The Week in Arts

The Love List: Seattle’s Art Power Couples

We all like a good love story—and a good list. In honor of tomorrow’s romantic festivities, here’s a lineup of some of Seattle’s sexiest, smartest couples who also happen to be in the arts.

Zack Bent: Artist

Gala Bent: Artist
Together: 17 years
How they met
 (Gala): At a vegetarian potluck in Muncie, Indiana. Zack was in school for architecture with one of my roommates and I was in art. Before I admitted to myself that I was interested in Zack, I knew if he was in the room, I was going to have a great time. This photo was one of our first collaborations, made in 1998 when we were both living in Buffalo, NY.


Mark Mitchell:
Artist, designer
Kurt Reighley: DJ (KEXP’S DJ El Toro)
Together: 12 years
How they met (Mark): In a dank and glittery basement. He was playing “I’ll Be The Fool (For You)” by Dr. Buzzard and the Original Savannah Band. I kept chasing him until he caught me.


Emily Pothast: Musician, artist, co-founder of band Midday Veil and record label Translinguistic Other
David Golightly: Musician, software engineer, co-founder of band Midday Veil and record label Translinguistic Other
Together: Seven years
How they met (Emily): On First Thursday, January 2007. I was working as the Director of the Antique Print Department at Davidson Galleries and David stopped in to see an exhibition of German Expressionist woodcuts and etchings. We started talking about the art but our conversation quickly spread out into music, history and religion. The first time we hung out, we stayed up all night on mushrooms, playing records for each other and watching The Muppet Show.
Photo by Jayson Kochan


Sierra Stinson: Founder and curator of Vignettes, artist
Graham Downing: Artist, comedic improvisor, maintenance of Vignettes
Together: Four years
How they met (Sierra): We worked retail together in the University District. I taught him how to whistle and he asked me to cut his hair one day. We used to leave one another love notes on the windows of our cars. 
(Graham): I folded clothes in a basement and Sierra made sure I didn’t get fired. She’s sweet like that. 
Advice for dating in the arts (Sierra): Buy art for one another and learn to cook. 
(Graham): Date the curator.


Eric Fredericksen: Waterfront Project Art Manager for the City of Seattle, lecturer at University of Washington
Betsey Brock: Director of Patron Relations at On the Boards
Together: 16 years
How they met (Eric): Betsey was at the Bailey/Coy Books holiday party and was dragged to The Stranger‘s holiday party by her coworkers David Schmader and Terry Hecker, who had connections at the paper. They told her she should come and meet her new boyfriend—with no particular new boyfriend in mind.

(Betsey): Eric, then the arts editor of The Stranger, was there jumping off chairs and karate-fighting with a friend when Betsey, draped in a lovely black feather boa, saw him across a crowded room. David and Terry maneuvered us into sitting together and let the magic happen. The relationship was cemented that winter over dates to see the Monster Trucks at the Kingdome, singing karaoke at the China Gate and sledding in Ravenna Park.

Within a year of meeting, we’d got pregnant, shacked up, got married and had our son. In that order.


Erin Frost: Artist
Shaun Kardinal: Artist
Together: five years
How they met (Erin): He showed her art. She had a party. He may or may not have put his hands down her panties.
Advice for dating in the arts: Skip most art functions. Watch Frasier.
Photo by Megumi Arai, Hand History series


Matt Browning: Artist
Jessica Powers: Arts administrator (They sometimes collaborate as TARL.)
Together: Six years
How they met: At a holiday party. We left our dates to hang out with each other!


Annie Han: Artist
Daniel Mihalyo: Artist
Together: 23 years
How they met (Annie): At the University of Oregon bookstore.  I was buying art materials and Daniel was the cashier.
 Advice for dating in the arts: Start with a blank piece of paper.


Isvald Klingels: Illustrator, artist
Christian Petersen: Graphic designer, video/gif maker and photographer at I Want You Art and Design
Together: Eight years
How they met (Isvald): At a party in London. He was DJing and I was dancing. His best friend Nina was my studio-mate.


Anna Telcs: Artist and fashion buyer
Garek Druss: Artist, graphic designer
Together: Two years
How they met: Which astral plane are we talking about?


Mark Calderon: Sculptor
Chiyo Ishikawa: Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting, Seattle Art Museum
Together: 11 years
How they met (Chiyo): At a Betty Bowen reception, Seattle Art Museum, 2001. We became engaged on Valentine’s Day three years ago.
Photo by Robert Wade


Zoe Scofield: Dancer, choreographer, artist
Juniper Shuey: Video artist
Together: 10 years
How they met (Zoe): At Bumbershoot, amazingly enough, in 2003.
Advice for dating in the arts: Good luck!

Greg Kucera: Gallerist at Greg Kucera Gallery
Larry Yocom: Owner at Gallery Frames
Together: 30 years
How they met (Greg): I borrowed Larry’s pick-up truck to move a refrigerator into my first condo in 1980.  We met again a few years later and never looked back.


Yoko Ott: Founding Director at The New Foundation Seattle, independent curator
Scott Lawrimore: Deputy Director, Collections and Exhibitions, Frye Art Museum
Together: Six years
How they met (Yoko): At the 2006 screening of Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9 at Varsity Theatre. We both were working with SuttonBeresCuller at the time—Scott was building Lawrimore Project with them and Yoko was organizing their installation at Bumbershoot. John Sutton introduced us.
Advice for dating in the arts:
1. Art-related social activities can get demanding some weeks. Wear comfortable shoes and pack a “snack.”
2. Power is arbitrary. Keep focused and do good work with good people. Fulfillment will make your relationship stronger, not power.
3. We all we have. We all we need.


Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger: Artist
I made a Public Declaration of Commitment to My Creative Self in 2004. The occasion was marked by a wedding ceremony to confirm that my pursuit of happiness includes the continued exploration of ideas.
Together: 10 years on September 18, 2014 
How they met: Online dating! Just kidding. It all started in my childhood. I had an imaginary dinosaur for a pet (my first “performance art”) and I won my 5th grade still life drawing contest. Things heated up in middle school with me altering clothing, creating my own jewelry and being allowed to paint my own room, all while listening to Ziggy Stardust on repeat. There was a rough patch all throughout high school, then we reunited in college. To be honest, I was “undecided” in college for quite a while. I left art behind again when I moved to Seattle and flirted for a few years with poetry.

Visual art got a hold of me for good one night after I had learned about all of the feminist and endurance performance work that happened in the 1970s. I was very inspired. I was drawing and wrote the words “flat chested mama” on the page. I found it empowering, humorous and catchy so I decided to run with it as my moniker (at the time I was dabbling in graffiti and mail art). I was feeling the divide between being Amy Ellen Trefsger during the day and Flatchestedmama at night so I decided to merge the two and join the Art/Life continuum by marrying my art. 

I legally adopted Flatchestedmama as my middle name and that name change has provided me with a daily reminder of my commitment. My current legal name is Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger. You can call me Amy-Ellen, Flatchestedmama or Flat.

This image is from my Love Poems to Sailors series. The International Code of Signal Flags read: “This is the best place to land.”