The recent burst of artwork reacting to the gentrification and gay-washing of Capitol Hill has so far excluded one group crucial to the equation: the people actually inspiring the work. The art trio PDL want to change that.
Here’s the setup: Put a large easel and 45 canvases in the heart of Pike/Pine during peak weekend madness and see what the Woo! girls and dude bros come up with. Along the way, PDL will gather some basic artist info like age, gender, sexual orientation, occupation, and favorite bar. Call it an unscientific anthropological survey of Pike/Pine nightlife explored through drunken art.
“We have a premise, but we have no idea what the response will be or what the reaction will be,” said Greg Lundgren, the “L” of PDL. “It could be that people rise to the occasion … it could be they’re all paintings of dicks.”
PDL, which includes Jason Puccinelli and Jed Dunkerley, hope to assemble dozens of the paintings for a show they’re calling Due Process. The street artists will apparently get their day in cultural court on April 9th, when the show opens at The Factory, a newly launched gallery space located inside the Pound Arts studios at 10th and E Union. Proceeds from the show will go toward a to-be-determined Capitol Hill art gallery.
In some ways, Due Process aspires to be the art reaction to the art reaction that is #caphillpsa — the poster campaign addressing issues of gentrification and fading queer culture on Capitol Hill — and the works of John Criscitello — the street artist who has given a face both to the image of the Woo girls and dude bros and to the people who despise them.
“While we agree and sympathize with a lot of it, I’m always nervous about grouping certain people together just because they look a certain way or dress a certain way,” said Lundgren, a longtime Capitol Hill resident. “It doesn’t make me comfortable to point across the street and say ‘we don’t want you here, you’re not welcome here.’”
Lest the cynics think PDL are really just trying to prove how awful the Capitol Hill bar crowd can be, Lundgren insists the group’s efforts to learn something new about the neighborhood are sincere.
As much as some artists might despise what Pike/Pine nightlife has become, Lundgren points out that it’s still a part of the fabric of the neighborhood and thus a part of the Capitol Hill Arts District. For Lundgren, giving a creative outlet to people on Capitol Hill not seen as creative types should be part of what the district strives to do.
Due Process is the latest in recent efforts to push back on the vilification of people making homes in the hundreds of new upscale apartments popping up in and around Capitol Hill or the people who come to play and have a good time here. On Tuesday, The Stranger’s Dan Savage chided artists — and those who love them — for doing too much complaining and not enough constructive work to find ways to improve Capitol Hill or start building the next one. “The neighborhood has changed before,” Savage writes. “Every neighborhood changes. Nothing about a city is static.”
On April 9th, then, we might just get a good look at what the latest version of the Hill is all about.