|"Forest For the Trees", mural festival, Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.|
My friends weren't in town or they had other plans the weekend of the mural festival, "Forest for the Trees", but I wasn't going to let that stop me from going to a spectacular weekend of art parties and art events around Portland. During the whole week, new murals were going up on walls around town by international and local artists. Towards the end of the week, the celebrations and tours were happening. I went to my first art party on Thursday night.
|The crazy sculptures in the plaza at the Portland Art Museum.|
I was one of the first people there. I felt gawky and strange in the almost empty space, but I knew I could mope around and hope someone would approach me and talk or I could shed my shyness and have a lot of fun. I decided to go with the latter. Yes, I had the secret power inside me to just get over myself and not care if I looked stupid or awkward. So I approached a couple on a couch and started talking to them. I couldn't believe how easy it was. We discussed art, where we were from, cool places in town and what brought us to the art event. Well, it was curiosity of course. We wanted to see new things and talk to new people.
|My coloring page from the Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.|
I talked to a lot of people that night because I realized it was more fun to talk to people than sit at the sidelines and just hope for interaction and fun. I ended up talking to one of the mural artists who had flown in from Japan, Nigamushi. He didn't speak much English, but somehow we laughed and joked around. I spoke to a guy from South Africa who happened to be visiting Portland friends that weekend and whose friends said this was a quintessentially Portland event, so he had to see it. "Keep Portland Weird" is the saying in these here parts. I think when they started the strange rap and dripped coffee art performance that was definitely in keeping Portland weird. Don't ask. It was just odd. I left soon after that. It was just a bit too strange for me.
|An artist paints a piano at the Portland Art Museum (L) and an artist and his mural on the Saturday bike tour (R).|
Friday was my second art event and this one was at the Portland Art Museum. Again, I had no companions to attend it with me, but I was determined to go. I decided I would try to talk to some people again. I imagined I'd find a way to strike up a conversation and then we'd laugh and joke around.
There were all sorts of crazy sculptures in the plaza when I arrived. There were also artists painting a piano. In the outdoor sculpture garden towards the back of the plaza, people were coloring. I was handed a coloring page. Looking around, I tried to find a spot to color. I asked if I could color it at a table with some folks who seemed to be collecting beer bottles at their table. One guy had a flower in his hair which I thought was fun. I told him I liked it. He thanked me and we started to joke around. His friends soon joined us and we talked about art school, what made us move to Portland and why we came to this art event. They all knew one of the artists....the one painting the piano. That was cool.
|The Saturday bike tour included the "Naked Bike Tour" mural.|
Saturday was the last art event and this one was a bike tour to some of the murals. This was the 3rd year of "Forest for the Trees", so we saw old and new murals. At each mural, we talked to the mural artists or someone who knew about it. I asked a lot of questions and had fun learning about the artists and the murals they had painted. One mural was about the "Naked Bike Ride" in Portland, but this one had many funny, naked creatures. Another was about the artist's grandmother and baby nephew who were floating down the river of time together. We admired the different styles and the many hours that went into painting the large walls.
|Many styles of art on the mural bike tour including an artist's grandma & baby nephew floating down the river of time.|
At the end of the tour, we convened for beer and burritos. Again, I didn't let me shyness stop me from talking to my fellow bike tourists. I found out that a few of them were PSU graduate students who where doing Urban Studies of Portland. I also talked to the event planners who were mural artists too and Portland gallery owners. They said they didn't make any money off this event. They did it because it connected them with such interesting artists and art lovers. Also, they felt it connected them to their community. I left feeling some of that too. I was glad I didn't let me shyness get in my way of having a fun art-filled weekend. In fact, I felt like this woman was no longer shy.