It's Not Junkie-Town Anymore

What a night! First Thursday, Rose Festival, Fleet Week, and my friend's studio's Grand Opening all wrapped up in an enormous block party. I met the Benchmark Art Group in the Pearl District at a gallery called Print Arts Northwest. There we met a few artists who were showing work, and some that are starting up a printmaking studio with public access. I'm so excited to use the studio myself, and for an extra's on Tillamook street, near Interstate avenue, one of my FAVORITE parts of Portland! That's where Type Foundry, my friend Adam Selzer's recording studio is and where the Valiant Arms have recorded. Beautiful place!
We all walked through the growing throngs to my friend Morgan Pasinski's studio. We visited her studio last month, but this was the Grand Opening, and she had new work displayed. My favorite is this fantastic Octopus painting. I love the circles in the background, as if he'd wrapped his tentacles around the piece. Morgan and her husband Jaime, always engaging, stylish and hospitable, served delicious cheese and crackers, wine, and regaled us with tales of Jaime's miraculous survival of a nasty fall while putting up shelves in her studio. What we do for art! Morgan's studio looks beautiful, and her work is so cool!
We went downstairs and saw an interesting exhibit at the Portland Art Center, illustrations from the 1950's by Basil Wolverton, then ran across the street to my new favorite gallery Motel. There we saw the greatest work from Matthew Rodriguez, his exhibit titled "Bindlestiff". He does naive, charming paintings on buildings, crumbling walls, and candy corn. He had paintings on wooden spoons, plastic water bottles, and pine cones. I may have to buy something from him. See more of his work here:
While we at Motel the Budweiser Clydesdales went by. I'm not kidding! 6 enormous horses pulled the Budweiser wagon down the street, complete with dalmation dog riding on the top. There were also hoards of very clean sailors everywhere for Fleet Week. The river is full of GIGANTIC war ships right now, very intimidating. The sailors were nice enough to pose for me, though.
Then we all went to our fellow Benchmark Printmaker Carole Zoom's show at the bar Py-Rem. This bar is fantastic! Located just near the train station in a basement, it is like stepping into a movie set. Lush, dark, red, with indian fabric and decor. Carole's woodblock prints were beautiful, Carole herself was glowing, and the DJ spun atmospheric music from the adjoining room. I enjoyed a delicious Belgian beer and had a great time! On my way out, I ran into a very nice fellow named Eric who works at DIVA in Eugene. We had a long chat, and I walked back to my car, ten blocks away. I walked ten blocks down Everett street, and passed about 15 galleries I didn't even know existed. Some had skateboards on the wall, painted, some had enormous, wall-sized paintings with gaggles of oggling 20-somethings. There were numerous bands playing on the street, including one with a tuba, accordian, and trumpet. One gallery was in an auto-repair shop, the art hanging amongst the cars being serviced. The night was balmy and I feltquite safe where ten years ago I worried about being attacked by junkies. Back in the day when we'd play at the Satyricon, it was all bums, junkies and drunks. Now it's an exciting mix of art, music and inspiration.