“I Became Human Again”
While exploring the city, on day two of our Seattle Street Art project, we had just photographed a massive Henry mural at 49th Ave NW and were about to photograph a skeletal mural that was just around the corner. As we were parking, a van, covered in Henry art, passed by. My son & I were both surprised by the coincidental passing. We had never seen a Henry van around town. We decided to follow it and see if the Henry muralist was behind the wheel.
The driver was not Ryan “Henry” Ward, who’s murals are prolific throughout Seattle, but he had done work on many of the murals for Ward. We shared that we were starting the street art project and had just photographed a Henry wall, he said he did work on that piece. He then added that he had work of his own nearby, “It is a mastodon just a few blocks from here.” The skeletal mural we had left to “stalk” the van. Funny, serendipitous moment for us. We said we were on our way back to photograph his mural and would he want to join us. He agreed.
“When I moved to Seattle 10 years ago, I loved that the city was filled people doing incredible music and making great art. But the now, the housing is so expensive & the people who are ‘my people’ are moving out. They have migrated to Portland. It’s a bummer.”
“As a child, growing up on a farm, I did a lot of art. At 17, I joined the Navy and I didn’t do much art. Then I got a job in San Francisco and I didn’t do a whole lot of art there either. But once I stopped doing those crazy jobs, trying to be ‘a man’, I got a life and started doing art again. I became human again.”
After photographing Jan in front of his mural, he asked if we wanted to see more of his work. He said the mural is a commissioned piece. He likes it, but it is not a true representation of his art. We walked a block to a courtyard and waited for him to bring out some of his work. This is Japanese ink on canvas that he is also a work in progress. It was inspiring to see the pride and enthusiasm he had for his work