Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Brand New Art Gallery Features SU Staffer

    Courtesy of Aaron Morgan

    For those interested in Geisha cigarette-box art, look no further than Currency Art Gallery.

    On Oct. 3, the gallery opened to the community for a public viewing. The gallery is located in the former Dome Stadium Tavern in the International District and features the work of many Seattle artists in a variety of media, from sculptures to recycled materials to paintings.

    One of the artists featured in the two-month showcase extending from October to November is Seattle University staff member Aaron Morgan. Morgan, who can be found in the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, has been interested in art for most of his life, but did not begin to seriously pursue the former hobby until his college years. Since his own time as a student, Morgan has done illustration work as well as larger cardboard work and three years ago he began to show repurposed art.

    “I began doing figurative stuff on paper and then it got larger and larger and over the years… I started doing more with repurposing materials, which is basically using cardboard and garbage and stuff that people throw away, and then using [those materials] somehow to elevate it to art or as inspiration,” Morgan said.

    Many of his works presently at Currency Art Gallery are in the style of repurposed box work. Morgan views the style and materials involved in this type of work as a large contributor to the process in his artwork overall. His artwork appears to branch into different categories, such as his Geisha cigarette boxes on display at the gallery now.

    While his box work is extensive in its attention to detail and overall presence, Morgan defines his favorite style of artwork in a single word. “Messy,” he laughs. “Dirty and messy is always good.”

    Morgan has well over 50 pieces featured at the museum of a variety of styles and techniques. About 40 of his pieces at Currency are cigarette art, but he has several works on paper, which can be considered as a more “traditional” art form. The gallery is also showing four of Morgan’s large, newer cardboard works, each of which is about 6 by 7 inches in size.

    “Some of the art was requested. When the project was put together initially, we were going to go with a theme,” Morgan said. “The works on paper, for instance, is all stuff that was specifically made for the gallery. And then it was a review process between the newer works I’d been doing and all the other art in the space to see what works well together, because there is definitely a relationship there.”

    All the different mediums of art that now decorate the gallery came together in a multitude of different of ways, and the process had been a long time coming. Many of the artists met each other through different shows in the area, and the man at the head of the project, Sean O’Heir, was able to make it happen.

    “He’s kind of the king bee and provocateur of putting this whole thing together, which was something that he’d been wanting to do for a while,” Morgan said. “I met him through one of the Bermis Juried shows and we kept in contact throughout the years. That’s one of the interesting things about the scene here: it tends to be the same people you bump into all the time, so the networking aspect of it is really important.”

    The Bermis Juried show is one of the last art communities in the SoDo area, with almost everyone living there being involved in art in one way or another, regardless of occupation. Many of the individuals who were in the community lived in lofts in an old warehouse converted into living quarters, which is the location where Morgan and O’Heir, as well as several other artists, developed the idea to collaborate in what is now the Currency Art Gallery.

    “There had been ideas thrown around within a group of us; we’d be sitting around talking about doing something together collaboratively or within this kind of vein, and he made it a reality,” Morgan said.

    Other Seattle area artists are currently featured at the gallery as well. Several oil paintings and drawings by Joe Lavely and a sculpture by Bob Antone are just a few of the many pieces of art presently in Currency Art Gallery, in addition to the likes of many other local artists. While Morgan is currently the only Seattle U staff member whose artwork is being shown at the gallery, he is hoping that his colleagues around campus, regardless of profession, will be interested in displaying their art at Currency in the coming months.

    “It’s a big facet of my personality,” Morgan said. “It’s a part of my lifestyle, and even if I wasn’t showing, I would still be doing it. Art is simply a part of who I am as a person.”

    The Currency Art Gallery is located on 214 4th Avenue in South Seattle, and is open to the public daily.

    The editor may be reached at [email protected]

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover
    About the Contributor
    Olivia Anderson, Author

    Comments (0)

    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *