riches come from my intensity, my burning like a white-hot fire, and I’ll snuff myself out just to fit in with basic bitches. Just thinking about all the times I faked being basic and simple, and then blamed God for my poverty, it turns me on in a way like no other.”
She devoured “Existential Kink” over the course of the week, alternating between journaling, sexting with the ex, staring at the wall, and burning up with desire. Deep, longing desire for everything she said she wanted (THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT) mixed up with unfathomable, delicious, damn near sexual satisfaction with her present condition. Everything about her poverty, her subjugation, her diminishment; all of the conditions that kept her down were her own sensual projections. And she didn’t even know it.
April 10th, 2020
“As long as I’m broke, underpaid, and drowning in debt, I get to justify a self-righteousness that I’m not even aware I carry around with me. And I get to be doted on: the world is an attentive lover, satisfying every craving and need. This unjust world, this disgusting, capitalist, racist world must cater to me, and I get to look down my nose at it. Because nothing gets me hotter than the vision of the mighty-yet-inferior attending to me, like a submissive who understands all the rules. My self-righteousnes and my moral SUPERIORITY must be quenched.”
This dance she did, this foreplay she took her time giving, this love she made. She climaxed when, during one of her reveries, a song came on. A song she used to hear a lot in her 20s, when she was young and energetic and stupid and brilliant and wasteful and well-meaning and misguided and trying her best and doing the bare minimum. She shed tears in the climax. For her former self, who was svelte and beautiful and ultimately her destruction. She gave thanks for those libertine, sensual days and nights. She owned them, and then laid them down.
April 12th, 2020
“Carolyne says that ‘having is evidence of wanting’. If I believe in the unity and oneness of Spirit, and that I’ve never existed outside of Spirit, then this is true. I desire a beautiful living space, high ceilings, that I will share with my Love. But having that would mean losing out on this experience of hospitality, of being serviced, of being cossetted and fussed about. I must accept that it’s possible to experience this care and attention on a higher level.”
She has been sketching herself since birth. She always used a firm hand and a dark #2 pencil. Every time she tried to erase her mistakes, there were still ghost lines, evidence that previous marks had already been made, evidence of a changed mind and of a weak will. A mess. And now she makes love to that mess of herself, because there’s nothing left to do.
by Alexia Lewis
Find more of Lewis’ work at https://www.memoria.art/.