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Every city or town is formed, in part, by the industries which develop it. People create
a community and sense of place based on shared goals and experiences. Over time
these features develop a history, a legacy, and a heritage.

Kenton is no exception. The story of Kenton mirrors that of the entire Northwest
through it’s connection with ports, timber, and agriculture. A unique combination of
location and industry has crafted the story of Kenton. The people of Kenton have lived
and guided its path. This heritage is still with us today in the feeling of community, the
sense of history, the architecture, and the routes we take through our day.

Recently Figure Plant joined forces with the good folks over at the Northwood Apartments to create this 8′ x 20′ art piece for their lobby, celebrating Kenton’s History.

Northwood

Probably my largest wall art to date. It was a pleasure to work with Mary Hanlon of the Northwood and, as always, the Figure Plant team. Here’s the project description on FigurePlant.com.

Historic images provided by
Old Oregon, The Art of Historic Photos
Oregon Historical Society
Oregon Digital
Oregon State University Libraries
University of Oregon Libraries
Middle Tennessee State University’s Walker Library

Special thanks to
Alta Mitchoff’s History of the Kenton Neighborhood
Portland State University
Historic Kenton, and the Kenton Neighborhood Association
PDX History, and our neighbors and friends for telling the story of Kenton’s history.

One of my favorite on-going Burning Man projects is the Virgin Letter Project. This year the lovely folks over at VLP asked me to hook up a logo, and here’s what we came up with.  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and even happier to contribute to such a rad project. Participants, check them out.VLP2webOrangeThe 2013 event marked the third year of the Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE).  Four circles, six projects each, representing eight countries, and culminating in one big fire.  The art of dang is proud to have contributed the logo for Portland’s CORE project.  The treehouse was awesome and burned something lovely.  I’m glad to have been a part of it.

PDXcoreDANG

Stay tuned for more dang burning man stuff in parts II and III, where we’ll discuss the art of dang’s honorarium project, my role as an art department volunteer, and my experience as a participant in the 2013 event.  More fun and photo’s to come…

It’s tricky to explain what happens when 60,000 beautiful freaks converge in the Black Rock Desert, and it’s a different ride for every last one of them.  After my seventh year, I suppose I should say “us.” So instead of trying to sum it all up, here are just a few of my own experiences this year.

Houston’s CORE project ReinCOWnation rising out of the dust.

For the last two years I’ve volunteered with the Art Department; taking artists to the site where they can finally install the work that has been waiting, sometimes for years, to meet the dust. Along the way I chat them up about their work, their hometown, their first Burning Man, and often much more. Eating dust in a golf cart through the heat of the day is fun when playing a small role in the art that populates that magical place, while picking up the stories behind the work.

La Llorona shipwrecked off of Pier 2.

Another highlight of this year was Black Rock Spatial Delivery’s Virgin Letters Project; which was great fun and gave us an excuse to surprise fellow participants with often beautiful theater. They laughed, they cried, they looked embarrassed and wondered how we could tell this might just be their first time.

Also, the camp was kind enough to allow me to graphically represent them yet again this year – the above being a mash up of BRSD’s traditional “biking man” and this year’s theme of fertility.

I’ve long admired the work of Matthew Billington.  I first came across his unique illustration and design style on Society6, and have kept a happy eye on it since.

The temptation to mix sources and styles is seldom as rewarded as it is in Billington’s collage of text and image, vintage and modern, bringing anxiety and comfort into balance.  His work can be found in editorial and advertising around the world, and as luck would have it, in your home.

Here’s a Haiku about getting ready to live in a temporary city in the middle of the Nevada desert:

you can smell the dust
on your hands and all over
packing up the car

The last time I found myself in that situation I was pleased to have already contributed some dang art to Burning Man 2011.

Black Rock City’s “Least Best” Newspaper The Shroom asked me to work up DJ Passive Aggressive for the two on-playa issues:


My partner and I had fun painting two side panels and a stair riser for Portland’s ThunderBridge; one of 22 regional collaborations for Burning Man’s Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE), and with all of them burning together, one of the largest fires I have ever seen.

 photo by suzie starr

thunderbridgeI volunteered with the ARTery department, mostly as field-ops (kind of like Placement for art).  Before the event they took submissions for logo design’s and the ARTery staff selected these dang designs for the team and for the 2011 event:
ARTery

Last but not least, it was an honor to design Black Rock Spatial Delivery’s shwag for the “Rites of Passage” theme:

BRSD

I’m happy to have provided some dang art to so many of my favorite people and groups that have been throwing down in the desert for years.  Thanks to the Portland C.O.R.E. crew for doing most of the work and letting me steal three panels for thier bridge.  Thanks to ARTery for the excuse to chat up artists and for letting the new guy draw their logo.  Thanks to The Shroom for my first published comic strip. Thanks to BRSD for being the best camp on the playa, and huge thanks to k8 for all of her patience, help and visual expertise.