Redmond Central Connector artist to highlight city’s natural environment, tech industry

One of the aspects John Fleming enjoys about his career is working with the natural environment. And now that he has been selected as the artist for the Redmond Central Connector (RCC), he will be in charge of making sure nature shines bright throughout the visionary project.

Seattle-based John Fleming has been selected as the artist for the Redmond Central Connector. He was selected from about 30 artists nationwide and will work with the design team on integrating art throughout the park as well as create a piece to be installed somewhere along the trail.

Seattle-based John Fleming has been selected as the artist for the Redmond Central Connector. He was selected from about 30 artists nationwide and will work with the design team on integrating art throughout the park as well as create a piece to be installed somewhere along the trail.

One of the aspects John Fleming enjoys about his career is working with the natural environment. And now that he has been selected as the artist for the Redmond Central Connector (RCC), he will be in charge of making sure nature shines bright throughout the visionary project.

The 20-year Seattle resident was one of about 30 artists nationwide who applied for the position when the City of Redmond put out its call for artists for the linear RCC park, which will begin construction next year and run along the Redmond-owned portion of the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail corridor.

Fleming said he first heard about the call through the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. He had applied to be the artist for an art installation along the Burke-Gilman Trail, but was not selected. Following the selection process, someone with the Seattle office told him about the RCC project.

“It seemed right up my alley with some other projects I’ve done,” Fleming said.

One of the things that drew him to the project was the fact that he would be able to use salvaged rails, tracks and other hardware.

“I like working with recycled materials,” Fleming said. “(Using the old hardware) was another thing that seemed to click with my past work.”

His past work has been on display in throughout the country and world, but a lot of it has also been in the Seattle area, including Grass Blades at Seattle Center (left).

Originally from New Mexico, Fleming said his work is influenced by earth art, which links the natural landscape with a piece of art. And it was this influence that helped him stand out to the selection panel for the RCC project.

Guy Michaelsen of the Berger Partnership, the Seattle-based landscape architecture firm leading the design team, said one of the things that struck them about Fleming’s work was how closely tied his pieces were to their locations.

Although Fleming lives in the Pacific Northwest, Michaelsen said this was not a factor in the selection process because his pieces are at home in their place anywhere, from the greater Seattle area, to out of state, to out of the country.

“It so looks like it belongs there,” Michaelsen said. “His work was just inseparable from the places they were in.”

During the selection process, which began in September, Fleming was one of three artists who were selected for interviews in mid-October. He said the other two artists were from out of state.

The interview included a presentation, site visit and workshop with city staff.

Fleming said his role in the RCC project is two-fold: The first is working with the design team on integrating art throughout the park. The second is creating a piece that will be placed somewhere along the trail.

With the former, Michaelsen said Fleming’s background in architecture helps because he understands how to create space and can quickly take artistic concepts and put them in a physical form. Michaelsen added that the line between his and his team’s role and Fleming’s role is blurred.

“We’re kind of finishing each other’s sentences, which is kind of neat,” Michaelsen said. “He speaks our language.”

With the commissioned piece for the park, Fleming said he wants to combine Redmond’s natural environment and the old railroad materials with a technological aspect that would reflect that part of the community.

“Redmond has a very young, tech-savvy population,” he said.

Fleming said he’s not sure what this will mean yet, but he is excited to work with the community and see what will happen. However, one thing he said he wants from the piece is that it be interactive.

“It engages you,” he said. “You become a part in the artwork itself.”

For more information about Fleming and examples of his work, visit http://johnflemingartist.com.


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