John Sollid, the artist who defines how we see the Market

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Pike Place Market.jpg

The changes are superficial. really. The cap, maybe the cap is new, though it's hard to say. There's a 15-year gap between the picture on the left and the middle one. But the gent wearing the cap, John Sollid, hasn't changed all that much, and neither has his vision of what the Pike Place Market is all about: a playful, primary-colors world of carrots and eggplants, of tulips and sunflowers and stems of purple iris. A green farm truck unloading its wares on Pike Place; tugboats and sailboats in Elliott Bay, zebras and bears in the zoo, salmon in the streams, cavorting orcas, and, above all, the optimistic, good-natured view of the world expressed through linoleum cut, block prints on greeting cards, tee shirts, and Seattle watercolors.

The language of Sollid's art, of views of the Market's iconic Public Market and Meet the Producer signs, is sophisticated but unpretentious. He's been selling at the Market since 1973, one of its longest-serving artists, but every day he goes through the same routine of reserving a spot (fees start at $12.50 for mid-week in winter), then maximizing his allotted four feet of counter space. He started life in eastern Washington, taught English in high school and college, then moved to Seattle and ran a small poetry press. His wife at the time worked on Charley Royer's mayoral campaigns and chaired the Seattle Arts Commission. And John--to our community's everlasting fortrune--turned to the visual arts. He no longer lives in Seattle proper; his neighbors grew tired of the trucks delivering art supplies, blank stationery, envelopes, onesies, and paints. So he moved to Poulsbo and commutes. Poulsbo's a scenic spot, too, but it doesn't have thousands of souvenir-hunting tourists passing his four-foot storefront every day.


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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on October 22, 2017 10:58 AM.

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