CARTM Art Show and Fundraiser

Over the weekend in Manzanita, OR, I had the opportunity to show some of my recently created found object/trash art pieces. I participated in a fundraiser for CARTM, a unique non-profit, located at the town dump, which acts as a recyclery, thrift store and artist haven. Manzanita is a fun, open, liberal small town on the coast that I have been frequenting for over 10 years. Its programs like these that give me hope for small towns and small communities who really care and want to make a difference. I have seen organizations in cities with similar successful programs, SCRAP and the ReBuilding Center in Portland, for example. Another exciting example is The Art of Recology in San Francisco, where they have an actual artist-in-residence program at the waste transfer station. But this is the first time I have read about a smaller town just up and making it happen, with a goal of “zero waste” for the town.

The art opening on Friday night was filled with inquisitive folks. I had several conversations with people about the town itself, as well as Portland’s growth (Portland is only two hours drive away) and its effect on the coastal economy, summer crowding and particularly the strain on small towns’ ability to handle tourist waste. I felt a similar vibe with some of the people of Manzanita, as compared to folks I have met and grown to love in small town New Mexico. An ability for an artist and other working folk to make a living in these towns depends upon a certain amount of tourism, but hopefully not too much to ruin the overall cohesiveness of the town and the feeling of local ownership. P.S. People seemed to like my tie, which turned out to be an excellent conversation-starter; I found it that morning at our dispersed camping site–a broken strap from a Parr Lumber delivery, which had “Parr Lumber” printed on it.

The show had a diversity of pieces, from sculptures to mobiles to painting and reclaimed fabric arts. What I especially appreciated about the work in this show is that each piece seemed to tell a story about the life of the artist, as well as educating and inspiring people to think differently about what is possible to create out of trash. I appreciate the role of artists and storytellers in this way because maybe we can convey messages to people in a curious, hopefully non-threatening way. By showing our work and being open to criticism, uncomfortable conversations, yet ultimately rewarding ones, maybe people can get ideas as to what might be possible changes for them. It is difficult to live one’s life entirely from trash, although whole neighborhoods are devoted to it out of sheer poverty and necessity, but it is much easier than we think to glean objects of use and start to think ahead of time to “reuse” before “recycle” comes into the picture.


PDX: Art Reception

5th season art show 023

Where there is BLUEMAN, there is life… Thank you to everyone who came to my art opening in the beginning of December and who wished me well. I am happy with the turn-out and the conversations which have been generated by my work. The physical arrangement of the pieces is even better than my conception of it. Thank you to Billy and Emily for helping me hang the show.

The Blueman has had quite the impact. At first, I worried this entity would overshadow the rest of my pieces; but has served to enhance and cohere the show in great un-imagined turns. The addition of the BLUE-MAN-I-FESTO, (see my earlier Artword blog entry) posted underneath his form on the wall, has been an excellent starting point of explanation and exploration for people. Overheard: conversations about childhood, the environment, spirits coming to others in their dreams, creatures in the ocean, growing older, nostalgia and the ultimate complementary question in an artists’ life, “What is ART?”.

A big thank you must go out to Anja, the owner of Miss Zumstein for hosting my artwork and lovely reception, complete with snacks! I really appreciate the support of all my friends and neighbors. Most of the work you see here is for sale, (some sold). Please leave a comment for me if you are interested in purchasing. Any photo you see on my website, film or digital, can be enlarged to your specifications, matted, custom framed etc. Feel free to inquire. A humble thanks, again.

December 2015 Art Show: PDX


‘An Exploration of the Fifth Season…’   by Spencer Fisher  …Photographs and Wall Sculptures

If anyone happens to be in Portland-town any time during the month of December, I will be showing some new work at Miss Zumstein Bakery and Coffee Shop (5027 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218). The opening reception is SATURDAY, December 5th, from 4-6, whereby we will celebrate with drinks, snacks and the much anticipated unveiling of the BLUEMAN SUIT. Some of the work I have posted about in the last few months will be included in this show, but much of it is new. Let’s see what more we can learn…

The following is my artist statement for this upcoming show. Thank you to all who have made this possible.

What is the ‘Fifth Season’?

The Fifth Season is at once the actual time signature of my second round of being in Portland and an addendum season to the four we are used to. In that regard, the Fifth Season is described as our emotional season, or our response to the peaks and valleys of our existence, through time. This can mean taking shelter during turbulence, or it can mean opening up to difficulties and seeking learning, acceptance and atonement—as an agreement of being human: I will be curious, move forward with respect and allow change.

As humans and artists, we all have the capacity to create lightening at any given time, even from dormancy. As a seed pushes up with seemingly no agenda except to live and fulfill a cirque of energy, I am trying to achieve this.

I have found a stride of work I am continually fascinated with. Photography, drawing, painting, making sculptures, sewing and music—all investigations really—these help me create relevance and remind me to value the gifts of each day. My methodology includes using essences of travel, dreams, studying relationships and found objects. My art then offers this vehicle for thought exploration and different ways of paying attention.

The Fifth Season also offers a chance at intimacy, if we let it. As humans, we have a lot of investigating to do of our place on Earth—our place in the galaxy. We have issues with object relationships and how we relate to one another. How we deal with our trash, for example, or ‘invasive’ species, ocean and river pollution, or war, says a lot about our willingness to evolve, ignore or control. My nature is to continually try to make things better along the way, but sometimes it is necessary only to breathe and to listen.

Definition of Season:

  1. one of the four periods of the year (spring,summer, autumn, and winter), beginning astronomically at an equinox or solstice, but geographically at different dates in different climates.
  2. a period of the year characterized by particular conditions of weather, temperature, etc.: the rainy season.
  3. a period of the year when something is best or available: the oyster season.
  4. any period or time: in the season of my youth.

Dream Leap

This woman in my dream was contemplating jumping. Was the pool empty or full? What would be worse for a woman made out of paper? I was interviewing her. Did she conspire with the other judges to throw the poetry contest? A lot was at stake, including a new poet’s career… Sculptures like this and other art soon to come with an official posting/invite to my show in Portland, Oregon in December. Stay tuned…

Song for a Magnolia

An ode to the 50 year-old Magnolia Tree which used to be growing in front of our Cabana. Cut down a few eons ago, the stump measures 3 feet across. Review the process of this amazing collaborative project with Billy von Raven and myself at our blog:

Trashlines: Nomadic Shadowbox

I am pleased this week to release photos of my newest sculpture, “Nomadic Shadowbox”. The number of fun materials I have collected for this piece are maybe too numerous to site, but I am going to try to list them anyway. I mostly appreciate this catharsis because of the record, for me, about the myriad of locations the “stuff” came from. After the gallery, please seek the aforementioned list!

Like many of the sculptures from my series “Trashlines”, I incorporate found objects, trash, (my own and others) and building with salvage materials. The reason for including the word “nomadic” in the title is simply because many of the items which went into the piece are from so many different places, collected over the past year or so. I also think this piece represents a sense of the “nomadic”, as I like to define it as a label for myself. I love the torn Tibetan Prayer Flag in the background, the musical, playful and resourceful aspect of the home-made flute, the various types of wood and eclectic trash. The sentiment one gleans from the orange peels is of a path for where one has gone and the excitement of where one is going next. Always, my favorite part of the story of Hansel and Gretel, is when the children leave a path of stones to follow home. I appreciate the subtleness of the fishing line and the delicateness of the split pine corn, versus the fence-post chunk and hard bamboo and plastic. More so than the traveler, I feel a “nomad” really has the unique distinction of getting to know a place–usually staying for at least a season before moving on. In this way, more intimacy is created with the people, the lands, the spirits, the other creatures–even one’s own thoughts. I like that while working on this piece, I also felt a sense of “getting-to-know-you” about it.


*plywood backing: salvaged from a camp kitchen built from salvaged materials in New Mexico, traveling 8,500 miles on a road trip in 2014, ultimately being re-purposed in Portland, OR

*pine wood sides of shadowbox: part of cupboard, salvaged from the trash on NE Ainsworth Street, Portland, OR

*bottle cap, marble, Lego piece, red plastic pieces, purple plastic pieces, green plastic pieces: Lake Harriet, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*all bamboo, including home-made flute: salvaged from the neighbors backyard

*mobile bracing: salvaged from trashed dish rack, Portland, OR

*fishing line and tiny swivels: Big Eddy Picnic Ground, Clackamas River, OR

*Mepps fishing lure: my favorite, gifted from my father, Michigan

*orange peels and pistachio shells: compostables created on a trip to Hideaway Lake, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*ceramic broken egg: found in a carton of eggs bought at a farmer’s market, Portland, OR

*split pine cone: Two Rivers Picnic Area, Clackamas River, OR

*torn Tibetan flag: torn by the wind, found in our backyard

*9mm bullets shells, white plastic ring: found at Hideaway Lake, Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

*walnut: courtesy of the squirrels in our backyard

*champagne topper: remnant of a celebration of job-quitting, Portland, OR

*wind chime wood oval: found on my street after a storm

*green thread: stolen from my mother’s sewing table, at age 18, Michigan

*hemp twine: courtesy of the barn in El Morro-ville, New Mexico

*metal pressure washer and key ring: found in New Mexico

*wine cork for “flute”: remnant of a celebration for Billy’s birthday

*finishing nails, screws: salvaged from wood found in the ACME (artist’s music studio) during remodel

*fence post chunk: landscaping business remnant

*store-bought glue