Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shoes and boots have been around since man wandered out across the savanna and began his migration across the face of earth. Evidence and records from early civilizations around the globe all show evidence of foot covering. The shoe is mentioned several times in the Bible and the Hebrews used it in binding a bargain or a deal. The shoe and foot has been altered, bound, fetishsized, painted, tattooed, and worshiped. Shoes and boots represent rank, social class, and career. Shoes have influenced culture. Corporations like Nike and Adidas have made fortunes from the manufacturing of shoes. I prefer a good old work boot. Generally made from sturdy leather uppers and non-leather outsoles and sometimes with steel toes, they provide heavy wear and high traction. Work boots are commonly used for protection in industrial settings, construction, mining, logging and other workplaces. My painting is of a pair I own and wear quite often. They compliment my levi 501’s, tux pants and a kilt.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Greetings from Pump House Studios.
These last few weeks have been a rowdy blizzard of parties, art events, music and just good old fashioned hard work.
So I will offer up the highlights for your reading pleasure.
I have seen the Portland Art Museum’s “China Design Now” a fine showing of China’s government propaganda and design that was created for the Olympic games of 2008.
On view from Aug. 22 – Nov. 29, 2009.
Raphael’s “Women With the Veil” a beautiful painting is on view from Oct. 24. 2009 – Jan. 3, 2010. I also enjoyed “Word and Image/ Word as Image”. A clever exhibition of the relationships between words and images. In the showing are works from Ed Ruscha (he’s one of my favorites) Warhol, Albrecht Durer, Kathe Kollwitz, Robert Rauschenberg and so many others all from the permanent collection. This show is on view from Aug. 22 – Nov. 29 .
No visit to the Portland Art Museum is complete without a look at John De Andrea’s “Dying Gaul” from 1984. On Sunday, Nov. 8 . I had the good luck to see Philip Glass’s “Orphee” at the Portland Opera at the Keller Auditorium. This was a triumph and a nice feather for the Portland Opera to add to its cap. I was pleased to see a contemporary set and costume. I loved the way the issue of the mirrors was handled with the use of body doubles.
The film I recently enjoyed which had a lot to say about how we live our lives is “ The Gleaners and I “ by Agnes Varda. This documentary is about scavengers, recyclers, the passage of time, love and great art. You can get this film on NetFlix. I give it a thumbs up.
Wishing you all the best in life.
Your Artist in Residence,
Jason Berlin.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Galleries

Greetings from Pump House studios
This month of October 2009 I have art work at the following shows/galleries
open-call group show about family of all types-lost, found, past, present, blood and otherwise About the Show With our 8th bi-annual open-call non-juried group show, we have enthusiastically and apprehensively invited 117 artists to explore what family means to them. The theme is a complicated one. Everyone has issues with family. Where we come from, who we are, who we want to become (and who we fear we will become) and where we each belong. All of these things are tied in a messy Gordian knot, laced together with a heavy braid of blood, sex, history, birth, death, adventure, childhood, friendship, loss and so much more
October 2nd - November 1st, 2009 Opening First Friday, October 2nd6pm-12amFREE! ALL AGES!! 534 SE Oak Street(1 blk N. or Stark, 1/2 blk E. of Grand) open Hours Wednesday-Saturday 12-4pm

Cannibals Gallery
518 NW 21st
Portland, OR 97201-1107
Wed – Sunday 12- 5pm

3rd Annual Treasures of the Surreal Madre Art Show at Studio 11
- Happening October 9-November 1, 2009 with artist reception Second Saturday, October 10, from 5-9pm. The show is juried this year by Kristin Shauck, artist and art instructor. It is being held at Studio 11, 453-A Eleventh St., Astoria, OR. Also, come take a tour of all the other galleries in town having openings on Second Saturday.

Wishing you all the best for October and the coming year
Warmly Jason Berlin

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I like gum and I like to chew it. It freshens your breath after to much coffee. Chewing gum is relaxing. There is nothing better than a good snap and pop. The first chewing gum manufactured in the United States was Black Jack patented February 14th, 1871. Gum or gum like substances have been chewed from the beginning of time. The Greeks chewed a mastic gum resin from the bark of the Mastic tree. The Maya chewed chicle, “sticky stuff”. Early European settlers prized it for its subtle flavor and high sugar content. The ancient word is still used, "chicle" being a common name for chewing gum in Spanish and "chiclete" being the Brazilian Portuguese name. New England indians chewed a gum-like resin from spruce trees that was sold in chunks in the eastern states. Sweetened paraffin wax was all the rage in the 1850s. The oldest piece of gum is nine thousand years old. People on average chew three hundred sticks of gum a year and most gum is purchased between Halloween and Christmas. Today gum comes in many different shapes and flavors and sometimes it is even medicated but my all-time favorite gum is the gum of my childhood. The ball bubble gum in the glass ball vending machine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Some pictures of new painting I have been working on enjoy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Greetings & salutations!
This past weekend my friend Tess Morgan, “The Songbird of Seattle”, and I had the opportunity to travel to Maryhill Museum in the Columbia Gorge and take in a little culture. Maryhill Museum is small treasure chest of art out in the middle of nowhere.
Samuel Hill bought the site of the present day Maryhill in 1907. Hill had the dream of establishing a Quaker farming community. He formed the Maryhill Land Company, named after his daughter and set about building a town and mansion. Problems of irrigation and the remote location proved too much for the project and all construction was stopped in 1917. With the prodding and help of friends Samuel Hill turned his mansion into a museum of art. His friend Queen Marie of Romania dedicated the museum in 1926 in a ceremony that was attended by more than 2,000 people and that received national attention at the time. Hill died in 1931 at the young age of 73. Hill’s friend Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, the wife of a San Francisco sugar magnate, took up the task of finishing the museum. She was elected to the newly-formed board of trustees and donated artwork from her personal collection. Under her guidance the museum was opened to the public on Sam Hill’s birthday, May 13, 1940.
If you can make the time go see this little museum. It is worth the day trip. Mary hill also has a nice sculpture garden populated with seven beautiful live peacocks.
Maryhill museum
Maryhill museum drive #35
Goldendale Washington 98620
Tel: +1 (509) 773-3733 Fax: +1 (509) 773-6138

No trip to Maryhill is complete with taking the cure. This trip we gave Carson Hot Springs a try. Rustic is the perfect description for Carson. For only twenty bucks you get to soak in hot mineral water in an old claw foot tub from 1901. After 45 minutes of soaking and in the hottest water a man can stand while listening to the soft drops and splashes of the other watery guests it is time to leave your tub and dimly lit tiled room. You head to the cot area of the spa. There you dry off and lie down and are wrapped in cotton sheets and are tucked in as tight or loose as you like by the reincarnation of Auntie Mame’s Chinese butler. You are left to nap in a room with other sleeping guests. Being somewhat claustrophobic I thought I would not like being mummified in sheets and wool but I found it comforting in a strange child like way. After our ‘cures’ we were both so relaxed we just wanted a nice cup of tea and to be back home. The spa rooms are separated by men’s or women’s. The distressing part of our trip was seeing the forest fire at Mosier, “The Microwave Fire” in the Columbia Gorge. It is a helpful reminder of how fleeting life is and how each vista and moment in time should be treasured. Till next time, I wish you, my dear reader only the best of life! Adieu.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

portland pilgrimage

This past Thursday I made one of my pilgrimages to Portland, Oregon, to take in a little culture and buy art supplies at one of my favorite art stores; Utrecht 1122 NW Everett Street ( ). I also picked up the book “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” by artist Ed Ruscha from Portland State University library. I first heard about Ed Ruscha in my art history class at P.S.U and his book back in the spring. I thought I would just pick up a copy at Powell’s book store. I was shocked to find out that the book cost two thousand to seven thousand dollars and is not a twenty dollar art book. A thousand copies of the first edition were printed in 1966 and the second printing in 1971 was only five thousand copies. Ed Ruscha took the photographs contained in this book with a motorized Nikon camera mounted to the back of a pick-up truck. This allowed him to photograph every house on the Sunset Strip while driving – first down one side of the street and then the other. The pictures were then pasted in order and the individual buildings were labeled with their respective house numbers. I have enjoyed looking at all the pictures and seeing the passing of time. It has made me want to drive up and down the sunset strip in L.A and see for myself how many things have changed.
After picking up my book I rode my bike down to the Elizabeth Leach gallery at 417 NW 9th to see the work of painter Chester Arnold. I was very pleased to see his paintings
He is doing large-scale representational paintings depicting piles of books and debris, burning paintings, and papers on the wind and land. I envied the person who bought one of his works. Another amazing artist I was very happy to see is Rosemary Powelson a member Black Fish gallery 420 NW 9th ave. Rosemary is doing mixed media works on paper and collage. Rosemary is quoted.” My focus has shifted from the details of my husband’s heart attack and the life threatening complications that followed to an examination of the poetic and ethereal topography of the heart. The text forms a new layer of information, and the relief shapes create physical suspension and the addition of light. To allow intimacy I purposely leave the surface of the collages open to close inspection and the transformation of light.”
I believe that both these artists work is worth seeing and looking up.
Till next time I wish you all the best, Jason Berlin

Monday, August 10, 2009


Monday 7/13/2009
3:05 pm 73f slight breeze

A Monday at the Kelso dry cleaning and laundry

I am at the Kelso dry cleaners and laundry. I feed two dollars worth of quarters into a well used speed queen commercial washer. It is warm out side but stuffy and damp in the Laundromat. This place is on its last legs. Some of the washer and dryers are missing fronts.
Half of them are broken. A good number of the fluorescent tubes are gone from their fixtures. Water damaged ceiling tiles hang from the ceiling. The worn floor is covered with a series of randomly placed mismatched asphalt tiles. Broken tiles checker the floor revealing the cement beneath. I sit in a comfortable black plastic lawn chair and wait for my wash to finish. A battered table filled with old People magazines and Christian propaganda pamphlets sits beside my chair. The photo finished faux oak table is adorned with fake brass piping around the edge. Old trophies honoring forgotten achievements line a row of dryers opposite me. My laundromat companion is a small woman. She loads a dryer with wet clothing and a bedcover that looks like it was from a motel six. Her young face is haggard and tired. She wears a pair of tightly fitting faded blue jeans. Chipped nail polish covers her toe nails. Her pink tank top of stretchy material is the top layer of her skin. A tanned back and an exposed flat stomach at the top of her jeans are revealed by the skimpy halter. A man rings the bell on the counter at the dry cleaning section of the store. The bell is answered by an old bull dog and a redheaded teenager who waddles to the counter. He is followed by two men. The man who comes to the counter is wearing an old Grateful Dead t-shirt. The skinny man behind him is wearing a frayed and previously white t-shirt emblazoned with a fad picture of a Trans Am. Tank top is joined by her boyfriend He leans against a broken washer as he watches her finish the laundry. He is thin with a famers tan, deep hollows line his cheeks. His white wifebeater is stained with grey patches. The door to the cleaner opens and a heavy set Hispanic woman enters. She drops off several white dress shirts and a pair of khaki pants to be cleaned. I suspect she is dropping off her work uniform or that of some one she knows. My washer turns off. I unload my wet clothes and transfer them to a speed queen dryer. It is machine number twelve. The dryer is a faded orange which suggests to me that it was new in 1982. It costs twenty five cents to get eight minutes of drying and the dryer sucks quarters like a slot machine. As I wait for my clothes to dry my feet begin to stick to the floor, glued by a mixture of dust, small threads, tiny bits of paper and lint. Another customer comes into the store. The man walks to the front counter and the clerk greets him by name, “William.” William drops off slacks, dress shirts and a sweater. The clerk in the Grateful Dead t-shirt asks, “Will Friday be good?” William says, “Yes, fine.” The men exchange some banter about mowing a yard with a riding lawn mower and with a cold beer in hand while watching a pretty girl in a bathing suit lay out to get a tan. They both laugh. I laugh too. I get up and feed another quarter into the dryer. By now no one else is using the Laundromat. Everyone is gone and I wait for the dryer to finish and sit, listening to the rumbles of the Speed Queen as it competes with the humming and whooshing sounds of the traffic on West Main. The fan on the ceiling above my chair is spinning away, it light sockets empty. I put another twenty five cents into the dryer for another eight minutes of time. I hope this is the last drying cycle for my load of clothing. This is not the Laundromat of my childhood filled with memories of happy times with my brother and mother. This place is sad, worn-out, and used up, just like its patrons. There is no pride of ownership here, just one last desperate attempt to eek out a few more dollars from the poor and displaced. An hour and a half has passed with a lifetime of my memories. I feel the need to get on with the rest of my day and life. An attractive young women walks in to pick up some dry-cleaning. She is dressed in a white hoodie, blue jeans, flip flops and she carries a big caramel colored leather purse. Her blond hair is pulled back in a pony tail; the all American girl. Black t-shirt man hands her a Jackie O type of dress in a subdued Pucci pattern wrapped in clear plastic. While she pays for her service, black t-shirt man talks to her about mowing his yard on Saturday if the weather is good. She smiles and says thank you to the man and leaves with her dress and bright future in hand. My dryer buzzes. I deeply hope my clothing is dry.