Canned Butter

Category: Portland

The Artisan Cup

The Artisan Cup Tree image
Trees and Herman Hesse image

The epic Bonsai tournament was this weekend at the Portland Art Museum. Christopher Guest could have easily gone this direction rather than the canine direction for his film, “Best in Show.” It was an interesting scene to say the least. A large room filled with 40 manicured mini-trees. I want a Bonsai to cultivate and shape! The more interesting works were the ones that brought forth the essence of what the craft entails: the improvement of natural beauty using the tools of composition, scale, contrast, and balance.

As unharmonious it will come off as, the thing that astounds me about us humans is how our natural sense of observation is inclined towards getting as close to something as possible to see it. As if being able to observe each individual leaf or needle of a branch will bring us closer to seeing the essence. Much like a Van Gogh or a Monet, the art of Bonsai is best observed at a slight distance, taking in the entirety of the plant. Therein lies the better chance to grasp the horticulturist’s intentions.

Television Again

Onstage at the Star Theatre, Portland image
Telemundo Onstage image
I found my way to the stage again last night! This time it was at the Star Theatre here in Portland. Boy, oh boy, did it feel good— complete with a vaulted ceiling, laser lights, fog-machines, and a thumping bass guitar tone. The tribute band Telemundo played the Television set that we had played during Halloween last year: Marquee Moon for Halloween. We nailed our set well enough, and it was seemingly well-received by the crowd gathered for a Sunday night in downtown Portland. Exhilarating times! … even if it was playing cover songs. I take what the universe gives me.

Marquee Moon for Halloween

Hallowmass 2014 flyer image

I’m pleased to report that I will be onstage this Halloween as I’ve been recruited to play bass guitar for a tribute show happening next weekend. Our little band will be performing tunes off the NYC band Television’s 1977 release Marquee Moon. I dare say it remains to this day a great piece of art for the ears. Check it out here and come see us perform selections from it next Saturday night at Club 21 here in Portland. No cover $$ too!

DOA Wrestling meets Design Week Portland

design-week-portland-2014 image
Battle Under Burnside Poster image

Last night I had another volunteer gig for Design Week as a pint-pourer for an event entitled: Battle Under Burnside. I had no idea what to expect other than tapping kegs and dishing brews for this event put on by local design firm Pete Keegler Design. Upon arrival to the outdoor scene under the Portland Burnside Bridge I couldn’t help to take notice of a full-scale boxing ring setup!

Except it wasn’t boxing that was coming our way… it was pro-wrestling! Bahaha! Amazing! The DOA (Don’t Own Anyone) Pro-Wrestling Federation came to town last night and put on quite a show as the free PBR flowed. There’s nothing quite like witnessing someone fly off the top-ropes followed by that unmistakeable reverberation of sound that let’s you know they’ve returned to the ring. It was all quite a production, and I must say it appeared to me that everyone had a hell of a time. Big thanks to the crew of Peet Keegler for putting it all on. The publication for the event including the layout and photography looked great! Gotta love design week.

The Return of Michael Graves

Sentosa Resort - Singapore image

Hotel Sentosa – Singapore
Designed by M. Graves

Portland Building Image

The Portland Building
Designed by M. Graves

This week here in Portland, for the third year the Design Week festival has been front and center providing fertile grounds for designers and design enthusiasts alike to get out and witness first hand how involved the city is within the world of design. I’ve been a volunteer each of these years and I can each time around the festival has built upon the last. This year saw mastermind Stephan Sagmeister come to town for a lecture at the Portland Art Museum.

While I did not see Sagmeister on stage, the following night brought reknowned architect / designer Michael Graves to the same stage, and I am pleased to report that I was fortunate enough to attend! Some of you will know that Graves is responsible for our city’s own “Portland Building” home of the nation’s second largest bronze statue Portlandia! Some of you will also know that this post-modern building has recently been a hot conversation. Long story short the building needs maintenance as all buildings do over the course of time, and some people want to tear the thing down while others want to do the necessary updates / repairs and carry on.


Sleep When You Die #6

Portland Rose Gardens at Dawn photo

I got caught up in some sweet fascination this weekend, and at the dawn of the Summer Solstice I was led to the Rose Gardens of west Portland. It was a wonderland. Blissful serenity perhaps is the term. As usual I highly recommend it! Sleep when you die!! Sometimes you just have to get up and smell the roses. Har har.

Whatever you do don’t visit on a sunny Saturday afternoon… talk about an infestation. That is to say, it’s tourist season again! Ahhhhhhh! Time to escape… I’m going to Europe, I guess. Ciao for now.

Hyper Collage

Jim Kazanjian - hyper collage 1 image
Jim Kazanjian - hyper collage 1 image

Very similar to the way a found art work might be composed, Portland-based artist, Jim Kazanjian, gathers images online and photoshops them into “hyper-collages” that feel real and whimsical enough to send the imagination reeling. The works are amazingly seamless in their execution as well as highly inspirational as to the potential of what one is capable of creating as technology pushes graphic development further and further. I’m an instant fan, obviously.

Original source: Domus

Additional links: Kazanjian’s website / Jennifer Kostuik Gallery

Tap your foot for a trashy two minutes:

I’m lovin’ this short number from local act AU Dunes, put out back in September ’13 on the King Tears album. They’re playing tomorrow night at Mississippi Studios with Jacco Gardner and his band from Holland– soon to be featured on Canned Butter. Good tunes are on the horizon for a Monday night. Check it out if you’re mom says it’s all right.

Mississippi Studios

Shadowing Awareness


This was a project I put together to try and spark awareness in bicyclists and pedestrians. By defining issues that I have observed over the course of my life in Portland, I was able to devise simple “tongue-in-cheek” messages that I made into stencils for the purpose of turning into public art that would be read on the streets as people passed over them. These messages included such as:

  • (for negligent j-walkers) “Atleast look both ways before breaking the law”
  • (for illogical bicyclists) No helmet? Hooray for Obama care!

I cut these stencils out of plastic using a laser-cutter and Adobe Illustrator, and I used shadow fonts to reduce that standard “stencil” look that is needed to retain letterforms. My paint was a mixture of corn starch, water, and food coloring, which washed away with one good Portland downpour. Victory!

You can view the video here

Sleep When You Die #5

Lunar Eclipse Portland

Sleep when you die!

Yay a full lunar eclipse! I went out upon two wheels late last night for the peak of this rare occasion, and it was fantastic to see events of cosmic proportions playing out for us insignificant beings. With a bit of imagination in the stillness of the happening it was wonderful to imagine what was happening relative to my placement upon a grassy hillside. Tough to capture it all on camera. I couldn’t even see if the eclipse was in my camera lens so it was point and shoot, wait for the 60 second exposure, and see what gets caught. Good for posterity if nothing more. Until next time, let your light shine bright.