1. The Artists’ Republic of Fuca: How Sea-steading is Redefining the Artist Colony
    March 16, 2013 by Walden3



    This week’s guest for the Denny School of the Arts Lecture Series is eccentric British philanthropist Sir Arthur Eyland, whose radical solution to subsidizing the arts involves a decommissioned cruise liner, a geopolitical anomaly in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and a refreshing utopian lawlessness.  Mostly known by fishermen seeking halibut, Hein Bank is a solitary shoal that affords water as shallow as 3 meters.  Its location precisely 12 miles from the shores of Vancouver Island, Whidbey Island, San Juan Island, and Dungeness Spit technically places it in a tiny parcel of international waters- a fact that has gone mostly ignored by the US and Canada…but not Mr. Eyland, a veteran sea-steader (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasteading), who has threaded a bevy of loopholes and established the world’s first floating artist colony (called “The Artists’ Republic of Fuca” …or just “Fuca”), free from tax regulations, business licenses, and other laws, due to its unique location.  And based on its proximity to Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle, Eyland’s miniature floating nation has already gained notoriety as being a seminal destination for NW artists to make and sell work.  Lead Pencil Studios even designed and built an underwater glass-walled gallery off the bottom of the vessel, an old Carnival Cruise liner that Eyland bought when the recession hit and the Alaskan routes saw devastating fall-off in patronage.

    Local artists Robert Hardgrave, Susan Robb, Tivon Rice, Anthony Sonnenberg, and Victoria Haven, just to name a few, have spent residencies there in the last year, creating in their seaborne studios and dealing their own art to a constant flux of curious wealthy patrons from around the world, who seem to flock like moths to Fuca’s definitive light.  Eyland owns a small fleet of floatplanes to bring potential buyers flying into SeaTac or Vancouver International to the floating colony, and he hosts weekly mixers, studio tours, webcasts, and exhibition “smorgasbords” meant to get art into the hands of collectors.  Sunsets over the Olympics, salmon fishing off the deck, and the occasional Trident submarine drive-by have combined with the general decadence associated with artist colonies to create an attractive social experiment, as well.  How and why did he do it?  Exactly what did Susan Robb sink into the shallow water bounding the boats anchorage? What’s the most bizaare thing that’s ever happened on that boat?  How can you get onboard?

    Ask him yourself in this exclusive engagement at Walden 3:  Sir Arthur Eyland speaks at the steps, Denny School of Fine Art next Tuesday at 7:00 sharp.



  2. Upcoming Lecture: “The Data of Dada” – Dr. Callie Winters on Art and the Singularity
    March 8, 2013 by Walden3


    “The Cloud” by Jason Puccinelli, 2013

    It was after I went to the Annie Dorsen show at On the Boards a couple weeks ago. Easily a dozen people disliked it so much that they actually walked out of the performance, and scores of negative reviews lit up Facebook and café chatter around town. I realized how much more I looked forward to this month’s Denny School of Art Lecture Series “The Data of Dada: Art and the Singularity,” by artifical intelligence scholar and Vancouver BC artist/provacateuse Dr. Callie Winters. The OtB show that polarized so many in the community ( I loved it so much I was giddy afterwards) featured a back row panel of programmers who fed Hamlet through a series of exclusionary algorithms that reorganized the text into Stephen Hawking-esque verbalizations of non-sequitur phrases. The audience sat in their seats and watched visualizations of text on a large screen, accompanied by empty lighting cues and special effects. The entreaty was to submit our own patternings onto the randomness of an unintentional computerized chaos. Again, so many responded with a spectrum of reactions ranging from disinterest to disdain.
    These seeming “infringements” on art by technology sometimes make us uneasy, but they most certainly will be a part of the intellectual landscape behind art-making in decades to come.
    Meanwhile, over at UW, an entire program of study, DXArts, explores “the invention of new forms of digital and experimental arts.” (dxarts.washington.edu)
    Books by Michio Kaku and Ray Kurzweil speak of the coming “singularity” where human consciousness leaves our carbon matrix to merge with the physical domain of silicon. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTPAQIvJ_1M) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity)
    All of this finds us asking such questions about where and how computers can and will contribute to the making of art and the increasingly blurred lines between the muses that inhabit the creative human mind and the code that directs computerized decision-making.
    So then, we at Walden 3 ask you to bear witness as Dr. Winters entertains challenges to this tricky territory that artists defend as a uniquely human endeavor- what happens in the coming century when the very definition of “humanity” becomes a philosophical gray area? Will the audiences of tomorrow continue to walk out and pooh-pooh digital treatments of the creative process? Will robots paint? Can computers write novels?
    Of course not…right? Right? That’d be like saying that a man with artificial legs could compete as a sprinter in the Olympics. Freaky tomorrowland nonsense. Come down and add your ears, your opinions, and your biases to what promises to be a controversial evening that we implore you not to walk out on.


  3. Joan Woo + Harold Washington Open at Walden Three
    March 4, 2013 by Walden3

    Woo_OpeningMy apologies for those of you who could not get into the opening exhibitions this Friday night. We had an overwhelming turn out and the Mercer and Dearborn galleries are only so big. Both shows run through April 14th, and we hope you can return to view these two new incredible shows.

    For those of you out-of-town art enthusiasts, we do want to recap and give in some greater detail, the artists and exhibits on display at Walden Three. My much abbreviated, thumbnail sketches of their work is certainly two dimensional and lacking in the richness only your presence can afford, but I do encourage you to check out their websites www.joanwooart.com and www.haroldwashingtongoestothemoon.com to learn more about these fascinating Pacific Northwest artists.

    Joan Woo is a Portland-based artist classically trained in oil portraiture at Yale University’s School of Art and The Florence Academy of Art in Italy. She pairs her impressive classical training with a conceptual mind deeply engaged with the ideas of identity, connectively and community. Her work in the Mercer Gallery, an exhibit named My Tribe, shows her process and attempt in finding, what she calls ‘the connection between her real and imaginary worlds.’

    When I visited Joan’s Portland studio last May, it was as stark and immaculate as a newly constructed hospital room – white walls, bright clean light and a white canvas floor without so much as a footprint on it. There was one chair, one easel and a small side table. By intent, there wasn’t a window to gaze out or a magazine to thumb through – it was stark as a psychiatric ward (she was quick to explain that she didn’t always work like this and that the environment was very much part of the process she employed for the series). On the easel rested one nearly finished work, a photorealist portrait of a black man with a wide, genuine smile and short, cropped hair. When I asked who he was, things got very interesting. “I don’t know,” she said, “that is what I am going to try and discover.” Joan Woo sits in her studio and meticulously paints portraits from the deep well of her imagination. Before she starts a portrait, she intentionally avoids all visual media, flushing her mind of any influences that might crop up on television, or shopping or dining in a restaurant. To further cleanse her mind, she meditates on the floor of her studio for hours, ‘cleaning up’ as she calls it, and creating an ‘empty landscape in her mind.’ And then she paints. And her incredibly detailed portraits emerge.


    When Joan has completed a portrait, the real work begins. She creates wanted posters for these imaginary people and tacks them up throughout Portland. She posts them on her blog and tweats and tumbles the image as far and wide as she can – asking one simple question – WHO IS THIS PERSON? And eventually, these imaginary people crop up. That looks like my boyfriend! That looks like my mother! It’s weird to say, but that looks like me! From all over the world, people respond to Ms. Woo’s ‘missing posters’, and her subjects, drawn from her imagination, raise their hand and identify themselves.

    As much as she possibly can, Joan sets off to meet them. Her goal is not just to find them, but to interview them, ask very specific personal questions, examine their lives, hoping some pattern will emerge, some singular thread that will connect her to them, and them to each other. And then she meticulously photographs them, in the exact same pose, manufacturing the clothing and backgrounds to match her original painting.

    The culmination of her work shows the canvas and the photograph side by side, with video interviews and detailed notes about her subjects life and ideology. It is amazing and beautiful and not without yield – two years ago Joan Woo met one of her ‘imaginary people’ in Lofoten, Norway, a man named Bjorn Fredriksen, to whom she married last August.

    On display in the Mercer Gallery are 16 oil portraits with matching photographic re-enactments, and 4 oil portraits still searching for their real world counterparts. Maybe it is you? Maybe it is someone you know? It’s a fascinating exhibit exploring our relationship and connections to each other and we hope you can come back and view the work at a less chaotic time. It will forever change the way you view strangers.


    Walden Three would also like to give a very special thank you to our exhibition sponsors –  Bing, who’s support and sponsorship helped bring Ms. Woo’s exhibit to Seattle (now traveling to 6 other cities in 2014) and Ebay, who’s generous support brought Mr. Washington’s work to new heights (literally and figuratively). Mr. Washington is currently working on three new commissions for Ebay’s San Jose headquarters, reflecting their long term commitment and support of the arts. Stay tuned for new video and a recap of Harold’s work – we are just trying to parse the exhibitions out in digestible pieces!