Jan. 24 Art Walk Awards Finalists

The Art Walk Awards are bigger than ever, awarding $1,250 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place. The 10 finalists below are eligible for these awards. Presented by Blue Moon, the Art Walk Awards will take place on from 7–11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1927 Events in downtown Seattle. Email to RSVP or by clicking RSVP on our Facebook event. This event is 21+.


All nominations for the Art Walk Awards are voluntarily submitted by galleries that participate in the Art Walk Consortium, which collects the nominations. City Arts staff selected nine of this month’s finalists and one was selected from the among the nominees by popular vote as a People’s Choice finalist. Everyone who attends the Art Walk Awards event will be able to vote for the winners.


All of the finalists below will show their competing work at the Art Walk Awards on Jan. 24. Read below to learn more about the artists or click through the slideshow at the bottom of the page for additional information about each piece and its nominating gallery.

 Mason Dixon, Justin Colt Beckman 
Based around an investigation of the unique characteristics of small-town life, Justin Colt Beckman describes his work as striving to “explore and presents ideas surrounding the urban/rural dichotomy and its associated stereotypes while questioning the term’s relevance amidst the ever-increasing strength of the technological revolution and the rise of globalization.” Beckman is a founding member of PUNCH Gallery, an artist-run space in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. He uses photo-based works, film/video, sculpture, installation, and new-media to engage in rural activities vicariously through his art.


Sinking Shoes, Izzie Klingels
 “I find our need to enhance, decorate and cover surfaces with our marks fascinating and tragic,” says Izzie Klingels, an artist who’s worked as an illustrator and director since 2001.  “I see my images as fragments of a larger narrative and the act of drawing as a distraction from the ordinary and the inevitable.” Klingels finds inspiration in the Seattle area, finding inspiration in “the damp lushness of the city and the dark mystery of the old growth forests and mountains that surround it.” 


Off the Rack, Paul E. McKee 
Paul E. McKee’s appreciation for landscapes translates in his work, compositions that emphasize architecture through reflections.  McKee, who has been capturing the feel of city life since 2002, seeks to pull ambiguous reflections from varying angles. “Buildings we see every day can become almost invisible. I combine shapes of a reflection seen from different directions into three-dimensional forms. I paint the images to force myself to notice and respond to every nuance of the reflections.” 



Cameron McPherson, Reliquiae
Reliquiae is a wall installation piece made with graphite and charcoal, and is a comment on the material it’s made of. “The pencil is a creative tool that continues to find supporters even as technology moves ahead, but when do technological tools become historical artifacts?” Examining the pencil as a relic and a material object for making art, McPherson is referencing the tools and textures of an archaeological dig, dealing with technology, history and questions of relevance.


Cedar Dress, Paul Kuniholm Pauper
Paul Kuniholm Pauper cites an appreciation for the life work of PT Barnum as a motivation for his artwork. “My artistic practice often engages the community with art objects that attempt to narrate an altruism. This is tempered by a strong and abiding appreciation for Barnum’s life work, as he continuously reinvented a persona despite misfortunes. I aspire to give the Greatest Show on Earth, and to do so as earnestly and sincerely as possible.” Pauper is deeply rooted in Northwest art, participating in programming at Seattle Art Museum, the Nordic Heritage Museum, and the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and Tacoma Art Museum. New media, upcycling process, movement and deep altruism frame his art.   


 Sorting Change (ed 2/5), Jenny Riffle
Jenny Rifle focuses on Riley, showing his life through a singular focus on his treasure hunting obsession. By revealing one side of his personality, she seeks to create a larger than life character. “As a photographer my search for the perfect image is not that different from Riley’s search for treasure. We are both driven by the thrill of the hunt and possibilities of what we will discover.” Riffle is a teacher at the Photo Center Northwest and exhibits her work nationally. 


 Astoria at the  Mouth of the Columbia, or, Gifts From China, Tamara Stephas
Tamara Stephas seeks to highlight the interface between urban, rural and wild in our era of rapid environmental change. She brings forward depictions of natural wonders and the impact of America’s expansion to the Pacific. The vast difference between legends and expectations of the 19th century and current conditions lead Stephas to explore the stories, how they compare to reality, and where we are currently headed through her artwork.


Esperando, Rodrigo Valenzuela

As a photographer and filmmaker, estrangement, isolation, and loneliness inspire the concepts and imagery of Rodrigo Valenzula. “Through the language of displacement and alienation, both aesthetically and in subject matter, I observe, depict, and construct landscapes and stories that reveal much broader issues concerning individuality, community, belonging, and sense of place: Autobiographical fragments translate into gesture, metaphor, and narrative, engaging with more universal fields of experience and predicament.” Valenzula came to the US in 2005 from Chille, and saw his restricted resources and limited language skills as a new possibility, and seeks to exploit this in his work.