A Capitol Hill arts collective came together during the summer of 2012 with the intention of many a local creative: Get exposure. The group of graphic scribblers known as The Bomb Promise has pulled together the work of local artists in a rather unconventional way through the monthly release of coloring books sprinkled through some of Capitol Hill’s hotspots for adults and kids alike. Please, color inside the lines.
“We are all artists/illustrators either by profession or hobby and found it difficult to market ourselves in the competitive art scene,” said collective member, Alysia Mojica. “Our solution was to put out a coloring book featuring our illustrations.”
The Bomb Promise has unveiled 20 editions monthly since July, 2012 (missing only one month due to extenuating circumstances) with Mojica putting in work outside of her art to get the issues pressed.
“I provide the necessary paper and do all of the labor involved, i.e. binding,” she said. One print run costs anywhere from $50 to $150 and is produced at Bellevue’s Perfect Press Printing where Mojica is an employee and can score a discount.
The group provides coloring books to the public for free. And though the prints are compiled across the bridges, they’re distributed almost exclusively on Capitol Hill.
On the first or second weekend of the month, you can find the latest Bomb Promise release at some Capitol Hill staples. Though locations vary, you can consistently find issues at: Blick Art Supply, Bluebird Creamery, Cafe Vita, Cupcake Royale, D’Ambrosio Gelato and Old School Frozen Custard. Some of the prints make their way out to Bremerton, but it’s good relations with local storefronts which has helped the group meld with the community over the past two years.
“Capitol Hill businesses have been pretty receptive to our attempts to pepper their property with drawings of dumb monsters and the cast of Twilight over the past couple years,” said Mojica. The collective has learned to stay away from corporate chains, instead asking for permission from the locals to display the books. “We are rarely turned away” — a philosophy the collective takes into account when considering outside work.
“We have a few recurring featured artists as well and welcome submissions from anyone who is interested.” As opposed to the zines making the rounds on Capitol Hill, the coloring book allows for patrons to enjoy as well as get creatively involved with the art, she said.
The group began with a roster including: Mojica, JesseJames Ligocki, Nathan Bailey, Daniel Martinez, Rachel Jensen and Krista Davis. Now the team has Carrie Potter and painter Gwen Buck on board. And the Bomb Promise crew is working on taking their art outside the lines.
“We have produced stickers and buttons for events in the past. If the popularity of The Bomb Promise grows we would like to produce a hardcover illustrated work of fiction and t-shirts, for example,” said Mojica.
While Mojica provided a lot of answers on The Bomb Promise coloring book she is but one person in the group. CHS received some collective answers. Below is a Q&A with some of the artists from the Bomb Promise.
Is the collective based on Capitol Hill?
Alysia Mojica: Our main base of operations is on Capitol Hill, yes. However, our members live in various parts of Seattle, the Eastside and Bremerton. Some of our books can be found in Bremerton.
JesseJames: Capitol Hill be where the flavor at. We wanted to be all up in that flavor.
Do you think the Capitol Hill neighborhood has inspired your work? How so?
JesseJames: The Sunset Electric Building, before its recent renovation, was a large influence on wanting to put art into the Capitol Hill neighborhood. You could tell at a glance how eclectic the local art tastes were and it opened the door for us to keep our work as weird as possible without worrying about whether or not our books would have an audience.
Nathan Bailey: The local color.
What has been most rewarding about putting out the coloring book?
JesseJames: I’ve had a few people ask for issues while mid-distribution and it’s never not flattering. Also seeing the advancement of everyone’s artistic skills and cooperation has been great. We were all running pretty distinct and solo art lives up until 2012 but everyone involved has benefitted a lot since then.
Alysia Mojica: We actually have fans! I was not sure what to expect when proposing the start of this collective/releasing coloring books, but the fact that we have people out there that are waiting for our issues to come out, is just the most amazing thing to me.
Daniel Martinez: Seeing everyone involved improve and become more passionate toward their art, as well as being able to contribute to the community.
Carrie Potter: Getting a chance to flex some art muscles in ways that I don’t otherwise have the opportunity to, has been a big perk for me. I also get excited to see how everyone else has interpreted the monthly prompt. Everyone has such a distinct style — it’s really fun to see it all together in one book.
What kind of response have you received from people about the coloring book?
Daniel Martinez: We’ve gotten a moderate amount of support and feedback from people online. Anytime I’ve personally handed someone an issue of the coloring book out, I’ve been given one of two general responses: “What no get away, weirdo!” and “That’s awesome, this is so neat, thank you.”
JesseJames: Some of the responses from people at Old School Creamery and Blick were super positive even early on and that really encouraged us to keep consistent.
Carrie Potter: My friends seem to like them, but I don’t live around Capitol Hill, so it’s hard to say, for me, how they’re being received around you guys. No one’s sent us a cease and desist yet, so probably people like the books okay. :)
How are you able to provide the coloring book for free? Do you expect this to change?
JesseJames: The first run of each issue will always remain free. We want our work out in Capitol Hill and if anything had to change it would be frequency. Our other projects may cost, but the monthly coloring books are something we find very worth supporting.
Alysia Mojica: When our website is up, fans from outside the area or those who were too late to collect at the various businesses will be able to download PDFs of each issue, past (to a certain extent) and present.
Daniel Martinez: This project is something that we are dedicated to and therefore put in as much time and money as we can to make sure we can print them and get them out into the public.
Carrie Potter: The “content for free” thing seems to be my default mode, since I was already in webcomics when I joined in, so I don’t mind offering the book up for nothing each month. Sometimes you have to spend money to build a community of followers, and that’s alright with me. Plus, the themes are fun, and so are the people involved!
How can artists get involved with your collective?
Alysia Mojica: We welcome any interested artists to message us on the various social media outlets or send us an email. We periodically have a “talent drive” where we post a notice of interest on Facebook, etc.