Celebrating a Life

Kathryn Rathke is tasked with creating portraits to celebrate the life of a man well-known and cherished within the Seattle cultural community.

Kathyrn was told that the portrait needed to be both recognisable and scalable, as the beloved friend adored merch and there would be a plethora of it at the event: T-shirts, hats, silk-screened totes, magnets and stickers.

Her first objective was to capture his likeness in a joyful and representative manner so a 'committee' of dear friends provided their input. She had two approaches to his face: the young, robust fellow remembered by most of his college buddies, and the more mature, wisened face with which she was more familiar. His hair was a particular focus: "wilder!" his wife kept insisting; "it was always a mess!"

Ultimately, they selected a few versions for different uses: a slightly older version with untamed hair, the happy younger version in his ever-present baseball cap, and a third, bolder and more streamlined version suitable for embroidery on the baseball caps. He was also well-known for his mantra, "be kind."

Kathryn was absolutely delighted by the way his friends embraced the merch approach; everyone wanted a remembrance of this fine man. Some delightful surprises included: bags silk-screened on-site, tissues (much needed), and bags of peanuts thrown out into the crowd while a member of Pearl Jam played the Star-Spangled Banner.

Kathryn felt immensely grateful to have been a part of this extraordinarily sad yet joyful celebration.

black and white
kathryn rathke

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