August 2016: Alicia Justus & Dawn Panttaja
Dawn Panttaja is a ceramic artist creating dolls/figures about the Portland cabaret scene of the early 90’s. She explains that Portland was home to a raucous, extravagantly fierce and unabashedly strange loosely knit group of musicians and performance artists. Performing every Sunday at the Satyricon, artists and audience shared nights creative chaos and sensual decadence. The only people recording these acts were the artists themselves. This show is in honor of those artists. “I hope to infuse my clay figures with the spirit of those folks who help turn Portland into a very fertile and wildly creative place. A “Paris of the ‘90s.” She works in a mid-range stoneware, using oxide washes and minimal glaze. Her use of a minimal color pallet was designed to turn her subjects into objects: icons of personalities who would have been more at home in dive bars and basement house parties than in museums. Says Dawn “Creating in clay is somewhat like performance art. You’re never quite sure how it’s all going to work out. Something can go terribly wrong... or right. Sometime what comes out of the kiln can far surpass anything I envision—or not. The ceramic artist deals in science, art and magic. The magic part is when you get lucky and everything works just the way you hoped it might.”
Alicia Justus primary medium is watercolor/gouache, but she enjoys sometimes using found media, doing assemblages, and working with collage. Alicia is inspired by images from the past. She has “tried to give my pictures the look of an autochrome. First by drawing them out in pencil, and then coloring them in with gouache. I am a self taught artist who has been living in Portland for the last 20 years. I have written, illustrated, and self published tiny books in this time under the name of Red Star Art. I also have just had my first book professionally published recently through Show and Tell Press, a coloring book of silent film stars titled “Illuminating The Stars”. People are drawn in by the incredible detail and colors Her work stirs emotions and calls to mind fairy tales, witches, and gypsy caravans; there is a mysterious, dark, ethereal feel.