The artist in residence, updated

A couple of months ago, I posted a photo of Quinland with this title and promised I’d come back to tell the story.

Once upon a time on a deep dark Sunday night, as I was reading the daily emailed school bulletin, I came across this little nugget:

Wilson Students’ Artwork on Exhibit

Three Wilson art students have artwork in the Heart of Portland exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, a showcase celebrating the visual and performing arts produced by PPS K-12 students. Congratulations to Quinland (Photography), Gina (Ceramics), and Emma (Drawing). The opening reception is Monday, April 4 from 6:30-8:30 pm. All PPS families and teachers are invited to attend the reception, which is free. The show runs April 4-16.

Monday, April 4th? Why, that was the very next day! I asked David if he knew anything about this; he did not. Q was already asleep, so I couldn’t ask him until the following morning. He was blasé about the whole thing:  Yes, he had a piece at the Portland Art Museum. No, he didn’t submit it; every art teacher in the district could choose one piece of art for the exhibit, and Mr. Carlson chose his landscape photo book. Yes, he was thinking of going to the reception that night; could I give him a ride?

GIVE HIM A RIDE?! OF COURSE! I’M GOING, TOO! I WOULDN’T MISS IT! THIS IS SO EXCITING! ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DRESS UP? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?  IT SURE IS A GOOD THING I READ THE BULLETIN!  AAAAAAHHHH!

(I suppose I shouldn’t really wonder why he felt no urgent need to tell me about it in advance.)

Here’s the story of the piece: All the students in Advanced Photography were assigned to a) make a book with b) text and c) photos, using knowledge they had gained in class. That was it; the kids could define that any way they wished. Quinland made an accordion book of six black-and-white landscape photographs which he printed and then – I am sure I am going to describe this badly, but bear with me – he covered the images with gum arabic and inked over them with a brayer. The gum arabic makes the light parts resist most of the ink, while the dark portions of the photo get darker. I think. That’s the general idea, anyway. It made each photo look antiqued.

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So here he is, in front of the glass case bearing his accordion book. Most artwork was hung, but since Q’s was very long (this shows only half the length) and two-sided (there were three panorama photos on each side), it got to be in a case, which I thought was cooler anyway. Q’s text was the longitude and latitude of the place each photo was taken: Wilson High School, the Hawthorne Bridge in Downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, the Grand Canal in Venice, and (dagnabit, I’m going to have to look up the exact details of the other two European locations when I get home, but I will edit this as soon as I do). Mr. Carlson was proud. Q was quietly proud. I was demonstrably proud.

David, sadly, could not be at the reception, as it was the very night that he and the kids from the India program were doing a presentation about the trip to the kids’ families and the school community. He was represented in spirit by the Free Tibet sweatshirt he brought Q from McLeod Ganj, the city in northern India that is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. (This shirt is not to be confused with our friend Jon’s shirt, which reads, “Free Tibet with the purchase of another Tibet.”)

One more special treat about that night: Q’s friend (and my former Girl Scout) Emma was the one chosen for the Studio Art piece, so my friend Jennifer and I got to be excited Art Moms together! (We also went to Pastini’s afterward and ate my all-time-favorite Lemon Pudding Cake, so it was pretty much the best time ever.)

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