Next Portland speaker

Jen Delos Reyes

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December 19, 8:30am • • part of a series on Education

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the Portland creative community.

Adam Garcia is a creative director, designer and illustrator at the helm of The Pressure, a design studio in Portland. He’s been a member of the CreativeMornings/Portland community since the beginning, and illustrated Rebel, the global theme our chapter chose back in February, for which Andi Zeisler spoke.

See Ashley Forrette's photos in all their glory on Flickr and check the interview below.

In your mind, what are the most important qualities in an effective designer?
There are many ways to be “effective.” Maybe that’s a part of it, that “effective” is fluid, evolving, amorphous depending on the projects or clients or context. Perhaps “effectiveness” is the capability to sense those shifts beneath your feet, in the air. To sense when things must change. To be aware of culture, nuance, detail, subtlely, emotion on a tiny level and on a grand, macrocosmic scale. I think an effective designer is a dancer, a seismologist, a scientist and a psychologist all wrapped up in one. Maybe. These are my thoughts right now anyway, until I find a more effective answer.

Does your personal work impact your client work and vice versa? Or are they separate practices?
The personal work not only impacts the client work, but they flow into one another constantly. I think that creative exploration is part of what makes our studio work. Using experiments and surprise as a foundation of our model as a studio means that sometimes clients approach and ask for the thinking instead of the result, as they see the constant creative output. That enables us to use all of that exploration to create work that we’ve never made before, and allows some exciting collaborations that are unexpected. Which usually becomes an impetus for personal work in a different direction, which turns into client work. Et al. Ebb and flow.

How did Gemira come about and what were you trying to explore with your solo show?
We were asked by the good humans at the One Grand Gallery if we wanted to do a gallery show, and the theme was up to us. One thing that we’d been thinking about a lot as a studio is this kind of confluence of science fiction, futurism, the political state, and technology like facial recognition, drone surveillance, dictatorial regimes. The show was called Unbound: Artifacts of the Gemira Commission. We thought that through a design lens using imagery of power, and actually writing a short story with a fictional regime could be an interesting way to approach the show. After I wrote the story, created the characters and dynamics between the groups, the pieces were created supplementarily. The best part, to me, was working with musician Medium Zach (from Minneapolis-based group Big Quarters) to create a 50-minute long, 11 track score to the show that is phenomenal.

Why a spelling bee?
SO MANY REASONS! One: I like interactive game-type situations in public places that enable us to hang out with a big group of people and make good times. Two: Me love words Three: I get to host, and I’m an alright host of things, and Anton gets to DJ, and he’s a very good DJ. We should be doing that kind of stuff. The people need us, Tsilli. Four: It’s just SO FUN. If you haven’t been, I urge you check it out. It’s kind of awesome and hilarious. 

What do you wish people would ask you that you never get asked?
< That. :D

"At Scout Books, we’re inspired by color every day. We craft notebooks using three primary ingredients; ink, paper and your good ideas. Each color’s adventure starts at Great Western Ink, our local ink company, based right here in Portland, Oregon.

This video traces the color yellow as it is mixed, transported and then put to use on press to create a custom Scout Book that was designed specifically for Laura Whipple’s CreativeMornings/Portland talk.”

—Scout Books

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the Portland creative community.

Stephen Green is a husband, a father, and a very busy man. Between his work with local businesses at the Portland Development Commission, his role on the board of Oregon Public House, and the countless other duties he takes upon himself, he’s making Portland a better place for you and me. He’s been a member of the CreativeMornings/Portland community for the past year, and we chose to profile him after his tweet at the Intisar Abioto event, which summed up that amazing morning quite nicely.

See Ashley Forrette's photos in all their glory on Flickr and check the interview below.

Your work at the PDC champions small business. How have things changed for entrepreneurs in Portland since you started?
I love that my job allows me to work with a vast array of businesses, from the in-garage brewer to the manufacturing business with hundreds of employees, selling widgets world wide. As far as how things that have changed…. Two things things come to mind as far as what is different now in PDX, access to capital and access to information. There really is no school for how to run a business and being an entrepreneur used to be a bad word or something you possibly did later in life. Now with tools like PDC’s grant & loan programs, crowdfunding, micro-lenders and other organizations looking intentionally to invest in entrepreneurs and their ideas, it really puts the business owner in a position to go from idea to hanging a shingle in their neighborhood. Honestly access to information is the biggest piece, the internet and the open & collaborative business environment of Portland, where entrepreneurs willingly support one another is the key to why Portland’s entrepreneurial landscape is so vibrant.  

You sit on a lot of boards, sir. Tell us about the work you do with Black United Fund of Oregon and the Housing Development Center.
Service is what I think we are called to do in our communities. These two organizations are serve the people and areas that are close to my heart. I am honored to play a small part in getting young people involved in STEM education and careers through the Black United Fund of Oregon and ensuring that more people and organizations have access to affordable housing & facilities in my role at the Housing Development Center.
How did the Oregon Public House come to be?
I am a numbers guy and I know Portland in #1 in at least two arenas, breweries per capita & nonprofits per capita in the country. One of the original founders likes to say that if Portland had a baby, it would be a nonprofit brewery. The idea came from the reality that in recessions people drink more and nonprofits see fewer donations. Mix in the fact that food really is the duct tape of life and you have the Oregon Public House, where you can literally have a pint and change the world.
Where are you hoping to take it next?
We just starting brewing our first beer the “Do Gooder” IPA and have started talking to other businesses that are looking invest some of their profits in the organizations we support. At the end of the day, we are all volunteers hoping to benefit our neighborhood in a tangible way and see organizations like the Community Cycling Center worrying a little bit less.
How do you have time for everything you do?
A loving wife and family, a passion for helping others & mentors along the way that told me I should.

Having switched between banner images of a crumbling wall and lined book spines for Prison Photography, our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook looked for a change in 2011. After learning of artist Dider Falzone’s generative logo project, TOBERND/YOURHILLA, Pete was inspired by the sketches’ relationship to German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher and their acclaimed interest in typologies.

Falzone drafted nine of his typologies, or landscape planes, with the intent that once all are adopted by photography blogs, the “digital manipulation will mirror itself in a systematic auto-generated community.” Pete chose the sketch named “Slot ●●● ●●● ×●●”.

The … logo is a pretty solid walled-in shape. It reminds me off some modern prison cells that have gone beyond the four-wall cuboid (below). I also like the fact it resembles an arrow pointing down to everything else that will pass through the pages of Prison Photography; whatever goes on between the lines and limits of this blog, you can always be reminded ‘You Are Here’.

Raw Meet: Interview With Elizabeth Avedon:

In addition to blogging, our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook has been writing for the technology magazine, WIRED, and their Raw File blog since 2009. By helping “expos[e] the WIRED world one photo at a time”, Pete has published almost 200 articles. Topics range from the Detroit and ruin porn, mausoleum’s spectral light, and photos taken from a stolen Macbook.

The included Q&A features Elizabeth Alvedon, an artist sharing photographer Richard Alvedon’s famous last name who has earned her own reputation curating galleries, influencing multinational advertising campaigns and leveraging design to assist several of the 20th century’s most acclaimed photographers. Despite all the new opportunities arising for photographers due to the internet, publishing deals and exhibitions remain the goal for many. Is this how it should be? Always will be?Avedon: Pressed to gaze into a crystal ball, I would say what is ironic to me is limiting a potential new tool by compromising it to accomplish or mimic what a traditional tool already does.

I believe as these new mediums mature and natural selection takes hold, quality will rise above the static and noise. It will take time to measure what opportunities are really worthwhile and not illusionary. We’ll see what has promise and is useful versus what was empty and vapid. I think goals and values will evolve as we learn what is truly moving our visual language forward.

While serving as a teacher for University Beyonds Bars in 2011, our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook discusses education’s role with the American prison system’s “invisible” rehabilitation efforts.

University Beyond Borders was founded in 2005 and became the country’s first program offer college-level instruction at the Washington State Reformatory after the legislature prevented public funding of prison higher education programs. Almost ten years later, the program offers programing to over 160 prisoners.

To bring to attention things previously unsaid.

To bring attention to things said but unrecorded.

To present a consistent textual and visual editorial voice, to which I am held accountable.

To highlight pre-internet work (digitally unpublished) and give it some exposure.

To joust in the melee of contested meanings in surveillance, fine-art, documentary, amateur, institution, and virtual photographies of prisons and other sites of incarceration.

” -

The manifesto behind Prison Photography, the acclaimed blog written and edited by our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook.

By working between the included objectives, Pete’s blog employs methods to “[conduct] interviews with photographers, …comment on issues of photography, prisons, police, media, civil liberties, …present visual convergences and a short thought/context for viewing,… [and] maybe [include] a quote or two.”

Focusing on Prison Photography:

In late-2011, our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook shared an interview with the New York Times and their photography blog, Lens. And in light of this month’s global theme for CreativeMornings, ”Failure”, Pete remarks as to how imagery may improve cultural awareness regarding the prison-industrial complex:

Well, a lot of people don’t want to talk about prisons. There’s no incentive for anyone in society to look at prisons for the failure that they are. Politicians don’t win if they appear to be soft on crime. And then you have the media, which is after ratings. It wins by stoking up emotions.

… So a lot of people don’t want to talk about prisons but a lot of people might be ushered into the conversation by way of an image.

Jenn Ackerman, "‘A Hand to Hold’"(2008) from the series, Trapped.
Jon Lowenstein. "Undocumented Mexican Immigrants – Tent City" (2009)
Steve Davis, "Untitled #1" (2005) from the series, Captured Youth
Jan Sturmann, "‘Juvenile Prison Sweat Lodge’" (2005)
Adam Shemper, "'In the Wheat Fields, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana’" (2000)

When offering incentives for his 2011 Kickstarter project, Prison Photography on the Road, ourAugust ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook secured many generous and talented photographers as collaborators when offering their respective prints. Because only one item was available for each of the donation amounts exceeding $200, Pete’s incentives functioned like a “buy it now” auction. In addition, such donors would also receive a postcard, mixtape, the self-published photobook Prison Photography in the Era of Mass Incarceration and have their name published on Pete’s website and in the acknowledgements of the Prison Photography on the Road book.

Photographers included Jenn AckermanAdam AmengualVictor Blue, Steve DavisTim GruberBruce JacksonJon LowensteinFrank McMainsAra OshaganRichard RossJamel ShabazzAdam ShemperJan Sturmann, an incarcerated student of Mikhael SubotzkyStephen TourlentesLori WaselchukMax Whittaker and Sye Williams.In addition to the select photos included, all photos curated by Pete are displayed in an August ‘11 Prison Photography blog post.

Creator Q&A: Pete Brook and Prison Photography:

While crowdsourcing funding needed for his Prison Photography on the Road project in 2011, our August ‘14 CreativeMornings/Portland speaker Pete Brook spoke with Kickstarter as part of their “Creator Q&A” interview series. The conversation touched on how Pete became interested in visual culture’s relationship to activism and social justice, in addition to who the project’s ideal “readers” would be alone with their collective expectations.A special series of photographs was also included.