Four Local Artists Open Up About How Art Came Calling
Don and Ryan Clark
Co-owners, Invisible Creature
For brothers Don and Ryan Clark, art was an inevitable path for them before they were even born. Their grandfather spent most of his life as an illustrator, most notable for NASA, and their father is a master woodworker. As long as Don could remember, he wanted to be an artist. Today, he and his brother own a company together, creating commercial illustrations.
However, if you were to ask them, they would tell you it didn’t begin with traditionally. Music was their catalyst into the world of art.
As teenagers in the 90s, they frequently found themselves at Tower Records, listening to music for hours. Their love of music only grew stronger, and they played in bands and gained momentum as they made records and eventually got signed by a label and started touring. It was the hey-day of MTV2 and punk rock and alternative music was all the rage. While the brothers were touring and playing, they began to designing record albums for themselves and friends.
They began their first company in 2000 and strictly designed album art. A few years later, they found themselves designing gig posters for bands, which are posters that fans would buy and hang in their homes and offices. Their artwork began gaining attention from larger companies and before they knew it, Don and Ryan found themselves diving headfirst into the advertising world. Invisible Creature was born.
Their artwork is inspired by the mid-century era, it is the era they love and are inspired by. Some of their most notable projects include: Grammy-award winning album art for the Foo Fighters, the mural on the Cinerama Theater in Seattle as well as stamps for the post office and work for many large companies like Target and Nike.
See their work: @icreature and invisiblecreature.com.
QUOTE: “We’ve just been influenced by the arts ever since we can remember, and I didn’t really have a backup plan.”
Vocalist and Saxophone Player
A native of Russia, Elena Maque had always felt drawn to music and at the age of 14, the call was undeniable, and she simply could not say no. She had said no to music once before, when as a third-grader she had been accepted into an exclusive music school. After three grueling weeks, the wonder and joy of music disappeared and she completely quite music.
However, sitting in a church in St. Petersburg, Russia five or six years later, listening to visiting musicians, she heard the most beautiful sounds she had ever heard, and it resonated so deeply within her, she began to weep. The song was “Amazing Grace” and the instrument was the saxophone. She began to take some private lessons and within a year she was accepted into a jazz school in St. Petersburg after high school, and she graduated from the music college.
Fast-forward to 2008, when she moved to the United States. She found herself in Seattle without any friends or music connections. She was introduced to the Russian community and she began to play at different churches in the area and met a fellow saxophone player who introduced her to the Seattle music community. Elena joined a big band and stayed with them for about a year before beginning her own act. She had a vision of what she wanted, and she frequented jam sessions and went out of her way to meet musicians.
Despite her connection with the saxophone, she began with piano as a young girl. She still uses the piano as her primary composition tool. Elena also has recently begun singing and it has become one of her main instruments. She was surprised to find that she enjoys singing as much as playing the saxophone. “I really love exploring and my voice is like another instrument to explore…there is a lot more opportunity,” she explains.
While she initially fell in love with jazz, she also enjoys a variety of musical styles. Her love of discovering new things has led her to create an album that is very eclectic, consisting of many styles that are intertwined, very much a playlist style as opposed to a traditional album. Her album is due out in 2020.
Learn more on social @elenamaque or at elenamaque.com.
QUOTE: “I love to show that music is so universal and vast, and we should never limit ourselves to just one style or genre.”
Photographer-tured-painter Elina Dmitruk credits her early interest in art to a childhood friend who also was drawn to art. They began their journey with art together at a young age and have continued to push each other and support each other in their prospective careers, twenty years later.
Elina is the first artist in her family, she began painting at nine years old and dabbled in everything initially until she discovered oil. She was 12 or 13 years old, taking a private art class with a Russian instructor, when she began to learn the basics of painting with oil and she continued to teach herself.
Photography inspires Elina’s artwork, and she translates photos into her own style. For passion pieces, she loves painting mountains and nature, and for commission pieces she typically paints portraits, providing her the perfect balance. Prior to committing full-time to artwork three years ago, she worked as a photographer, giving her a unique perspective to her artwork.
She always begins with a photograph, sometime even combining multiple photos, and spends several weeks planning before prepping the canvas. The entire process can take anywhere from two months up to a year. She puts so much texture into her art, it can take weeks to dry before beginning the next layer.
Elina also paints live at Zoka Coffee Roasters and Tea Company in Kirkland. An easel sits in the shop, and she is able to paint when she is in the neighborhood.
Find her work on social: @art.by.elina or at artbyelina.com.
QUOTE: “If I can bring some kind of inspiration into this world, then I feel like that is my job and satisfaction.”
Audio Engineer & Sound Designer, Lost Boys Studios
Named after Miles Davis, Milo Eubank cannot remember a time without music. There is no singular memory of an introduction to music; Milo only remembers a lifetime of growing up with music. His father dabbled in audio engineering before he and his siblings were born, perhaps setting the course of his son’s future.
“Growing up, I was in and out of bands from roughly from 13 years old until about 23…” says Milo. The guitar was his initial instrument but eventually led him to the piano and drums. Despite playing in the band, Milo found himself more interested in what the engineers were doing in the studio than playing in his band.
With a music theory background, Milo began to produce and help others structure their songs properly and fell in love with the technical side of it – it was fascinating. “I love problem-solving, and audio engineering is one big puzzle.”
With two years of music theory study completed at Shoreline Community College, Milo went on to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA to complete his degree. He returned to Seattle and landed an internship at the biggest studio in the city at the time – Robert Lang Studios. During his internship, his “real” recording studio experience began. He was able to work on albums for Kesha and Macklemore, and one thing led to another, eventually leading to his own studio. Currently, he owns Lost Boys Studios in Seattle.
Over Milo’s career, he has worked on Grammy-award winning tracks and albums. One of his favorites is “Praying” by Kesha. “It is sentimental to me because it is a song that was an accident…but it was her comeback and got nominated for multiple Grammy’s. I proposed to my now-wife during those Grammy’s.”
The music industry has evolved in the last decade. Milo explains, “Entire albums used to be the focus, with the label choosing the singles – the consumer is completely running the market now, we have one-hit singles and don’t have to worry about full albums.” He is excited about the music industry and where it is at the moment. He describes it as a “cool time in music where people are collaborating a lot more than before without boundaries because of the volume of independent artists.”
Learn more on social @miloeubank or at mixedbymilo.com.
QUOTE: “If you want to try something different – you have the ability to try it now. The music industry is in a very fun spot right now.”