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Holiday Open House December 5th

Come see our revamped digs, visit long-time resident artists and meet a few new ones, and, of course, make holiday shopping fun and artful, with dozens of guests lining the halls with affordable lovely one-of-a-kind items for the people on your NICE list.

We’ll be here from 5-9, and of course it’s First Thursday, so you can also cruise the neighborhood offerings and even park for free.

Elsewhere in the Good Arts Building, are the opening reception for Ourtopia in the gallery inside Cherry Street Coffee House, and more art and artful menswear at H Bailey Boutique.

Updates on who’s showing and what they’re offering on the facebook event page.

Space for rent: Updates

There are currently one and one half studios for rent at ’57 Biscayne.

First, the half. 212 is 405 square feet, and an artist who works in water-based media is looking to share it with another like-minded and low-toxicity person. The share for rent is approximately 200 square feet for $355 (total rent is $710). The space has a big window facing the hall and high ceilings. A drop ceiling was removed in 2011, so there’s exposed ducting and a sort of industrial vibe. It is awaiting minor restoration (e.g., floor paint) and some lighting upgrades; it will be available November 1.  Contact Clare if you are interested. (clare_e_johnson@yahoo.com)

And the one: The big, beautiful 312 is for rent in its entirety. It is 735 square feet and rents for $1600/month. The studio has decent heat/AC. If you wanted to install ventilation, the infrastructure is there. There is 220v power. Other possible upgrades could be negotiated for the right long-term tenant. It would make a great shared maker space, photo studio, print shop, or gallery (it’s on the third floor, but the building is open to the public during the day).

Contact Jane, the proprietrix, and we’ll talk!

A deluge, and some new spaces available this fall

Some time in the wee hours of Sunday, August 25, a water filter in a third-floor darkroom broke a seal and flooded our building, the Good Arts Building, all the way down to the basement. Miraculously, no art was harmed. Several studios were rendered temporarily unusable, but the majority of the damage occurred on the lower floors. (Our downstairs neighbors,  H.Bailey Boutique and Sew Generously Bespoke have reopened, and Bad Bishop Bar will be open soon after extensive repairs to their kitchen.) The artists of ’57 Biscayne have been plugging along with dehumidifiers buzzing, and every day it seems they cut a new hole in a wall or floor to dry things out. The silver lining is that we will get a bit of a decorative refresh once the insurance kicks in and we can replace the walls, carpet, and flooring which were removed.

In the meantime, a few artists are moving on (for unrelated reasons), and we will have some space available in November. Studios 212 and 312 are both interior spaces; 312 has natural light in the form of a gigantic, gorgeous skylight. Each studio has an occupant looking for a studiomate. Both spaces had been in the path of the flood; they are awaiting some restoration work which should be completed by November if not sooner; both available for occupancy November 1.

312 is occupied by a tidy painter who is looking for one studio mate to take the half of the space with the skylight. The entire room is 735 square feet; the share for rent is approximately half, or 367 square feet, for $800/month. The studio has decent heat/AC. If you wanted to install ventilation, the infrastructure is there, but non-toxic or low-tox media are preferred. Contact Anastasia (mailtogres@gmail.com) to see the space and have a chat to see if it’s right for you both.

212 has been occupied by only two tenants since ’57 Biscayne started in 2011. It was in the path of the recent deluge, causing the current tenant to pile his many belongings in a heap, consequently there are no decent photos of it. It’s 405 square feet, and an artist who works in water-based media is looking to share it with another like-minded and low-toxicity person. The share for rent is approximately 200 square feet for $355. The space has a big window facing the hall and high ceilings. A drop ceiling was removed in 2011, so there’s exposed ducting and a sort of industrial vibe. It is awaiting minor restoration and some lighting upgrades; it too will be available November 1.  Contact Clare if you are interested. (clare_e_johnson@yahoo.com)

Note: ’57 Biscayne is dog-friendly in general, but the two people looking to share 212 and 312 require their spaces to be pet-free.

But wait, there’s more! Another space, in its entirety, will be available December 1. The lovely 313 makes an excellent photo studio, but it could also be a fantastic print shop, painting studio, wood shop, or perhaps a share of some sort since it has two rooms plus an L-shaped nook. It’s another skylit studio, plus an interior room with a door and plumbing. It also venting to the outside and a 220-volt plug. And incredibly high ceilings. It is 635 square feet and rents for $1400/month. You can contact the proprietrix directly about this one.

This photo is from last year – the whole thing is painted white.

All rents include utilities. Leases are usually one year with a month-to-month default option after that. The shared common areas include a kitchenette and break areas; modern clean bathrooms; and spacious hallways which are available for tenant use for hanging art, events, installations, etc. We have cooperatively-organized open houses twice a year. Spontaneous collaboration has been known to occur.

The members of this community are both serious about their art and supportive of other artists. We welcome all peoples and genders, and naturally expect anyone who joins us to do likewise.

Richard Graham

With an architecture background and an education from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Richard Graham began his painting career later in life. Only upon retiring eight years ago did Graham start painting. “I don’t have any real art training, but as an architect, I was involved in arts a lot.” As a designer and colorist, Richard has always had a feel for 2D works. “I was designing a restaurant for a friend who had some crappy artwork on the walls and I thought, ‘I could probably do something better than that’ ”, and so began his painting career within a Miami garage.

Born in Philly and raised in New Jersey, Graham has bounced from city to city, most recently settling in Portland before relocating to Seattle just a year and a half ago. Ages ago when he had his eye on Seattle, the downtown area wasn’t yet liveable. Graham acknowledges how Seattle has really come into its own over the past ten years. He came for the hustle and bustle and stays for the music and art scene.

Although once settled in a now defunct studio under the I5 bridge, ‘57 Biscayne was too good of a counter offer for Graham to pass up. The location in Pioneer Square brings exposure to his work and is closer to that city energy he craves. What sets ‘57 Biscayne apart from the rest is truly its founder, Jane Richlovsky.

“Studios tend to be that way; they’re all kind of bottled up unless you force us to gather around, which Jane is good at making us do. I always leave my door open, I want people to walk in.” Richard is still in the process of getting to know the community, but so far greatly appreciates talking with fellow abstract artists in the building.

When I identify rigidity and structure contrasting loose twirls within his work, Richard counters: “I don’t do architectural pieces. I think that happens in the arts, you try to get away from what you’re familiar with. That’s the great thing about panting; for the first time, I didn’t have to please anybody but me.”

As far as technique, Richard treats acrylics almost like watercolor. By thinning the paint down, he pours the mixture around the canvas, letting gravity take its course. When he paints, Graham oscillates between working on canvases on the wall, up on an easel, or on the table; depending on the day. Inspired by Jackson Pollock, Graham believes that each drip of paint was Pollock’s soul coming out in art form. “That’s the trick with painting, you willingly give up all control; that’s so free. You let the paint do its thing.”

We paw through canvases as if digging through crates of vinyl records. Richard points out one of his very first paintings, hanging on the wall behind the stacks. “I haven’t progressed much!”, he laughs, pointing out the shape of a face among the organic pushing and pulling of paint in various forms of liquidity.

When the subject of cost came up, Richard explains, “People love that they can buy a huge painting for $300, $500.” However, galleries have encouraged him to up prices near $3,000. “I think the art market is so distorted by ‘high art’ to collectors who aren’t necessarily interested in art, but are interested in investments. It’s like buying stock, it’s crazy!” He believes local people who like art shouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on it.

“I’m painting for myself. I’m painting for me. And I don’t really care if anyone else likes it or not.”

For a great conversation on music or the state of the world, you can find Richard in his studio, with the door always open.

100 under $100 Closing Party and Industry Night: Wednesday, July 17

All good things must come to an end, so you might as well have a party, right?

Our sixth annual 100 under $100 and the Sweet Suite 300 show will end with a closing party on Wednesday, July 17, from 5-7 PM. This has been our most successful show yet, but there are still lots and lots of tempting goodies on the wall.

We’re having the party on a Wednesday so we can be joined by our arts colleagues and other neighbors who are always busy tending their own stores on First Thursdays, but everyone is welcome! Many of the artists in the show will be there, and several of the studios open as well. Refreshments will be served and affordable art wrapped up on the spot to go!


Molly Ray

As I enter the room, I immediately notice how pristine Molly Ray’s studio is; there are pressed white lab coats hanging by the door and alphabetized vials of aromatic elixirs lined neatly into rows.

“The space seemed meant for me. I don’t know if there’s another studio with a sink, dishwasher, and room for a fridge.” Upon moving in last November, Ray acknowledges how flawless the course of moving in became. The timing was ideal, the space was perfect, the price was good, and it “just felt right.” Knowing the history of the third floor, I start to recognize this studio was once a kitchen for a corporate office. However, Molly loves its intact character. “It has these delicious imperfections”, she says, as she gestures delightedly toward the flooring and exposed brick.

Not only does she have everything she needs within her studio, but she maintains kinship among fellow artists along the floor. Molly describes a sense of safety and camaraderie despite such differing disciplines of art. “Nobody bugs you, but you feel comfortable enough to say; ‘Hey, I’m expecting a package. Do you mind looking out for it?’”

Ray has always been into fragrance; she even grew up traveling to Europe with her mother and appreciating the culture around perfumery. For Europeans, she says, “It’s not a question of ‘Do you wear perfume?’ it’s ‘What do you wear?’ and ‘Which is your favorite?'” Everyone has a connection to fragrance. For example, vanilla, cedar, and so forth can all be connected to scent memory. Upon smelling such scents, one has the ability to unlock synapses into a really powerful experience.

“Perfumery is the perfect mix of art and science.”

In addition to bringing personalization and detail into her craft, Ray also focuses on the environmental sustainability of the industry. However, she warns consumers to beware of “greenwashing”, i.e., when a company over-emphasizes their environmental efforts as a marketing tactic. “I try not to lead with that, I want you to love my stuff FIRST and then I can say, oh by the way…” She believes it’s not only important to have a sexy brand, but have a tight sustainability commitment to boot.

Her studio has also allowed a space for mentoring and educational workshops. With the help of an apprentice and an intern, Molly approaches her work with a holistic team. Despite only being in the fragrance industry about three and a half years, she prides herself in her craft and has limitless possibilities before her.

“I really try to make art in what I’m doing. I want someone to see themselves in a fragrance.”

With her excess materials, Ray donates to local women’s shelter, Mary’s Place. She recognizes how fragrance can restore a sense of dignity and is a luxury item that is otherwise forgotten among donations.

If you’re looking for an intimate, customized fragrance experience, Molly welcomes visitors and students alike. I recommend you keep an eye on this artist as I expect she’ll continue to push the boundaries of where fragrance can take you. I’ll give you a hint: there might be wine!

’57 Biscayne featured on Seattle Growth Podcast: Building Community

Last month Seattle Growth Podcast host Jeffrey D. Shulman chatted with ’57 Biscayne proprietrix Jane Richlovsky about how people find and build community in a changing city. There are two interviews in the episode; the first one is about New Tech Northwest, a community-building project of techies, which contains some ideas that people in the arts could benefit from, but if you want to skip to the ’57 Biscayne part, it starts at 33:44.

Jane was a guest on the show a few years ago, too, along with Good Arts partners Ali Ghambari and Greg Smith. They described how they came together from very different perspectives to create the wonder that is the Good Arts Building (and preserve the wonder that is ’57 Biscayne). Jeff had interviewed them separately and used the interview with Greg in one episode about real estate. He was about to scrap the rest, when the 2016 election happened. He felt like he really, really needed a heart-warming story of people setting aside their differences to work together to do good in the world—that’s us!—so he produced a Very Special Episode out of the outtakes.

100 under $100 and the Sweet Suite 300 opens JUNE 6!

Thursday, June 6th marks the sixth annual show of affordable local art at ’57 Biscayne. Running from 5:30-9:00pm, two floors will be filled the to brim with opportunities to mingle with artists, enjoy refreshments, and take home a beautiful piece of art or two or three.

By supporting local artists, almost anyone can use their purchasing power to help preserve Seattle’s cultural economy.

Offerings include original drawings, small paintings, photographs, lithographs, mixed media constructions, collages, and more. The two floors of ’57 Biscayne studios house 28 artists, some of the most diverse and eclectic in Pioneer Square, so there’s no shortage of unique finds to unearth in this show and in the surrounding open studios. The Good Arts Arcade (downstairs) will have more shows and open studios, too—and you can sneak down the secret stairs to grab a cocktail  at Bad Bishop Bar

Curated by Jane Richlovsky and Dara Solliday, 100 under $100 (what’s left of it) will remain on display through its closing party on Wednesday, July 17th (5-7 PM)

Our youngest artist, whose work always sells out.

….and our oldest, Amy Nikaitani, who will be here in spirit (and whose work also sells out). At last year’s show, with artist Michelle Kumata.

Happy collectors!

Cristina Martinez

Bringing her motherhood into her work, she gestures toward a large canvas boasting bold swatches of color. It’s a collaboration with her four year old daughter, who often plays and creates in the studio with her mother. 

Upon starting a fashion degree which she left unfinished, Cristina Martinez felt less connected to trends and mass production and was instead drawn to the illustrative side of the industry. “I find so much joy in painting that I don’t currently find in garment construction.” She began painting things that she loves and admires, drawing much of her inspiration from the power and beauty of women.

“I always wanted to be a painter; I didn’t know growing up that it was a career I could have. Now that I am a painter, I can pay all my bills and support myself and two human beings like this.”


Cristina began her creative process when resuming her position as a medical assistant. Each day she sketched self portraits on post-it notes in order to stay sane at a job she felt so disconnected from. She long kept these images hidden due to their personal nature. However, once revealed, her signature aesthetic took the internet by storm. Nearly fifty people now have her designs permanently embellished on their skin, and others buy up her merch faster than she can produce it. “Self Care” is scrawled next to a rendition of Cristina’s face on a T Shirt, folded and packaged neatly in a stack of many others on her studio floor. This relatable wording and imagery is universally validating, which is what her vast following finds solace in.

Speaking about how her life influenced her art, Martinez recalls, “I realized there is a cycle of blooming, wilting, growing, and remembering to take care of yourself.”

People are drawn to art that is genuine. After having only shown her work for about two years, art enthusiasts near and far are hungry for tender, emotional imagery such as Cristina’s. It was at a local show called ‘The Feels’ where she first debuted her collection which has since escalated into her current success.

When discussing her discovery of ’57 Biscayne, she describes how comparable spaces in the area didn’t feel quite right. Upon meeting Jane Richlovsky, Martinez affirms, “Right away, I knew that this was the environment that I needed to create in. I knew that’s what it was gonna be like.” Feeling an immediate comfort and trust with Jane and the studio, she went home that night unable to stop thinking about it. Martinez describes ’57 Biscayne as comfortable, safe, and “One vibe during the day, and another at night.” She loves the fact that she can connect with other artists working late at night in solidarity. “You can tell that Jane goes off of feeling and finding good people for the collective. It’s so great to be in a collaborative space with other creatives… I love it.”

Looking ahead, Cristina hopes to incorporate her passion for painting with her knack for sewing for a new June & Mars experience. Expect more wearable art and collaborations with her kids from this artist in the future.

Savina Mason

Coming from a graphic design and computer science background, Savina discovered a passion for analog art in encaustic paintings, installations, and sculptural works that challenge precision and complexity in her designs. Experimenting with colour, texture, and the demands of the encaustic process, she combines her years of design experience with the understanding that amongst careful planning and design, imperfection is still valuable. Discover her work at savinamason.com.

What do you enjoy about being in the Good Arts Building?

One of the great things that has come out of this is, honestly, friendships. I’m great friends with my next door neighbor Dara, and we both just happen to be encaustic artists, which is like, what are the odds of that? We are next door to each other. And we do share a power breaker, which is a problem because we both work hot (i.e., on a hotplate). But it’s really great to have someone who’s working in the same medium because encaustic is a special, special beast. You’re working with a natural material, it’s not always the same consistency. One batch of medium is going to be different from the next batch. It’s not like acrylic where it will take the tints. So seeing someone else and how they work with it, we exchange a lot of technical knowledge. And sometimes it’s just really good to have someone whose shoulder you can cry on when things go wrong.

I come from a graphic design background and so we work with color in different ways. We conceptualize mixed color in a different way. But I have been here since 2011, so almost seven years. So, you know, we’re kind of approaching and crisscrossing our experimentation and that wouldn’t happen if we weren’t next door to each other.

In general, just being in this building and seeing what everybody else is working with and coming up with is inspiring. Plus, there are a lot more shapes that you see and a lot more materials. I’ve never met a material that wasn’t interesting. So I will go over to the jewelry people and scope out their tools and I will think “Whoa, how can I use this?”. It’s just really cool to see people working in different media with completely different skill sets and tool sets and just see what they’re doing, see what they’re using. So I will squirrel things away for future use because when you work on an installation, you need to think about what’s at hand, and what makes sense for the space.

What is your artistic process?

My colors change depending on the season, and so I know they change depending on light. Being in a space that’s got a really high ceiling it’s open and I can’t imagine working with a lot of muddy colors in a space like this. I think that there’s a lot of interplay between what you see and how you feel and what actually ends up going down. The Pacific Northwest is definitely a special beast. Seeing all the mountains definitely has an impact on me. But I have also traveled a fair bit. And so a lot of times the colors are taken from where I’ve been. When I was in New Zealand we were kayaking down the dark river and it’s a glacier river and it’s summer over there. So there’s a ton of glacier melt coming down and it’s almost like celadon. It’s slightly green, not super transparent because of the glacial material, a little bit gray . . . just this incredible color. Right now I want to get as close to something which is solid and has real depth to it but feels like watercolor. That takes a lot of experimentation.

Sometimes you get something and you think “Oh, I know exactly what to do with this!”,  and sometimes you kind of wonder because it ends up not being a project for anything. You think to yourself – I just want to make this because I can. When I experienced things like that, there’s a lot of fun and play to those types of projects. I mean that’s kind of the goal for me in doing studio work versus previous work within graphic design. It’s an interesting edge to be on. Sometimes I get obsessed with just one color or I just want to draw lines. Like, “I’m sorry, I just feel like drawing lines for three weeks.”

How did you arrive at encaustic work?

I started taking art classes about eight years ago because I thought maybe it would help with my practice. It was in those classes that I realized I really liked making things with my hands. A lot of things that I had done before for work, there was a repetitive element oftentimes. If you do something on a computer it’s going to be perfect. Perfect. Every time. Whether you’re writing code to generate the image or whether you’re working in Photoshop, you can make sure everything’s spaced the same. But when you’re doing it by hand you can’t. And a lot of times you’ll see emergent things happen because of that. It was a very interesting thing to try to make a pattern as perfect as you can, but you’re still making it with your hands and so variations creep into it and change it. There is a kind of a quality of life, the magic of finding out what happens when imperfection creeps in. In a way there’s more of you in the work because you’re physically making it.

One of the last classes I took was an encaustic class and it was eight weeks long, mostly with retired ladies who just wanted a hobby. But it was such a magical moment for me where I felt, “Oh my God, I want to do this”. Within several weeks of that I was trying to work at home and I knew it wasn’t going to work. I knew I needed a studio if I was going to do it full time.

How does encaustic art work?

You work hot, basically your palette is on your hot plate, and your brush is melted. So you mix your color with the medium. Its a little bit different because of the nature of the material. Then once you have it on your brush you have about maybe 10 seconds of work time at which point, it’s going to go solid. So then you’re back to the hot plate. That’s one of the wonderful things about it is that it does cut down on your working time, but it means that you can work layer upon layer upon layer upon layer.

With encaustic, it blooms over time. So when you fuse it, you’re essentially forcing to pigment back into the layers of the caustic. So it will kind of pull the colors further away from you so it’s a little bit less bright. Over time, it takes about two years, the color will slowly swim back up to the surface. If you’ve managed to hold onto a painting for two years before you sell it, it looks awesome because it’s really bright: fresh and clean and shiny. So for the first two weeks it blooms constantly so there’s this white dust coating that develops. Once you clean it properly, you can get that candy shine.

What is your goal looking forward?

As an artist, you’re always learning and expanding. I think that’s my goal for everything I do. I don’t want it to be like something I’ve done in the past because why repeat things? I want to make sure that I benefit in terms of my practice, right? My goal is, you know, when I’m 80, I think at that point I might be able to do some really cool things.

Painting is a type of critical thinking. It’s a type of questioning: questioning your environment, responding to your environment. But it’s not simply making an image – it’s actually making the image that is going to clarify the idea in your head.  For me, it is so much about the process of making that happen.

Responses edited & condensed from comments made during an interview.