FrancisX / StudioX

"a self taught human being"

Buildings are like people, they hear things, see things and grow old and weathered along the way. Imagine the stories each one could tell of the tenants they housed, the relationships they witnessed, the parties they attended, but were not invited to, and the many people that walked through them. I often wonder about the stories held within the walls of 207 Unity Street. Every once in awhile, the story just walks through the front door and starts talking to you.

Buildings are like people, they hear things, see things and grow old and weathered along the way. Imagine the stories each one could tell of the tenants they housed, the relationships they witnessed, the parties they attended, but were not invited to, and the many people that walked through them. I often wonder about the stories held within the walls of 207 Unity Street. Every once in awhile, the story just walks through the front door and starts talking to you.

Ten years ago, we came face to face with an old tenant of our Ciao Thyme building. Francis X introduced himself and immediately began reminiscing about the good old days in “Studio X.” Ciao Thyme Commons once housed a bevy of local artists under its arched beams. They painted, sculpted, collaborated and threw some enviable parties (the kind we would hear about through the years from other attendees). 

Mataio and I recently visited the studio of local artist, Francis X Donovan. He led us down through the outdoor sculpture garden of forgotten sculptures, carved sticks, and new potential— in the form of an English yew burl. Each piece had a tale of how it came to be, by whose hand and from what inspiration. Francis opened a padlock and slid an old wood door along its track to reveal the belly of the beast; a basement wonderland filled with evocative wood sculptures, oil paintings, carpenters’ tools, empty paint tubes and a 70s turntable with speakers to match. Around one corner was an ancient walk-in cooler, turned wine cellar, that begged the question of the building’s history. The Roeder Avenue building was once an egg and poultry warehouse—big business in pre-WWII Whatcom county. We curved up the dank staircase and that’s when colors started to pop off the wall—every bit of space taken by huge canvases. The hallways filled with paintings, the studio revealing works in progress and scattered reminders written hastily on the walls—“just paint, man!” It was the kind of place that holds a biography in its walls. 
It was from this place that we chose the artwork that would hang at Ciao Thyme this quarter, an homage to the stories that we live, the stories that make us who we are and the stories that inspire us to dream. 

Come visit us at Ciao Thyme this winter and enjoy this carefully curated show of bold, colorful, local artwork.