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! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Ross Collado: As far as I can remember, I started as early as six years old. My siblings, cousins and friends relied on me with anything that requires creativity. I would design for them personalized greeting cards and classroom visual aids with crayons or watercolors. In college, I took up Computer Science which steered me away from my creative side for a while. Until recently, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the BLM protests in Capitol Hill that I had more free time on my hands, that I picked up the brush started painting again. Only this time, I wanted a medium that is more expressive of emotions with depth and texture that I switched to acrylic. My first sold artwork is a commissioned piece for a Seattle-based art collector and friend.
Tell us about your artistic process, and the different stages work into it.
My process is highly intuitive. I start off with a concept in mind, but the brush strokes and choice of colors somewhat gain a mind of their own and evolves the art piece into something else. It's like I am walking through a creative tunnel of exploding colors and ideas waiting to come to life through a brushstroke. There are days that it would take about 30 minutes of working on a piece, then I step back and examine if I am satisfied with the composition. I don’t go to bed unless I am happy with the piece. Otherwise, I would just cover it in white paint. Overall, I enjoy the whole process, and I consider myself constantly evolving as an artist.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
Cities and nature inspire me. More than half of my life, I lived in cities, but I was born and raised in a bucolic, almost remote countryside village in the Philippines. Growing up, I lived close to nature, surrounded by mountains, forests, farmlands with a scenic view of an island volcano in the middle of a lake. As a college student, I got used to and favored the cosmopolitan living in Manila amidst city lights and skyscrapers. When I moved to the US in 2013, I felt so at home in Waikiki, Hawaii, a vibrant city completely surrounded by nature. In 2016 Seattle became my new home, and I completely and absolutely fell in love living the Pacific Northwest life! My hiking has led me to so many beautiful places filled with breathtaking and stunning views of mountains, waterfalls, lakes and coastlines. I just love it living here.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
Yes, I do. Abstracted melding of landscapes, skyscapes, waterscapes and cityscapes usually fill my canvas. But then again, there will be some other elements on there that turns the whole piece into something otherworldly or in the mind-worldly. I do feel fortunate to have patrons whose commissioned works have led me to create art that is outside my usual subjects.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
“Nightfall” is the first commissioned piece I worked on for many-layered reasons. It means a lot to me because it paved my path towards becoming a serious abstract painter. The piece also evokes intense feelings and memories in me, for I was working on it during the height of the pandemic in 2020 on top of the tumultuous BLM protests in Capitol Hill. And then, months later, the same client that commissioned "Nightfall" gifted the piece back to me. He tells me that my soul seems to be trapped in that painting, and it’s only right for me to have it back. I did create another commissioned piece for him that evokes a more peaceful setting.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Other than the layered circumstances that lead to "Nightfall," I think a lot of travel and exploration of different hiking trails constantly powers my art. I love finding beauty all around me, and I am equally driven to represent that same beauty in a different way that touches the heart, mind and soul.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
Like any social media savvy artist, you will find me and my art on Instagram. I recently have a soft launch of my website. I feel lucky that I am steadily building up my network of clients and art collectors that found me through word of mouth. In this day and age, I find it very amazing. Also, I have some mini exhibits ongoing in some coffee shops in Seattle.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I am always excited with painting more and building up my collection of works. A lot of what I have painted recently sold as soon as I have posted it on social media or at coffee shops. I need to keep up with new art to replace the sold pieces. I want to continue that momentum to establish myself as a Seattle based artist. Hopefully, I make another breakthrough and have my works exhibited in an actual gallery or museum.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
Simply black or once in a while with oat milk.