This past Saturday, the 22nd, I drove 2 1/2 hours up to Seattle to attend the opening for The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora at the gritty and unassuming Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. When I first checked out the GoogleMap for the place, I figured that it might be in an industrial area, and upon pulling off the exit, I was right. In fact, the road that I had to turn left onto in order to get to the bookstore almost felt like a backstreet, with backs of warehouses and stark buildings bordering each side of me. But once I pulled up to the corner where the bookstore was, I knew I found the place -- the bookstore was on the corner of a quaint strip of turn of the century buildings, obviously built to support a factory or something at one time, with a nice view of the underside of a highway overpass directly over my head. Interesting digs, to say the least. And what would a cool enclave such as a Fantagraphics bookstore be without the ever-present coffeehouse right next door? At least it wasn't Starbucks, that's all I'm saying.
I got there at 6:30 and immediately noticed how packed the place was. (Honestly, I wasn't sure if this was normal for a Saturday, so I was hoping for the best.) It was a nice eclectic and varied group of people present. I just wished I knew enough of the comics/graphic novel/illustration scene to know who I was looking at. After a couple of minutes, I spotted Irwin Chusid, co-writer of the two excellent Flora book collections, The Mischievous Art and Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora and curator of everything and anything JimFlora. We had met before in Atlanta some time before the second Flora book was published, so it had been awhile since he'd seen me. Nice to see him again. He was a bit frazzled, obviously from getting the exhibit up and running, so I didn't take too much of his time. Honestly, I was there to see some cool art.
I stayed for about an hour and a half, soaking up all the Flora-goodness. I wasn't disappointed. I took some pictures, of course. Below, you can see some of the pics, OR, you can view the entire set by clickity-clicking HERE.
It was packed. That's Irwin over on the left there.
This was a nice set up: a photo of the artist with self portrait. Perfect likeness!
Lots of cool items for sale: books, shirts, prints, cards, calendars, etc. If I were rich, I'd buy every single item, yes I would.
The Day The Book Was Presented As Art. (Read more about this fantastic book HERE.)
Me and Irwin Chusid (pronounced "chew-sid").
Here, Irwin finds time to sign his most recent book for a Flora fan.
This was interesting: A photojournal series on Flora making a woodcut. Cool to see the artist in action.
One of the few original Flora artwork at the exhibit: "Chance Encounter." It's better in real life.
Of course, I had to take a closer look....
Irwin had an interesting display case filled with old vinyl records used to display some of Flora's early print work.
My only regret was that I didn't get a color poster of the event. RATS! I'll have to do some calling...I wonder who I need to talk to to nab one of those things?
Check out the rest of my photos HERE. You can also check out Fantagraphics Flickr group, to see others' pics of the evening.
Go check out the exhibit in person! It runs until October 24th. It's great.