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Bamboozled by Shawn Parks | © Daniel Calabrese
Bamboozled by Shawn Parks | © Daniel Calabrese
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9 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Seattle to Know

Picture of Jacklyn Grambush
Updated: 12 October 2017
When people think of Seattle, they often think of the well-established, household names in business, music, and art. Even after the creation of grunge some 20 years ago, Seattle is still kicking; the city has more to offer than Bill Gates, Kurt Cobain, and Chihuly. In a place that’s always looking forward, here are nine emerging contemporary artists.

Lindsay Zae Summers

Lindsay Zae Summers, originally from Maryland, is an actor studying at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle (where she expects to complete her BFA in 2017). Her love of theater is connected to the communal aspect of sharing or discussing cultural values through storytelling. Summers believes in making change through this medium. Being African American, she hopes to “[bridge] the empathy gap” between audiences in the context of the black experience.

Courtesy of Lindsay Zae Summers
Courtesy of Lindsay Zae Summers

Jasmine Iona Brown

Having studied ancient history and cultures, Jasmine Iona Brown pulls inspiration from antique artistic mediums and sacred art from a variety of world religions. Originally from Indianapolis, the now Tacoma resident is captivated by portraits and the “tragic narrative of marginalized people.” Her artwork hangs in the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the Trayvon Martin Foundation, as well as at various events and locations around the area.

#BlackLivesMatter group exhibition. #JasmineIonaBrown paintings. Curated by @nishisaka

A post shared by Design in Public (@dipseattle) on

Maria Jost

Maria Jost is a fascinating collision—or maybe union—of science and art. As an undergraduate, she studied ceramics, drawing, 2D and 3D art, and art history while earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology. Now that she also has a Master of Education in Science Education, she is a high school science teacher at Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute while still making a name for herself as an artist. Her scientific tendencies are visible in her approach and execution of art, which is usually deeply related to nature.

Adaptation 1 by Maria Jost
Adaptation 1 by Maria Jost | Courtesy of Maria Jost

Tia Matthies

This Seattle artist, designer, and entrepreneur has had her artwork increasingly showcased around the city, from bars and coffee shops to galleries and city-commissioned projects. Mostly self-taught, Tia Matthies had a residency in Ascea, Italy in 2009. Most recently, her art is part of the Guest Shed Gallery show, and she has been selected for both the La Conner’s Art’s Alive! event and the City of Seattle Arts and Culture Art Interruptions. On top of her continuing artistic emergence, she is a co-owner of The Royal Room and mother of two.

#goatsofmanycolors #westseattle

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Jay Taylor

Jay Taylor describes architecture as his profession and photography as his passion. Preferring Pacific Northwest nature photography, Taylor also participates in watercolors and digital artography (computer-manipulated collages of images). Two of his most recent showcases include Onyx’s Truth B Told, with art from almost 50 African-American artists, and Festival Sundiata, which promotes African-American heritage.

Akira Ohiso

Akira Ohiso is an artist, writer, and musician who is interested in exploring the “boundaries between digital and analog media.” His current sketches, created with his finger on his iPad with help from an app, are observations of the city of Seattle. Though he intends the art to be objective for the audience to interpret as they like, he does hope to specifically promote discussion on diversity, homelessness, gentrification, and green living.

Akira Ohiso Art
Akira Ohiso Art | Courtesy of Akira and Ellie Ohiso

Robert L. Horton

Throughout Robert L. Horton’s career and education, this Seattle native has found an insufficient voice given to African and African-American history. In the hopes of bringing more attention to this area, his art tends towards historical and significant African topics. Playing with ink, watercolors, acrylics, airbrush, and glassblowing, Robert L. Horton is the co-founder of Onyx arts, a collective of artists of African descent in the Pacific Northwest. Obviously socially minded, he has worked on many community-based projects.

Shawn Parks

Shawn Parks has found his artistry in textiles. Originally attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a focus on furniture, he switched to textiles for a less abstract, more hands-on experience. He then became a creative director for the Blackstone Investment Group. Slowly branching out on his own, he hopes to merge galleries and retail venues.

Bamboozled by Shawn Parks
Bamboozled by Shawn Parks | © Daniel Calabrese

Zorn B. Taylor

Interested in building communities up and placing most everything in that context, Zorn B. Taylor is a portrait photographer. Despite his love of photography at a young age, it wasn’t until he had children of his own that he pursued the art seriously. A believer in communities that grow and flourish through their love, Taylor tells visual stories. “I tell stories a little bit with words, a lot with photographs, but mostly with love.”