Tacoma Urbanist

Jan. 19, 2008 at 12:02am

Daniel Blue and R.R. Anderson: The New Wave of Tacoma Artists Taking Tacoma By Storm

The art scene has changed in Tacoma.  The bar has been raised. 

Two relatively new artists in Tacoma seem to be getting the most buzz over the last year.  They both seem to be working outside of the Tacoma mainstream art world.  You are not likely to see them in the Tacoma Art Museum.

Yet, both have been written up in numerous articles, held their own art shows, gained significant followings and have a significant support network and technology to deliver their art form.

If these folks are not part of the "creative class" in Tacoma, I don't know who is.  I can only hope that they stay in our fair city as they certainly have the ability to go anywhere they wish.

Today, Daniel Blue posts his latest piece on Exit 133, a local community blog entitled Daniel Blue at the Urbanaut:

Blue now is perhaps Tacoma's most well know poet, at least for a growing number of people who get their information online.  The entire text of the poem is found here.  Here's a portion of it:

There was a swelling a swirling of conversation and actions and eye sparking.  Confessions of visions.  People spoke freely of their ambitions and callings, anything was possible, the city was a blank canvas, and our anticipation grew with the massive bubble of energy, we felt that when it burst, Tacoma would explode onto the map of our world.  Known for its crazed artist communities, vibrant walkable neighborhoods, sustained by art and passion.

RR Anderson, is a seemingly ever present but almost exclusively virtual presence in Tacoma.  One trait that has amazed me is his discipline to put up a Tacomic each and every week for the last 47 weeks (save for one when Kevin Freitas covered for him).  Here's his showcase piece from his creation Holistic Forge Works:

Unwilling to cede the philosophy of life discussions to the Tacoma poets, the best I can describe RR's world view is a George Orwell adbuster pantheistic hybrid which is suprisingly consistent. Yet, even that description probably doesn't do it justice.  Here, through a recent avatar type exchange with Tacoma Gnome, RR lays out some of his philosophy.

RR: The conspiracy is REAL and is wholly consumed to steal away the SLACK innate in every free man, woman & child. The conspiracy dictates that flimsy illusions and self-serving delusions rule most people's lives. Who cares? Nobody cares. Nobody has all the answers. Nobody will defend your rights. Nobody will lower your taxes. My advice is whatever befalls you, walk on unattached. Untouched.

Some say that 'consciousness is means for the universe to know itself.' I find solace in this trope. Also it is impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone's beard.

Far from a mere superfluous rant, RR takes media and advertising influence seriously and led the charge on the Clear Channel Billboard issue

Interestingly, Blue's poem and RR Anderson's interview both came out yesterday.  Reading them back to back may cause you some existential pain.

Will they ever make a joint project together?  It sure would be interesting.

I know of no poem that Blue has made of RR. Yet RR Anderson has featured Blue in a Tacomic below.  The Tacoma depicts Blue reading an earlier poem.


Carry on Daniel and Ryan.  What a fun art escapade the last year or two has been for Tacoma with your presence.  Tacoma is still largely a blank slate and will be what people make of it.

Enjoy it while you can as it is only a matter of time before a new artist or group comes along who will make you look outdated and stogey.  :)

comments [28]  |  posted under tacoma, washington


by intacoma on 1/19/2008 @ 6:13am
hardly taking tacoma by storm, on feedtacoma it might look that way though.

by morgan on 1/19/2008 @ 8:14am
Still, we are fortunate to have their talents.

by KevinFreitas on 1/19/2008 @ 9:51am
hardly taking tacoma by storm

While they're certainly are numerous other talented artists around Tacoma there's little recognition or venue for them outside the local web sphere. Galleries first have to accept your work or show. The newspapers may do a story if it's compelling enough or you could take out ads. While the web and site's like FeedTacoma are free and allow any talent to show itself to a wide and interested audience.

Take a random sample of people from all over town and ask them to name a Tacoma artist and you'd be lucky if they pull Dale Chihuly or Bing Crosby's name out of a hat. There more likely to name the DC sniper or Ted Bundy. The fact is that aside from any underground, tragically hip arena for artists in town the web is the best way to start gaining more mainstream exposure.
RR and Blue are in tune with this idea, embrace it, and are becoming more well known and respected because of it. Most paper-based media doesn't offer such an opportunity and television is pretty much non-existent here. The web is the great equalizer and these two artists in particular are keen to use it wisely.

I'm proud of how FeedTacoma has been able to help especially in the case of RR Anderson. Having a venue for him to express his ideas in the form of the weekly Tacomic has helped him go from the fringe to an audience that genuinely respects his work and talent. Any artist is welcome to these opportunities since especially this site is wide open to embrace sharing that kind of talent.

by FunkomaVintage on 1/19/2008 @ 11:28am
Yes, Kevin is right. For instance,poet/writers Amelia Haller, David Fewster..........and I claim Richard Brautigan for Tacoma, but not Jim Carrey. But that's the way I am.
There have been art galleries/museums in Tacoma for decades. It was not just invented 5 years ago. and art activities also. Art has just become cool, hip and semi-faddish. hooooray. and the latest way to revitalize a decayed city is to add Art. It comes in a kit.
art happens because you are powerless to not make art. It happens with/without an audience...........and that my friends, was art. did you catch it? ;-)

by Erik on 1/19/2008 @ 1:53pm
The fact is that aside from any underground, tragically hip arena for artists in town the web is the best way to start gaining more mainstream exposure.

Yep. My post was certainly internet centric.

However, it is becoming more and more the way people are getting their information, and their art. If not their art directly, they are learning about art shows through the internet in some fashion.

One of the problems for an artist or any entertainer is, especially in Tacoma, is that it is hard to get your work out for alot of people to see.

With so much of the physical structure of Tacoma still shambles, the internet is playing a large role in connecting people.

by Erik on 1/19/2008 @ 2:19pm
hardly taking tacoma by storm, on feedtacoma it might look that way though.

They both have a surprisingly large portfolio of work in various mediums.

Pre-Tacomic, RR's WSHM wall piece was the rage of the online and (non-virtual) print media. Alot of people saw the below photo shop piece. His infamous moat comment made it to the front of the TNT.

by Erik on 1/19/2008 @ 2:20pm

by NineInchNachos on 1/19/2008 @ 3:29pm
Thank you for the kind words. I however am not a hero. I'm just a guy. I put my pant on one leg at a time just like anybody else.

I cannot speak for Mr. Blue, but I think the real point we're trying to make is that the real magic is in you--dear reader.

by Erik on 1/20/2008 @ 12:16pm
I cannot speak for Mr. Blue, but I think the real point we're trying to make is that the real magic is in you--dear reader

That's good. I knew Mofo wanted to know your philosophy of life pretty badly.

I had thought the distilled version of your view of life was going to be something like nothing = nothing. Or maybe it is.

by Daniel Blue on 1/20/2008 @ 1:23pm
You can speak for me mr. nachos. as long as you draw a handsome picture of me doing something dangerous, i dont care what you make me say.

i do however sometimes place my pants on the floor in such a way that i can hop in with both feet and pull them on TWO LEGS AT A TIME!

by AP on 1/20/2008 @ 4:16pm
Always 2 legs at a time for me.

by TacomaGnome on 1/20/2008 @ 6:13pm
I am not magical like mr. blue, nor a powerhouse like NineInchNachos' master.

I can tell you this ... your city is richer, fuller a safer place because of their grounded-growing-Tacoma-centric approach to arts.

Thank you, gentlemen.

by NineInchNachos on 1/20/2008 @ 6:21pm
dont forget "Results-Oriented" ! :)

by Erik on 1/20/2008 @ 6:38pm
I can tell you this ... your city is richer, fuller a safer place because of their grounded-growing-Tacoma-centric approach to arts.

Thanks Tacoma Gnome. You are sure able to extract alot of good information from your interviews.

This is one of the best thread ever on the Urbanist. So many words of wisdom from the urban artists and prophets of Tacoma. Perhaps some day Gnome you will come visit the Urbanist.

by NineInchNachos on 1/20/2008 @ 7:19pm
see if you can hold out for a Tagro hat Erik. The gnome's got connectionZ!

by Erik Hanberg on 1/20/2008 @ 8:10pm
I have a Tagro Frisbee, but I didn't get it from the Gnome. Still, a Frisbee's a Frisbee.

by KevinFreitas on 1/20/2008 @ 8:30pm
Do gnomes dispense gifts? Man, I missed out! ;)

I'm glad this thread is a busy one. There are a million different topics regarding the arts that could be discussed. I'm sure if our local art community was any kind of paltry we wouldn't even have a reason to talk. Hazzah for all our local artists and here's to the web helping push them to great new heights!

by TacomaGnome on 1/20/2008 @ 9:24pm
I apologize Mr. NineInchNachos, that is a regrettable mistake in leaving out the official buzz words of today's business-controlled world.

I should have said:
"well grounded-growing-Tacoma-centric-goal-orientated-
approach to the arts"

Mr. Erik, That would be enjoyable. I'll research some questions for our community urbanist.

Mr. Freitas, my connections at the time of your interview were not as solid, it was formulated when I worked for the city. I apologize for not having that ability when we met. Though I enjoyed your bamboo. And I believe the photo of me and you working on the feed is a classic shot.

Humbly humbled,

by Voronoff-the-Ghost-Critic on 3/4/2008 @ 10:46am
Tacoma needs more heros.
Sorry RR and Blue, but you must accept the fact that you are the only ones on the radar at this time.
This city is certainly a blank canvas tho,,,,
there is much work to be done,
much ground still to be covered....

by NineInchNachos on 3/4/2008 @ 10:59am
I'm only in it for the money. and the babes. Also I'm no hero. I can take you as far as Alderaan, but that's it.

by izenmania on 3/4/2008 @ 11:27am
What if it got blowed up?

Rcapitalist Rpig Anderson strikes again!

by Voronoff-the-Ghost-Critic on 3/4/2008 @ 1:22pm
sorry you don't get to decide if you're a hero or not.
others see you that way, just say thanks and keep being a bohemian revolutionary.

by joel413 on 5/16/2008 @ 7:58am
"I want to go to the crappy little town where I'm a hero!"
- Hoban "Wash" Washburne

by Erik on 4/19/2010 @ 10:51pm
With Daniel Blue having left Tacoma, RR Anderson takes up modeling:


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 4/19/2010 @ 11:36pm
I'll start to worry if RR does something magical with the numbers 2-5-3. Perhaps turn them into an iconic emblem for Tacoma in some way that captures the imagination of young and old alike. We know what happens to people like that, they get pushed away and write songs about being pushed away.

by NineInchNachos on 4/19/2010 @ 11:53pm
Daniel Who?

by Voronoff on 4/20/2010 @ 12:48am
R.R., you are the last man standing.
May you carry the torch far into the future.

by NineInchNachos on 4/20/2010 @ 1:08am
i'd rather live on my feet than die on my knees.