Student Spotlight - Meet Clara Dudley

WeMake loves to showcase and support the future of the arts in our Student Spotlight Series. I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Clara Dudley, an imaginative designer at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) with a love for color, screen printing and her pet boas. Clara's not afraid to get wild with her whimsical characters and it's impossible not to smile while in their company.

Clara! Put the snake down and tell us about yourself.
I'm from SE Portland and also currently live in SW Portland with my three pet snakes. My favorites medium is silkscreen. I love the look and feel of it, and how it is both hand made and mass-produced. Most of my screen prints were designed in Adobe Illustrator. I also love designing posters, logos and motifs in Adobe Illustrator.

How did you find the medium that best worked for you? What was that process of discovery like?
I took a screen printing class on a whim and fell in love with the process. In the beginning I made my silkscreen stencils out of rubylith or tinted mylar, but didn't like that I couldn't micromanage certain things. Then I started making stencils in Adobe Illustrator, which gave me the freedom to knit-pick as much as I wanted. It's a really nice blend of illustration and printmaking.

Tiger and Python - three color silkscreen

Tiger and Python - three color silkscreen

What were some of your early influences to pursue an education in the arts? Did you always want to be an artist when you were a child?
One of my first influences was cartoons. I grew up knowing that animators made a lot of money, and therefore a career in either art or design could be a practical option for me. I was really bad at most of my classes in high school, but really liked art. I was hesitant to pursue a career in illustration at first, but ultimately made the right choice.

Outside of your art—what feeds your imagination and soul, and brings you joy?
i love to go antiquing! Objects from another time or place bring me a lot of inspiration. Curating my collection of knickknacks brings me a lot of joy. I also love biology! I love learning about animals and spending time with my snakes. I have two Kenyan sand boas (Boo and Pearl) and an Arabian sand boa (Moby).

Pompadour - Digital

Pompadour - Digital

One of our themes for this year is "perseverance". As an artist, what does this mean to you?
I always aim to create an image that lasts in the viewer's mind. An image that "perseveres" despite all the other visual stimuli the viewer sees.

How do you hope your personal expression will reach others, through your art?
My work is about playfulness and having fun. I want my art to make people feel good!

Great to meet you Clara! We wish you all the best!

To see more of Clara's work, visit her website at www.clarawdudley.com.
IG: @sClaramonstera

Woodworking Workshop with Annie Beedy

After an 18+ drive from the City of Angels to the City of Roses, the beautiful and bright Annie Beedy stepped into the Wemake space on Saturday, May 6 for a day of making. With her pup Pinto in tow, Annie was happy to be back in Portland where she had spent the last decade as a photographer-turned-woodworker. With the help of WeMake volunteers, we set the workshop tables with gouges, knives, and slabs of wood before twenty of Annie’s biggest fans and newest admirers began to fill the workshop.

 

Annie began a 3-hour workshop on whittling a large-size spoon out of a slab of poplar. This wood is soft and easy for beginners to manipulate. First, we clamped the wood onto the table in order to dig out the head of the spoon. Even though poplar is the most workable of woods, it takes a bit of elbow grease to get into the groove. After a few scrapes and experimenting with the tools, students were digging away. Annie was available to offer guidance and tips on how to use each unique tool.

Once we were satisfied with the bowl of the spoon, it was time to carve out the handle. Students were able to add flair by cutting the handles into different widths and sizes. Some even added holes and adornments. We refined our carvings with different grits of sandpaper, moving from rough to fine. The grain of the wood rose to the surface as we sanded our spoons. The last step of the process was conditioning our spoons with handmade wood butter Annie made out of beeswax and coconut oil. At the end of the day, each student left with a handmade spoon, a jar of wood butter, and the inspiration to keep carving away.

What I enjoy most about WeMake workshops is the way participants jump right into the craft, even if they have no experience with the tools or trade. I am always blown away by the results and can’t wait to see what else we can make together this year.

Above photos by Daniel Cole. Checkout more photos here!
 

RECAP: Design Week Portland 2017

It's seams like forever ago that we were in full Design Week mode. We of course went a little over board again with two awesome events. Our first event was a collaboration with the Portland Art Museum. We hosted the bad ass designer and illustrator, Tuesday Bassen for a super sketchXchange, moderated by Lisa Congdon and had over 200 people in for the talk. Tuesday spoke about when she first realized she was not content on doing work in other styles for jobs she didn't care much for, and how out of her frustration she drew up a little piece that basically said, Fuck it, and then posted it to Instagram. Turns out she was on to something and her audience loved it. From there she developed a rebel style that resonated with many people, and caught the attention of fashion giant Zara who plagiarized 15 pieces of her trademarked work and created replicas of her pins and patches to sell worldwide. When Tuesday became aware of the Zara fakes, she stood up for herself and fought them. She's still in the battle, but Zara has since pulled the merchandise from their shelves.

What I respect about Tuesday is her tenacity, and her go-for-it attitude. She is a young woman that knows what she wants. From opening her own shop to developing a line of clothing. Her newest venture is creating jeans for women from a size 3-33, an undertaking that takes a lot of courage and moxie. At the age of age of 26, Tuesday is still finding out what she wants, but she's doing so with style.


Two days later we paid tribute to the pin game game community with a gallery and fundraiser called, Pin That Shit! We knew that enamel pins were a craze, but we really had no idea that we would have over 60 artists participate and 600 pins for sale. The turnout across the board, from talent to the amount of people that showed up and bought pins was awesome! After lots of rain, the clouds parted and we even had some sun!

Pin That Shit! was a sweet event of small wonders. We raised over $3500 towards arts education and awarded our neighborhood school Boise Elliot $1500 to help fund their arts and music programs. We could not have done it without the help of the community, far and wide. All of the pin designs were amazing but we awarded a few stand outs for fun.

Above photos by WeMake photographer Alyse Gilbert

  • The Best in Show Award went to Figure 8 Creative  for their collection of feminism pins. The concepts were cheeky, relevant, and fun. And they really took the time to design the packaging in an elegant way. 
  • The Punch Pin Award went to Mike Aknin of the Good Hustle Company for his hip-hop urban style that sang proud and powerful all over.
  • The Fun Flair Award went to Indonesian artists Martcellia Liunic of Liunic On Things She submitted 20 handmade pins that were mind blowing, each one a small piece of art carefully designed and showcasing an array of style.
  • The Pinography Award went to local designer Danielle McCoy for her typographic driven pin that also sent a message of unity. It was clever and spot on.
  • Lastly, The Pintastic Award went to Bill Bubenik of Westpark Creative. His pins were cute as a button with a bite. They were also displayed on beautiful letterpress cards that simple balanced each pin design.

Above Photos by Brian McDonnell

I want to also give a shout out to The Taco Peddlar for making some awesome street tacos, Design Week Portland for putting together a platform where we could participate once again, and our amazing WeMake Team for really rallying to make both events a huge success.

See more photos here and here!

Student Spotlight - Meet Dana Parker

As an artist or a creative, you probably feel the need to address the tragic absurdity of our current political climate. I think it’s okay for an artist’s work to be light hearted too.
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Dana Parker attends the School of Art & Design at Portland State University. As a multidisciplinary designer, she is drawn to branding, page design and illustration (with a weakness for coconut La Croix, air hockey and truffle salt). Dana is inspired by different ways of making and enjoys working with typography and color. I recently caught up with Dana to learn more about her journey as a maker. (Confession. She had me at air hockey.)

Here’s what she had to say…

I am a senior doing a post-bacc in Graphic Design at PSU. I was born in the Midwest and raised in the Northwest. I am inspired by different ways of making, and these methods inform my work as a multidisciplinary designer.  More specifically, I am drawn to branding, page design, and illustration. Regardless of the project, I like to work with typography and color. Other things I like: crosswords, air hockey, truffle salt, the smell of old books, coconut La Croix.

How did you find the medium that best worked for you? What was that process of discovery like?

I began my education as a fine arts major, but didn’t feel like it was quite right for me. I decided to pursue my interest in literature and considered a career in academia. I graduated with a degree in English and a minor in Art History from the University of Oregon. It wasn’t until I started working at an art gallery that I discovered graphic design.

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What were some of your early influences to pursue an education in the arts? Did you always want to be an artist when you were a child?

I have always been drawn to visual art, and as a child I was fascinated by the Impressionists. It had to do with color and the texture that inspires the desire to reach out and run your fingers across it. My crude pastel studies of Degas’ dancers could be found on my grandma’s fridge. In high school, I taught myself to draw from my dad’s old comic book collection and took every art class I could. My family is greatly made up of creative/talented people, and they were always supportive of in my interest in art.

Outside of your art—what feeds your imagination and soul, and brings you joy?

In my free time I try to keep my sketchbook active through drawing and collage. I am also a huge film nerd. I love going to the theatre and talking movies. When I have the time, I still enjoy reading, journaling, and I like to cook. I am impatiently waiting for summer to kick in so I can get back to lazing around Sauvie’s and hiking the gorge.

Our theme for this quarter is “light hearted”. As an artist, what does this mean to you?

As an artist or a creative, you probably feel the need to address the tragic absurdity of our current political climate. I think it’s okay for an artist’s work to be light hearted too. It is more than okay, it is necessary. I am reminded of an article about the Dada movement, titled, “The Rising Charm of Dada,” and the author proclaims that, “sense and nonsense need to be partners in order to mirror the absurdity of the world.” Do the heavy stuff if it strikes you and do the light-hearted stuff too. Stay weird.

How do you hope your personal expression will reach others, through your art?

I’m really into the storytelling potential of design. I feel like my work has a lot of character, and people can gain glimpses into my personality through my design. Lately, I have been dipping my toes in the great pool of coding/web development. The possibility of reaching a greater audience is an exciting aspect of working in the digital world.

I'm looking forward to seeing where Dana lands in the design world!

 

The Tenacity of Tuesday Bassen

I create my own reality, and I think to a degree, I shape other people’s reality by putting it out into the world.

The strong progress of Tuesday Bassen is not to be ignored. Her illustrations have graced the pages of New York Times and Playboy and her zines continue to sell out online around the world. She’s traded her pen to take up pottery for Urban Outfitters and has had her pin designs stolen by corporate bully Zara. At just 26 years old, Tuesday not only knows how to thrive, she knows how to evolve. 

In uncertain times, the artist plays a critical role in society. Back in the fall of 2015, when waves of nationalism and xenophobia started descending upon Europe, Tuesday’s work popped up as a heroic symbol on a protest banner next to the words: “Girl Gangz Against Facism.” One could argue that having your work used as a symbol of protest against hate and fear is the highest honor an artist can achieve. And Tuesday’s work extends beyond protests. Her new clothing line helps women feel empowered every single day.

Beyond slogans like “Mixed Emotions Club” and “Relentless”, her clothing fills a gap in women’s fashion. "I like spending my time designing size inclusive clothing that I wish existed otherwise,” said Tuesday. “I find it personally rewarding and I love seeing it worn, especially on people who might not otherwise have found something rad that fit them.”

Tuesday has an impeccable way of standing up for and working for what she believes in. “I refused to get a job that wasn't illustration related, to the detriment of almost every other aspect in my life. I feel like that an insane level of tenacity helped me.” Her strength and grit come from her lineage of strong female entrepreneurs--from a potter to an agricultural journalist to a Goodyear factory worker. Being exposed to a wide variety of ‘women’s careers’ in her childhood and imagery from Easy Rider and Julie Doucet in her adolescence, Tuesday was destined to create girl gangs on paper and in real life.

Tuesday grew up in Nebraska, a daughter of young entrepreneur parents who own a pottery shop and train dogs. Her childhood home was an eccentric retro ranch abode. The kitchen looked like a diner, with aqua walls and a sparkly plush booth. The pizzaz of her homelife helped get her through Nebraskan winters and also influenced her illustration style, which is moody and also bright and bold.

After graduating from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she got her first gig--a small part of a corporate window display. It paid $1,000 and she decided to move to New York. She spent four years in the Big Apple, building herself as an illustrator. She threw herself into the world of freelance and learned how to be her own boss. After docking up a list of editorial and agency clients, she still craved more freedom. “With client work, you have to appeal to your own sensibilities, the Art Director’s sensibilities, and the rules of the parent company,” she said. “It is a luxury to stop caring, because, for many years, I was too busy working to meet my basic needs to be my true self.” One New York winter, Tuesday decided to live life on her terms. She packed up her car and drove west to Los Angeles.

It’s a new Tuesday in the West Coast. She wakes up at 8:00 a.m., drives to her studio and gets right to work. “I work with my two employee who ship and answer emails. I futz with our online shop, plan photoshoots, and draw maybe 10% of the time,” says Tuesday. “I now focus almost exclusively on producing work for my own clothing label.” Her life and work in L.A. has allowed her to discover her dream client: the girls who want to wear her work. They are actresses, rockstars, and true-to-herself women all around the world.


Join WeMake and Tuesday Bassen on Tuesday, April 25 at the Portland Arts Museum for a special sketchXchange during Design Week Portland. She will be in conversation with her long-time friend Lisa Congdon. Grab your $15 ticket today and don’t miss this incredible talk!