Pun(c)tuation is an up-and-coming Seattle art collective that recently opened a space on Capitol Hill at 705A East Pike Street, 240-6697. Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes is an artist, sometime curator, and group member.
It seems like you're the figurehead here.
Absolutely not: Pun(c)tuation is a collective. It just so happened that one of my skill sets was curating and creative direction, and as a result, I became much more involved in the first phase, which revolves around visual art. There are 12 of us, as is, but it's really sort of an ever-expanding collection.
You mentioned the first phase. What's that?
So we're a mixed-use space, but for the purposes of encapsulation, I'd say we're an experiment in more sustainable consumption. The first phase is based in visual art. I think that a lot of people forget that artists are people who need to eat. Our goal is to teach every artist how to be his or her own patron, so as not to be beholden to some outside, amalgamous, nefarious entity. That said, the first stage is about enabling all people to feasibly consume art, whereas up until this point, they may not have, due to a perception of elitism surrounding the traditional process. And I think, for whatever reason, in Seattle the culture of young people consuming art, especially original art, is not as strong as it should be. So one of the services I think we provide is makers at a very reasonable price point, in the hopes that people who are at the beginning stages of their independent lives can incorporate art into their homes.
Tell me about the second phase.
The second phase is about vintage clothing—'40s- and '50s-era Filson, etc. We also have a house brand we're working on. With that, too, our main goal is sustainable consumption, so our price point is something that might be competitive with, say, an H&M, but... part of our definition of sustainability is to work with clothiers and entities in the immediate area.
Where do you see pun(c)tuation 5 or even 10 years from now?
I would prefer to think of pun(c)tuation as more of an esoteric concept than a physical one. I see those of us who have spent more time bungling through earlier experiences eventually handing off to our younger parties. Moving forward, we have a whole set of services, ranging from green interior design, to wardrobing for film, to personal shopping or styling, if you will—all of which is sustainably sourced. All of our backgrounds are in thrift stores, or estate sales, or bumbling across this, that, or the other. There's no megalomaniacal concept as to taking over the world or whatever; we just want to present another option as to how to operate as a business or how to put clothes on your back or put art in people's homes. Our hope is that we can accurately present and archive the stories that are around—not only those at hand, but some in the recent past, and maybe have a hand in creating some lore for future generations, hopefully in a more honest, visceral, less vicarious version than what's become common.