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MIHA SARANI


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.

Sketch for Crustacean Frustration. “This sketch was done in late 2019 as a preparatory idea for a painting. Intended to be included in my January 2020 solo exhibit at Shift. It was one of the very few times work came as a purely gut reaction. I most commonly work out ideas in my head before putting pencil to paper. This time was different. Perhaps it was grief over the passing of my grandfather who raised me. Or maybe it was the fact that I was in the process of naturalization and unable to leave the country to attend his funeral. Things took a turn for the worst when are basement flooded, where work preparation and staging took place. This piece, along with several others was destroyed.”
Grinning Slovene Machine. A self-portrait sketch done with fountain pen.
Oh my, Mr. Hockney you Saucy Minx. A sketch started as a quick observational study of Andy Warhol polaroids. Blue background was added on digital platform.
From the Sketch for Last Renaissance series. Figure drawing preliminary sketch for larger painting series. This drawing was done with fountain pen, coffee, red wine, watercolors and pastels.
Sketch for Viewing Shift gallery in ZOOM gallery. Since our gallery hasn’t been
able to meet in person these days, we have been having weekly ZOOM meetings. The idea for the subject based on the title was just too perfect to pass on.
Sketch Red Right Hand. A sketch idea of self portrait which would have been originally showing in Washington DC this upcoming June. The plans were scrapped but the sketch remained. Title is a reference to my favorite artist Nick Cave.

Sketch for a Portrait of Sicilian Girl. This quick ink pen drawing on crumpled paper was a sketch based on a picture of my daughter and myself. She was born in Sicily and I wanted to make a painting for her birthday. I added blue splotch to match the colors of her eyes, but ended like how it all came together—so I kept it.
Sketch for Entertainers. There was much experimentation and following my intuition when working on this sketch. I primarily used fountain pen, red and blue pens, red pencil, whiteout and eraser. Everything was drawn on Mylar which allowed a lot of movement and smudging.
Catharina Manchanda in conversation with Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas, Seattle Art Museum. As the title explains, this sketch was done in 2018 during the artist talk. I only had very limited number of supplies with me, and luckily a cup of coffee. A year later I ran into Catharina Manchanda with the intention of asking for her help on my Master’s thesis. I wanted to invite her to participate, and this drawing helped break the ice.
Sketch for Pionirčka. A preliminary sketch for a larger work on paper. Paper was stained with coffee, and sketch drawn with fountain pen, red pencil and whiteout.
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SALISE HUGHES

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.”

Witch

“In 1692 my 7th great grandfather, Constable Orlando Bagley arrested his 70 yr old neighbor Susannah (Goody) Martin for being a witch.”


Antarctica, 2016

The first chapter in what will be an epic journey navigated across erased and scratched frames of film history to reach the melting bottom of the world.

The Swimmer, 2010

With a nod to John Cheever and Frank and Eleanor Perry, a hero’s journey home via cinema.
Antartica #3
Dayride 1
Nightride 2
Dayride 4
Dayride 5
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EZRA DICKINSON

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.”

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GENEVIEVE St. CHARLES

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.”

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JAKE MILLETT

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.”

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TOM BARNES

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.”

No1. Looking Inside Out, Comet Tavern 2010
Kelly O, taking photos at the Shout Your Abortion Party Fundraiser (Odd Fellows Hall)
The Sinner Saint Burlesque Show at the Noc Noc, Evilyn Sin Claire, Doña dei Couri, Lady Tatas, Sailor St. Claire, and Diva Le Deviant. Polly Wood,  2011
The Fabulous and Famous Monty Banks at Vito’s. 201
Halloween at the Noc Noc, Polly Wood and the Sinner Saint Burlesque Troupe 2012
Last Call, Vermilion 2013
Katlyn Hubner painting her Plague Mural on the wooded up Doghouse Leathers, Capital Hill. 04-2020
Zoe Scofield and dance troupe performing at the Frye Art Museum among the Zoe/Juniper Sculptures , Amazing!!  One of Americas most important choreographers 2015
My Girl Is Red Hot,Your Girl Ain’t Diddly Squat. Vermilion, 2014
Tacocat at Mario’s big back red booth lol , 2012
The Karaoke Singer, Leah Maupin , Lyda’s Christmas Party 2017
Zipolete Mexico, A Pirate’s Dream, with Kine of Norway 2018
Front Room, La Negrita, The most Famous Cantina and Dance Hall in  Merida, Mexico 2018
Afternoons In Santiago Park, Merida, Mexico 201
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ALEXIA LEWIS

SHADOW INTERCOURSE

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/.