State of Grace – Volume 1 Issue 5 – Creative Portland 2016

First An


In This Issue:

Where Have All The Artists Gone: A note about Portlanders losing their shit and why it’s all going to be ok. 

Creative Portland 2016 Round Up: Interviews with real live creatives still doing their thing in Portland.

The Creative Portland 2016 After Party: You can’t have a fancy photoshoot without a party to follow it up.


Where Have All The Artists Gone?

wherehavealltheartistsgone

The Mercury, Willamette Week and OPB are all sounding the alarms- Portland is losing is creative lifeblood at unprecedented rates. Rising rents and tech bros are shoving the painters and writers and musicians out, paving the way for the “Silicon Forest”. To the dismay of natives and less recent transplants, it seems like the city is hemorrhaging talent. The comedians are leaving; the old guard musicians are protecting their living rooms with axes, and the artists are being unceremoniously dumped out of their low rent studios in favor of high-rise condos. Amid calls to “Make Portland Shitty Again” and crowdfunding campaigns aimed at tossing out the dread Californians, I wonder sometimes if they are right.

I cannot claim I have been immune to the mini-nationalist feelings overcoming many Portlanders- condemning the Californians for ruining our fair city, nevermind that I am one of them (but seriously dudes, please do update your plates, you’re making the rest of us look bad). We love to sound alarms. We like to sit with our fear sometimes- it’s comforting, like a bristly little lapdog that doesn’t like anyone but us.

There is no denying that Portland is changing at a fast clip. It is changing just as the rest of the country is changing- most of us are navigating our way out of one of the largest financial calamities to happen in our lifetimes. We are dealing with city zoning policies that were written before the drought in California made this Pacific Wonderland a fine proposition for thousands of its water starved residents, and countless others from across our nation who saw a spark of something beautiful here.

Portland is going through some intense growing pains- that is certain. That doesn’t mean that wonderful things can’t come out of this growth spurt. In this issue of State of Grace, I want to highlight the bright sparks I see in Portland now. The creatives are far from gone- who we are is just changing.

In honor of the creatives who are still hanging in, I present the First Annual Creative Portland Issue, celebrating a diverse group of fantastically talented folks that call the Rose City home. This is only one small cross section of a huge number of writers, painters, artisans and designers who are still surviving and thriving here. There is hope for us all yet.


Creative Portland 2016 Round Up

creative-roundup

I sent 9 fabulous people several questions and asked them to pick 3 to answer. I was pleasantly surprised at the open and raw answers I received back, I was also happy to laugh out loud at a few of them. I of course also shamelessly threw myself into this to make it an even 10.

sara2Sara Thomas, Ad Copywriter for Cash, Creative Writer for Fun

What did you want to do when you grew up?

Astronaut. Then veterinarian. Then marine biologist. Finally someone told me you needed to be good at math to do all of those things and I am very much not good at math so my dreams were crushed. FUN TIMES. BUT I can write sorta good so here I am, decidedly NOT in space. FUCK YOU, MATH.

What is your biggest fear as a creative?

Writing ad copy happens in such a defined space–reach X people using Y strategy. Those guidelines provide a degree of safety/comfort that just isn’t there when it comes to creative writing.When you take away that safety net shit gets real spooky real fast. You’ve got a hundred different worries in your head: is this boring? Is this hack? Has this already been done… but BETTER? It can be intimidating as hell to try and write something worth reading, but on the other hand it’s usually more fun than writing radio scripts.

What is your dream job/commission/assignment?

All-fart-joke stand-up comedian. Staff writer for Difficult People. The person that mists Chris Pine with a spray bottle when he needs to glisten with fake sweat.

 All of a sudden, we’ve flashed back 100 years, what would you be doing in 1916? Riding around on a scooter, kicking ass in the name of women’s suffrage. http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/autoped-was-worlds-first-scooter.html

marieMarie Castorini, painter

 What is the strangest thing you’ve been hired to do related to your creative medium?

The strangest painting I’ve been commissioned to do was for an Italian family I nannied for. The mom took a photo of her 5 and 9 year old sons in very sincere “macho” poses with their shirts unbuttoned and bought me a 4’x5′ canvas to paint it on for their living room. I love doing brooding portraits but that felt a little silly.

Why do you create what you do?

I paint portraits because I enjoy exploring the concept of identity. I have always been inspired by unconventional forms of self expression and how gender is performed. I like to reevaluate what those things mean to me and feel each piece is a self portrait in some sense.

What is your dream job/commission/assignment?

My dream project would be to make elaborate, high-concept costumes for stage. I have always loved musicals, drag and burlesque and would love to create over-the-top couture pieces that have an element of humor to them.

madisonMadison Russel, animator & illustrator

Tell me in a tweet why your medium matters to you:

I love the frantically meditative process of animation. Creating beautiful, moving stories from paper, pencil, and ink is my favorite thing.

What is your spirit animal?

I’ve always been a big fan of Sagittarius Serpentarius, or the secretary bird, not only because its extremely cool scientific name includes my astrological sign, but because it makes a pale face and red rings around the eyes look fabulous. Also, besides being gorgeous, secretary birds are awkward and sometimes a little klutzy, and I can relate to that.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

When I was in sixth grade I spent hours and hours copying all of Glen Keane’s Tarzan drawings before I had any idea who Glen Keane was, so I suppose it’s no surprise that I became an animator. This followed many years of wanting to be Jim Carrey when I grew up.

You can see Madison’s work here.

karen2Karen Martwick, editor

What work are you most proud of?

TravelPortland.com and Travel Portland magazine.

What is your dream job/commission/assignment?

I’ve always dreamed of one day editing in Spanish, preferably in Spain. I’d need to build my language skills significantly to make it happen — but moving to Spain would help a lot!

What did you want to do when you grew up?

First a teacher, then a magazine editor.

kenKenneth Gordon, Writer

Why do you create what you do?

I write scripts because story is how I interface with the world, so it is the best way I can contribute and create change. My drive is to innovate within the collaborative visual media (film, comics, TV, video games, and theatre), whether it be to delve deeper into a given genre or to re-frame how a given demographic is portrayed.

What is your dream job/commission/assignment?

One dream of mine is to helm large-scale collaboration between the animation and comic industries of Japan and the USA.  

What is your spirit animal?

One spirit animal that’s particularly dear to me is the penguin. Besides being awesome, I see penguins as apt representations of the often invisible creative process. They do not soar in the sky or run fast on land like other birds, but instead they are masters of the subconscious depths of the ocean. They posses great patience and sense of community, which is so important for creative individuals to harness.

brianBrian Joines, Writer

What work are you most proud of?

Probably IMAGINE AGENTS.  I feel like that book really represented a lot of who I truly am as a writer/person, beneath the tectonic plates of sarcasm I usually wear. 

What is your dream job/commission/assignment?

Yikes…there are so many properties/characters I’d like to get my hands on, or ideas I’d love to have an opportunity to explore.  For the sake of this, let’s say THE DOOM PATROL.

All of a sudden, we’ve flashed back 100 years, what would you be doing in 1916?

Ideally, writing for the pulps.  Realistically, probably lashing out in a syphilitic rage.

Brian tweets thing here.

graceGrace Anderson, Illustrator & Designer 

What is your biggest fear as a creative?

Doing it wrong. I’m always a little nervous that I’ve completely misunderstood the brief, or perhaps I’m the only one that thinks it looks good- I’m very nervous that somehow I have some blinders on and can’t see some glaringly obvious problems in my work.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

I definitely wanted to be a mermaid for a good chunk of kindergarten, but mostly I think I’ve just wanted to do what I do now, which is really lucky. I remember getting a book on Toulouse Lautrec as a kid and reading about how he had to fight his wealthy parents to allow him to be an artist- I felt very fortunate even then that I knew I would never have to have that fight. My entire family is made up of creatives of some sort, so it was never even taboo to think I could make a living off my art- my grandparents did it, my dad did and does do that. It’s a lucky thing to be an artist and be able to figure out how those before you did it and trust that it will work out.

tabithaTabitha Donaghue, Writer & Jack of Several Creative Trades

Tell me in a tweet why your medium matters to you:

Writing expels the carbon dioxide from my soul so the oxygen can rush in

What is the strangest thing you’ve been hired to do related to your creative medium?
Once I made a line of nerd themed underwear called Galactic Understatement. I just hand painted nerdy things on them, like ‘aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper,’ and pacman with ghosts. Nobody hired me to do it, but I was astounded by how many people are willing to buy cute (new!) handpainted underwear from someone sitting on the sidewalk at Last Thursday.

What work are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the short stories that gush spontaneously, entire and finished even as they emerge for the first time, that somehow sometimes strike me like lightning from a small concept or flash of inspiration. My favorite is always the last one that happened.

Also I really damn love those murals I left outside my windows in San Francisco.

What work are you least proud of?
I guess I have issues. I couldn’t think of anything here. There is a lot of stuff I’ve done that turned out unyieldingly crap and I just got rid of it after a decent mourning period…but all of it was and continues to be important to my development and finger reaching as a maker and a human. I’m a firm believer in failing until you get it the way you want it or until you fling it against the wall and leave it forever.

Tabitha writes here.

mckenzieMcKenzie Baird, Architect In Training

Tell me in a tweet why your medium matters to you:
Everyone deserves great design.

Why do you create what you do?
My work methodologies are underpinned by a broad and evolving set of ethics. I strive to understand the existing physical and social context of the project and create a space that responds to those conditions in a way that is simple, yet unexpected. I want my architecture to empower those that inhabit it, to be flexible to their needs and evolve over time.

What is your biggest fear as a creative?
My perfectionism.

clarkClark Young, Leather Worker & Man of Mystery

Clark is the creative mind behind Corvid Designwerks, his interview will be updated very soon.

I’ll just fill this space here until then.

And here too.

So hopefully it all aligns right.

Until I can fill this in. It’ll be worth the wait, I promise.

 


The Creative Portland 2016 After Party

This whole exercise began as an excuse for me to invite people to get dressed up and eat many different cheeses together- I truly am a master of justification. Also, you can’t ask a bunch of people to sweat it out in gowns and suits for some photos without feeding them, that’s really why people hate courthouse weddings, after all.

Many different cheeses!
Trader Joe's finest.
Trader Joe’s finest.
More cheeses!
More cheeses!
This was supposed to be a cannoli cheeseball. Cheese bowl worked fine.
This was supposed to be a cannoli cheeseball. Cheese bowl worked fine.

I am going to end this article with some advice you won’t regret taking:

Throw a party for people you like.

Go all out, just because.

Put on fancy clothes once in a while just because they make you feel good.

Don’t ever watch the new Point Break.

Lowlights!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 4


In This Issue:

You Can Be Anything! Screw Society’s Standards!  Cover.

Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple! Thoughts on a recent commission.

I Wanna Be Your Dog – What’s Wrong With This Picture? A scene with the New York Dogs.


Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple!

ganderson-napoleon

I recently had the pleasure of working on a personal commission that brought together my love of classical art, and my enjoyment of silly juxtaposition. A modern take on the ultimate Dude-Bro, Napoleon.


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

newyorkdogs

Give me your guesses in the comments.

Dirt Bikes, Markers & Bridges, Oh my!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 3


In This Issue:

  1. Markers, Helmets & Motorbikes: Essence of Dirt. I spent a day at this ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal, WA and got to pretend to be a super cool person for a day.
  2. The Actual Bridge of The People: Self Governed Sellwood Bridge. I commute over this sumbitch every day, I am unwisely going to share my tactics and observations for having a better commute out of far SE.
  3. Out on the Town with One-Liner! My little party game is getting brave and being played places other than my living room. Read on!

Essence of Dirt hosted by SoulCraft Moto
This is an actual thing that happened. Keep scrolling.

Last weekend I got the extreme pleasure of observing the fruits of my labor in action and watching badass ladies do even more badass things. Earlier this year I helped the genius behind SoulCraft Moto, Kandy Longstreet (pictured above) create some cool stuff (like hand lettered and illustrated posters and t-shirt designs) to advertise her ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal. When she invited me to join the campout armed with my box of sharpies, I knew I couldn’t resist.

essenceofdirt3
Cooler ladies than me about to hit the trails.

This was my third visit to Washougal, but this is the first time I felt a real palpable energy buzzing through the trees. As soon as I pulled off the road, I was surrounded by the sound of 2 strokes and 4 strokes whipping through the hillside, all around were about a hundred women in armor and helmets, looking like the coolest tribe from Mad Max.

essenceofdirt5
I can take credit for the poster and lettering on the sticker- but my favorite new cap was courtesy of Women’s Moto Exhibit.

Being around all these cool chicks on bikes made me giddy. I got myself set up in the mercifully shaded tent to draw on stuff (they were even more badass for being in the 90 degree weather in full armor). Seeing all kinds of stuff with the hand lettering I created stamped on it got me even more pumped- usually you send off your work for a job and maybe see it floating around in pictures on the web, this time I was surrounded by shirts and stickers and hoodies with my work on it-super surreal. The only thing that would have made it better was not having 2 broken toes, but I will ride next year!

Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.
Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.

Have I mentioned that Essence of Dirt took place on International Women’s Ride Day? So not only was I surrounded by over a hundred fearless women from all over the Pacific Northwest (even Canada!), but women all over the world were meeting to make some noise.

"How about something patriotic?"
“How about something patriotic?”
essenceofdirt2
“What have I got to lose? Draw on my bike!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hours flew by as I got to draw on weird stuff and hang out with the stellar women who made the whole event run so smoothly. I left Washougal that evening with my ears buzzing and a grin on my face- and I only got a small taste of the full campout. Next year I’m renting a bike.

Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.
Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.

self-wood

Last year saw the opening of Portland’s first pedestrian/mass transit only bridge, which has been dubbed “Tillikum Crossing: Bridge of the People”. I would like to argue that title however for the Sellwood bridge, which is currently a masterpiece of neighborly self governance. Having been in a state of constant construction for the past few years, and currently boasting no stoplight on the eastern entrance, it’s a bit of an obstacle course.

When I moved to Sellwood 2 months ago I ran into a morality crisis I had not had to navigate in the Alphabet District (where the moral crisis is whether or not to leave a note when you inevitably bump into 5,000 Subaru’s while trying to parallel park). I found that my commute could be cut down by an impressive 20 minutes, if I chose not to take the main street leading to the Sellwood Bridge in order to get to my job in the burbs. It felt wrong at first, to leave everyone else stranded on Tacoma while I whizzed down Miller (and by whiz I mean carefully meander in and out of parked cars so both lanes of traffic can actually get through, while also not running over the sweet but speedy and erratic Catholic school children on 15th).

selllwood-traffic

I’ve come to terms with this moral gray area by making a compromise- instead of being super greedy and taking the last street before the bridge, I enter the fray on 7th. I feel even better if I let someone in from the 6th intersection, and I feel like a goddamn superhero if I can let someone make a left turn onto the bridge from 6th. Remember that whole no stoplight thing? There aren’t even stop signs at 6th, so drivers who take the side streets really are at the mercy of all the patient/road ragey souls who have waited their turn on Tacoma.

tacoma-driver

I would like to take a moment now to apologize to everyone I commute with- I’m sure I just sold out our shortcut, fellow shortcut takers, and I’m sorry the folks on Tacoma haven’t figured this out already- but they’re probably from Milwaukie anyway, so whatever (I’m looking at you, Enoch).


The first prints!
The first prints!

International Table Top Game Day came and went a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to score a table for One-Liner! at our local game emporium, Guardian Games. Up til now, the game has only existed as my original drawings and digital copies that I sell here– for ITTGD I made the first printed copies ever. Not gonna lie, I might have teared up a little bit when I got handed the stacks of card stock with everything looking all profesh and shiny. This was after an entire week struggling with my outdated home printer and a head cold. The visit to a real printer was totally worth it.

one-liner-4

Guardian was packed to the gills with enthusiasts and game designers- it was great seeing so many people enjoying themselves and discovering new games! My favorite part was seeing what people came up with for the latest expansion, Nerds! I honestly don’t have captions in mind when I draw the cards, I still want it to be fun for me to play, so it’s fantastic when someone writes something totally unexpected and hilarious.

one-liner-1

IITGD was a great time, I loved seeing reactions to the game- its nice to have confirmation outside of my living room that people have fun with it! Since the outing at Guardian Games went so well, I decided to take it out for another test run (with my boyfriend and co-creator) at the weekly game night at My Father’s Place, which literally looks like someone’s dad’s basement bar from the 70s.

one-liner-6
The winner: “Every wedding has it’s oddball table.”

This time I left the table entirely- not gonna lie, I freaked out a little bit at leaving the cards behind. Luckily they were in good hands with our friend, I will never doubt him in the future. I was happy to hear that the game continued to be enjoyed for a few rounds, before a drunk lady crashed the party, as they do.

one-liner-5
Personal favorite caption for one of my favorite cards: “Only poor people hide their wealth in a mattress!”

It’s pretty scary bringing this game out in public and hoping people will like it- it feels a little bit like the first day of school, or going on stage for a talent show. So far so good, thanks for being nice to me Portland!

State Of Grace – Issue 1 Volume 1

State of Grace Issue 1 Volume 1

In This Issue:

  1. What is This: A short explanation of State of Grace.
  2. Becoming an Artist: How did this happen to me?
  3. A Life Well Curated: How to live your truth & look great while doing it.

What is This?

State of Grace is a mini-mag published biweekly(bimonthly, bi-yearly?), right here, for you, by me (Grace). My friend came up with the title in a fit of cleverness, and was banned to the pun porch for a few minutes before I realized it was great. The goal of State of Grace is to make you laugh, or chortle, or at go ‘huhm.. that’s.. funny.’, which I accept as an in person response and interpret as great praise. Each issue will be modeled on a different print publication- see if you can guess!

So, without further ado- issue 1, volume 1!


Becoming An Artist

Donner Party Cartoon Grace Anderson

People come to creative professions in many ways. What I find to be a super common and effective route is to be the kid the teachers are a little concerned about (but generally like); there is a fine line between being the artsy kid, and the scary kid. During your time as a budding artiste, your parents should get a lot of phone calls about ghosts in the bathroom, strange notions about something called a ‘leather bar’ in your latest storybook, and general looks of concern when all of your school projects could have been made by Wednesday Addams.


 

A Life Well Curated

(How To Live Your Truth & Look Great Doing It, Especially In Portland, Please don’t take this advice.)

Portland Living Grace Anderson

Over the years, I’ve lived in almost every major city on the West Coast. I partied in LA while being dangerously broke (the LA dream), I lived in a tiny studio apartment that left me dangerously broke in Silicon Valley (the second Silicon Valley dream, behind being rich). Now I’m working on living the Portland Dream- which from what I’ve read and observed means being painstakingly unique by means of ‘curation’. Just like every other good Californian who is absolutely ruining this area, I would like to share with you how you too can achieve this dream! I’ve included a handy photo guide, which you can add to your vision board while you work on living your truth.

  1. Begin at home: Everything must be arranged to be perfectly charming, but effortless at the same time. This actually takes a lot of effort, but it must only look effortless. I added the cat treats to let my friends know, “I’m human too, I also leave things around higgledy piggledy.” Some friends of mine intentionally leave their laundry on the floor to give the same effect, while other leave their lawns unmowed for months at a time. This is trademark Portland empathy.
  2. Treat your look like art: Living authentically means treating yourself like a precious work of art. Your look must speak to your divine truth- and be instagram worthy while you are walking along Mississippi Ave. Everyone knows Portlanders never carry umbrellas, so I have taken to wearing a shower cap on days with a more than 20% chance of rain. I see this as a pragmatic solution, with a fashionable twist (I’ve accessorized my shower cap with a dahlia, but have fun with this idea, make it your own)!
  3. Live like every day is field day: Portlanders love quirky sports. If you aren’t part of a sport typically associated with children or senior citizens, how can you let your inner child (or grandma) out to play? Keeping your inner child/grandma caged is cruel- that is why I take every chance I can to watch my friends play bocce ball- from the sidelines, just like I did as a kid.
  4. Leave no stone left un-curated: I tried to curate my cat, but she didn’t get it. That is ok because I am gentle with myself, and I don’t let others’ feelings warp my inner truth. If Leeloo doesn’t want to be curated… that’s just her authentic choice. 

 

One-Liner! Oh Man!

oneliner-cover

I am so excited to announce- I made a game! Like a real thing, that you can buy!

oneliner-12

The idea came from my lovely boyfriend, who is just a perfect enabler of my nonsense (and has amazing ideas that he is loathe to take credit for- I’m looking at you Clem!). It’s chock full of nonsense illustrations (my favorite kind), done in pen & ink.

oneliner-26

If you like cartoons, writing funny things, or making your friends laugh, you can check it out – email me for a review copy! 

Artisanal Hipster Bingo!

I had the good luck to visit with an old friend in Seattle last weekend who inspired a fun little project and pastime for our trip. He suggested we play Hipster Bingo, since his neighborhood is pretty much the hipster capitol of Seattle.

The original card- all marked up and folded and bent from being hastily shoved into and brought out of my purse. Victory was declared after a beet tattoo was spotted.
The original card- all marked up and folded and bent from being hastily shoved into and brought out of my purse. Victory was declared after a beet tattoo was spotted.

Things we learned while playing this game- Portland hipsters and Seattle hipsters are pretty different (we’re a little more crunchy in PDX, there was no chicken talk in Seattle, but lots of start up shirts). We also learned we are both way more hipstery than we’d like to admit. This was not a shock to my friends when I confessed this discovery.

It took us nearly 24 hours to complete the game- but we persevered (he was way more vigilant than me, I was too busy drinking delicious coffee or pondering how good mac and cheese is at Pike’s Place).

hipsterbingo-graceanderson

We had so much fun with this I thought I would share the game with you all, feel free to print this out, or if you’re feeling decorative about it, I’ve also posted it to my Society6 here.

Simple Pleasures


There isn’t much better and simpler pleasure for me than new art supplies. I decided to treat myself last night and I picked up a new bottle of ink, a travel water cup to clean my brushes (it’s so tiny!), and a couple of new brushes to be dedicated ink brushes. It might have been 10 years or so since I refreshed my little brushes- it was about time!


I had decided to break them in at one of my favorite boho restaurants on the east side, I love all the colored lights on the patio, the kitsch art and the mismatched chandeliers. If you’re ever in Portland and like things a little weird, I highly suggest The Pied Cow. The obnoxious teenagers two tables down are just bonus entertainment.


I’ve been participating in an instsgram challenge hosted by the lovely Kimberly Haydn (she blogs here), and I’ve really been enjoying the prompts she came up with. Yesterdays was ‘Flower Power’, so I decided to draw a pretty lady with some peonies. You should totally try out this challenge thing if you haven’t done it before- its a fun way to stretch your creative comfort zone and meet some cool new folks!

Queen Elk

One of my close friends works outdoors teaching kids how to be wild in safe ways, and yesterday she posted a picture of herself with mud all over her face and twigs in her hair. She does this for a job, and is basically everyone’s hero/idol. She knows what plants you can eat, and what plants are totally great to wipe your butt on (for real). Last week I learned she can make rope out of anything. When I saw her after work selfie I got totally inspired and created this:


I’m getting pretty jazzed about the idea of a girl in the wild, and I’m hoping my friend can add her vast knowledge of the natural world to make this more than just a sketch! Until then, I will keep playing with this new ‘toy’!