today i went with the boys, james and tom, to help with the installation of james' sculptures in the "emerging artists" room of LaConner's Art's Alive! weekend festival.  When James was first asked to participate, he thought they were asking for us both, and was surprised and confused to find out that they wanted his work only. I pretended to pout, whining "why didn't they pick meeeee?", but really, i was excited for him.  Since leaving art school to pursue cabinetry, james has mostly built furniture, kitchens and other functional wooden gear to make a buck.  i've been known as the artist of the family.  but i do know there is truly a brilliant artist inside james, waiting to explode onto the scene.  i encouraged him to move outside of function and conventionality for this one, to take the opportunity to show what kind of sophistication he's really made of.  and he did.  with the help of tom, he assembled some dramatic pieces that hearken to his influnces, from tsutakawa to northwest natives to nature to demolition and destruction to collection and resurrection.  we proudly packed the back of tom's trusty red pickup with the creations from the past couple weeks and drove the sunny fields to laconner.

so i guess i've been spoiled when it comes to seeing interesting art in well-designed environments.  Living in portland and being an art-junkie of sorts, i've been exposed to everything from guerrilla galleries to boutique galleries to formal museums.  there are so many artists in the world, and equally as many ways to exhibit the art effectively.  and also so many ways to ineffectively exhibit the art, to butcher the experience altogether.  walking into the art's alive exhibit, i felt as if it should be called art's dead.  The room looked like a glorified county fair art exhibit:  carpet paneled office room dividers lining the walls, embellished with 80's style white telescoping clip lights. and then the art.  most of it was decent, and some was downright lovely, but the presentation was so tacky and distracting it had a de-emphasizing effect.  luckily, james' pieces look good darn near anywhere, but the ladies seemed perplexed by the work to say the least.  we left, feeling confused ourselves, but accomplished still, for making a small dent called "non-conventional" in the facade of laconner-style "sophistication".  driving home, we laughed like kids, making beavis and butthead style dirty jokes about the "erection of our giant totems", in light of all the stuffiness we'd narrowly escaped.  well done, team lucky dumpster.


  1. do you have photos of his stuff? :)

  2. what a nasty blog. I attended Arts Alive! Friday evening and wasn't at all put off by the surroundings. I guess I just don't have the discerning eye of a trained artist. I don't think I'll look at work by either of you without recalling this piece of nastiness.

  3. It isn't nasty at all. It just very well may be honest. We can't give everybody a pat on the back now, can we? It's thoughtful and likely apt.

    My work has received negative reviews in Seattle newspapers that continue to live on in the online world of reference. Did I get upset at the critics? No. I made better work.