From the Archives & Special Collections: Local Conditions: One Hundred Views of Mount Rainier (At Least)

We recently acquired Local Conditions: One Hundred Views of Mount Rainier (At Least), a stunning artist book by Chandler O’Leary, a Tacoma-based illustrator, letterer, and entrepreneur. O’Leary was inspired by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and his collections of woodblock prints from the mid-1800s titled Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji and One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji. Just like Mount Fuji, Mount Rainier is part of the Ring of Fire, and both Hokusai and O’Leary were drawn to their local volcanoes. Unlike Hokusai, who saw Mount Fuji as eternal and immortal, O’Leary sees Mount Rainier as impermanent and ever-changing. Through her series of prints, she sought to capture 100 unique views of Mount Rainier, observed over a two-year period from September 2008 to October 2010. The book contains 120 image flats that make up all of the 100 real-life scenes, and can be combined in new ways to create new views of Mount Rainier.

Each scene consists of two to four flats, which are hand-drawn, painted, and cut by the artist. While the background flats are solid, the others have cut-outs, so that they can all be seen together to complete the scene. The flats are inserted in slots in the Viewing Box, which can hold up to eight flats at a time. In order to determine which flats belong in a scene, O’Leary includes a color code at the bottom of each flat, along with a Locator Key that contains the location, date, time, and weather for each observed scene. To learn more about how the book works, visit the Archives & Special Collections or take a look at O’Leary’s blog post about it.

The Archives & Special Collections is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM or by appointment.

By Julia Masur

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