SPIRIT! @ Bellevue Arts Museum

An art exhibit to fill your spirit 🫐

📸: Joey Veltkamp

If I’m telling you to take the two buses to cross the bridge into Bellevue, it’s gonna be for a good reason. And Joey Veltkamp’s first museum solo show, Spirit at Bellevue Arts Museum, is a good reason

The Bremerton-based queer folk artist’s exhibition embodies comfort, queerness, domesticity, and deep affection for the Pacific Northwest. It’s mainly composed of quilts, which he refers to as “soft paintings,” as well as flags, banners, drawings, and sculptures. 

Veltkamp’s works are playful and accessible, drawing from his own personal history and pop cultural phenomena. Like in “The Great Northwest III,” the quilt references different stereotypes of everyday life here in the PNW. It blares the phrases ” RAIN ENNUI,” “GRUNGE TWILIGHT,” and “SERIAL KILLERS” in clashing fabric designs. Or in “Berry Quilt,” Veltlamp shows the names of different types of berries (blackberry, raspberry, honeyberry, gooseberry) in chartreuse, royal blue, and strawberry red fabric. The quilt is a portrait of the garden he and his husband, artist Ben Gannon, grow with one another. (I’ve heard from friends who’ve visited the garden that the berries are very, very good.) 

“As we emerge from pandemic self-isolation, craving community, while still needing the comfort of home,” Seattle Times contributor Gayle Clemens wrote in her review of the exhibition, “Veltkamp’s art is exactly what we need right now.” Gayle is right. 

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An author pic of Jas Keimig. They have blue braids.

Jas Keimig

Jas Keimig is an arts and culture writer in Seattle. Their work has previously appeared in The Stranger, i-D, Netflix, and Feast Portland. They won a game show once and have a thing for stickers.