Art & Advertising: Portland’s Loyalty to a Chop Suey Sign

Hung Far Low

The American Advertising Museum once took up a storefront in Old Town. Its kitschy collection included Bob’s Big Boy, Buster Brown, Mr. Peanut, and the Jantzen Diving Girl in her red tank suit. I visited in 1999, five years before it was shuttered, and I became infatuated with its collection of Volkswagen magazine ads with … Continue reading

Plagiarism, Homage, Infringement and the Collective Creative Consciousness

Is creativity finite, or do good ideas naturally have multiple lives? A lesson I remember from the sixth grade focused on an essay by a writer accused of plagiarism. We read the piece, then engaged in some pertinent classroom activity, the point of which was to send us forward in our academic careers appropriately recognizant … Continue reading

Stranger Things: Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Repeated Pattern: Motif

Batik-Style Artwork

In the late ’70s, when I was a girl, a neighboring family had a half bath in their San Mateo, California home papered with persistent, full-frontal sketches of a 1920s-era Rolls Royce.  The washroom was tiny, and artificially lit; and the toothsome grills and buggy head lamps stretched floor to ceiling. As if this wasn’t … Continue reading

Dada, Found-Object Art, and Altered Books

I wanted to make a sculpture out of a urinal so art students could write papers about me ninety-five years from now, but Marcel Duchamp beat me to it. As an undergrad I thought he was brilliant. Now I feel, by turns, duped and in on the joke. The Dada art movement was NOT an … Continue reading