Friday, October 10, 2014

Heather and Jon Almeda at Mod Curio

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 9, 2014

I was visiting Lisa Kinoshita at Moss + Mineral and she said I absolutely had to visit the new shop next door, Mod Curio. She said they had some cool stuff, and boy-oh-boy was she ever right about that.

The new shop, which opened for Art Walk Sept. 18, is run by the husband-and-wife team of artists Heather and Jon Almeda. Both are artists, and the classy little shop is tastefully filled with their unique art. Since the work is mostly functional and decorative — Heather’s photographs being the exception —I would say “arts and crafts” or simply “crafts,” but the inventiveness and style of their pieces warrant the term “art.”

Let’s start with the radios. A shelf along the back wall is lined with them. These are not really radios, they are CD players in radio shells. Jon has gutted classic radios from the 1950s and ‘60s and turned them into players with speakers on the back. From the front they appear to be antique radios, but the sound quality is anything but antique. There is an elegance to the way they are displayed that remind me of commercial objects as displayed by Jeff Koons. Like Koons and Warhol before him, and Duchamp before him, Almeda has elevated a common everyday item to the level of art.

He has done something similar with common pottery by creating thumb-sized pots thrown on a wheel in the traditional manner. The business cards he has created for these say “Size Does Matter,” and it does. The pots are traditional and no different than thousands of others except for the size. They have to be seen to be believed.

And then there are the sculpted cardboard guitars and cameras. These are pure pop art. Life size replicas of guitars and old box cameras.

In their “day job” — as if making all of this stuff and running a store were not enough to qualify as full-time employment the Almedas do commercial wedding photography. Heather recently attended a photography workshop in New Orleans and returned home to Tacoma with some outstanding urban scene photography, many examples of which are displayed in the shop.

They will take part in the next Thursday Art Walk. Be sure to stop by. Or anytime you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. And while you’re there, visit Moss + Mineral. These two shops make that block of 9th street something fabulous.

Mod Curio, Heather & Jon Almeda, Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m., through Oct. 31, 313 S. 9t St., Tacoma, 253.720.4899,

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