Friday Eye Candy: Painting to Memorialize Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct

Finding beauty, and questions, in the concrete.

1 minute read

December 7, 2018, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Seattle, Washington

Max Herman / Shutterstock

David Gutman shares news and images of the work of Laura Hamje, who has spent two years creating beautiful paintings of the Alaskan Way Viaduct—which will close for good in a month.

You may have your own photos of the viaduct. Maybe you’ll get a piece of the rubble. But Hamje, 32, has spent the last two years creating a more durable, comprehensive memorial of the massive elevated highway that’s dominated Seattle’s waterfront since the middle of last century.

Hamje is showing 53 paintings of the soon-to-be-extinct viaduct, which loomed for 65 years before a tunnel boring machine named Bertha slowly cleared a new underground path for cars along the Seattle waterfront.

According to Gutman, Hamje's work captures the all of the many experiences of the viaduct, to wrestle with an ambivalence about the project.

She paints it, and the painting, in turn, inspires feelings in others. But after more than two years of incessant looking at, and thinking about, the viaduct, Hamje’s like a lot of us — still not sure how she feels about it.

It’s noisy, it’s polluting, it severs the waterfront. But it moves people — well over 100,000 a day. It’s got those views. And it’s just been a part of daily life for so long.

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