There is no escaping the modern-day state of South Lake Union. Cars fill every lane, cranes hover high and construction wraps around street corners. When construction is complete, the once low-lying industrial neighborhood will be replaced by skyscrapers en masse, according to a recent Crosscut article. Two 25- and 26-story residential buildings are already approved for construction, with another 11 on the way -- six of which will stand more than 40 stories tall.
In the face of such growth, Seattle’s independent culture becomes increasingly vulnerable, as mom-and-pop restaurants close doors to make way for condos, and construction paves way for large-scale developments.
Local painter, Peter Robinson (who goes by the artist name Ten Hundred), hopes to help keep that culture alive with new public art in this neighborhood brimming with change.
“The World Inside My Head,” is an imaginative mural of colors and characters on the corner of Dexter avenue and Thomas street in SLU. What Robinson calls his “love letter to the artistic spirit of Seattle,” the artwork stands street-level with construction, bright among the steel surrounds.
"The World Inside My Head," on the corner of South Lake Union's Dexter avenue and Thomas street
The project is a collaboration between Robinson, cannabis-infused edibles maker Botanica Seattle, and Chase Jarvis and CreativeLive, an educational resource helping empower creatives to leverage their trade. Lena Davidson, director of sales and marketing at Botanica Seattle, was inspired by Robinson’s story of overcoming addiction to achieve success with his art. Noticing the lack of positive messaging surrounding kids' now legal choice to use marijuana once they turn 21, Davidson wanted to create a video using Ten Hundred's mural as a vessel to convey this message.
While the project started with an aim towards kids, the meaning behind the artwork holds a universal message. "The World Inside My Head" is about not being afraid of your own vision, Robinson says. “Everyone has a unique voice, just let it out, share it with the world. Be imaginative. Be creative.”
The wall on which the mural was painted is part of the CreativeLive studio exterior and was donated by Chase Jarvis and the CreativeLive team. The mural similarly represents the CreativeLive vision; the studio takes creative professionals at the height of their career and broadcasts them to millions of people, giving them the tools and permission to explore their craft.
The bright, wonder-inducing imagery of “The World Inside My Head” is characteristic of Ten Hundred’s art, and that is just what he intends. When driving south on Dexter, like so many do daily in SLU, Robinson’s art is a visual reminder to pull the onlooker out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.
“I don’t think there’s enough wonder in the world,” he says. “I’ll let other people do the dark stuff and the heavy stuff...Me, I just want to be joyful.”
Robinson said this independent art culture is what drew him to Seattle 10 years ago, a characteristic he hopes far outlives the current state of change.