Sunday, April 5, 2015

Storefronts Installation in Seattle

Last week I installed some work in a window on Mercer Street in Seattle. The installation is part of a group of works by different artists installed in windows in the South Lake Union area as part of Shunkpike's Storefronts program. The work will be up through July. You can visit anytime, since the work isn't in a gallery, it's never closed (it is also never open).

my installation for Storefronts

The work is in a window on the south side of Mercer between Westlake Ave and Terry Ave. You can see the work from the car, if you're driving down Mercer. This weekend my family went to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Pacific Science Center and I pointed it out on the way there and on the way back. There is a second, larger installation to the east of mine if you're not sure where to look.

a view of Mercer street in front of my window

All the artists will be giving short talks and answering questions about their work on May 7 for the First Thursday Art Walk. I'll be going first, at 6pm. (For those of you in Yakima, May 7 is also the day of the clay sale at YVCC--you can buy your mother's day pottery from 12:30-1:30 in the HUB).

a view of my window from the parking garage

Installing the work was a challenge. My window is accessible through the parking garage, but I had to bring my own ladder. The window is pretty tall, about 10 feet, so I also needed a ladder inside the space. On the second day of installation, I brought two ladders. On the first day I climbed up the ladder into the window, then pulled the ladder up after me. 

I had to lift the work up into the window before I could climb in, it was a strange setup for planning

I'm not great with ladders and heights, so this was not my favorite part of the installation process. At one point both the woman in charge of all the windows and the woman next to me borrowed my ladder and left me stranded in or out of the window.

the long view down while I waited for the return of my ladder

Later, I knocked one of the pieces off the wall with my knee on the way down the ladder after doing adjusting the light at the top of the window. The piece broke, but luckily didn't knock anything else off the wall. I had extra work and was able to adjust the installation so that the missing piece wasn't a problem. Additionally, the piece that I knocked off the wall was and older piece. This piece was originally made for a similar installation I did several years ago. Those pieces had fairly small openings in the back for hooks. More recently I have been careful to create large openings in the back of wall pieces to accommodate large headed screws and/or L-hooks. 

"humpty" after it's fall
I had two days (during my spring break) to install the work. I probably could have done it in one, but there were a few things I didn't know about the space ahead of time. I actually learned quite a bit about this particular installation process. Next time I would just plan to paint the whole wall before I began. For some reason the person before me only patched the holes but didn't repaint. I would also bring a stool, two ladders, an extra light, a sanding block and an extension cord. 

the view up into the window during install

The particularly nice thing about a two-day installation is that I can have ladder-breaks. These are 10 minute walks that acrophobics take every time they install a couple screws up high. After 10 minutes on the nice solid ground, my hands have dried off and I have stopped shaking. 

The installation in progress before the fall (see how hard it is to read my name on the window)

The two day install also allow me a trip to Lowe's and a fabric store (don't go the Jo-Ann's in Renton, BTW) to collect all the things I forgot the first time.

After a trip to Jo-Ann's, the black fabric makes it easier to read my name, and hides the ugly paint-spattered plywood floor

The show is going to be up for quite a while, which means a bunch of people should get to see it. It also gives me a few more "shots" at getting the photography correct. During the day, photography outside the window is ridiculous, since the bright sun makes the photographer's reflection more visible than the work. 

look, it's me and a white truck

On the first day I stuck around until sunset, but my phone and camera batteries both gave up right as I started to take pictures. Even so, the shots I got had car light reflections instead of bright sky reflections. This week, I borrowed a polarizing filter from a friend, but I didn't have time to stick around until sunset, so the reflection of the clouds is darker, but the work is still hard to see.

pretty clouds

I plan to stick around after dark in May to try to take some more pictures with the polarizing filter. In the meantime, I have a few shots of the individual pieces. I took these from inside the window, so no reflection to worry about.

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