John Grade on the Creative Process

On October 19th, the Seattle Curvejump community gathered in the studio of renowned artist John Grade for a special dinner prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Matt Dillon.

We talked with John about his work, upcoming projects, and the creative process behind massive installations like Middle Fork.  Chef Matt Dillon prepared a multi-course meal with ingredients from his own Old Chaser Farm, near Seattle on Vashon Island.

Here are some highlights from our discussion:

  • Starting on a path where the outcome is not totally clear, in art or business, opens up expansive possibilities.  John shared that as an artist, he's most comfortable working on a project where the end point is not completely defined.


  • Constraints help creativity thrive.  Chef Matt Dillon shared that he often builds a meal around the limitations of a few seasonal, available ingredients.


  • Business and social innovation abounds in the art world.  John's work captured a social element early on, using teams of hundreds of volunteers to help create large scale installations.  His team often rents the sculptures to museums instead of selling - creating a win-win as museums are designed to change regularly.
Megan Beck