WeMake DISRUPTS, Workshop Recap

On our second day of the conference we hosted 5 workshops around town, two of them were in our headquarters at Tillamook Station and 2 were at other studios. It was a perfect way to end the weekend. Thank you to everyone who came out!

Workshop Highlights

Papercrafting and Stop Motion Animation with Tommy Perez


Resistance Art with Lisa Congdon


Photos by Alex Cooper + The WeMake Team

Risograph Printing with Kate Bingamon-Burt


Photos by Susie Morris

Sign Painting with Travis Wheeler


Photos by Susie Morris


Disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors.

This year has been a year of change and reflection for our WeMake team. WeMake is organized and run by non-paid volunteers and for the last 7 years we have created space and have been a platform to provide inspiration for the design community here in Portland.

WeMake took a pause this summer, and it was needed. Typically we have events year round with a big celebration on our anniversary (the WeMake Celebrates Conference) and Design Week. Because of the pause and disruption in programing we felt that the theme DISRUPT would not only capture our state of mind but also reflect on an important stage of the process of making. We shook it up a little bit by changing the venue and changing the format. We definitely had our challenges this year, but those minor annoyances did not take away from the evenings message, or the work we have done to support arts education for under-served youth.


Gracing the stage were three keynote speakers from out of town, 5 local creative entrepreneurs, and 3 local performing artists. Although we didn’t really promote it, it is worth mentioning that ten out of eleven presenters were women and many of our speakers were new to the spotlight.

We were also very thrilled to have a partner in the Portland Art Museum. The Grand Ballroom was a beautiful setting for the event, and we are beyond grateful for their generous support.

This is why we make. This year we wanted to see as many young creatives and those unable to afford a ticket attend the event. We gave away at least 150 tickets and were happy to have friends from p:ear, Marrow, Friendtorship and IPRC in attendance.

Thank You

If you attended, thank you for your support! As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, this event is a big fundraiser for us and our benefactors who do the work directly with under-served youth. Since the beginning of our journey we have awarded over $100,000 to support this cause, and this year alone over $20,000. We think that’s awesome!

Of course we can’t thank enough everyone behind the scenes making this event happen. Thank You sponsors, Thank You volunteers, and Thank You team members. You are all amazing!

Portland Art Museum, Wieden + Kennedy, The Study, Swift, SERRA, Adobe, Widmer Brothers, West Coast Paper, Scout Books, Paige Landis & Ciera Tague, Artful Venues



The Line Up

Keynote Loveis Wise: At 23 this young artist has made a name for herself and shined a light on what being young, black, and hungry for the work means. She inspired us to make the work we want to be making while encouraging others along the way with her cosmic somethings.

Keynote Tommy Perez: Brought a sense of humor to the stage and shared his cutting edge process of manipulating paper to take on new forms. We loved that just about every slide was animated and he shared what it takes to make paper works for advertising one step at a time.

Keynote Katy Ann Gilmore: Talked of taking breaks and finding inspiration in places beyond the studio. She shared how creating work in her sketchbooks and photographing them within nature eventually aligned with creating large scale murals in public spaces. She showed that her work and lifestyle was larger than the sum of their minimal parts.

Luz Elena Mendoza—Y La Bamba: Brought all of herself to the stage, she was vulnerable, poetic, and filled with grace sharing her story as a Chicano feminist through melodic song and a reading.

Lizy Gershenzon: Made bold statements with Future Fonts a disruptive new platform for type designers to share newly creative fonts in stages of development. Read all more about Future Fonts on the blog!

Amy Dragon: Explained the art of vinyl record mastering and how she brings the sonic goals of musicians to life. Read more about Telegraph Master on the blog!

Anja Charbonneau: Talked about Broccoli Magazine, a posh pot magazine for women that has lit up the cannabis world in highly inspired ways.

Kate Day: Talked about all the badass women who need a work pant that fits in functionality and style and how Dovetail is making that happen.

Christina Lonsdale: Shared her journey of developing stories by capturing peoples aura through light and film. Read more about Radiant Human on the blog!

Briana Grisby: Brought a poem to life from her own experience of what it’s like to be a young and black in todays world and how that is often not a representation of things we take for granted, like a grocery store.

Soleil Hall aka BELLA: Erupted with powerful words that was an eye opener and a reminder to love ourselves, where we come from, and who we want to be no matter what obstacles stand before us.

Happenings of the night

Photos by Alex Cooper and Rowan Bradley

See more photos here

A Revolution in Type Design—An Interview with Lizy Gershenzon


Written by guest writer Melissa Delzio

Melissa Delzio and PSU Graphic Design students: Morgan Marshall and Kayla Winter interview Lizy Gershenzon of Future Fonts.

Lizy Gershenzon has an ambitious goal: to democratize the way type is designed. The company she co-founded, Future Fonts, was started with the idea that font design should be more accessible, and designers should be able to showcase works in progress, acquire funding and feedback and release their fonts in stages.

As an Instructor at Portland State University, I asked a few students to join me in interviewing Lizy via a video app. We discuss the impetus of Future Fonts, who her favorite type designers are and her advice for aspiring type designers.


Lizy was part of the 5x5 speaker series at the WeMake DISRUPT conference.


Mastering Audio, An Interview with Amy Dragon

Each year an engineer can constantly grow and change in their craft as they engage with new pieces of music, audio gear , and discover new way to approach a sonic goal.
— Dragon

Written by guest writer, Rowan Bradley


R: How did you get started in audio engineering?
A: I started audio engineering in 2013 taking the more traditional route of a studio assistantship.  Senior Engineer and my mentor, Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering, was looking for an assistant to train and I had the amazing honor of being selected.  I had no formal sound engineering education, but had spent roughly 12 years in classical piano training eventually moving on to orchestral percussion before leaving musical performance behind.  At a time when a ton of my friends were starting bands, I found that despite being a proficient musician, performing created a great deal of anxiety in me and I began allocating massive amounts of time exploring all things musical and supporting others musical endeavors.  It so happened that the early foundation of music theory combined with a sincere obsessive love of a wide variety of music genres that gave me a terrific foundation for mastering.  From 2013, under the guidance of my mentor, I spent countless hours training, observing, reading college audio text, visiting recording studios, vinyl manufacturing plants, and eventually practicing basic mastering skills and learning the art of cutting master lacquer discs.  I began mastering and disc cutting for my own clients around 2015 while continuing to develop my audio engineering skills.

Version 2

R: What does your process look like? How has it changed over the years?
A: My process is one of transparency and precision.  Mastering is truly the final stop in the audio production process before an artist's work is manufactured and sent out into the world.  There's a tremendous amount of responsibility in that role and I am always striving to honor the artist's sonic goals without leaving my discernible fingerprints on their art.  I strive to be invisible while making a series of tiny clean audio shaping manipulations that end up summing to a track that is professional sounding and truly finished.  One of the greatest assets to my work is the room I work in and the quality of the audio gear I get to use.  Since I started at Telegraph, we've acquired many new fantastic pieces of equipment as well as undergoing acoustic upgrades designed by Andreas Nordenstam in 2015.

R: What do you like most about mastering and audio engineering?
A: Aside from listening to music for my job, I think what is amazing about this field of work is that each project is completely unique requiring a totally customized mastering approach. Each year an engineer can constantly grow and change in their craft as they engage with new pieces of music, audio gear , and discover new way to approach a sonic goal.  I believe I will be learning and working in this field until my ears fail me.

R: Can you think of a creative project that changed the way you think about your work?
A: I had the amazing good fortune of woking at Cascade Record Pressing while learning how to be a master lacquer cutting engineer.  Being able to master a record, engineer the cut for the lacquers, then personally examine the stampers that are made from those lacquers, and evaluate the test pressings at Cascade accelerated my skills in disc cutting lacquers exponentially.  I can recall a challenging electronic project I worked on and was experimenting with a few new techniques for cutting a record with predominately inorganic sounds. I was a bit nervous about what would happen to the fidelity once electroformed and pressed into vinyl.  It ended up sounding incredible and I learned where I can push some of the limitations of the vinyl format to achieve a better sounding record. 


R: What’s it like working in the music industry in 2018?
A: It is a wild time to be working in the music industry.  The last 20 years have seen a huge disruption in the status quo of major labels and they way the music industry has historically operated.  With the advent of music file sharing and the rise in power of online and streaming music entities, a huge fragmentation occurred with a shift to a more decentralized industry.  As a result, a DIY scene has emerged that is no longer a subculture and is it awesome.  Artists don't necessarily need a major label to tithe to and can afford to self release their own album right into mainstream sources.  Coupled with the renewed energy into vinyl, artists have a physical art that they can sell to fans again.   I think this has ultimately resulted in more music being created and released into the world.

R: Any new music you’d recommend people check out?
A: Our regional music is always so brilliant.  The hip hop community in Portland is just blowing me away right now.  Check out the label EYRST or Wynne for a taste of the PNW sound.  Silent Season is a label out of Vancouver BC and is a gem in the electronic scene; I love everything they put out. Additionally, a compilation I mastered, "Raised By Women" showcases female artists in Portland and is going to be released in October by Dazzleship Records; proceeds will go to a local domestic violence agency, Raphael House.


R: What are you looking forward to?
A: We are in the initial stages of a new studio build.  We are working with Thomas Jouanjean of Northward Acoustics.  It's a dream come true to have the honor of working in a room like this and I'm absolutely thrilled to have that resource available to the Portland music community.

Amy Dragon was part of the 5x5 speaker series at this years WeMake DISRUPTS conference.

Telegraph Mastering


The Second Exposure

Written by guest writer: Melissa Delzio

How they create energy is really interesting. It’s real. Our human bodies radiate a low level of electricity, very similar to a radio wave or a microwave.
— Radiant Human

Christina Lonsdale of Radiant Human and her geodesic dome have traveled across the globe to give individuals a chance to discover their inner worlds. Her “aura portraits” are actually collaborative art works that explore color, psychology, philosophy, and dabble in the unknown. Unlike the curated social media portrayals of self which we share on the daily, Radiant Human’s portraits are raw, harnessing unseen energy to create an image that informs participants along their path to self(ie) actualization.

Energetic consistencies

Energetic consistencies

I talked to Christina about the process of making these vibrant, other-worldly shots, and what she has learned about the gaps between how we see ourselves, who we are, and how others see us.

M: What prompted you start Radiant Human?
C: There are a lot of layers to Radiant Human that interested me. I was particularly interested in how the camera works. The camera is a hand-built, modified Polaroid camera, that was invented in the 1970s. I didn’t invent it, but I did start using it differently. Traditionally this camera was used as a selling tool for crystal shops and psychic fairs because of its ability to document energy. They usually use it as a way to enhance a service like crystal healing or reiki sessions. They are able to show the differences in energy before and after a service. But I was interested in the idea of portraiture. In my images you will see more of a clear portrait of a human in addition to the energy that they create. 

How they create energy is really interesting. It’s real. Our human bodies radiate a low level of electricity, very similar to a radio wave or a microwave. This was another point of inspiration for me, that we all essentially are broadcasting, naturally. For this camera to pick up that broadcast, I thought that was exceptional. What it is doing is identifying the wavelength of your body’s energy and matching it to a color. The way that we see color is through wavelengths. The way that our energy works is through wavelengths. So the camera is just matching the wavelength of your body’s energy to the wavelength of a color and that color comes out as a second exposure. So the first exposure is your physical portrait. The second exposure is the translation of your energy. 

Christina’s grandmother before she passed away

Christina’s grandmother before she passed away

I was interested in showing that juxtaposition of the physical body and the energetic body. I think of this as a filter. We use Instagram and Snapchat filters through social media to adjust how we want to see ourselves. But with this camera, you can’t control how you see yourself in this photo. You’re interacting with this machine that is essentially reflecting back to you what you are energetically broadcasting. It’s a dialog between who we are really, and how we identify ourselves.

M: How do people react when their aura is revealed? Have participants had adverse or emotional reactions?
C: Yeah, it can be a very emotional experience. It’s pretty revealing. Sometimes people are not expecting that level of introspection. The way that the experience is set up at this time, you get what you put into it. If somebody is just coming in for a pretty photograph, they’re going to get one. But if someone is coming in to document something meaningful to them, a moment in time, then we’re going to talk about it. This project has a lot to do with what you see in it, just as much as what I see in it.

M: How has this project informed you more generally as an artist? 
C: I’ve been doing this for five years, and there are a lot of interesting learnings that have come from it. I’m finally seeing this thread of what gets me going. I’m really interested in people, not only one person, but a mass of people. I went to college for Social Psychology and Multimedia —I double majored. I didn’t even put the two together at the time, but that is essentially what I’m doing now. 

I think if there is anything that I’ve learned, it is the ability to be entranced and forever mystified by the tension between the fact that we are all very unique individuals but at the same time very similar. There is an interplay between individuality and connectedness.

Radiant Human PDX studio

Radiant Human PDX studio

M: If I entered your dome, walk me through the process of how you would capture my image.
C: It’s pretty organic. It depends on the subject. I would introduce the project and tell you how it works. You go into my dome, you sit down and then I direct you however I think might work, but I also leave it open. What I’ve noticed is that there are certain people who know exactly what kind of photograph they want, and there are others who are nervous, who don’t like being photographed, who request more direction from me. That’s the organic process part, it’s collaborative. Then you put your hands on two sensors. I take your photo. It takes about one minute for the photo to develop because this is real film. I use a rare film called FP100C. We open up the photo. It is a peel apart film, so there is this big reveal. Then I share with you what I’ve learned. In the beginning it was more about what I had learned from color psychology and from the chakras—an East meets West approach. I would say things like, “This is what color psychology says about green. Green is connected to the heart chakra, and this is what the heart chakra represents, how do you identify with this?” So we were on the bridge of science and mysticism. Now, I’m at 35,000 photographs, so I’ve been able to learn a lot about how people identify, not only with color, but with themselves. I’ve been finding some interesting consistencies with how we relate to the color and energy. It’s given me the impression that color itself is one of the most underrated communication tools there is.

A lot of people ask me, can you see auras? No I can’t. But do I believe in the possibility. We are unlimited in possibilities. I actually am not interested in seeing them. This about us interacting with a machine, this unbiased level playing field where it’s not only the subject that’s interacting with this machine, but it’s also me. So we’re both interacting with this machine and we have no control over what it is going to present. We’re interacting with the unknown, and with self image.

M: You shoot in a geodesic dome. Was that design intentional to give the experience a more scientific or other-worldly feel?

C: The dome is a really special thing for me. All 35,000 people that I have photographed have one thing in common. They have walked through that dome. I like that this is a shared experience. I like that me and the people I work with are ambassadors of that experience. I believe this dome holds space. It’s like my spaceship in a way, because I am traveling. I am essentially transporting this shared space all over the world. I believe that this is a portal to the exploration of energy—your energy. I wanted it to be a consistent space no matter where I was. I chose this structure because I wanted it to feel protected and I chose the shape because I know that spheres are better at holding energy than any other shape in the universe. 

This dome contains a collective memory. If I allow myself to indulge my more “woo-woo” side, I believe this dome is the first checkpoint to a portal of a collective experience. By having a collective experience, you can build extensive bridges of connection between all types of people. By stepping into this dome with me, you are downloading a shared experience and subconsciously connecting to a vast community of people who are exploring beyond a two-dimensional world. 

M: Plus it reminds people of Buckminster Fuller.
C: Yeah exactly! The FBI described him as an “affable weirdo,” which I love.

My favorite taken lately—Christina

My favorite taken lately—Christina

M: My final question is, who is left that you want to photograph?
C: My dream list is to photograph groups of people that you normally wouldn’t conceptualize as being connected to energy. I photographed gang members in San Diego and it was really amazing to share that experience with them and to learn how they identity with energy. I’m seeking people who aren’t typical subscribers of new age theory, who maybe don’t go to yoga class. What is really interesting to me is to document more people that you don’t really think of when you think of an aura. 

We’re all human, we all have energy, whether it’s good vibes or bad vibes, we all have them and they become a part of how people see us. Being able to conceptualize this as image and explore the dynamics of self perception and self projection is what this project is all about. 


Christina Lonsdale was part of the 5x5 speakers for the WeMake Disrupt conference on October 19th. She is currently working on a book which will be published by Harpers Collins. 

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