Fay Jones

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. Painter Fay Jones is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through her artistic lens.

Q&A with Fay Jones

What do you like about living in West Seattle?

West Seattle is a little on the funky side, and there are still things that have been there for a long time. There’s an old growth forest right in our neighborhood on Admiral Way called Schmitz Park. It’s pretty wild and interesting. We can also walk from our house to Alki Beach. There’s a bike path that goes all along Alki from just after the West Seattle Bridge and all the way to the lighthouse. It’s also a pedestrian way, and in the summer, you hear about ten languages in half an hour. It’s extraordinary. It’s also a great fishing pier. It’s right where the water taxi comes in, so it’s a great intersection of commuters, tourists, and people who are fishing for salmon. Lincoln Park is another amazing park.

How does living in Seattle influence your work?

One of the best things about living in West Seattle is going across the West Seattle Bridge. You’ve got all the containers and the ships, and that whole train yard, which is fairly new, and then a huge steel recycling plant that’s been there for years and years. You’re kind of in the industrial underbelly of the city and going to a perfectly lovely residential area. I find it psychologically and visually invigorating. My work is usually figurative, but last year I did a whole show about water, which surprised me. I can’t account for it, but I am surrounded by water here…

What’s something people might be surprised to learn about West Seattle?

We don’t have to get in our car! I’m 76, and we have three grocery stores in walking distance, and a library, and that sort of thing. And we use the bus to go downtown. I think if you travel by public transportation you learn much more that way.

What other things do you like to do in Seattle?

I’m an opera freak. I’ve been going to the Seattle Opera for 28 years. It’s an extraordinary thing to live in a town that is able to support opera, a good opera company. I also do love baseball—but being a Mariners fan is a tricky business! Seattle also has great small theater. I love Book-It, and I really like the New City Theater. They represent people who do something with a great deal of integrity.

Where do you like to take visitors?

We always take them to the Ballard Locks—people love it! There are very beautiful gardens there. And you can look at the salmon heading up the ladders. I also like Pike Place Market. Taking the water taxi from downtown to West Seattle is only an eight minute ride—it’s such an extraordinary view of the city. And the Seattle Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park is a good thing for people to know about it because you can visit in a small amount of time while being in a beautiful spot in the city.



Interview by Jess Van Nostrand, 2012.

Photo taken at Alki Beach.



Fay Jones paints playful and provocative images using a rich and eclectic vocabulary filled with a variety of characters.



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