Archive for May, 2014

[art] Step One: Dream Big

Posted in art as a career, arting around, artisting, artistry, Samuel John Klein, ZehnKatzen on May 30, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Our text is The Artist’s Guide, by Jackie Battenfield. The homily should become apparent, I hope.

Dreaming big has always been somethingI’ve done really well. But effectively? Nope. I always go into something, like my two stints at Community College, thinking that if I just do my lessons with enough diligence and sheer sincerity, the rest will take care of itself. In as much the last course, at PCC, despite me graduating in graphic design, has gotten me exactly no closer to my goal of working in the visual arts than I was when I started (never mind how long I’ve been trying to figure it out), just working hard and earnestly, apparently, don’t cut it.

That’s a sad thing. The way I was raised, you worked hard enough and honestly enough, the way opened for you. Wouldn’t be the first thing in life that turned out to be a bit of a lie (yeah, that’s a harsh word, a sharp judgement, but sometimes you have to call it the way it looks. Life makes little hypocrites of us all, I’ve become convinced).

So, welcome back to the beginning. I’ve begun again so many times, I should rename myself Finnegan. Ahhh, Square One … we meet again. But what other alternative do I have than trying to figure it out again? Otherwise, I’m already dead … just waiting to be buried. So, we turn the puzzle on its side … for the however-many-th time it is, and try to figure it out again.

On page of chapter 1 on The Artist’s Guide, then, we see this:

I always have done this. But maybe I need to try another time, and vary the angle of attack.

Dream big? Okay. Nothing I feel confident to put down on paper just this moment, but what’s the best way to dream?

Today, why … I’ll sleep on it.


[art] The Desk, Between Ideas

Posted in art, art as a career, arting around, artistry, Samuel John Klein, The Artist's Guide, ZehnKatzen on May 30, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Where I try to come up with things. My ‘studio’ is in the basement, in a finished room that is outfitted as an office. It is made with a perma-desk and a bunch of cabinets and is a very fine place to just exist. Happiest place I’ve ever been able to call my own.

The two books open before us are, foreground, the everpresent diary, and background, the book The Artist’s Guide. I’m going to use it to help guide me toward being a working artist, which is what I should have been going for all along.

I’m going to be sharing bits of this journey in days to come, time to time. Some details in the next missive.

We’re going to try to get serious. Not just arting around any more.

[artists] Donna Barr’s Radio Blitzkrieg

Posted in artists, comic artists, Donna Barr on May 28, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Ever wonder what Donna Barr‘s (The Desert Peach, Stinz) like in person? Well, a show I’d not heard of before, Karl Show! (starring Jason), took on Donna Barr. That probably left a mark.

But in a good way.

Listen, dammit! : Just do it. Don’t argue with me.

[pdx] I Bring You The Head Of Tom Peterson. Or, At Least, The Face.

Posted in pdx legends, Portland Commercial History, Tom Peterson's on May 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Tom Peterson seems to be a trending item.

Interest has increased in the legendary salesman since it’s been made public that his health is failing to the point he has to be moved into assisted living, as reported by KPTV’s Andrew Padula last month. Considering Tom’s commercial relationship with Yesterday’s KPTV, that’s only appropriate.

The signage remains memorable and, in its Portlandian way, iconic. When his visage delivered its smiling benediction to the corner of 82nd and Foster Rd, you knew just where you were, and it was a landmark. The building has been remodeled out of recognition, of course; gutted, made new inside and out, and turned into a corner strip center, “Peterson Plaza”. I’ve been an Oregonian all my life and a Portlander the majority of it, and I know my granfalloon enough to know that we save things.

If we didn’t exercise some restraint, this whole state could appear on Hoarders. That’s how we get so funky and kitschy. We’re drunk on it, up in here.

A couple of days ago, though, an acquaintance of longstanding who prefers anonymity at this time contacted me and said he knew where the old sign was. Really? said I. I’d be all over that if I could.

Get back to you in a couple of days, was the gist of the reply. Today, here’s the payoff. Somewhere, secluded in a Portland back yard, I know not where (not even in confidence, and I understand why), rests …

The head … or at least the face … of Tom Peterson.

This is the most Portland back yard in Portland, wherever it is. And I’m not tellin’ where it is because I don’t know; and what little I know of whom took it I shall not divulge. He knows how some people are, and so do I.

But it’s enough to know, just to know, that it’s out there somewhere.

Now, that’s Tom Peterson’s.

[logo] What Obsessive/Compulsive Designers Obsess and Compulse On

Posted in Google, I Love Logo Design, logo design, logo redesign on May 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Google changed its corporate logo a few days back, it would seem.

No? Looks no different, you say?

Well, peep this, posers.

[liff] Question Of The Day/Month/Year

Posted in liff, maxims on May 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
If one can’t be a brilliant success, why not be a beautiful failure?

[pdx] Photos On Sunday: The Burnside Bridgehead

Posted in Burnside St, Heavy Eastside, PDX History, Photos on Sunday, Portland Bridges, SE PDX Photos on May 26, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
The block on the north side of the east end of the Burnside Bridge has something of a conflicted history. For a long time, nobody knew what its future would look like. Many people had some definite ideas, but in the end, none of them willed out, in a way that’s funny in bike-friendly, liberal, weird Portland.

This block is bounded on the south by East Burnside Street, on the west by NE 3nd Avenue, on the north by NE Couch Street, and on the east by NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, once known as Union Avenue. I became a full-time Portlander in 1985 (with a break from ’87-’91, but that’s another story) but, by then, being a perhaps-too-avid watcher of the news, had familiarity with at least some of the issues surrounding that square block of Portland.

When I finally did come to the shining city, I knew there was a place of no small notoriety there, and that was sad, because they really did try to fix something. The building on the north side of the bridge was a place that looked disreputable but tried to have a good heart – they called it Baloney Joe’s. It was a homeless shelter run by an organization that dissolved in a scandal involving the director, an organization called the Burnside Community Council, and that’s sad because there were some good angels hard at work there, some of whom you might know if you hang around the good Portlandians online.

Sometime around 1990, due to the scandal, the BCC ended and Baloney Joe’s operation was taken up by the Salvation Army, who renamed it the Recovery Inn, then developers got interested, and the Inn finally closed and moldered for several years while a variety of power and money centers vied for the opportunity to develop it.

Someone wanted to put a Home Depot store there. I, for one, still can’t picture it.

Today, the battle has been settled. When whoever thought it was going to be a bonnie idea decided to turn Burnside and Couch into a one-way couplet east and west of the bridge, they needed a place to funnel the west-bound traffic on NE Couch onto the Burnside Bridge westbound. Instead of a Home Depot or lower-income housing or anything regarding the homeless, now, an S-shaped boulevard full of traffic runs through it.

In liberal, weird, transit-and-bike-friendly Portland.

Who says irony is dead? As long as this absurd city remains, thus shall it be. And the debate over what could have been shall ‘ere be considered academic.

The skyline of the down, dirty, yet somehow fashionable
CEID looking south from the Burnside Bridge.

The Burnside Bridgehead exists in what was, and still shows many sides of, what we locals called the C.E.I.D – the Central Eastside Industrial District. It’s starting to give way to converted loft work/live spaces, trendoid bars, and retail … which, one supposes, was just a matter of time, given that it was in sight of the city core.

The part of the block not given over to the Couch Street connection is carpeted over in long grass and wildflowers. The part of Couch that used to connect SE 3rd Avenue to MLK is now a very short stub which provides convenient and ready parking on a Sunday afternoon to the tyro photographer and his wife, and an opportunity to stretch the legs and look at the urban views.

We all strive for more than just the basics. This is not
Portland, this is universal.

The building on the south side of the bridge at 3rd Avenue has had a sign on it for decades: R.J. Templeton Co. Whatever R.J. Templeton Co, did, it’s been gone perhaps even before your humble interlocutor came to town; one remembers the facade mostly bland painted wood where windows must once have been. The windows are back and whatever is going in behind them, you can bet it’s going to be pretty spiffy and, no doubt, priced to match.

The area is popular now for skateboarders and bike riders, who have carved their own paths to and from Burnside down to the lower streets. Down closer to the river, along 2nd Avenue, is some of the last ‘industrial’ businesses in the area; some of Portland’s oldest produce merchants are still there, a remnant of what was once so many that they named the area Produce Row. Set deep within the industrial haven, it took advantage of the quick freeway connections and rail access to be a break-in-bulk point for the fruits and veggies coming into and out of Portland.

The era is closing out so very slowly though. We do things in our own time here in Portland, and this is on a timetable of its own. Farther down 2nd, under the Burnside Bridge itself, is a skatepark that went from outlaw to legitimate. We saw murals (which I’ll go back and get sometime) and people getting ready, complete with cameras for posterity’s sake. We indeed have come so far.

The path from E Burnside down to NE 3rd Avenue.
You can go your own way, baby.
The building in the distance is the Eastside Exchange,
the building addressed with the No.123
rubric seen earlier in this post.

They say that weeds are wildflowers out of place.
Like the homeless people that used to shelter here, they’ll
be evicted in their turn, perhaps.
Looking under the bridge at SE 3rd Avenue from NE 3rd Avenue.

Today, the old gives way to the new, a streetcar runs where once traffic did, and it all looks kind of the same, but something more than the obvious seems to have moved on. But this is Oregon, and that means …

… we’ll always have the blackberry bushes.

ON EDIT: Fellow PDX Facebooker and curator of the Dead Memories Portland group, Michael Long, shares the news that they are going to put something in more than just a road there … and the idea is so very, very us. It’s a real dumbbell …