End2End Gallery Spotlights Tacoma’s Street Art Scene

End2End Gallery is a new contemporary art gallery focusing on street art located in downtown Tacoma on Pacific Ave. roughly between Old City Hall and Fireman’s Park, next to the Orange Door.

In addition to being a gallery showcase, End2End also sells a variety of art supplies.

In addition to being a gallery showcase, End2End also sells a variety of art supplies.

This cutting edge gallery has been open in one of the city’s most historic and heavily-tagged neighborhoods for the last six months.

Not only a place for showcasing art, the gallery also sells a wide variety of spray painting supplies. The gallery’s director, Eric (who only gives out his first name, even on his business cards), says the neighbors were initially nervous about the idea of having a spray paint store embedded in the neighborhood, but he now feels more acceptance and respect. Eric even volunteers to clean up illegal graffiti.

This Jeremy Gregory mural currently adorns the wall and might be covered up for the next show.

This Jeremy Gregory mural currently adorns the wall and might be covered up for the next show.

The current exhibition on display at End2End features art by Jeremy Gregory, artist of several murals around Tacoma, local Instagram hero, and SOTA educator. Since opening, the gallery has impressively hosted a new opening every six weeks and they try to correspond openings with Tacoma’s Third Thursday festivities.

Paint cans and trains: a match made in heaven.

Paint cans and trains: a match made in heaven.

Eric hails from the Los Angeles area and now lives in South Hill. He likes the downtown Tacoma neighborhood for his business, but appreciates having a yard at his South Hill home. The adjustment to the Northwest hasn’t been too difficult and Eric definitely doesn’t miss L.A.’s congestion.

Eric took me through Gregory’s installation which features many of his now signature puppets.. The show evolves, changing as pieces sell or are recovered by Gregory to use in different projects, like the puppet adventures featured on his Instagram page. There’s also a massive wall-spanning mural by Gregory on display, a kind of sister to Gregory’s new mural installation on the corner of Market and South 11th. As Eric showed it off to me he told me he liked the representative art but when it comes to street art, “I tend to like letters.”

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When asked about the other artists’ works on display, Eric rattled off a few names, “Oh that’s my buddy… but I don’t think he wants people knowing his real name… and I think he has a new name but I forgot it…” Artists will use different names for different occasions, some of the more prolific street artists also have their works in other galleries around town under a different name.

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End2End Gallery is two blocks east of the Graffiti Garages and there’s somewhat of a relationship between the gallery and the public artists that paint there every Sunday. Young garage artists bursting with ideas have access End2End for supplies and inspiration to make their work better.

Graffiti Garage artists still operate under a not-so-official capacity and aren’t too keen on getting their photos taken or giving information to volunteer reporters, but the artists are very open to individuals or aspiring artists. I stopped by the garages on my way to the gallery and noticed an artist giving tips on linework to eagerly listening young students, sketching examples on a freshly-painted mural.

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When asked about other big spots to check out graffiti in Tacoma, Eric suggested the Underworld, which he said was located near the Tacoma Dome by the railroad. “Best graffiti in Tacoma”, Eric boasted. He said big artists come to the city to leave their mark there.

Unlike the Graffiti Garages, work created at the Underworld lasts longer before getting covered up with new paint or disrespectful tagging. Eric says Tacoma is a great place for street artists–especially the skilled ones that don’t like to climb gates–thanks to its railroad tracks, tunnels, bridges, abandoned trains, and public support for the arts that enables artists to work on public murals like those that have been a part of the Tacoma Murals Project.

Wide shot of the studio, which includes a booth looking over the main area.

Wide shot of the studio, which includes a booth looking over the main area.

End2End offers something unique in Tacoma that is also uniquely Tacoma. A foundation built on mutual respect and tolerance yet also inherently subversive. Artists that gain inspiration and materials from this gallery are spreading their works all over the city and beyond as photographers capture their work and share it online.

It’s interesting to think that Tacoma has this dichotomy where street art is sponsored by the city in one place and antagonized in others. Meanwhile, the artists themselves and the people passing by each have their own opinion. It’s a culture that creates a public art gallery director that passes out a business card which only lists his first name.

Keep an eye on End2End Gallery’s Facebook page for updates on the next exhibition, which will likely be announced shortly.

Meet the C.L.A.W. at the T.P.L.! Meanwhile: Nerdycon by Nerdy Stuffs.

Comic Book MicroCon at the Tacoma Public Library

The Power Withing by Mark Brill

The Power Withing by Mark Brill

Join the C.L.A.W. at the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch on 11th Avenue and Tacoma. The event is intended to encourage aspiring artists in the community with live drawing and share tricks of the trade by taking questions and offering answers.

 

Jeff by Travis Bundy

Jeff by Travis Bundy

The Facebook event page features an hourly rundown of the event. Learn from the masters of cartoon magic!

Seldom Seen Films by local legend Mark Monlux

Seldom Seen Films by local legend Mark Monlux

Nerdycon at Nerdy Stuff’s New Location

nerdystuffClose to Nerdy Stuff’s one year anniversary and to celebrate their new store, the local comic shop is hosting a comic con at the store.

They’ve booked mainstream comic talent like Clayton Crain. This artist’s dark digital work fits well with ultraviolent Marvel characters like Venom, Carnage and X-Force. Crain will be promoting his Kickstarter effort to publish his Evolver hardcover.

There’s more where that came from. Check out the event’s Facebook page for information on the guests in attendance. Including nerdy cosmetics company Espionage Cosmetics, our very own local Stormtrooper outfit Garrison Titan, and members of the C.L.A.W.!

After the con, a Drink & Draw event will be held at local watering hole, the Haven Pub.

Book Club Preview – Prophet Vol. 1: Remission

This new Prophet series is a radical departure from its roots as a creation of Rob Liefeld for early ’90s Image. It features a completely fresh take on the character in a collaboration led by story writer and artist Brandon Graham, with chapter artists Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, and Giannis Milonogiannis.

King’s Books in Tacoma is hosting a discussion of the book for the Capes & Cowls Book Club on Tuesday, August 27 at 7 p.m. The book is only $9.99 and there’s a 15 percent book club discount (you don’t have to show up for the discussion to get the discount). The book is also available through Amazon and ComiXology.

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The tale features a wanderer called Prophet on his futuristic, yet primal journey that takes him through weird planets and introduces him to interesting cities and biologies.

The story reeks of influence from Heavy Metal and swashbuckling adventure tales like Conan. It offers a fractured take on reality as Prophet meets gross creatures that demand sex, has to tear apart huge ancient cosmic beasts, outsmart beings with crystal brains, and win nearly hopeless battles across huge swathes of outer space.

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The IP that it’s based on was somewhat popular at one point in time, yet has basically nothing to do with that. Yet, in an interview about revamping his entire comic line at New York Comic Con in 2011, Rob Liefeld said Prophet was by far his favorite of the bunch, “You can read the book without any word balloons and follow the story effortlessly.”

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Despite it’s schlock-y ’90s past, Prophet is a book that’s masterfully done. Since the plot is surreal, it can be confusing at times, but it’s incredibly engaging and there’s a new mystery around every turn. Totally worth the price of admission.

On the Coffee Table: Women Warriors, Dune, etc.

Yeah look at all the cool material possessions

Yeah look at all the cool material possessions

I thought I’d start a regular feature documenting all the cool shit I plop on my coffee table with the intention of reading at some point… most likely by candlelight during a power outage as I’m usually deferring to one of my digiscreens for the entertainsments.

Probably the ultimate in navel-gazing… but hey it’s free content for you right?

Items may or may not have been enjoyed and/or stained with coffee.

So strong... my heroes!

So strong… my heroes!

Women Warriors Volume 1

I don’t remember buying this zine, it must have been from some late night tumblr binge! Upon looking at it the shadow of the memory was happily ignited with a fierce squadron of blade-wielding badasses depicted in a glorious pinkish purple duotone. Highly worth the price of admission if you’re into this sort of thing, which is probably the best evidence of my bisexuality.

Very necessary

Very necessary

“I Voted” Sticker

Not sure how this wound up on the table, there’s an election coming up in Tacoma but I don’t follow local politics enough to even know what the Commissioner does. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m from Detroit and probably have an inflated sense of trust that by contrast Tacoma is doing just fine with its politics. Apparently there’s a controversy about not sending out these stickers anymore. I guess I feel like some people might be reminded to vote if they see this sticker around… the lady that got rid of it said it saved $20,000… but that hardly puts a dent in a municipal budget for a city like Tacoma… but it’s all done by mail here so really shouldn’t someone just fill it out right away?? Stickers are fun tho.

A.K.A. everything I do

A.K.A. my social life

Downtown Tacoma Map

Ahh yess someone busted out the Illustrator and made a cool looking guide to Tacoma’s downtown, Stadium District, and Sixth Avenue areas. Their website is down but here’s a link to Google’s cached version. Hopefully this generates enough interest in Tacoma’s university district that would convince businesses to stay open past 5 on a weekend!

Was going to read it... but it's long

Was going to read it… but it’s long

Dune by Frank Herbert Park

I bought a copy at King’s when the push to rename a local park after the author, a Tacoma local, started with the intention of reading it over the summer… haven’t even cracked it open. In the meantime you should sign this petition if you weren’t aware of it.

Oh I get it, you're putting the modern... in the past!

Oh I get it, you’re situating the modern… in the past!

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Getting ahold of advance reading copies through my bf librarian is usually a mixed bag, but this one is a delight. Actor friends from Detroit were in town recently and said they were thinking about putting on a live version of this. I bet it’s possible!

Meatbars

Meatbars

Vice Photo Issue 2013

I hate how difficult it is to get Vice in Tacoma. When I lived in Detroit I had to hunt it down at various boutiques in Royal Oak… now that I’m in Tacoma I usually have to visit Seattle to find it at an American Apparel, despite the fact that there’s tons of boutiques here. Anyhoo, I actually nabbed this copy while visiting a friend in Vancouver. I like what they did with this issue–the theme is collaborations–but it’s extremely flippable and kinda meh. And no Johnny Ryan comic at the back :(

Apparently newspaper turns yellow?

Apparently newspaper turns yellow?

Mother’s News

Always great surrealist, stream-of-consciousness rag from Providence, RI. Great for taking the mind on a nice swim. Highly recommend the annual subscription to this in the link. Lots of great comics and the ads are actually lookable-at.

Popular PNW destination

Love maps like these

Dash Point Trail Map

Brought the Detroit friends here for some camping nostalgia. I love all the undeveloped nature trails Washington parks have, as opposed to the formerly-improved, now-dilapidated parks of Michigan and Ohio. This was a great trip, although it’s close to a bridge so we could hear traffic and other weird machinery, but it’s always good to be full grown adults walking like children in nature.

I wouldn't have thought I could come up with something dorkier than "Team Discovery Channel"

Not allowed to eat pixie sticks

Dorky’s Trivia Book

Ahh my dearly departed trivia partner has gone off to a better life in California. I paired up with another solo fighter and somehow we ended up with a team name more dorky than my idea of “Team Discovery Channel,” which I gotta hold on to for later. He ended up being stumped on most of the questions but we got third anyway… enough to fund a delicious and nutritious plate of veggies and hummus. Anyway! Click that link to check out my old buddy’s podcast! Search “Gabby Hoffmen” on iTunes and give them a good review! The time travel episode is my favourite.

Free print entertainment at the Rocket Zine Library in King’s Books

A cornucopia of zines!

A cornucopia of zines!

There’s lots of interesting little publications to check out at the Rocket Zine Library at King’s Books. It’s all free to borrow with donations of materials encouraged.

The eclectic variety of offerings include:

  • Journal comix
  • Advice on anarchist action
  • Anarchist essays on love
  • Recovery stories
  • Gardening tips
  • Youth center publications
  • Les Sar’zine, a collection of zines in a tin can by Seattle writing collective Les Sardines
  • and one really informative comic about the Dvorak keyboard layout!

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At first I thought the zine library was an effort by the store itself, but owner sweet pea Flaherty told me the entire idea and execution was due to a customer, Mo Lewis. I got ahold of Lewis through the emails and got her to answer a few of my burning questions about her zine library.

Mike Fitz: How did you come up with the idea?

Mo Lewis: The idea to start a zine library came from a couple different places.

First, I’ve always loved zines – I got my first zines back in 1993 when I was in high school in Olympia, and loved seeing the ways that people can document their lives or tell stories about the things that are important to them.It’s exciting to have this different way to create art, to reach out to people, to learn from each other, and to connect. Over the years I’ve amassed a collection of about 50 zines, and they just lived on my bookshelves.

The second part of the idea came from a conversation with a friend about all these little book libraries that people are putting up in their yards – little mailbox-sized containers where you can borrow a book or donate a book – and we both thought that was such a cool idea, and talked about wanting to do something like that. So when I was thinking about how to actually make this happen, I thought about zine libraries that I’ve seen in places like Olympia and Spokane and thought that it would be fun to apply that little book library idea to zines, and just try it out. I’m not a very good book sharer, but I like the idea of swapping zines and putting them out there for others to borrow or take, and Tacoma is the kind of place that embraces new projects like this. I have to give a big shout-out to sweet pea, who agreed to host the zine library at King’s Books. I’m not sure if all of these photocopied pages in an outside space would survive our weather.

Where did the cool cabinets come from?

When my partner and I first moved into our house, my dad got us these cabinets from Craigslist – some people were updating their kitchen and offered up the cabinets to whoever was willing to take them away. So when I was thinking about making the zine library, I figured why not use one of the smaller cabinets instead of building something new? Plus, it was free and already in the basement. Sometimes I get a little anxious and kind-of “perfectionist-y” about creative projects, so my goal for this was to make it as easy as possible to finish – using a cabinet and some orange paint I already had was low-pressure, and turned out pretty cute.

Where do you find your zines?

I order zines mostly online – there are some great distros that have compiled interesting collections of zines (Doris Press is my favorite, and there is even a distro here in Tacoma – Mend My Dress Press) – it’s really easy to find good zines that way. Plus then there’s the excitement of getting them in the mail! The POC Zine Project is an important resource, since I think zines tend to have a reputation of being associated only with a predominantly white, punk and riot grrrl scene, which is really just one small portion of who is making zines. I also like getting zines from friends, or at local bookstores or comic stores.

What are some of your favorites in the collection?

Doris zine is my favorite of all time – #3 was one of the first zines I read, and Cindy (the creator) just put out #30, which is amazing. There is a zine called Violette’s Letters that is made in Tacoma, and it’s very cute – it’s a four year old girl’s letters to people in her life. Adventures in the Land of Greasecars and Fireflies zine documents someone’s process of converting their car to run on used cooking oil, which is so cool to me.

I also have a particular fondness for zines about sexual assault, specifically around consent, accountability, and supporting survivors. I work in the sexual assault field, and the amount of knowledge and community conversations that can come from zines like these is amazing  – I frequently will hand out these kinds of zines to young folks I am working with, and I try to make sure there are a few copies of these zines in the library at all times.

Any cool stuff to watch for?

Yes! There are lots of new zines in the library, which is heartening to see. After the Wayzgoose festival at King’s Books, I saw a few beautifully printed zines arrive, and recently a writing group brought by a copy of the mini-zines they created, which are compiled in a silver tin. It’s always great to see zines by Tacoma zinesters show up at the library.

What’s the future of the Rocket Zine Library?

The future holds more zines, for sure! Even though the zine library is just a few months old, there are zines being borrowed and brought in all the time, and I expect that will continue. A friend brought up the idea of hosting a zine-making workshop, so we’ll see about that. This whole thing is a fun experiment, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens.

The reason you got on the internet.

The cutest book salesman.

Items from the library can be picked up any time King’s Books is open, 7 days a week 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Around the Corner: B2 Fine Arts Presents “Bathers of the Sun, Bathers of the Moon”

Flyer for the exhibition.

Flyer for the exhibition.


They’re closed until Tuesday, but if you’re already planning to be near Seventh Avenue and Saint Helens for the Block Party on Saturday you might want to check out B2 Fine Arts Gallery across the street in the old News Tribune building.

The eclectic exhibit features colorful abstract representative paintings by artist Leonardo Lanzolla, ambitious prints by Mary Pacios, and inspiring recycled tile mosaics by Jennifer Kuhns.

I much enjoyed the stunning visuals Lanzolla’s work provides. The hot, steamy imagery radiates from the canvas.

Local gal Jennifer Kuhns’ mosaics are enchanting and shiny. They are further proof that discarded materials can be used for amazing art.

I was probably most blown-away by the giant prints made by Mary Pacios. Some of which were made with six foot woodblocks! Her portraits of goddesses of the sun and moon were particularly impressive.

Be sure to check out the exhibit on display Tuesday through Sunday until August 10.

Link to Google Maps location of gallery.
711 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402

Fireman’s Park

Fireman's Park

A worker with a sawblade looks over the urban park, which has a nice view of Rainier, the bay, and the Murray Morgan Bridge.

Fireman’s Park has been offering some gorgeous views these past few days, although lately it’s been a bit more gray.

The park has attracted some attention recently, mostly due to the historic totem pole which has become deteriorated to the point where supports needed to be installed thanks to living outside in the location for over a century.

As mentioned on its Metro Parks profile, the park gets its name from its former occupant: Engine House No. 6. Back in Tacoma’s original heyday around the turn of the century, they formed the town’s original skyline as seen from the bay.

When the Tacoma Hotel burned down in 1935 in the location right next door where the Russell stands today, it took firefighters hours to get to it. There is some suspicion that it was burned for insurance. That sort of thing was pretty common for the depression era.

Visiting the park today can easily accompany a trip to Dorky’s, India Mahal, Pho 701, Matador, or any of the other fine bars and restaurants located around the corner on Pac Ave.

Link to the park on Google Maps.