Full Disclosure: August

Personal friends of ArtsWatch with legitamately worthwhile projects.

Journalistic ethics strongly suggest you can’t write about people you know. This leaves me with the constant quandary of either a) ignoring the viable work made by the vast array of creative people I know, or b) bending journalistic ethics. In the spirit of splitting the difference, I offer this column, a compilation of the latest arts news from people I happen to also know at least semi-socially. Hence, “full disclosure.”

Andy Stewart of Emerald Marine Carpentry shares his heartfelt musings and technical knowledge on wooden boat-building in Kat Gardiner's "Shaped on All Six Sides."

Andy Stewart of Emerald Marine Carpentry shares his heartfelt musings and technical knowledge on wooden boat-building in Kat Gardiner’s “Shaped on All Six Sides.”

Boat Maker Documentary earns a spot in Seattle.

“Shaped on All Six Sides,” a new documentary about wooden boat building by Food Chain Films and writer/producer Kat Gardiner (whose noteworthy recent projects include VICE “Irrelevant Interviews”and the “Long Live Oregonians” PSA campaign) will be included in The Seattle Design Festival at the SIFF Film Center during a series titled “Films on Architecture and Design” from September 13-15, and has also been favorably reviewed by The Atlantic. “So unbelievably stoked and in awe!” said Gardiner of her project’s warm reception.

“Long Live Oregonians” PSA ruffled political feathers in the field.

A series of musical ads was recently designed by NORTH (the agency headed by Gang of Four’s Dave Allen) to promote awareness of new Oregon health care resources. The push for healthcare plan enrollment by nonprofit Cover Oregon features prominent folk singers (Matt Sheehy, Laura Gibson) performing in scenic Oregon locations. However, the series reportedly raised rural heckles while it was still being shot. “When we first set up on this [unnamed] farm, they acted so happy to have us,” said one shoot participant, “but after we’d been on site a while, the property owner came storming out of the house, saying ‘I looked you guys up; I don’t believe in Obamacare; get off my property!'” Hopefully now that the series has aired, it will get more of its intended response—public education—and less of its accidental fallout: political polarization.

“Gridcosm” Pioneer gets his (past-) dues from the BBC.

Around the turn of this century, in the first wave of online arts collaboration and image galleries, Portland artist Ed Stastny created an alternate universe called “Gridcosm,” a computer algorithm that allowed countless viz-arts collage-makers to decorate the walls of an infinitely expanding—or infinitely contracting—virtual tunnel. Stastny went on to contribute to development of “The Sims” and numerous other software projects, and now handles coding for local online music retailer CDBaby. Even on the back burner, Gridcosm has continued to propagate layers like a virtual kombucha, absorbing ever more artists’ contributions thanks to maintenance from Jon Van Oast, Stastny’s fellow programmer and online gallery innovator. Now, more than fifteen years after its inception, Gridcosm’s permanent place in internet art history has been ratified—almost out of the blue—by the BBC.

A work in progress since—believe it or not—’97, Gridcosm currently has over 3500 layers. As prior layers of the piece collapse into the center of the square, outside edges are embellished by new artists, ad infinitum. The result is a virtual tunnel that can be viewed as either expanding or contracting.

Typhoon’s latest release swept up in fast-paced acclaim.

Typhoon’s new album “White Lighter” is out this week after being previewed by OPB and heralded by SPIN. At Pickathon a few weeks back, drummer and Pendarvis Farm resident Pieter Hilton expressed delight about the record, but a little twitch of trepidation about social media’s breakneck pace. “Now that we’re working with bigger media, we’re told a lot about consumers’ short attention span,” he said. ArtsWatch guesses this will eventually reconcile, as even Typhoon’s newest fans begin to realize that a band this sprawling in scope (13-some members; epic, heartfelt ballads) can be consumed in slow sips, not just quick easy bytes.

PDX-pat programmer moves to Iceland, crowd-funds development of private email service.

Designer and computer programmer Brennan Novak has spent the last several years squarely at the intersection of Portland’s creativity, communication, and music curation. He played with Portland folk band Saint Frankie Lee and had residencies at venue houses The Artistery and The Whale. Novak also donated design and video projects to then-fledgling musical acts Sallie Ford, Wampire…and, full disclosure, me. (Many thanks, Brennan!) But a recent move to Iceland connected Novak to a new mission: developing MailPile, a free, open-source email service that resists third-party spying and operates outside a commercial/advertising model. The three-designer MailPile team has passed their $100,000 Indiegogo funding goal with more than 20 days to spare, and have stated that extra funds will go toward enhancing Windows compatibility for the Mac-originated platform.

OPB's Jeremy Petersen poses as a flasher in new Old Lights video "Trenchcoats."

OPB’s Jeremy Petersen poses as a flasher in Old Lights video “Trenchcoats.”

New music video puts OPB’s Jeremy Petersen in a compromising position.

The video for Old Light single “Trenchcoats” went live this week—and boy, does it seem scandalous! Shot by veteran rock photog Inger Klekacz, the crisp black-and-white video stars OPB rock journalist Jeremy Petersen wearing a trench coat and appearing to flash people on the street. Other musicians (including, full disclosure, me, and my scene partner Joe Cunningham of jazz band Blue Cranes) also wear trenches and pantomime what could be seen as shady behavior. If you do decide to check it out, be sure to watch the whole thing.


A. L. Adams also writes monthly column Art Walkin’  for  The Portland Mercury, and is  former arts editor of Portland Monthly Magazine.
Read more from Adams: Oregon ArtsWatch  | The Portland Mercury
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