We had planned to name artist Joseph Park Seattle's best painter under 40, but then we learned he hit that midlife milestone late last year. Still, he's one of the most talented young painters in a city packed with artists. Park's technically flawless, cinematic paintings are reminiscent of animation stills, comic-book art, and even Edward Hopper cityscapes. Recently the subject of a career retrospective at the Frye Art Museum, Park's flashy paintings turn cute bunnies and comic-book characters into vehicles for introspection and ennui—as if Raymond Chandler had hijacked a Disney movie. He's a fan of a diverse array of influences, from Daniel Clowes' graphic novels (Ghost World) to Japanese anime to pre-Raphaelite painter William Adolphe Bouguereau.
Joseph Park's Picks
Best Art Supply Store:
Daniel Smith in SoDo. "They make my favorite synthetic brush."
Best Coffee Shop With Pictures on the Walls:
Panama Hotel in Chinatown/International District. "It also happens to be home to a very cool floor installation. There's a section of glass floor just past the counter; if you peer down, you see straight through to the basement, where interned Japanese Americans left their belongings. What you see is their unreclaimed stuff."
Best Place to Buy Comics/Graphic Novels:
"Lake City Way's Fantagraphics is responsible for publishing some of the best material out there, including my favorite issue of Daniel Clowes' Eightball, 'Art School Confidential.'" (See www.fantagraphics.com.)
Favorite Piece of Architecture:
The "Tar Paper House" on Leary Way and First Avenue Northwest in Fremont. "It shows the power of a work left undone. It expresses a bold sense of modesty I've admired for years."
Best Place to Buy Glossy Art Books:
Ballard's Art Books Press Bookstore and Gallery. "This is a great place to browse new, used, and collector items, all under one roof."
Best Piece of Art in the City:
The Shepherdess (1881) by William Adolphe Bouguereau at the Frye Art Museum on First Hill. "This painting epitomizes a level of sentimentality I can't shake."
Best Place to Buy Inexpensive Art:
Thread Shop in Ballard. "It carries an affordable line of stuff made by a cool collection of artists."
Best Place to Find Japanese Anime Films:
Scarecrow Video in the U District. "Whenever I can't find something, they almost always have a copy or some access to it."
Best Meal on a Starving Artist's Budget:
The spinach and tofu dumplings at Szechuan Noodle Bowl in Chinatown/International District. "The dumplings are a staple to many artists in town—plus they're delicious!"