Deep in it

deep in it

With my show opening just days away tomorrow, I'm deep in it. My workspace downstairs looks like a true artist's enclave, with a vast array of paint & supplies sprawled all around. Never been one for the organizing thing, so you can only imagine. Well, here's a little peek at my desk for ya. That should tide you over, I guess. And if you want to see some more sneaky peeks, then check out the Flickr. Hopefully it'll wet your appetite for what's to come. Hopefully it'll make you want to get in your car and drive 300 or 400 (or however many) miles on Thursday evening just to see what else might be up on the Grassy Knoll Gallery's walls. Hopefully it'll make you want to plunk down hundreds of dollars for all the tasty artwork that's being offered. I know it will. Just know it.

The Grassy Knoll Gallery is owned & operated by Robert Lewis and Renee Marcotte and is located in the historic Merchant Hotel in Old Town, Portland. Robert is head of Fashion Buddha, an animation & design studio that shares its space with the gallery (the gallery is actually in its spacious foyer). What's interesting to note is the gallery's description: The Grassy Knoll is a unique gallery specializing in the work of innovative animators and illustrators.... I found this especially intriguing, what with me being both an animator AND and illustrator. It seemed only right that Robert & I connected.

I'm extemely honored to have a show at Grassy Knoll. The roster of previous artists who've shown their work is staggering: Amy Ruppel, Evan B. Harris, Alberto Cerriteno; I mean, I really don't deserve to be included with such company. And look who's coming up after me: Joel Trussell! Right on.

Regarding the show itself: "b-boy" came out of the conceptual illustrations I had done years before and had posted here on my blog several months ago. There was potential for an entire show with this theme and I went with it, eager to see where it would take me. Utilizing mostly "found" materials for the surfaces, such as cardboard, wood, linoleum, and formica, I wanted to forge a connection between the subject matter and said items. Dancers from back in the day had to improvise with whatever they could find to dance on. Concrete and asphalt was certainly not susceptible for backspins and windmills, so cardboard and linoleum were the usual preferred surfaces.

Never one to go with the grain, I've rarely worked on canvas. Back in college, I painted on cardboard out of necessity -- I couldn't afford canvas. I was working at a movie theater at the time and we'd get shipments of promotional standees -- they came in these huge cardboard boxes that provided me with acres of painting space. Perfect for what I had in mind. What was enjoyable for me working with cardboard was the fact that it's malleable -- I could add and subtract to a particular piece at will. Even though the actual surface of cardboard took some getting used to (a couple coats of gesso helped), it was the workable and shape-shifting nature of the material that inspired me. The fact that I could go beyond the typical square or rectangular painting dimensions was very appealing.

There's some great dancing to be had the night of the opening. I've done a little searching and found some great videos of Portland's own Moon Patrol Crew -- three members of which will be performing Thursday night at the Grassy Knoll. I'm incredibly excited! Here, check out their performance, "Toprock", at the PICA:Time Based Art festival:

That's such a sweet deal there. Love the fact that they took the 'toprocking' aspect of breaking and incorporated it into a singular performance, with several dancers. Very nice.

Here's a cool battle between Moon Patrol Crew & Def Con 5 at the recent Juice Jam (Moon Patrol kids are on the same side as the cameraman, facing the DC5 boys):

Hope that gets ya off your seat and down to Old Town.

If you can't make it for the opening, no problem. The show will be up for the entire months of October and November -- just call the studio to set up a time to come and check it out. Robert & Renee will be more than willing to open the doors for you.

Okay. Gotta finish this one last painting. See ya tomorrow!


  1. I'm SOooo excited for you! I love the concept of the show and the way you just explained your use of materials. It sounds like the opening will be incredible! Oh I wish I could be there!
    Just know that I am sending great wishes your way and cheering you on!

  2. This is great thanks for sharing! Both crews are great but Moon Patrol has some mean footwork.There style is so unique i like how they are rocking the floor in this clip.

  3. Great luck with the show and the opening. It looks and sounds great. Congratulations.

  4. Love your blog! You're a terrific illustrator!
    Thought you might like my performance piece: my50syear.blogspot.com

    And I couldn't get over your name being Ward. If you read the blog you'll see what I mean!


  5. Hope the show was a hit! Sorry I couldn't make it down from Seattle. Would've liked to catch your work and the breakin'. Congrats!

  6. Congrats on the show, it looked like it was a great evening.

  7. i will just have to settle for looking at photos on your blog, since im not in america right now. the paintings are awesome, what i have seen on your wife's blog, and thanks for posting the videos. helped me get through another evening without tv!

  8. Hey Ward. Wow! Some lovely artwork here. I'm so impressed concerning your show. I'm impressed, but not surprised. I only wish I could teleport to the opening reception to see the pieces in person. Something tells me that to appreciate these, you gotta' get up close and really see the cardboard texture coming through the paint. Well, I hope it all goes over well and if your exhibit is portable, it should travel here to NYC. The b-boys and artists in this town would eat this up! Congrats, and you'll have to fill me in on your job adventures.