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Meet the Artists in Residence: Bridge Graphic Novel

Perched above the road and waterway in the University and Fremont Bridge towers, two artists spent four months thinking about their surroundings and creating graphic novel works inspired by the location and their experiences. The artworks created during this residency are beautiful, meaningful and vibrate with resonance to the iconic and unique Bridge tower locations.   

On April 8, 2021, the artists shared more about their artwork and experiences in a virtual presentation. Opening remarks were given by Jose Alaniz and ARTS staff Maija McKnight. 

Printed copies of each of the graphic novels will be available at a future date, and individuals that registered for this workshop will get first notice of availability.  

Roger Fernandes, the artist in residence at the Fremont Bridge, created the graphic novel Change of Worlds: The Fremont Bridge Cycle. Roger Fernandes is an artist and writer, storyteller and educator. As a member of the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe of Washington State, he has also been a practicing professional artist for well over 40 years, working in graphic design and the traditional Coast Salish art. Roger was born in the city of Seattle and has a deep sense of the “spirit” of the city and how it has morphed over the past 20 years or so. The Ship Canal, to Roger, has always represented a clear delineation of “white” North Seattle and the much more racially diverse South Seattle. To cross the bridge was oftentimes more challenging than we modern urban folk might recognize. This is a wonderful opportunity to weave all these elements together. 

E.T. Russian, the artist in residence at the University Bridge, created the work The Canal Was Cut a 28-page mini-comic. With 20+ years of experience making comics, while simultaneously exploring the cultural aspects of disability and chronic illness, ET is interested in the intersection of multi-sensory art. In this residency ET explored the elements of air, water, wind and earth, human relationship to spirits, nature and animals, themes of living and dying, colonization and landowning, decompressing from work, and dreams.  

This unique opportunity of providing space in the bridge towers to creatives has been a program since 2016 and has hosted visual artists, poets, musicians, lighting artists, and now comics artists to use the historic bridge locations as inspiration for the creation of new work. This residency ran from September – December 2020.

Funded by SDOT’s 1% for Art Funds and administered by the Office of Arts & Culture.