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(Image: Jay Mason)

Artist of the Week: Jay Mason

Jay Mason is a Seattle-based artist who works with oils and the digital space.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Jay Mason: I have been painting in oils for the last 25 years and have recently dived into digital art and NFTs.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Depending on the project, I may start by doing research into the subject matter I want to represent. I use reference photos that I take, then bring to a canvas or wood surface. To get an accurate representation of the subject, I will grid out my surface into squares as well as the reference material and do a sketch of the scene within the grid. Once the sketch is down, then I layer colors, thin at first and block in the subject. As the layers build, the paint gets more refined until I feel I can stop. Varnish to top it off and it then is a complete piece.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I tend to stick to subject matter that surrounds us in everyday life. Particularly the city and how it evolves around us. The city streets and the beauty that is around every corner here in Seattle. As of late, my subject matter has been inspired by the graffiti and street artist work that is throughout the city streets. Now, I do not condone or encourage graffiti or vandalism to public or private property. I do see that there is a talented group of artists in this community that uses the streets as a canvas. That inspires me.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
I love commuting to my day job down the waterfront in the morning on my bike to Magnolia. Impressionist art. A good Fish and Chips.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
There are several pieces that have a special place in my heart, but back in 2020, after George Floyd was murdered and the Black Lives Matter protests against police use of force were happening here in Seattle, I was so moved and emotional while at the protests, I wanted to paint it for historical purposes and to try and convey the emotion I felt while there.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Moving here to Seattle in 1996 from the Midwest was profound on my life and artistic goals. The city seemed very open arms back then. In 2000, I spent a year in Europe, seeing as much art as I could in as many museums as I could. This also affected me greatly as an artist.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
I have a mural, Sunrise in Magenta, up on Queen Anne that I painted inside the Queen Anne Bottle Shop this past January. You can always see my work, including my latest greatest, on my website, or you can see my newly minted NFTs on the GameStop NFT Marketplace.

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I am still painting almost every day, as well as learning the digital art world and seeing the possibilities of showing and animating my art.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
Drip, cream and sugar.

About 'Artist of the Week': 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 And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.