Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bike Sharks and Mermaids

Hello, friends! Recently I've had the honor of creating art for the Pedalpalooza bike extravaganza here in Portland, Ore. Pedalpalooza is an amazing bike event that has been going on for over 10 years, and each year a different artist creates the imagery for their posters, the guide in the Portland Mercury, and more! This was a huge dream come true for me, as one my main reasons for relocating to Portland in 2013 were bike culture and art.
It all started in Las Vegas and Germany, this past August and September, when I was painting at Eurobike and Interbike with the Nutcase Helmets Unframed project. I was amazed to find kindred spirits who also loved sharks, bikes, and mermaids!
One of my fellow artists in this project, Tiago Dejerk, originally from Brazil, had a lot of history to share with me about the Bike Clown house that had once reigned in my neighborhood, the Alberta Arts District. Bringing Alberta's Last Thursday to fame, the bike clowns were an instrumental part of bike culture in Portland. Working on Alberta, I hear stories from long-time shop owners and members of the neighborhood of the jousting and spectacle the clowns created each month. I made sure to include some clownfish in my image, to pay homage to the bike clowns.
Going down the wormhole that is the internet in search of further historical references, I found the Irondelles. This group of tall bike riding ladies inspired my mermaid that I made for Pedalpalooza.
One of my favorite things about the Portland Bike scene are the strong and amazing WOMEN cyclists! Going down the rabbit hole even further, I became obsessed with the LCD Soundsystem music video inspired by (and featuring many familiar faces) tall bike jousting in Portland. The girls in this video are super rad.
I started drawing bike sharks the first winter I actually biked through the entire winter here in Portland. It doesn't snow, but it does rain. One night, when riding home in the rain, the idea of the bike shark came to me, and I'm still excited about it.
When I first visited Portland for vacation in 2012, one of the places that immediately caught my eye on my bike explorations was Stumptown Printers. I remember visiting the shop then, and later when I first moved to Portland. The opportunity to work with them arose with this project, and it was so exciting to visit during the printing process and see my image ready for offset printing. It was also really fun nerding out with the peeps at Stumptown about printmaking and bikes. Their history in Portland is really awesome.
Here's the culmination of the efforts, the Pedalpalooza images for this year! Hooray! I hope to see you out there on your bikes!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fast away the old year passes...

...and just like that, 2015 has nearly passed us by. I'm a sucker for nostalgia, reminiscing over good times, and reflecting on a wonderful year. Here's what I've been up to since I blogged last...
I got my helmet prototype from Nutcase Helmets (click away to read about the Unframed Artist Series)!!!! It's really exciting to ride around Portland in the only one on the streets! These will be available to the general public in Spring 2016!! One of the greatest compliments that I've gotten this year was a nod from Bicycling Magazine, naming this helmet one of "the coolest new helmets of 2016".

At the end of August, I traveled with the fine folks at Nutcase, along with my fellow artists, to Germany for Eurobike, and painted murals amongst bike nerds all day to benefit World Bicycle Relief.

In September, we traveled again, this time to the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, the US version of Eurobike. I was fortunate enough to work with the Interbike people on a cover for the event guide, and it was amazing to come to the trade show and see my work in print like this!

Interbike also featured a few days of painting! I moved into a mermaid theme here, and realized that I'm not the only person out there with a love of both mermaids and bikes.
Over the years I've been involved with many shows at 1975 Gallery in Rochester, NY. It was bittersweet to take part in their last show before going on hiatus, which this piece was produced for. I had a lot of fun playing with different media in this one!
This was one of my favorite drawings that I did for Inktober this year;
I had the pleasure of collaborating with some of my favorite partners in crime, the awesome team at Discovery Wines for a special event this November!
As a result of the previous collaboration, I was introduced to the awesome winemaker, Brianne Day. Here's an event flyer we worked on together;
We also did some wine labels together! I'm so excited to see them in print.
I worked on this awesome tee shirt with my friends at Walnut Studiolo, inspired by riding at night.
Finally, a poster with a great story behind it. My neighbor got my mail by mistake (some stickers that I had sent out and had been returned to the wrong address). I told her to keep the stickers, she asked me more about my art, and before I knew it, we were working on a poster for her magical aerial circus! I can't wait to see it in February, and I'm so excited with how the poster came out.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Spiderman of the Rings

I recently had the honor of painting my first outdoor mural! This is a project that I did with my neighborhood, the Alberta Arts District, about the history of our area. My mural in particular was about the Vanport flood of 1948. Vanport (named because half in Vancouver, WA, half in Portland), was a town, at the time occupied by African Americans who had come up from the South to build ships. The entire town was washed out in a day, and never rebuilt. The African American people displaced by the flood could not own property in Portland at that time. The Alberta district became an area where they were able to own property. As a result of this, white flight happened, and the area became a redline district for businesses. I had a ball painting this! It was a wonderful way to interact with the community and learn and educate at the same time. I'd like to extend a big thank you to Alberta Art Works and the BUFOR building for having me. Photos: Toby Orzano

Friday, June 19, 2015

Or we could just float away on different rafts and die another day...

These past few months in Portland have been magical! Spring, and subsequently summer, has happened upon us, bringing the rains to a stop and an excitement to be outside. During the past few months, I got to not only meet the owners of Walnut Studiolo, but to do some fun packaging illustrations for some of their products. It was a fun change to work in one color and one tone, and uniquely challenging.

This year, one of the experienced organizers of the Portland Tweed Ride invited me to organize! It was such a fun time! We started in a brand new to me place, Cathedral Park in St. Johns, and had a great day of leisurely bikes and picnics. You can see more in the coverage from The Oregonian, complete with sweet shots, by clicking HERE.

I had to create a flyer for the Tweed Ride! Obviously, I was inspired by Mucha's bicycle illustrations.

I also helped organize a Robin Williams Memorial bike ride, where we all dressed as Robin Williams characters. This is a sticker that I created for the ride.

Here's a fun illustration that I did for a tee shirt!
Coming in July 2015, I'm going to be doing my first outdoor mural on Alberta Street. Here's the color comp:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Even Santa Claus believes in you

March was such a fun month for me! I've gotten involved with some wonderful bike communities here in Portland, just as I dreamed of doing when I dreamed of moving here years ago. One of these groups is Women on Wheels, which empowers women on bicycles. What more could I dream of? I went to a wonderful meetup which consisted of morning yoga with awesome special instructions for cyclists and runners, a ride along the river, and a private tour of the Chinese Gardens. The Chinese Gardens were truly inspiring, and I look forward to visiting in warmer weather when the lotus blossom and I can walk barefoot on the stone paths.

I was touched by the deliberate planning of the Chinese Gardens. Below is the Scholar's room, which featured a banana tree planted outside. The banana tree, with its large leaves, was placed directly under one of the roof drains (also aesthetically gorgeous), to make music to inspire the scholar while they were at work. Another deliberate idea that resonated with me from the gardens was that everything was in "framed perspective".

Another bike dream come true for me was visiting the workshop of Walnut Studiolo. I've been a fan of their handcrafted bicycle leather goods for years, and they were kind enough to help out with the Portland Tweed Ride.

When I wasn't biking everywhere (I biked a lot this month, and it was amazing), I was working on my first mural since Community College days. This was done on a door at Collage. Mice kept coming up in conversation for me, as I had fond memories of a mouse painting that my grandmother did. I remember that she wasn't finished with it, but I begged her for the painting, and eventually she gave in and let me have the unfinished watercolor painting. This, in a way, was an homage to her. Below, the sketch;

In progress;

A detail of the final mice!

Finally, some woodburning! I've been itching to expand my wood paintings by laying in the darks with a wood burner, and I finally took the plunge this month. I'm so excited to debut these in a new fine art show this spring! Below, the beginnings;

This is after some wood stain and watercolor and more wood burning;
This is all ready to go with some copper leaf framing!

Cheers! Here's to April, the Tweed Ride, and my Birthday! I'm so excited!