“These paintings are about participation. My interest is in meeting with nature, doing the work to give it what it needs and then advancing, pushing and responding, asking the same from it. These physics are everywhere in the universe. Their effects move us and the life created. In recognizing them together, naming them and relating, we also further creation.” ~Jesse Higman, Vermillion Exhibition Statement
Last night I attended—and participated—in City Arts Fest’s “Jesse Higman: Studio Pour.” If you’re into the Seattle art scene, you have most likely heard of Jesse Higman, who made the scene designing album covers for Grunge bands in the the ’90s. On the top of the list are Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Heart. However, Higman’s recent work is a whole other universe of expression and experience. Calling it “Alluvium” he invites us into a world where we focus our attention to the dynamic of the creative moment as it would occur in the smallest or grandest, cosmic or geological, physical or metaphysical realities—a higher minded view of our reality.
- Participants were instructed to look for the yellow umbrella on the corner of 11th Ave and East Denny where someone would guide us to the secret location of Jesse Higman’s “Studio Pour” experience. The man who greeted us, was something out of a Magritte painting—a surreal and cordial touch that lived up to my expectations. I brought along my 11-year old daughter, and our mood was set for something playful and curious. (Never mind my motherly expectations that I would be sharing an experience with my child that had the potential to be pivotal for her.)
I met Jesse Higman while walking down the street in Pioneer Square about year ago. It was before I became familiar with his current work, and the moment is etched in my mind. One remembers such meetings with rare, enlightened minds. When I learned that City Arts Fest was offering a “Studio Pour” with Higman, there was no way I could pass up the chance to be engaged in the experience. As he was describing his process and reasoning behind “Alluvium,” I was making a point to keep track of exactly what he had to say so that I might convey his musing of precious and fleeting moments, regrets, and peaks of experience, his adept descriptions of the natural dynamics that create and characterize us. I wanted to share the profundity of what he captures and how it is to be in his light…a big swelling in the chest, overwhelming. Last night, he shared the reason for his partial paralysis. At age 15 while he was driving, he swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel. As questions about coping and transformation flashed through my mind, he simply added,”I like that about my nature.” I realized then I would not be able to capture the soul of him in any brief article here.