Chris Maynard’s Feather Art featured in the Smithsonian

Check out this great article about Chris Maynard and his Feather Art in the Smithsonian!

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Jesse Level Art Exhibit


Opening Exhibit: Thursday May 24, 2012: 6:00PM

Artist in attendance; Refreshments will be served

Show Duration: May 24 through July 23, 2012

Location: Row House Cafe / 1170 Republican St, Seattle, WA 98109

Historic Cascade Neighborhood • South Lake Union • Seattle

“Cross Culture”

Row House Cafe is pleased to present “Cross Culture” an exhibition from artist Jess Level.

Level’s show will be in two parts. His opening show will feature his work that was inspired by his life in Spain: “Cross Culture: Across the Sea.” The second phase of his show will feature work that is more locally inspired: “Cross Culture: Bringing it Home.” The body of work he intends to show will contain both oil on canvas and pen and ink drawings.

Location, location, location

Level draws his inspiration from where he lives and the spaces in which he occupies. His work is a commentary on the local customs, events and life subjects – or livestock – that inhabit the perimeters of his vision. Whether on the coast of Spain or the coast of Washington, Level’s work captures the light and levity of societies and their history. For Level, it’s all up for interpretation.

Cross Culture

Art, in its multitude of forms, has always been one of society’s greatest escapes. Level’s work has an embedded levity, which celebrates life and light and is a welcome respite from the political turbulence of our time. On the surface, Level’s work is whimsical; yet with further study, social, political and economic dysfunction is found cloaked in abstraction. Things are not always what they seem.

A common theme throughout Level’s work is “paintings within paintings.” These multiple layers cause the viewer to dig deeper into the work, yet the deeper you dig, the murkier the waters become. We all are painfully aware of reality and what lurks beneath the surface, yet Level always focuses on the light.

In most of Level’s paintings, there are multiple stories being told in the same space. The paintings often feel like a frozen moment shared by multiple living stories. The mixing of mythologies (and other stories, like the history of modern art in Spain, the story of selling a painting, the story of building a canvas) creates a dialog of divergent planes. It’s conspicuous that it’s Level who gets to decide which ones belong together in this particular moment. The painting becomes an archival annotation of the birth of the new iteration of international or cross-cultural mythology.

When the stapled edges, canvas texture and crossbars of the canvases are exaggerated, it draws attention to the purposeful act of a painting’s construction. Art becomes an object to be handled, evaluated, thrown out the window, making the narrative message conspicuous and unavoidable.

It seems that any of the elements, whether it’s a human figure, an animal, or any object of a portrait, might be just an idea in the moment, remembered from a different time, or headed to a different place than the others. As some elements are grounded, others might run screaming off in different directions or slide from the edge of the painting. Perpetual motion.

Level’s mentor Julian Gomez praised his paintings as “rich and well painted reflections by a different sort of Amerikan whose vision of my country is just and flattering.” His color palates are a story in and of themselves and add to his play on light. As you fall into the paintings within Level’s paintings, it is hard to pull yourself back out with the same understanding at the beginning of your venture. There are worlds within Level’s work, when once you get lost in them, you forget about the larger reality. Level does not paint using source materials rather his work is stream of conscience based on experience and raw emotion. It is joyous, albeit haunting at times. Ultimately, Jess’s work is about space, light and reflection.

Artist bio

It was a long road that led Jess Level back to the Pacific Northwest, where he currently resides “in exile…more or less.” After crashing classes at The Savannah College of Art and Design and The New York School of Art, Jess landed a teaching position at a private college in Arizona. It was in that desert land where he was first introduced to the lovely Pilar, and it wasn’t long before she lured him to Spain in the fall of 1996. “A new life. New language. New rules. The freak show begins.”

“She led him there to paint, and after suffering all the consequences from that choice he became a poor, but famed artist in that weird and beautifully complicated land.” No longer crashing art classes, Jess studied personally with Spanish artists Julian Gomez and Antonio Marquez in Cáceres, from 1997 until 1999. It was during this period when his unique style was fleshed out and he began “painting things as they should be, not as they are.” Level’s name quickly spread across Spain, along with his art, after being commissioned for several murals throughout the region. Tragedy struck in 2006 when 86 of Level’s pieces were stolen from his studio in Oviedo, Spain. Things got worse when after discovering the identity of the perpetrator, Level’s immigrant status rendered him helpless in the foreign courts and a long battle ensued. He left Spain in 2009, without his stolen work, “after many battles with both love and state. From consequences that fell together from choices made, and the loss of many paintings…”

Jess Level can be reached at 206‐369‐7688 or You can also visit his website at  *Quotations above were taken from the artist

About Row House Café:

Row House Café is a neighborhood euro-bistro in South Lake Union, whose focus is featuring all the arts – culinary, visual and performing. A nod to the 19th century salon. Originally built in 1904 as work force housing, the cottages were rehabilitated and converted into a neighborhood café that opened in September 2010. For more information on Row House Café, please visit


Erin Maher


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The World We Live In

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The Stranger: Search a Tiny House for Art in South Lake Union

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Genius Loci: Resurrecting the Spirit of a Place

Genius Loci: Resurrecting the Spirit of a Place

Opening Exhibit: Thursday March 15th, 6-9PM
Artist in attendance; Refreshments will be served
Show Duration: March 15 to April 14, 2012
Extended thru May 14th due to popular demand!
Location: Row House Cafe / 1170 Republican St, Seattle, WA 98109
Historic Cascade Neighborhood • South Lake Union • Seattle

As part of this month’s ARTcade, Row House Cafe is pleased to announce Genius Loci: Resurrecting the Spirit of a Place.

With the arrival of and other corporations, South Lake Union’s Cascade neighborhood is emerging as a burgeoning center of industry once again. The neighborhood has an illustrious history of labor and production from the early twentieth century—one of the few remaining vestiges of this past is Row House Cafe.

Built in 1904 as three row houses for immigrant workers, Row House Cafe has undergone many different incarnations. In the course of a century, it has evolved from workforce lodging to student housing to temporary offices for a construction company.

When Row House Cafe partner Erin Maher began work on the derelict space in 2010, it was “lifeless and abandoned.” The architectural integrity of the cottages had been denigrated and the buildings were in near ruin. Maher recalls, “I came to realize that these row houses were some of the last remaining relics of a neighborhood built by and for immigrant workers, and the buildings harbored a connection between the past and the future.” As she removed the rubble, the original structure began presenting itself. Maher says, “These buildings wanted to survive; they were begging to be reclaimed.”

Within a few weeks of Row House Cafe opening, artist Yoona Lee stopped in and was instantly attracted to the space for its visual poetry. Lee explains, “Rather than colonize Row House with preexisting paintings, I wanted to create work about and around the space itself, as a tribute to its genius loci and previous residents.” Using the ambience and dense history of the space as a point of departure, she produced a body of work, which includes tight figurative drawings, neo–Abstract Expressionist paintings, and a text-based installation that takes advantage of a small room of vintage mirrors. Several of Lee’s pieces utilize materials found on the Row House property, including tiles and a vintage folding chair found in the basement. The title of the show, Genius Loci, refers to the rehabilitation of the original spirit of the place.

Lee observes, “At Row House, the present is suffused with the past in a singular way that new development just won’t have.” And this history appears in unexpected ways, as evidenced by the fact that Maher recently moved residence and discovered her new landlord’s parents had been residents of the original row houses during the 1920s.

Row House Cafe partner Maher concludes, “I was meant to release the history within these walls and Yoona was meant to capture it. What I see in this body of work is the toil of life, the respite of home and a glimpse of a passage.”

The work in Genius Loci evokes a sense of familiarity laced with the uncanny, creating a conceptual déjà vu that links a labor-rich past to an industrial present. In all of the show’s pieces, the presence of the building’s original occupants can be experienced in ways that are concrete and beguilingly intangible.

Genius Loci
In this mixed-media show, artist Yoona Lee explores the history of the Row House Cafe, a community space created from early-twentieth-century workforce housing. To investigate ideas of permanency, transience, and placemaking, Lee uses varying modes of representation that include tight figurative drawing, neo–Abstract Expressionist painting, and text-based installation. By incorporating materials found on the housing site, she addresses the physicality and emotional energy of the original space. Through reminders both concrete and intangible, the lingering presence of the row houses’ past inhabitants, as well as a restored genius loci (or spirit of the place), emerges. In this way, Lee’s work evokes a sense of familiarity laced with the uncanny.

Artist bio
Yoona Lee is a Seattle-based visual artist and writer. She received her bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in Fine Arts, at the University of Pennsylvania. Yoona’s artwork has appeared in The Stranger’s Slog, a Seattle-based blog of news and culture, and in various literary magazines, including Mosaic and Voyage Out. She presented her writing and drawings at a 2010 University of Washington academic conference on “Cultural Work in the Racial Present.” Most recently, Yoona designed a cover illustration for Seattle Journal for Social Justice. Yoona Lee can be reached at 206-225-9768 or

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The Re: Store Blog

Check out this article about Row House!

Keeping Spirit of Historic Neighborhood: Row House Café

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Check us out on Yelp! We are receiving some warm reviews and we are so appreciative of the SLU community and we are so excited to be a part of the neighborhood.

Oh, and If you are interested in seeing what we are all about, check out our Flickr photostream and step into the Row House for a moment.

everybody row…

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We’re gonna have illy coffee!

Illy Steams Arabica beans for 30 minutes then rinse for 10 hours ~ Coffee is such a science!
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Enjoy the details

The details are where the beauty lies.

Sometimes you just stop, look up, and see "it."

Something happens when it’s quiet, you’re alone, and somehow you’ve veered from your intended path. You manage to find your way back eventually, but for the minute or hour or however long it is you lose all track of time.

This is discovery. This is reflection.

These are the times when you can just let go of the world and its pressures, and just be. Enjoy the details, enjoy the act of getting lost.

The image at left comes from one of those times. I was in Chicago, for the first time, for the jazz festival there. I also had a camera. Amidst the beautiful Louis Sullivan architecture I’d come to see here I found wrought iron twined so beautifully with  organic adornment. It was comfort, closeness. A place for the eye could rest.

The photograph you’ll find on Row House Café’s business cards is another one that I’m really fond of. Like some of the ideas I discovered as part of the process of creating a brand identity for Row House Cafe, the feelings about what it means to be in a space comfortably had been incubating for a long time. The image for Row House’s business cards has been part of our own archive since 1995, and it still hits that similar note: comfort, and closeness.

That has to mean something. Having a history is part of Row House Cafe’s brand story.

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Morning Coffee has never been so inspiring.

As our grand opening draws near, we are proud to announce that we will be serving Illy Coffee & Espresso.

A little info about Illy from their website just to get you excited.

‘Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, illycaffè produces and sells a unique blend of high quality coffee made from 9 types of pure Arabica beans A careful balance of ingredients from South and Central America, India and Africa creates the unmistakable illy flavor: always identical in any espresso cup, wherever it is drunk around the world.

The illy blend is now marketed in 140 countries worldwide, covering all 5 continents, and is served in more than 50,000 of the finest restaurants and coffee bars in the world.

Based in Trieste, Italy, illycaffè is led by chairman and CEO, Andrea Illy, the third generation of the Illy family.

Today, the illycaffè group helps to develop the global market and culture of coffee by working on all the factors that go into the perfect cup of espresso: the blend, the machines, the preparation, the training of specialized bar staff and even the design of bars and venues where people can enjoy drinking coffee. It disseminates the culture of coffee by continually reinventing tradition.’

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