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KNKX Connects showcases people and places around Puget Sound. Through audio, art, photography, music and journalism — discover a new connection with Tacoma.

Artist Spotlight: Paige Pettibon

Art by Paige Pettibon
courtesy of the artist
Art by Paige Pettibon

As part of KNKX Connects to Tacoma, we are featuring a selection of artists from the City of Destiny. Meet Paige Pettibon, who works with digital art, acrylic, oil, watercolor, graphite, prints making, fiber, and jewelry.

The following Q&A was lightly edited for clarity.

Tell us about your art.

My work is strongly influenced by my mixed heritage as well as growing up on Coast Salish territory. I like to learn and try new mediums and each medium helps shape my artistic expression in a unique manner. It’s important for me to make accessible art, I want my work to resonate with working-class folks and folks of all ages.

How long have you been an artist? Why or how did you decide to start creating art?

I believe I was born a creative. My grandmothers on both side were prolific makers of various mediums. I inherited their creativity. There have been moments in my life where I wasn’t actively creating and my mental health and social capacity declined. I suppose art chose me and when I make time for it I feel as though I’m whole. I became a full time artist in 2020. I’ve been fortunate to earn a living from making art.

Artist Paige Pettibon
photo courtesy of the artist
Artist Paige Pettibon

What's it like being an artist in Tacoma?

I personally go back and forth on how I feel based on the frequent changes our landscape faces. I would say more individuals support me in Tacoma. As an artist in my mid-thirties, my biggest obstacle is finding space to be creative I have a small home that limits the scale and volume of work. I’ve been leaning on working digitally because my space it so small. I’ve been looking to buy a home with enough room to have a studio but it’s just too expensive.

I’m fortunate to have a great community that supports me in various ways. The city’s infrastructure can be limiting for patrons to access viewing local artists such as myself. I see folks making an effort but it’s also exhausting to find affordable spaces designated for art.

Is there another local artist in Tacoma that you admire? Who deserves a shout-out?

Many! Mary Mann, RYAN! Fedderson, Marit Berg, Jessica Spring, Vanessa Mercedes, Aguilar Harris, Yoshi Nakagawa, Katherine Dawn, Terri Placentia, Chandler O’Leary (who passed away recently but has made a profound impact on art in Tacoma and Western Washington), Chris Sharp, Shaun Peterson, Anthony Duanes, Gerardo Pena, Delaney Saul, Saiyare Refaei. And this is just a short list of visual artists.

Help us fill in the blank. "You think you know Tacoma, but you don’t know about..."

... That it’s actually quite beautiful.

What's next? Any new work or projects you're excited to share?

I’m working on a solo exhibition at CORE Gallery in Seattle. I have some work that will be featured at the Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo. Currently, I’m working on some pole banners for several Seattle neighborhoods.