You walk into a cavernous warehouse space. Huge, strong, dramatic carved-wood panels, obelisks, and metal sculptures with sweeping curves dominate the large space. Images of boats are everywhere…
The building at 1424 10th Avenue was constructed in 1902 as a garlic processing plant. Garlic was hoisted on racks to dry in the upper reaches (like the flies of a theater), packed, and, as time went on,
sent by the Pike Street trolley down to the new Pike Place Market.
Later the building became a car repair garage, with floors of auto parts and grime everywhere.
It had been abandoned for several years when sculptor Steve Jensen found it, in the early 1980s. He climbed up the fire-escape and in through a broken window, and knew this was the place.
After 2 ½ years and a vast amount of work, the space from top to bottom was totally reconfigured and renovated. Ever since. it has been the studio, office, and home of Steve Jensen, and the abode more recently of his partner, personal and business, Vincent Lipe.

The ground floor still is a clearly working studio, a place where art is made by hand and torch and chisel. Even tonight, despite the overlay of auction items, the clink of glasses, and the hum of conversation from a hundred party-dressed Whim W’Him supporters, its working identity shows through.

Surreptitiously you glance into shadowy back rooms and wonder.
Where on earth are they going to serve food to this many people?
A narrow stairway leads to a sort of loft-mezzanine. Could it be up there?

Items are commented on and coveted—paintings, photographs, and clothing hand-crafted by Northwest artists; services and events. There is a flurry of last-minute bidding. Then part one of the second annual Out on a Whim is over. The silent auction closes.

The crowd moves toward the stairs and up. Where are we going? Past the mezzanine— nope, that’s just dim, cluttered offices. So where?

Up, up another flight, and a fabulous apartment opens out. Marble floors, white walls covered in extraordinary art.
You feel as if you’ve just stepped out of the cyclone-borne house into Oz or through the door into the secret garden.

You join in to taste the luscious delicacies concocted by Chef Willie Williamson. Soft music plays on a grand piano painted black and white in Steve Jensen’s characteristic whorls. Wine flows. Laughter and conversation bubble up among the guests.

A couple of hours pass like a moment, and suddenly everyone troops down those narrow stairs to find the studio below transformed once again, this time into a dance floor with a live DJ. Projected onto the walls is video—from the latest rehearsals—of powerful new works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Olivier Wevers, slated for premiere in their entirety in January 2011 at Intiman Theater.

If you haven’t bought your ticket yet to this magical event, click here:
Whim W’Him and do it now! You’ll kick yourself afterward if you don’t—this is an occasion not to be missed…
Watch for posts soon on—
  • Out on a Whim auction party, with photos of Steve Jensen & Vincent Lipe‘s fabulous studio/apartment
  • Annabelle Lopez Ochoa‘s latest rehearsals
  • the progress of Olivier Wevers‘s Monster
  • and more…