Ren Fitness Ballard
Sat., Dec. 9, 6-10 p.m. 2017
Some artists aim for shock, estrangement, perturbation, alienation. Some just want you to feel loved. One of the latter is Ryan Henry Ward. You know him as Henry, and he's the muralist who has covered the walls of your city in walruses and ostriches and fish and wizards and Sasquatches. You've seen his doofily-expressioned, elastic-limbed creatures on the sides of schools, taverns, pot shops, coffee shops, bars, and private residences. No matter how familiar they become, their whimsicality is funnier and sweeter than it is cloying, and the rich yet muted colors blend in with the city's natural hues. Henry's solo show and launch of the book Mystic Thug Hug promises more of this affectionate Northwest fancy. Who doesn't want to see a beatific sloth cradling a baby or an owl hugging a human or, in fact, a human hugging a human?