It’s a rainy December day and Seattle artist Vivian Li is guiding us to her small studio inside one of the towers on the Fremont Bridge. To get here, we’ve had to pass the mechanical guts of the 117-year-old bridge that have just settled down after opening for a passing boat. It was a little freaky.
In this 15-year-old initiative, SDOT grants local artists $10,000 to work onsite and create special projects inspired by Seattle’s most iconic drawbridges. Past artists have created everything from graphic novels to lighting installations to musical compositions.
This time around, Li and Mariah Vicary — who is stationed at the University Bridge — created data visualizations drawn from their unique experiences.
Li, with her background as a comic artist, used the bridge to conduct hands-on research two days a week, September through December. During that time, she tallied the number of people who crossed the bridge and boats that passed below. She also asked locals to choose a mascot for the bridge — a troll, perhaps?
“I feel like there’s more culture on the Fremont Bridge than the other bridges around Seattle,” she said, noting that she received lots of waves and curious looks from pedestrians. ”People are very attached to it.”
See the results
The fruits of Li’s labor is a series of whimsical illustrations + graphs. Vicary created interactive, digital representations of the local aquatic wildlife that users can explore with video game controllers to see firsthand how the bridge interacts with our environment.
You can see the both artists’ works in a free gallery show at King Street Station from Feb. 1 through Feb. 10. where they’ll be on handto answer any questions.