Some artists are prolific, churning out project after project at a speed that leaves onlookers wondering about their superhuman pace. Some have a much slower process -- painstaking in intricate detail -- and Eric Beltz is one of the latter. A drawing teacher at University of...

"I certainly have patterns and systems that I use, and I have a cache in my mind of certain shapes that follow other shapes -- but I'm totally working intuitively. I'm trying really hard to let my brain not get involved." - Julie Alpert...

Album Covers of the Year 2014
In contrast to modern patterns in music consumption comes our annual Album Covers of the Year feature, where, instead of forgetting album artwork even exists, we hyperextend ourselves to assert that it is an artform that is vitally connected to the spirit of the music. This feature, which is divided at times into thematic elements and at times into artistic medium, incorporates interviews with not only musicians, but also artists involved throughout the artistic process. We pride this list in being diverse and multi-faceted, as well as philosophically exploratory. See all of our entries from previous years or get started by choosing a category below. Happy travels through the artistic universe we've crafted for you.

Layla Sailor's gorgeous photo series, Kokoshnik, examines the traditional Russian headdress in a gloriously colorful and modern fashion. Historically worn by married women from the 16th to 19th centuries, the customary kokoshnik is generally characterized by a nimbus crest-like shape and decorative design. By contrast, Sailor's photos, a collaboration with designer Lisa Stannard, are an apt abstraction of the traditional headdress, incorporating lively geometric forms as well floral and animalistic elements, while honoring the intense, ornate design of the traditional pieces. The impetus for the series was to challenge how pattern is photographed, but nearing its completion, Kokoshnik took on additional meaning, as a way to show support for the members of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot, a feminist punk rock group who were protested the Orthodox Church's support of Vladimir Putin on the soleas of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and were subsequently arrested. In Sailor's photo, the phase “Let Our Sisters Go” is placed prominently and resonates as solidarity for the cause of freeing Pussy Riot. The Kokoshnik project is exemplary of Sailor's affinity for color and her talent for displaying imaginative and cinematic images.In the interview below, Sailor dishes on her dreamy style, her lifelong passion for folk art, and the distinctions between commercial and personal work.

 

Roq La Rue Gallery has spent more than the last decade bringing fine artists from Seattle and abroad into their modest space in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. But come April 28th, 2013, their Belltown location will be closed forever -- sadly dampening the appeal of the neighborhood's last favorable drag -- and will be joining Pioneer Square's First Thursday art gallery circuit with their new space at 532 1st Ave S (near King St). Kicking off their new space will be a folkloric and symbolism-laden show of the variety we've come to expect from REDEFINE favorite and watercolor master Stacey Rozich. According to Roq La Rue, this new show, entitled Within Without Me, "is a notable jump up from previous shows containing larger, more complex works rendered in her trademark mediums of watercolor and gouache, as well as a deeper, more profound exploration of contemporary global social political themes." The show opens Thursday, May 2nd, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Roq La Rue's new location. See full post for a complete preview, or read our in-depth interview with Rozich where she talks about her roots, thematic inspirations, and emphasis on visual storytelling. 6 IMAGES TOTAL

 

Adorable husband and wife duo The Last Names, consisting of Justin Rice of Bishop Allen and his wife Darbie, have now released Wilderness, a 12-track indie pop record that floats through dual-vocaled harmonies with the peacefulness of a '60s haze. To bring their intimately self-recorded and self-mixed project to life, the couple decided to go one step further, by incorporating a one-of-a-kind hand-woven LP cover. Inspired by German education theorist Friedrich Froebel, who created the concept of "kindergarten" and is credited with laying the foundation for one system of modern education, the 15 x 15 grid which graces the cover of Wilderness offers a pattern-based playground of visual satisfaction to anyone with a latent curiosity and child-like love of play. Read on as they explain how the album artwork came to fruition, how patterns influence The Last Names' music and vice versa, and more.
"Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul." -- Friedrich Froebel

 

World-renowned photographers Claudia Rogge and Spencer Tunick possess artistic visions large enough to fill city blocks. By orchestrating large-scale installations, they create visual interpretations of order and chaos, comprised not of inanimate objects, but of human beings obediently adhering to another's direction and vision. Rogge and Tunick's props at times engage actively like sentient beings and at others detach like stones. And despite the fact that they are frequently unclothed, the sheer number of individuals involved and the overarching aesthetic quality of each photograph makes every human component important only inasmuch as it forms a significant piece of the whole.
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Claudia Rogge

These images below are primarily from Rogge's 2007 - 2008 series, Dividuum.

Spencer Tunick

A smattering of images from Tunick's Wilderness, Adornment, and Large-Scale installation series.

 

Obscured male and female forms face off in these alternating works from Patty Carroll, obscuring the female form draped with patterns, and Matthew Stone, abstracting the male form with contortion. Regardless of its content, a sense of royalty and fluttering grace is pervasive in Stone's Optimism As Cultural Rebellion, which flows like angel robes in religiously significant Renaissance-era classics. Draped Women, Carroll's series of draped, anonymous women, is more self-contained -- exploring spaces shared not with partners, but singular individuals and their relationships to domesticity. Domesticity is displayed like a prison, in contrast to the balance between freedom and constriction in Stone's pieces, with ornate though purely suffocating aesthetics. Nonetheless, Carroll's vision bears some similarity to Stone's, as she reveals in the following statement: "This series has references to draped statues from the Renaissance, nuns in habits, women wearing the burka, the Virgin Mary, priests robes, and ancient Greek and Roman dress, among others. Hopefully, I am bringing humor to pathos."
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Matthew Stone

UK photographer Matthew Stone is self-described on his website as an artist and a shaman, who utilizes numerous artistic disciplines to recreate the role of an artist in the 21st century.

Patty Carroll

Patty Carroll is a Chicago-based photographer and teacher with an interest in documenting human interests and pecularities.

 

Seattle artist Bette Burgoyne creates intricate colored pencil drawings that flow like the mechanizations of the universe. Inspired by geometry and pattern-based forms as well as nature, science, mathematics, and music, Burgoyne places heavy reliance on how perspectives and viewpoints shift and unfold over time. As she states simply in her personal statement, "My intention is to reveal a spectacle of wood, water, light and atmosphere; to share my enthusiasm for these processes and patterns that overlay, harmonize and echo one another." In the Q&A below, Burgoyne expands on this intention by describing her approach, factors that led her to her current body of work, and how music plays a significant role on her process.