Think Oregon

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Jo Hamilton: Crochet artist

A wall of yarn is her palette, a steel hook her brush. With these, Portland artist Jo Hamilton crochets a new twist on an ancient craft with elaborate cityscapes and portraits that unravel crochet as granny craft. By painting in yarn, Scottish-born Hamilton, 41, blends fine art training from the Glasgow School of Art with the craft she learned from her “gran.” She moved to Portland in 1996, and painted in oil and watercolor for almost twenty years, but says, “I hadn’t found my medium.” In 2006, inspiration struck at a nontraditional show of tapestry, sewing and embroidery at the Contemporary Craft Museum (now the Museum of Contemporary Craft). She went home, picked up the crochet hook and began a cityscape of Portland that took years to complete. Next were the portraits—friends, coworkers and even dogs. “Portland excites and inspires me to do unsanctioned things and not think about what…

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Darren Orange: Painter

A video of Darren Orange spraying, wiping, smearing and throwing paint on a canvas matches his own description of how he works: fast and furiously. Part of a small exhibit at the Newport Visual Arts Center in January, the video conveys a feverish quality. Red, orange, black and white streak across the canvas, capturing a moment in time and place. “I paint where I live, and where I live permeates what I paint,” he says. Raised on an apple orchard in Yakima, educated at Western Washington University in studio painting and now a resident of Astoria, the 38-year-old painter finds inspiration in windmills, fishing villages, shipwrecks and broken down cars. “I’m drawn to marks that man has left on the environment—ruined architectural elements, discarded things and reminders of the obsolete,” he says. They’re his window to history, the human scale in the natural environment. Abandoned railroad tracks, the bow of…

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Anna Fritz’s The Gospel of Tree Bark

Anna Fritz wrote most of her new album, “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” in a little cabin in the coastal mountains of Southern Oregon with only the birds and the water from nearby creeks to lull her to sleep. Sounds like an album for a bunch of pagan back-to the-land-types, right? Maybe… but she grows so far past this parody both lyrically and musically on “Bark,” that she might be spending more time in the spotlight this year than she anticipated.

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Best Band

Winner: Pink Martini Pink Martini may be Oregon’s own homegrown band but its music, lyrics and fans are global. Thomas Lauderdale, a classically trained pianist, founded the group in 1994. Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Harvard classmate and vocalist, China Forbes, to write songs. It was a fortuitous pairing as their first song, “Sympathique,” became an overnight sensation in France, where it was nominated for song of the year. Since then, the ten- to twelve-member petite orchestra has recorded six studio albums in thirteen languages on its own label, Heinz Records (named for Lauderdale’s dog). Its worldwide sales have topped two million. “A Retrospective,” released in 2011, is a mélange of old favorites and unreleased tracks. The band recently completed a tour of Japan with singer Saori Yuki and is currently performing throughout the United States and Europe, including at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. In April…

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Beyond the Oregon Trail

Sue Alperin has put together a new, alternative history curriculum that sheds light on Oregon’s checkered racial past.

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Power & the Poster

Portland artist Joe Wirtheim mixes art with health advocacy.