An Art Collection Emphasizing Emerging Artists

Kicking off our new series about local art collectors, Seattle mag's arts editor Brangien Davis shar
Brangien Davis sits next to “73 Place,” an oil painting by Seattle artist Ryan Molenkamp, which she hung where she can see it all the time—between her bedroom, bathroom and closet.

“I don’t dream big.”
Having grown up with art-loving parents on teachers’ budgets, Davis takes a practical approach to buying art, seeking out emerging artists who aren’t yet represented by particular galleries. She often buys work directly from artists at open studio tours and art walks. On a couple of rare occasions she has spent $1,000 on a piece, but she much prefers to stay in the $100–$500 range.

Matching is overrated.
Bright colors, humor and local artists are recurring themes among the mix of paintings, prints, pottery and posters adorning the Denny Blaine home Davis shares with her husband (and cocurator) Daniel Spils. Subject matter connects a few small groupings: oddball food portraits in the kitchen, watery scenes in the master bath, and a growing sleuth of bears in a hallway. But the emphasis is on the unexpected.

Ugly things are pretty.
Davis’ collection serves as a reminder that artists find beauty in surprising places: a rusty barge floating in Elliott Bay (Robin Siegl); an elderly lady sitting in a kitschy chair (Martha Rich); a tarp-covered Winnebago (Kevin Ellis); and a collage featuring a vintage metal Chevy Impala logo (Anna Peters).

The art you own says a lot about you.
Touring Davis’ collection is a quick way to learn about her travels (from Alaska to Cuba), her self-professed “ham-etarianism” (being a “vegetarian” who eats ham) and her belief that art doesn’t have to be “serious” to be good.

Davis finds emerging artists at Vermillion Gallery (vermillionseattle.com), Tashiro Kaplan (tklofts.com), Ghost Gallery (ghostgallery.org) and SAM Gallery (seattleartmuseum.org).

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