Eddie Bauer partnered with the local Seattle arts organization Urban Artworks to commission a large, permanent, street art mural by BIPOC artists to interpret the phrase “Find Yourself Outside”. They helped us work with Perri Rhoden and AFROSPK, two painters who are a part of Vivid Matter Collective, a co-op of BIPOC artists who believe art has a powerful role to play in every movement. They created the project near Flo Ware Park, named after and in honor of the Black community activist in the Leschi community.
About the Artists:
Seattle native, Perri Rhoden, is an Abstract Mixed Media Artist and Muralist. She is inspired by color, texture, and dramatic lighting found in nature and media. Her art is representative of her personal experiences, inspirational Black women, and her manifestations of feminine energy captured on canvas.
Her passions for community, mentoring youth, and experiences in Seattle’s non-profit sector speak to her dedication to preserving Seattle’s arts and culture. She has worked with several local nonprofit organizations and schools to lead art programs, art classes, and as well in the development sector.
Perri Rhoden’s studio art has been on display at galleries and theatres throughout the Greater Seattle Area. Additionally, she has both permanent and temporary public art installations in Ballard, Downtown Seattle, and the Central District. More information about these projects are detailed on her website.
DC born and Seattle based artist. The artist’s inspiration comes from the growth and preservation of his community. His work is focused on art sustainability and creating platforms for other community artists to showcase their art. Through co-founding the organization, Crowd Control Collective, Bashir is connecting artists and creatives to the Greater Seattle art scene—creating community through collaboration.
“Growing up in DC, I was heavily encouraged by my community members to follow my dreams—to be an artist and make it big. As a person of color from a poor neighborhood, I understand it can be difficult to find support and reach your goals. My community pushed me to be active, participate, learn, and grow.
This influence of community building and African American culture is present in my art. The face archetype is a symbol of a person within that helps creates growth around it, which in return helps creates opportunities for communities to succeed. I stay motivated towards my dreams through energy I gain when involving myself in various communities throughout Seattle.
My goal is not to change the energy of a neighborhood, but to help preserve the culture that already thrives in communities of color. I want to revive the energy and motivation in these communities through supporting people and their dreams. I want to promote underrepresented artist and musicians. I want to connect artists with a supportive network that brings creatives together
About the Work (Q&A):
How do you use art to communicate?
(AFROSPK) I use art to communicate by presenting messages and imagery and color. I try to engage my community by creating art that people can feel and interact with. I put my art in places that are not usually thought about which engages communities. I also use my art to demand space. My art is used to sometimes challenge and demand more community spaces for Black Community
What do you want people to take away from your art?
(Perri) When people experience my art, I want them to feel empowered, inspired, or deeply moved in some way. I pour so much emotion and energy into my work, I hope it translates to the viewer. At the same time, I also want people to have their own experiences and emotional reactions to what I create.
Whenever I create figurative work, my goal is to empower and encourage womxn to be bold in their self-expression- particularly with their sensuality. I love being a Black woman. I love my hair, my curves, my skin tone, and the legacy of women who have come before me. When I create a figure, I am honoring the women who have raised and molded me into who I am; while also encouraging the viewer to fully love who they are! Self-love is a beautiful gift. I want more people to love themselves just as they are and I hope they feel that when they see my artwork.
What is the importance of street art/graffiti/murals? How do you define each of these art forms, and which do you identify most with?
(AFROSPK) Graffiti embodies cultural significance through its individualistic nature, through its ability to beautify and enhance public spaces. It’s highly visible way of speaking out on political, social, and economic issues and that’s why it’s important. You start working on the streets first and learn how to really communicate with the city. So murals give those opportunities to create space for new art and artists.
What does FIND YOURSELF OUTSIDE mean to you?
(Perri) Find yourself outside is about reconnecting with yourself no matter where you are. Regardless if you live in a rural area or if you live in an apartment above a subway station, finding yourself outside is about reconnecting with your environment and reengaging with yourself.
I see it as an active form of self-meditation. As a Seattle native, I have had the privilege of growing up in such a beautiful place. I have watched the seasons transform trees year after year. And no matter the season, I’ve learned to see the beauty of nature in all of its forms and imperfections. Which is something we do not often see on social media- there are so many filters we can use to distort reality. It can be so overwhelming.
But when I go outside, to Seward Park, a trail over in Northbend, Coulon Beach, or Lake Washington, I’m going outside to breathe in nature and to exhale all of my worries, self-doubt, self-criticism, and stress. When I find myself outside, it is to reconnect with myself and to appreciate the scenery world around me.
(AFROSPK) To me, this means having more black people in nature and reconnecting with yourself. More space being created for the Black Community. We need to normalize seeing black and brown faces outside. We need to make all spaces available to our communities. So finding myself outside can also be a reclaiming of space and time. Creating room so others who look like me can have space outside as well.