Matter Gallery is haunted

Devil Pat Tassoni will beam into the downtown Olympia space

By Molly Gilmore on October 27, 2014

Olympia artist Pat Tassoni works on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

"My home office is a spaceship," says the artist, whose full-size command center - built completely from repurposed materials - will be on display Friday night at Matter Gallery's first Halloween celebration.

And that's not even the strangest part of Tassoni's Olympia home.

You might say he lives in hell - as his living room décor includes three-foot-tall red letters that he switches out to spell either "EVIL" or "HELL."

The "HELL" letters will also be at Matter on Friday, along with a wide array of spooky art and the devil himself - played, natch, by Tassoni.

The idea is to offer some cool photo opportunities. You're all dressed up, anyway, maybe attending Night of the Living Tribute Bands at the Capitol Theater. Why not stop in around the corner and take a selfie with the devil or at the gates of hell - or, of course, one of yourself in Captain Kirk's chair? (The chair, incidentally, is more decorative than useful. "It's not really good for sitting at the computer," Tassoni says. "Kirk never had a computer.")

The event will also include lots of scary art, much of it made by the gallery's artist-owners and all of it made from recycled, repurposed and reused materials. (The letters once labeled the now-closed Dollar Store, and the bridge was made from car bumpers, a futon frame and more.)

"We have some creepy or dark art down at the gallery, and Halloween is an opportunity for people to go through and be like, ‘I could see how this is a little weird,'" says Tassoni, whose lamps inspired by the Space Needle and UFOs are sold at the gallery. "It's a chance for people who are familiar with the gallery to see it in a different light."

Before Matter opened five years ago, turning found materials into sci-fi art was just a hobby for Tassoni, who admits he loves all things space-related.

These days, those who might define him as the guy who makes the Space Needle lamps aren't far off. "I'm like a space-age artist, I guess, a spacey artist," he says.

And his home definitely reflects it.

"It's kind of a strange museum of me," he says. "I just have weird stuff."

The office includes a display of ray guns he made, some of which he'll show at the gallery Friday. In his bedroom is a wall of TVs - "cool TVs, you know, from the '60s," he says.

And in the hallway is a Tardis, the phone-booth time machine used by Dr. Who. "It's just a doorway into my workshop, but as Dr. Who says, ‘It's much bigger on the inside.'"

"Then I have a Space Needle room," he says. "I have floor to ceiling pictures of the Space Needle and probably about 30 or 40 architectural structures of the Space Needle, most of which I made."

"I'm still working on the bathroom," he adds. "I haven't figured out what I want to do with that."

When people ask to see his home, Tassoni says he threatens to charge admission. "I usually don't follow up on it if they don't voluntarily give it," he says.

Asked if anyone else had lived in the home/museum, he says, "No one that has lived to testify.

"I'm a single adult American male nerd redecorating my place in my own weird way," he adds.

MATTER GALLERY IS HAUNTED, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, Matter Gallery, 422 Washington St. SE, Olympia, $3 per soul or $5 per pair, 360.943.1760 or matteroly.com