Artist as Storyteller

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Supported by the Seattle Colleges Performing Arts Fund, the Artist as Storyteller speakers series welcomes BIPOC artists, performers, and activists to share their work and connect with students about what it means to be an artist in today’s social and cultural climate. The series emphasizes the art-making and storytelling process as it relates to the individual and community.

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Emma Kates-Shaw

Emma Kates-Shaw chats with faculty organizer Denise Grollmus and student moderator Jules Cress about how they went from their formal study of studio art to forging community and connection through handpoke tattoos, as well as how the pandemic has reshaped their approach to their tattooing as they’ve spent more time returning to other art froms that help them forge community.

Emma Kates-Shaw is a multidisciplinary artist from Ossining, New York living in Seattle, WA. Her focus (when the world is up and running) is mainly on tattoos, but in quarantine she has been exploring everything from life drawing, to lamp making, to floral arranging, to curating the gallery in her home. She is a founding member and tattooer at Bad Apple Tattoo in Seattle. Emma is fascinated and heavily influenced by naturally occurring patterns, gradients, and chaos.

All of her work, tattooing included, takes into account the importance of community, the interconnected web of human experience, and the strength of trust and vulnerability. Central to Emma’s work is a commitment to integrating aesthetic experiences into community living as an act of love and a critical part of building an art practice.

You can see Emma’s work on Instagram: @thorn_pokes

Work by Emma Kates-Shaw

Student Bio

Jules Cress is a queer student from Southern California. She spent 4 years in the US Navy where she got her certification in cryogenics and became fluent in Russian, and is now using the GI bill to study political science. She has experience as a queer youth advisor with the Boys and Girls club, and has worked closely with Black Lives Matter to seek justice for the wife of a black veteran that was murdered by police in 2018. Her hopes for the future are to attain equity for minority communities and improve the political climate in the US. Other hobbies include graphic design, photography, professional video editing, and spending time with her beautiful girlfriend and kitty cat.

Download a PDF of the event flyer here: