First place: Wing Luke Museum
Moses Sun, lead artist
Seattle-based artist Moses Sun creates analog, digital, and mixed media art. Sun draws much of his inspiration from his southern upbringing, along with Black, African, Asian, and Latinx diasporas. He blends these influences into abstract meditative constellations of movement expressed on paper, wood, and large scale murals. Sun’s work has been shown in both solo and group shows in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
“The theme for the mural originally came from the staff at the Wing Luke Museum. The idea was to have a conversation with the community through the mural by asking the question, ‘Where do you stand?’ It became a rally point for all of us and allowed me as lead artist to incorporate ideas from all involved. I was moved by the whole process. Everyone was so welcoming and dedicated to making art that spoke to the people. When we completed the work, I felt humbled and gratitude to all involved.” — Moses Sun
Second place: Vital T Leaf
Artist: David Teichner
Originally from Los Angeles. Studied art in California and Italy. Moved to Seattle from the Bay Area in 2008. Actively focusing on art for positive political and social change, as a solo artist and with my crew, the MATH (making art that heals)
“It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
Third place: Jade Garden Restaurant
Artist: Carlos Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz has loved to draw since he was 5 years old. At the age of 19, he joined the military and continued to pursue his passion of drawing and painting. He won several painting awards from the military’s art contests, and also did artwork for U.C. Berkeley. The military gave him the discipline to keep painting. A professional artist and a former sign installer, he’s unemployed after an injury.
What inspired his theme for Jade Garden Restaurant’s mural? He asked the owner what he served.
“Noodles and dumplings,” the owner said. “So I just translated them into art,” said Carlos.
It took him two full days to complete the mural. He hoped people would enjoy looking at his mural, and then buy food to support the restaurant.
Phnom Penh Noodle House
Artist: Richard Reynolds
I was born in Conway, Arkansas and have lived in Western Washington since 1996. As an artist, I have mostly worked in acrylics, egg tempera, and ink. I have recently begun work in digital art and look forward to exploring its capabilities and boundaries.
Best Multiracial Mural
United States Postal Office
Artist: Tracy Tran
I’m a 24-year-old Vietnamese American born to Vietnamese immigrants. I grew up in Kent and I remember driving up to the International District with my family. I graduated from the University of Washington and now work at Microsoft as a program manager. I strongly believe in the power of art to curate change, and I’m honored to be included amongst these amazing artists. I’m hopeful that my mural can serve as a call to action for my fellow Asian Americans and a resolution for myself to do better as an ally in the fight to dismantle racial injustice.
I painted the mural the week after the Black Lives Matter movement really rejuvenated in Seattle.
Like many others, I was trying to learn and listen, to reflect and donate and amplify. And I’m guessing like many other children of Asian immigrants, I was angry at the racist sentiments coming from the Asian community, and, if I’m being honest, frustrated at myself for having basically grown up with these sentiments but not having spoken up.
When I thought about what to paint I thought about my own childhood. My mother, even without great English, read me a book almost every single day. And I thought about Black boys, who are less likely have a parent who can dedicate time to read to them, who are less likely to have families who can afford books, and less likely to go to schools with funding for enrichment programs. And so, when all these other children get to be children, Black boys have this storm cloud over their head that the other children don’t even know about. And even if it hasn’t unleashed the storm upon them yet, it is growing increasingly heavy as they get older and become Black men.
What I ended up painting was a call to action for my fellow Asian Americans, and a resolution for myself to do better as an ally. Let’s help Black children grow up in a world where they have the same potential and promise as other children.
United States Postal Office
Artist: L.M. Freeman
My name is Larsie Mae Freeman aka Freebird, and I am a self taught artist born in San Bernardino, California. I am passionate about continuing to grow as an artist and getting to know myself and others through what I create.
Artist: Tori Kirihara
Tori Kirihara is a Chinese and Japanese American artist. She is based in her hometown of Seattle. Her paintings consist of portraits that represent women, diversity, and pop culture. She uses her canvas as an outlet for emotions and feelings while reflecting on personal experiences and memories. Alongside her art, she founded The Feels in 2017. It has since been established as an LLC that continues to support and highlight the local artist community, as well as benefiting the youth through their organization Art Together. Beyond her art and community work, she continues to work on creative projects that are applicable to her Product Development degree from Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.
“I really wanted to do something that would show unity between the Japanese and Black culture. With everything going on. it is so important to be vocal about where you stand and letting others know where your support lies. I thought the quote was very fitting for this mural as well.” — Tori Kirihara
As a fifth-generation Puget Sound-born artist, I come from a long line of rugged Northwest mountaineers, carpenters, fishermen, and artists. Through family, and my own exploration, I’ve become very familiar with the towns and neighborhoods that compose the city of Seattle.
Through fellow students of King County schools, my neighbors in Shoreline, and countless others, I feel a strong connection to the people who choose to build their lives here. By being a participant in the last two decades of Puget Sound history, I have acquired a die-hard connection to the Cascade area and a steadfast dedication to preserving and promoting the beauty of this great place. Equipped with this drive, I approach muralism, craftsmanship, and outdoorsmanship in a manner that is respectful and informed of Northwest history. I aspire to match the hard work of those who built the Puget Sound area to what it is today and, in turn, create a positive and lasting impact on the community.
Best Unity Theme
Tai Tung Restaurant
Artists: Joseph and Shara Lee, and Patrick Nguyen aka Dozfy
Shara and Joseph Lee are a wife and husband team. By day, Shara is a furniture designer and Joseph is a web designer. Shara specializes in painting portraits and Joseph is a huge fan of Kareem and Bruce. Together, they love to eat and drink their way through Seattle and are now embarking on a new adventure of raising their newborn baby, Otis.
Artist: Patrick Nguyen aka Dozfy
The Dozfy style stems from extensive study of art techniques and history. At the University of Texas in Austin, I trained in portrait painting focusing on academic figures and war generals. The major milestone occurred when I met my mentor, the famous Black artist Michael Ray Charles. He taught me the emotional power of art. At the same time, he educated me how to address historical elements. The “white on black” style was created during my time in California, where I studied Ansel Adams’ landscape photographs. The goal was to capture the powerful stillness of Ansel’s black and white photos. The solution was to adopt my Asian spirituality to hone my focus of being “present.” After many hours underneath my belt, I was able to create every brush mark with pure instinct to capture the essence of my subjects. This style became the voice of Dozfy.
Aug. 29 Live event: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestAsianWeekly.