"Ox Herder," by Lauren Iida
If you find yourself with naked walls or fussy folks on your holiday gift list, salvation can always be found in art. And these five locals have a lot to offer:
It’s her huge lush portrait of a pool that calls out. She actually painted it on two different canvases so that she could focus on the deep end of the pool and the shallow end at different times. To create this piece, she both climbed up a ladder and put the canvasses on the floor so she could walk around them and paint. The physicality of the work spoke to her past, of swimming in that pool and circumnavigating its border, when she was a teenager growing up in Southern California.
Her work is about relationships: with her family; with Taiwan, where she was born, and the U.S., where she was raised; and with the world around her. It's deeply introspective and borderline melancholic, and you can lose yourself in it.
Contact the artist: www.kathyliao.com or (starting in 2014) Prographica Gallery in Seattle.
Her work: $500 to $13,000
See it: “Sense of Place II” group show at the Seattle City Hall Gallery, though Jan. 3. The “ID x ID” group show at the Washington State Convention Center (Jan. 14 — April 9, 2014)
"FAMILY POOL" BY KATHY LIAO
Her delicate and vivid paper cutaways capture myriad scenes of Cambodia: a boy in a papier-mâché peacock costume; a farmer escorting oxen; a bin of nail polish bottles seen at one of the local markets.
The Cornish College of the Arts senior first traveled to Cambodia in 2008. She had a so-so camera, which produced so-so photographs. She wanted to share her newfound discoveries with folks here, so she opted to create paper cutaways based on her photography.
Iida says the act of paper cutting lets her revisit and reexamine moments of her past. What we get are stripped down, exquisite portrayals of a place no tourist's camera could capture.
Contact the artist: www.laureniida.com
Her work: $150 to $560
See it: Bocz Salon beginning Jan. 30
"OX HERDER," BY LAUREN IIDA
He’s 25 years old, and his work reflects a generation with a short attention span and a desire to share — and maybe overshare. A generation that doesn’t want to be bothered, but is also feeling overwhelmed.
The Seattle artist is also feeling the angst of choosing art as his profession. "Is this financial suicide?" he's thinking. And you can see it in his work.
To make art, he picks up his acrylics at the hardware store — the stuff you might use to paint your living-room walls. It’s effective and cheap, and it’s got the advantage of drying quickly. Banke’s work — on paper or on wood — is unfussy and immediate. He likes to create fast and then move on.
His work: $400 to $1,100
See it: His solo show “Pretty Litter” at Prole Drift through Dec. 28
UNTITLED, BY JD BANKE
Her work is a meditation on the aesthetic nature of a Superfund site. The gorgeousness of foliage. The dreaminess of a coursing river.
Woodfin lives in South Park, where her muse is the lower Duwamish Waterway. She explores her neighborhood then researches it deeply, ultimately creating watercolors that let you see — and even fall in love with — a place you might otherwise dismiss.
Contact the artist: www.chandlerwoodfin.com
Her work: $200 to $1,500; also as part of the December LxWxH monthly box of local art curated by Sharon Arnold
See it: The Gage Academy of Art (through Jan. 10)
"HOME," BY CHANDLER WOODFIN
It’s unabashedly playful art, equal parts make-you-squeal cute and otherworldly. Ken Taya is a video game artist who works on the Eastside and has transformed canvasses into dense pop-art panoramas depicting Tokyo as well as U.S. Japantowns.
He’s also created entire squads of zombies, robots and pink-skulled beings. It’s art that lets you fly your fun flag, or claim your Japanese ancestry.
Contact the artist: www.enfu.com
His work: $5 to $500
See it: KOBO at Higo in Seattle; Uwajimaya (the store’s grocery bag is his Zodiac design); Enfu’s solo “Cute Grit” show at the Saturn Building in Fremont (through Jan. 3)
A Screenshot from a poster on enfu.com, the site of the artist KEN TAYA (aka ENFU)