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Hypercolor Fantasy

Photo by Lauren Max

Adam Heimstadt likes his look loud, bright and dramatic.

WHO Adam Heimstadt, the 43-year-old artist, founder and owner at Unicorn & Narwhal on Capitol Hill, and partner at Alaska Street Tattoo Parlour in West Seattle. Heimstadt grew up around Detroit and moved to Seattle 23 years ago as a restless teen chasing dreams of living on the West Coast. He landed a job canvassing door-to-door for Greenpeace. “I was pretty ‘green’ myself,” he says: “I hadn’t so much as taken a public bus in my life!”

THE LOOK “Carny-folk. New American folk art. I originally wanted to be a fashion designer before Unicorn came to fruition. These days I tend to wear lots of flowers. I love bright colors. You’re doing it right if your sunglasses match your shoes and your fancy hat.”

ICONS “David Bowie for his energy and fast-forwardness. Mark Ryden for his imagination, execution and skill. The ’80s have been a big influence on me this year. Local bud Casey Weldon ’cause I love that dude’s art and he’s got a heart of gold. The quilters of the world blow my mind: quilt, needlework and blackwork are the majority of what I paint these days. Colors lately all come in neon.”

UP NEXT Heimstadt has been scheming and navigating the real estate market for a Unicorn 2.0; he cites listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack “5K times” as one source of inspiration for the iconic, eclectic, bauble-laden bar he has in mind. Though it sounds nearly impossible, he promises the next Unicorn will be even more “like a piece of working art” than the current fantastical, hypercolor showstopper.

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