Seattle Needs More Color! squib

Enough with the gray. Can Nikita Ares repaint our city? by Chase Burns

If you've walked around First Hill recently, you've probably seen Dylan Neuwirth's fantastically colorful neon sculpture on the corner of Broadway and Marion Street. It's the first installation at Museum of Museums (MoM), a new contemporary art space created by artist/curator Greg Lundgren and Vital 5 Productions. MoM, which is expected to soft open around October, will host gallery spaces and exhibits, as well as a "miniature museum" created by sculptor Jennifer McNeely, among other artsy things.

While we wait, things keep popping up all around the building. A few weeks ago, painter Nikita Ares was working on transforming MoM's front door into one of her bright, ecstatic paintings. We caught up with Ares while she painted.

Are there colors that vibrate for you more than others?

Definitely light yellow. I always want to amplify things. Light yellow really does the trick.

Do you ever think the colors have a heat to them?

YEAH! Yeah yeah yeah. In a way, I'm telling a story based on a color or a form. [The colors] start to support each other the more I go into it.

The colors start to make a scene, like in a movie. But you're not planning out scenes in advance, are you?

No. There was one painting where I based it on watching Moonlight. And I was just like: "Wow, I'm crying. Whoa, this is cool!"

Moonlight has a lot of purples.

I LOATHE PURPLE.

Why do you loathe purple?!

It just doesn't respond to me as much. I'm just like [to purple]: "What do you want?! What are you doing here?! Why do you exist?! What's up?! What's good?! Get out!!"

Is there anything you want people to feel when they come through this door?

Some sort of high energy. Like... [stretching out her arms and gesturing to imaginary guests] "You are welcome!" [Laughing] I want openness. Like, come in. All kinds of forms are welcome. All kinds of colors are welcome.

Even purple?

I GUESS.

How would you describe Seattle's color palette?

A gray-blue. Maybe even a gray-purple. Like a neutral... purple.

My roommate is obsessed with the color purple, and he was born and raised in Wallingford.

I guess I'm right!

Are you trying to break up Seattle's color?

In a way. I'm an immigrant, and I've been here for only about five years. I came from the Philippines—there, it's tropical, colorful, fun, always loud. So I am subconsciously bringing this to Seattle. I'm bringing this energy that I always grew up with.

Is there anything in Seattle that you wish you could paint?

I really, really, really want to paint one of those Sodo walls. The really big ones? I want it so bad! Soon! Hopefully.

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