Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Grace Flott: I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, but I didn’t seriously dive into art until about five years ago. I work mainly in graphite, charcoal, and oil paint but I also love to play with gouache, oil pastel, and collage.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Once I have a concept established, I create a scene in my studio from which I can paint. I paint observationally; in other words, I paint stuff to look like stuff. I may do many small studies before taking the leap to a large panel because my goal is to understand and recreate the experience of the light. This comes from my classical training which focused on the indirect method. Indirect painting is a process by which paint is layered in multiple passes, each layer modifying the last. The final painted layer may totally obscure what’s beneath or allow some passages to show through. In effect, indirect painting creates a deep luminosity as light bounces off and through many layers of oil paint.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
Most recently, my work has been inspired by my experience as a burn survivor and a woman. I was injured in an apartment fire when I was twenty years old and it left me scarred and broken, physically and emotionally. In the series “Still I Rise” I painted memories of that time, including a snapshot of a wheelchair and different medical devices and a hospital hallway. Memory, loss, and the body are all things I take as subject in my work.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I always come back to the figure. Still life is something I do for my push ups, but the real race I am training for is painting the figure.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I painted a self-portrait where I posed in front of a mirror in a sleeveless black dress. The painting shows my burn scars on my arms and chest. It’s quite meaningful for me because many people with burns are afraid to show them publicly and I was once afraid, too. It’s a painting that let me transform internally while meditating on my external self.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Other than surviving a fire, I also think a lot about femininity and body politics. I was looking for a way to speak to these issues clearly and directly — that’s when I found the Gage Academy of Art and master painter Juliette Aristides. Studying drawing and painting with Juliette changed my life and gave me the tools to illustrate what is in my head. It’s also enriching to be part of an artist community that is so focused on craftsmanship. I found the environment to be very supportive.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
My studio. Get in touch for an appointment or check out my website.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I’m painting portraits, specifically of people who revel in their own kind of beauty. I’m turning the brush toward my friends in the burn survivor community first, but I’m really jazzed about painting anyone who feels comfortable in their own skin especially if that skin hasn’t historically been celebrated.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Black and sludgey. I make drip with one scoop coffee for every cup of water, plus an extra to top it off.