Pop Art Finds a New Home on the Hill

Gods, monsters and more are lurking at Ltd. Art Gallery’s new location.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the pop art museum is moving into its new location at 501 E Pine Street. Their first exhibit will be themed “Gods and Monsters.”

The lease at Ltd. Art Gallery’s previous location a few blocks away was up, and since the rent on Capitol Hill is so high they decided to move in with two other businesses: Raygun Lounge and Gamma Ray Games.

While this means a tighter space, the shared space also “means a lot more foot traffic,” said Melissa Monosmith, co-owner of Ltd. Art Gallery alongside her husband James Monosmith.

Ltd. Art Gallery has “music, gaming, cosplay, comics, and [they] try to celebrate it all through fine art,” M. Monosmith said.

The gallery fits into Seattle’s geeky alternative culture, but it also stands out by showcasing “art that often gets overlooked when people talk about the Seattle art scene,” she said.
The opening reception for their first exhibit, “Gods and Monsters,” will be Saturday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m., the frightening theme coming just in time for Halloween.

“Our shows always have a theme and it’s pop culture-based,” M. Monosmith said. “Gods and Monsters” will feature the works of Seattle-based pop artists Aaron Jasinski and Augie Pagan.

“In my opinion… Seattle has not yet embraced the pop culture scene,” Pagan said. “I think it’s more important to have more pop art or alternative art galleries just for the variety alone.”
But what exactly is pop art?

“I think pop [art] is a great way to comment on what is going on in our world by using common imagery we see every day,” Pagan said. To get an idea, pop art is similar to the art in popular games like “League of Legends” and ‘World of Warcraft.’ It is very much inspired by pop culture, hence the name “pop art.”

Jasinski defined it as “an art that appeals to everybody. You don’t have to have a degree in art history to appreciate it.”

Jasinski originally hails from Puyallup, and moved to Seattle to pursue illustration. The city of Seattle has influenced his use of saturated colors. And, having graduated from Rogers High School in 1992, the grunge music scene heavily influenced his art as well.

“The label I’ve heard applied to my work is pop surrealism,” Jasinski said. He said he likes to use “elements of nostalgic pop culture … dream-like images, and stylized figures” in
his work.

Lately, Jasinski has become interested in the idea of self-image and how society perceives us, which ties into the art he will be presenting in “Gods and Monsters.”

“I took… pop stars that society makes into gods, and who crash and burn, and turned them into monsters,” he said, “[I] tried to make them accessible as art and not just a message.”

Pagan, the exhibit’s other featured artist (and Jasinski’s self-described “partner in crime”), moved to Seattle from Gilroy, California to get his Associate of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Seattle.

“Seattle influenced me to look beyond my own artistic walls in terms of what else was out there,” Pagan said. He wanted to become an artist after he saw a Charlie Brown cartoon on television and tried to draw the characters.

To this day, Pagan’s art “pulls from pop culture references,” he said.

Jasinski and Pagan are similar in their “painting approaches with techniques and color theory … The differences will definitely be the subject matter,” Pagan said. While Jasinski’s work will focus on celebrities, Pagan’s pieces will feature the classic monsters such as Dracula and Frankenstein.

“Gods and Monsters” will run through Nov. 9, and will be followed by “From the Toy Box,” which will feature artists’ works based on their favorite childhood toys. In December, Ltd. Art Gallery will begin their fourth annual Star Wars Art Show.

“I dare you to name five other galleries that have strong monthly shows all year round that are strictly dedicated to alternative pop culture type art,” Pagan said.

The editor may be reached at [email protected]