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 email@example.com. 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 different mediums?
Patti Curtis: I have been creating since I was a little girl; I have always colored and drawn since I can remember. I discovered at age 13 that I could actually sketch when I drew a picture of a cat, and it was pretty good. I majored in fine art in college, attending Cornish College of the Arts. I started as a painting major and soon pivoted to majoring in sculpting. I can see 2D objects in 3-dimensions in my mind and can picture the end product before the process begins. I work in many mediums, print, paint, sculpting, assemblage. Primarily I enjoy creating illusions in sculpture. I took a long break from art to raise my daughter and build a career in marketing and product development. I recently went back to my love of art after being laid off for being over 50. It was then I developed Fogue Studios & Gallery, an artist space for artists over the age of 50.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
The process varies. Currently, I am working on a vintage cow skull, changing the finish to appear as though it is made of rusted metal, inspired by a piece of wasted out tin I found while on a walk through Georgetown. Found objects are often an inspiration to my work, barbed wire, old oil paintings I find in a vintage shop, old vintage photos, etc. When I find an item that interests or intrigues me, I'll put it in my studio and wait for the muse to hit me. It can be immediate or take months. The piece of metal I found inspiration for in my current work in process has been in my studio for months. Suddenly one day, it reminded me of a sunset, and I just went to work to make it come to fruition.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
Inspiration is a fickle friend. You never know where or when it can happen. Currently, I am inspired by the study of human behavior and how we focus so much on exterior beauty and the superficial aesthetic. My message with my art I am working on now is that the beauty is in the bones and what lies beneath the "skin deep," hence the use of skulls. I embellish and make them into something that looks like different materials; no matter how I alter their appearance, the bones are what you see and cannot be covered or hidden.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
I prefer perusing Instagram photos. I follow a lot of artists. I have groomed my Instagram feed to only show beautiful art and positive messaging.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
When I was a junior at Cornish, I created a sculpture that won best artist of the year in the first juried show I ever entered. It gave me a shot of confidence that literally has lasted my entire life. It was everything to have that acknowledgment that I had "something." After all the moves and life changes over the years, I always kept the primary component of that sculpture — she's a Brick Girl made of resin, asphalt roofing shingles, and paper mache made to look like actual brick. She is small but mighty and currently is the caryatid that holds up my desk in the gallery.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
This inspiration for my current study art comes from 25 years in the beauty/cosmetic industry, where I worked in marketing and product development, sending the message that you need all these products to be beautiful. As I age, I know now more than ever that true beauty comes from within.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
Fogue Studios, an open studio and art gallery for older artists in the Seattle area. A lifelong lover of art, I started the gallery after I was laid off from a corporate marketing job at the age of 53, with the goal of creating a space for artists over 50 to connect and sell their work. Back in March, I was forced to close the studio to help contain the spread of COVID-19. In an attempt to keep the business open, even while the doors were closed, I expanded my website to sell artwork online using GoDaddy tools, making artwork that was previously only available in the gallery available online. As COVID-19 restrictions are easing, Fogue Studio is open for limited hours each week.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
With the setbacks of this year due to COVID-19, I'm excited about helping promote our artists' members at Fogue with our website and social media. It is a challenging time for artists and small business owners (I am both). Keeping inspired and supporting my artist community is what gets me out of bed every day and ready to tackle the next challenge!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
With half and half, no sweetener required drinking daily!