Friday, May 29th, 2020

Tacoma artists grab a CHAIRity

Ron Swarner

Tacoma artist Katie Johnson added her talent to the JayRay CHAIRity Silent Auction. Photo courtesy of JayRay
Katie Johnson’s CHAIRity palm / photo courtesy of JayRay

Tacoma artists grab a CHAIRity

During these times of self-quarantine, you might say Mr. La-Z-Boy achieved the utmost in furniture design with your beloved rocker-recliner. But that plush TV chair is not the latest and greatest in furnishings. For what’s happening now, you’ll need to push pause on Netflix’s “Space Force” to log onto the JayRay CHAIRity Silent Auction that benefits our community members who are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions. Stand up against hardship while sitting down on one of nine, one-of-the-kind chairs, designed by six different artists, including Kulshan Brewing’s Sales Executive Katie Johnson.

Known for drawing portraits that capture the ethereality of subjects by mapping light, shadow and anatomical clues of personality, she’s recently gravitated toward landscapes.

“I’m in a space where I want to look past what’s in front and try to make sense of the consolidated busy-buzzing of visual information with the help of open breaks of sky,” explained Katie Johnson while sipping her Bellingham brewery’s Tree-dimensional IPA, a collaboration with Peaks & Pints, a craft beer bar, bottle shop and restaurant in Tacoma’s Proctor District.

Johnson’s love of her friends and family, her delight at the visual bounties of nature, her synthesis of other art and study of visual perception — these all shine through everything she does, in varying degrees, including her JayRay CHAIRity chair where we zoom in for dashes of color and angular strokes of palm trees.

The Tacoma-based creative firm JayRay commissioned local artists Chris Sharp, Angela Larsen, Brandi LaPointe, Saiyare Refaei, Tiffany Hammonds, and Johnson to create the chairs. Each artist was able to choose the direction or theme of his or her chair.

The online silent auction runs through June 1. Each chair will go to the highest bidder. Jay Ray has partnered with the Pierce County Connected: COVID-19 Emergency Fund, administered by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation in partnership with United Way. Money raised will assist Pierce County residents with shelter, food, essential childcare and other necessities.

The chairs can be previewed at the JayRay website.

We all have intimately studied our household furniture for nearly three months now. While you may not care what you sit on, JayRay and the six artists have taken something as mundane as a chair and have made sitting down anything but ordinary.

Katie Johnson is a talented artist and maniac dancer. Photo courtesy of JayRay