We’ll be at Disjecta in Portland tomorrow for the opening reception of subject, answer, countersubject, Curator-in-Residence Summer Guthery’s inquiry into the word ‘fugue.’ Guthery engages a handful of good brains and hands to sculpt their responses, including Portland’s Blair Saxon-Hill, artist and co-owner of Monograph Bookwerks. The exhibition, sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, utilizes music, metaphor, counter-intuition, materiality and obfuscation to meditate on Guthery’s provocation. Up through early November.

We’ll be at Disjecta in Portland tomorrow for the opening reception of subject, answer, countersubjectCurator-in-Residence Summer Guthery’s inquiry into the word ‘fugue.’ Guthery engages a handful of good brains and hands to sculpt their responses, including Portland’s Blair Saxon-Hill, artist and co-owner of Monograph Bookwerks. The exhibition, sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, utilizes music, metaphor, counter-intuition, materiality and obfuscation to meditate on Guthery’s provocation. Up through early November.


Ace Hotel Portland is an optimal HQ for your Pacific Northwest elk watching adventure this autumn. The Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area about an hour away offers a hunt-free zone and supplemental winter grazing grounds to elk herds. Bugling season starts in mid-September. Prime elk viewing season at Jewell starts in November. Or you could catch up with some at Mount St. Helens on the way up the I-5 to Ace Hotel Seattle. There’s plenty of options. While you’re with us, you can pick up a hiking guide or some all-about-elk reading materials like Where Elk Roam: Conservation and Biopolitics of Our National Elk Herd at Powell’s, detour a couple blocks to pay homage to the Thompson Elk, and then plot your itinerary from beneath the Ace Hotel x Pendleton Elk blanket on your bed. Just sayin’.

Ace Hotel Portland is an optimal HQ for your Pacific Northwest elk watching adventure this autumn. The Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area about an hour away offers a hunt-free zone and supplemental winter grazing grounds to elk herds. Bugling season starts in mid-September. Prime elk viewing season at Jewell starts in November. Or you could catch up with some at Mount St. Helens on the way up the I-5 to Ace Hotel Seattle. There’s plenty of options. While you’re with us, you can pick up a hiking guide or some all-about-elk reading materials like Where Elk Roam: Conservation and Biopolitics of Our National Elk Herd at Powell’s, detour a couple blocks to pay homage to the Thompson Elk, and then plot your itinerary from beneath the Ace Hotel x Pendleton Elk blanket on your bed. Just sayin’.


 By day, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham run Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture — turning inspiration sparked from the convergence of their myriad global influences (she was born in Italy to German parents, schooled in France, and educated in Britain, where the pair met before moving east in 1988) into building-sized testaments to their creative prowess. They just so happen to have designed our new happy place in Tokyo, Daikanyama T-Site, pictured here. By night, Astrid and Mark foster the global movement known as Pecha Kucha. This isn’t the duo’s first stroke of brilliance — Klein-Dytham designs some of the prettiest buildings we’ve seen anywhere, globally inspired but deeply rooted in the minimalist ethos and diverse natural surroundings of life in Japan. They also run an event space, SuperDeluxe, where they invite young designers to think, drink, collaborate, make noise, eat food, share big ideas, and network their little hearts out — and where, way back in 2003, Pecha Kucha was born.
In the hands of the 99% of us for whom public speaking isn’t a life calling, having to present an idea — no matter how jaw-droppingly awesome it actually is — to a room full of people is a particular kind of hell. And watching someone else bury their own great idea under rambling departures from the point and yawn-inducing over-explanations is just as bad — unless you’re hard-pressed for a nap, probably worse. But Klein and Dytham hit the sweet spot, challenging presenters to distill a message into 20 slides, showing each for 20 seconds. In six minutes and forty seconds, you can really only do so much damage — and as it turns out, it’s led to some of the most powerful and profoundly moving storytelling sessions we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. Tonight, The Cleaners acts as the Portland headquarters of Pecha Kucha Global Night, alongside about 100 other cities hosting similar events. Starting at 7pm, it’s free and open to the public — true to spirit.

By day, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham run Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture — turning inspiration sparked from the convergence of their myriad global influences (she was born in Italy to German parents, schooled in France, and educated in Britain, where the pair met before moving east in 1988) into building-sized testaments to their creative prowess. They just so happen to have designed our new happy place in Tokyo, Daikanyama T-Site, pictured here. By night, Astrid and Mark foster the global movement known as Pecha Kucha. This isn’t the duo’s first stroke of brilliance — Klein-Dytham designs some of the prettiest buildings we’ve seen anywhere, globally inspired but deeply rooted in the minimalist ethos and diverse natural surroundings of life in Japan. They also run an event space, SuperDeluxe, where they invite young designers to think, drink, collaborate, make noise, eat food, share big ideas, and network their little hearts out — and where, way back in 2003, Pecha Kucha was born.

In the hands of the 99% of us for whom public speaking isn’t a life calling, having to present an idea — no matter how jaw-droppingly awesome it actually is — to a room full of people is a particular kind of hell. And watching someone else bury their own great idea under rambling departures from the point and yawn-inducing over-explanations is just as bad — unless you’re hard-pressed for a nap, probably worse. But Klein and Dytham hit the sweet spot, challenging presenters to distill a message into 20 slides, showing each for 20 seconds. In six minutes and forty seconds, you can really only do so much damage — and as it turns out, it’s led to some of the most powerful and profoundly moving storytelling sessions we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. Tonight, The Cleaners acts as the Portland headquarters of Pecha Kucha Global Night, alongside about 100 other cities hosting similar events. Starting at 7pm, it’s free and open to the public — true to spirit.


INTERVIEW : JOHN JAY, W+K GX : PART II
Our interview with creative director John Jay, recognized this year among other legendary creatives George Lois, Louise Fili and others. See part one here.
There’s a lot of magic in the client/creative relationship, and sometimes a lot of tension. The typical origin myth for that dynamic comes in the form of assuming business needs and creative needs are fundamentally opposed. But it can’t be that simple.
These days clients are under so much pressure. They’re like baseball managers — they last maybe two years. You have to have empathy for them, put yourself in their shoes. Creatives love to complain about the client but unless you can understand what sort of pressure they’re under you can’t solve their problem. This is why, as a creative, you have to also have a business mind — so you can solve business problems in a way that means something, that has substance.
When you sell a company, or go public, that culture dissipates. This “culture” we keep talking about, it starts with the independents. In the Northwest that’s the secret sauce, that we’re wildly independent. We’re not in the shadow of Madison Avenue, we don’t have the pressure of our immediate surrounding industry and community saying “that’s how everyone does it, this is how it’s done.” Wieden didn’t germinate in a big city, and that allowed us to grow as a team in this independent environment. How do we live up to that responsibility? By standing by a truly creative culture, in an open studio where we encourage the unexpected and that which questions ideas at their core.

What are you looking for when you’re building a team?
With team building we use our own people, we send people all over the globe either to work or to find like-minded and inspired people to work with. Sometimes it’s the influence of a very young person with fresh talent, passion and a unique point of view. Talent combined with craft is a huge deal. The industry pendulum swings so far, so now everything is about the idea — well, of course everything is about the idea, but you have to activate the brain cells that connect your hands to actually make something.
In TV marketing and culture, you have the luxury of hiring the makers, but chefs don’t just sell their recipes, they actually use them and make them and get their hands in it.
Wieden + Kennedy has acted as a sort of unwitting catalyst for a kind of “failure-positive” philosophy and culture in advertising. An emphasis on that which can come out of being willing to fail, by whatever standards, and discover something unexpected — to “show up stupid every morning” as WK12 put forth. It seems like this culture is both a result and source of some of the generative tension between creative and commerce. It involves doing shit that scares you, really, which is not a very traditional business model. How do you seek out stuff that scares you?
Well I’m not sure we actually seek failure or seek what scares us, but you know when the alarm goes off. If an idea seems perfect and just right, like all our work is done — if you can tie a bow on it, that scares me. An alarm goes off. And you have to have the experience to know you’re not pushing it enough.
We pitched a client recently and were watching other agencies leave after their pitches with their envelopes and tubes full of work they were presenting in response to the brand’s brief. And we had to say, you know we don’t really have anything yet because we don’t feel your brief is right. And yeah, maybe you’re going to blow it right there, but you have to lay it on the line: “We don’t believe in your brief. We believe you want to be successful and we don’t think this is the right path.” They’re hiring you for your point of view. There were mostly senior WK members there, but some newish members as well, and they were sort of mortified before we went in, like “You can do that? You can say that?” The newer members had come from other agencies, and after that experience, they were like, “I can see now that this is what WK is all about.”
So it’s a risk, but what if you win an account based on work you don’t feel good about or that’s based on something you don’t believe in, then you have to actually live it out! You know — if we’re going to get fired, let’s just get fired now. You might as well get fired for what you believe in.

There’s a quote by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “What I’m proudest of is having a life where work and love are impossible to tell apart.” In a way, it’s a very old school idea — not very synchronistic with modern day capitalism. But somehow it feels like more of a human birthright that a luxurious form of freedom.
You have to do work you believe in if you’re going to really be able to solve someone’s problem. It has to feel right — you must do work you’re proud of. When people ask me, so John what do you want to see from such and such a photographer or artist, I say, “I don’t even know you! I don’t know what I want to see! Show me work you’re proud of!” Sure, you might have a photograph on the cover of TIME. I don’t care about a TIME cover, I care about a great image. If it happens to be a great image that’s on the cover of TIME, that’s fantastic, but it has to be something I respond to emotionally. I’m not overwhelmed because someone was on the cover of TIME. If I feel their agent has been editing their portfolio or trying to show work that will somehow appeal to me or our team, it’s not what I’m looking for. I want to see what the person is most proud of. If that ends up being vacation pictures of his two-year-old daughter, then so be it.
That’s where the energy comes from. Standing behind good work, always wanting to be better — this is just a part of being a human being. I don’t get off of work and think, “Oh now I get to finally rest, or I guess I’ll go look at something interesting.” If I’m doing my job well, I’m experiencing something inspiring and interesting each day. I’m active and inspired and the boundary between work and not work doesn’t exist. When you can’t tell if you’re working or playing, then you’re onto something.
Life is all about change through an evolution grounded by our values. Change without values and values without a willingness to adapt can both become an emotional and intellectual trap.
This is an exciting time. It is the most creative moment perhaps in our history. Evolution is inevitable, it happens with or without you, so embracing new people and new ideas, all fearless of the future, is actually my job. Embracing this moment of creative opportunity is the first step.

Photos by Wieden’s own, Hope Freeman

INTERVIEW : JOHN JAY, W+K GX : PART II

Our interview with creative director John Jay, recognized this year among other legendary creatives George Lois, Louise Fili and others. See part one here.

There’s a lot of magic in the client/creative relationship, and sometimes a lot of tension. The typical origin myth for that dynamic comes in the form of assuming business needs and creative needs are fundamentally opposed. But it can’t be that simple.

These days clients are under so much pressure. They’re like baseball managers — they last maybe two years. You have to have empathy for them, put yourself in their shoes. Creatives love to complain about the client but unless you can understand what sort of pressure they’re under you can’t solve their problem. This is why, as a creative, you have to also have a business mind — so you can solve business problems in a way that means something, that has substance.

When you sell a company, or go public, that culture dissipates. This “culture” we keep talking about, it starts with the independents. In the Northwest that’s the secret sauce, that we’re wildly independent. We’re not in the shadow of Madison Avenue, we don’t have the pressure of our immediate surrounding industry and community saying “that’s how everyone does it, this is how it’s done.” Wieden didn’t germinate in a big city, and that allowed us to grow as a team in this independent environment. How do we live up to that responsibility? By standing by a truly creative culture, in an open studio where we encourage the unexpected and that which questions ideas at their core.

Ace Hotel Wieden Kennedy John Jay Interview

What are you looking for when you’re building a team?

With team building we use our own people, we send people all over the globe either to work or to find like-minded and inspired people to work with. Sometimes it’s the influence of a very young person with fresh talent, passion and a unique point of view. Talent combined with craft is a huge deal. The industry pendulum swings so far, so now everything is about the idea — well, of course everything is about the idea, but you have to activate the brain cells that connect your hands to actually make something.

In TV marketing and culture, you have the luxury of hiring the makers, but chefs don’t just sell their recipes, they actually use them and make them and get their hands in it.

Wieden + Kennedy has acted as a sort of unwitting catalyst for a kind of “failure-positive” philosophy and culture in advertising. An emphasis on that which can come out of being willing to fail, by whatever standards, and discover something unexpected — to “show up stupid every morning” as WK12 put forth. It seems like this culture is both a result and source of some of the generative tension between creative and commerce. It involves doing shit that scares you, really, which is not a very traditional business model. How do you seek out stuff that scares you?

Well I’m not sure we actually seek failure or seek what scares us, but you know when the alarm goes off. If an idea seems perfect and just right, like all our work is done — if you can tie a bow on it, that scares me. An alarm goes off. And you have to have the experience to know you’re not pushing it enough.

We pitched a client recently and were watching other agencies leave after their pitches with their envelopes and tubes full of work they were presenting in response to the brand’s brief. And we had to say, you know we don’t really have anything yet because we don’t feel your brief is right. And yeah, maybe you’re going to blow it right there, but you have to lay it on the line: “We don’t believe in your brief. We believe you want to be successful and we don’t think this is the right path.” They’re hiring you for your point of view. There were mostly senior WK members there, but some newish members as well, and they were sort of mortified before we went in, like “You can do that? You can say that?” The newer members had come from other agencies, and after that experience, they were like, “I can see now that this is what WK is all about.”

So it’s a risk, but what if you win an account based on work you don’t feel good about or that’s based on something you don’t believe in, then you have to actually live it out! You know — if we’re going to get fired, let’s just get fired now. You might as well get fired for what you believe in.

Ace Hotel Wieden Kennedy John Jay Interview

There’s a quote by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “What I’m proudest of is having a life where work and love are impossible to tell apart.” In a way, it’s a very old school idea — not very synchronistic with modern day capitalism. But somehow it feels like more of a human birthright that a luxurious form of freedom.

You have to do work you believe in if you’re going to really be able to solve someone’s problem. It has to feel right — you must do work you’re proud of. When people ask me, so John what do you want to see from such and such a photographer or artist, I say, “I don’t even know you! I don’t know what I want to see! Show me work you’re proud of!” Sure, you might have a photograph on the cover of TIME. I don’t care about a TIME cover, I care about a great image. If it happens to be a great image that’s on the cover of TIME, that’s fantastic, but it has to be something I respond to emotionally. I’m not overwhelmed because someone was on the cover of TIME. If I feel their agent has been editing their portfolio or trying to show work that will somehow appeal to me or our team, it’s not what I’m looking for. I want to see what the person is most proud of. If that ends up being vacation pictures of his two-year-old daughter, then so be it.

That’s where the energy comes from. Standing behind good work, always wanting to be better — this is just a part of being a human being. I don’t get off of work and think, “Oh now I get to finally rest, or I guess I’ll go look at something interesting.” If I’m doing my job well, I’m experiencing something inspiring and interesting each day. I’m active and inspired and the boundary between work and not work doesn’t exist. When you can’t tell if you’re working or playing, then you’re onto something.

Life is all about change through an evolution grounded by our values. Change without values and values without a willingness to adapt can both become an emotional and intellectual trap.

This is an exciting time. It is the most creative moment perhaps in our history. Evolution is inevitable, it happens with or without you, so embracing new people and new ideas, all fearless of the future, is actually my job. Embracing this moment of creative opportunity is the first step.

Ace Hotel Wieden Kennedy John Jay Interview

Photos by Wieden’s own, Hope Freeman


TBA INTERVIEW : KATHLEEN HANNA of THE JULIE RUIN
Kathleen Hanna is the fairy godmother of punk feminism. When she started Bikini Kill in the 90s she started a unquenchable fire in every girl’s heart that burned through the brush to a clear place where girls could see each other and themselves more clearly. How other people saw them — who gives a shit. Kathleen is now back on stages and on tour with the second incarnation of her group The Julie Ruin, and they’re bringing their irreverent and joyful noise to the opening ceremony for PICA’s TBA Festival this Thursday. Here, an excerpt from NPR Music's Jacki Lyden interview with the woman in question.

Girls like us like cotton candy, plastic handbags, alcohol. Girls like us sometimes ignore people on the street, even other people that we know. Girls like us sneak breaks at Wendy’s and girls like us invented jazz. Girls like us have no foundations, creation myths are so passé. Girls like us.

Tell me a little bit about how this song came to be. What’s going on here?
You tell me. The lyrics are really kind of random. It’s like, girls like us eat salt for breakfast, girls like us stand back to back. They’re kind of an anthem for the people who there is no anthem for. You know, it’s meant to be kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing of like, we’re all different. I thought that song was a really playful way to say there is no girl like us. You know what I mean? There’s just as many different kinds of feminism as there are women in the world.
You were forced to take a long time out; this is your first album in nine years. People were wondering what had happened. And recently, it came to light that you were suffering very seriously from an undiagnosed illness. Would you tell me more about that?
Yeah, I have late-stage Lyme disease. And I still, you know, have good days, bad days, good weeks, bad weeks. And I’m still in long-term treatment. It’s been a tough nine years. And I didn’t think that I would ever be performing again. And that was a very bitter pill to swallow along with the other 84 pills I take every day, ha.
Are you on good terms with the woman who started Bikini Kill?
I think I am now. I’ve kind of made peace with the mistakes that I’ve made and also feeling proud of what I’ve made. I think that people who are involved in community activism, it’s like, don’t stand out. We’re all equal, you know, especially if you come from a punk rock background that’s anti-hierarchy. And I always had this thing of, like, don’t be a leader. And I think that fed into me not being able to say: Hey, wait. That was really cool what I did.
I had to, you know, downplay the interesting things that I had made, kind of even to myself. And I’m still as pissed off as ever before. I think I’m just a little bit more directed. I have a better direction for my anger. It’s less kind of loosey-goosey all over the place. And I’m more apt to look at a larger world view than just, you know, what’s going on inside my apartment building. And now I think both the 21-year-old and the 41-year-old are pretty happy with each other…

TBA INTERVIEW : KATHLEEN HANNA of THE JULIE RUIN

Kathleen Hanna is the fairy godmother of punk feminism. When she started Bikini Kill in the 90s she started a unquenchable fire in every girl’s heart that burned through the brush to a clear place where girls could see each other and themselves more clearly. How other people saw them — who gives a shit. Kathleen is now back on stages and on tour with the second incarnation of her group The Julie Ruin, and they’re bringing their irreverent and joyful noise to the opening ceremony for PICA’s TBA Festival this Thursday. Here, an excerpt from NPR Music's Jacki Lyden interview with the woman in question.

Girls like us like cotton candy, plastic handbags, alcohol. Girls like us sometimes ignore people on the street, even other people that we know. Girls like us sneak breaks at Wendy’s and girls like us invented jazz. Girls like us have no foundations, creation myths are so passé. Girls like us.

Tell me a little bit about how this song came to be. What’s going on here?

You tell me. The lyrics are really kind of random. It’s like, girls like us eat salt for breakfast, girls like us stand back to back. They’re kind of an anthem for the people who there is no anthem for. You know, it’s meant to be kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing of like, we’re all different. I thought that song was a really playful way to say there is no girl like us. You know what I mean? There’s just as many different kinds of feminism as there are women in the world.

You were forced to take a long time out; this is your first album in nine years. People were wondering what had happened. And recently, it came to light that you were suffering very seriously from an undiagnosed illness. Would you tell me more about that?

Yeah, I have late-stage Lyme disease. And I still, you know, have good days, bad days, good weeks, bad weeks. And I’m still in long-term treatment. It’s been a tough nine years. And I didn’t think that I would ever be performing again. And that was a very bitter pill to swallow along with the other 84 pills I take every day, ha.

Are you on good terms with the woman who started Bikini Kill?

I think I am now. I’ve kind of made peace with the mistakes that I’ve made and also feeling proud of what I’ve made. I think that people who are involved in community activism, it’s like, don’t stand out. We’re all equal, you know, especially if you come from a punk rock background that’s anti-hierarchy. And I always had this thing of, like, don’t be a leader. And I think that fed into me not being able to say: Hey, wait. That was really cool what I did.

I had to, you know, downplay the interesting things that I had made, kind of even to myself. And I’m still as pissed off as ever before. I think I’m just a little bit more directed. I have a better direction for my anger. It’s less kind of loosey-goosey all over the place. And I’m more apt to look at a larger world view than just, you know, what’s going on inside my apartment building. And now I think both the 21-year-old and the 41-year-old are pretty happy with each other…


I’VE GOT A HOLE IN MY SOUL : BEYONDADOUBT
NICK WATERHOUSE & THE TURN-KEYS : SOME PLACE

Not sure how, but one day I came across this video & was in shock that there was an early 60’s RnB record that sounded like this that I had never heard! The baritone sax had me hooked. After that a hot-handed fever of needing a record I had never seen came over me, I was so confused when this search lead me to a SoundCloud (?!) page. Turned out that this was not a 60’s production but a modern record made by someone obsessed with the same lost sound that I am. I sent a message & he sent me the 45 & a musical friendship began.

At a concert Nick told the audience that I was the first person outside of SF to ever contact him about his music. That must seem so long ago to a man that is now internationally known as a revivalist and classic fashion icon with half a dozen releases under his belt.

Thursday we welcome the singer, songwriter and record producer Nick Waterhouse to Portland. Though it is rumored that Nick started out as a 45s DJ, he is better known as a guitarist and singer of a sound rooted in early 60’s rhythm & blues, jazz and soul. Thursday night he’ll be DJing his fabled 45rpm record collection that inspired his music career, at I’ve Got a Hole in My Soul with me at Holocene. ♥

This is the latest chapter in our new rare vinyl series with Beyondadoubt, a Portland-based producer, beatmaker, DJ and collector.


MusicFest NW rolls around every year when the leaves start to turn. This year, it brings Larry Crane and Jackpot! Recording to the mezzanine at Ace Hotel Portland for a series of live sessions, September 6 and 7 from noon to 4pm.
Lay down some tracks of your own in the recording area on the mezzanine of the hotel, or lurk and listen downstairs while bands record live tracks against the hustle and bustle of the hotel and coffee shop downstairs. Equipment and sound engineering provided by Jackpot!, music provided by whoever emails larry@tapeop.com to set up a recording time. Performances include Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham of Palace Music), Hutch of The Thermals and Red Fang.

MusicFest NW rolls around every year when the leaves start to turn. This year, it brings Larry Crane and Jackpot! Recording to the mezzanine at Ace Hotel Portland for a series of live sessions, September 6 and 7 from noon to 4pm.

Lay down some tracks of your own in the recording area on the mezzanine of the hotel, or lurk and listen downstairs while bands record live tracks against the hustle and bustle of the hotel and coffee shop downstairs. Equipment and sound engineering provided by Jackpot!, music provided by whoever emails larry@tapeop.com to set up a recording time. Performances include Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham of Palace Music), Hutch of The Thermals and Red Fang.


INTERVIEW : JOHN JAY, W+K GX : PART I
Does John Jay need an introduction? Recently named one of the top most influential art directors of the last half a century — next to George Lois and Louise Fili — he’s also one of the top most wonderful human beings we’ve ever met. John’s philosophies on making, collaborating and creating beauty in the world are a beacon in a plasticine era. With the launch of his new lab GX at Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland flagship, he’s pushed his canoe off into thrilling new creative adventures and relationships — fueled by his many nocturnal and extracurricular endeavors over the last few decades.
How do you reconcile beauty with advertising?
You can design a product beautifully, or you can design a product and be half-assed about it. You can art direct, write copy and concept with beauty and craft in mind. The world is a better place when there’s beauty, but beauty is most certainly subjective. In the sense of wabi sabi, the most fucked up, destroyed version of beauty is best — but of course, in that regard, nature is the best designer there is.
In advertising, we’re hired to solve a problem — a business problem. We’re really storytelling, with music, film, typography, graphics… elements that add beauty. I do believe that creating beauty is a contribution to society, it’s a way of giving back to the world.

You’ve spoken about GX as a means by which you can get the best work from yourself — it’s been formed from two decades of work with Wieden, and all the experience you’ve carried forward from other endeavours. Talk about your role as a creative director, and what GX means for you as a beacon of creating and doing.
My job is to be inspired. It’s not my client’s job, or my employer’s job or my team member’s job. It’s my job to stay curious. To be ambitious. The first job of a CD is to inspire. You might have this fat Rolodex with numbers from all over the world — well, what are you going to do with it? I was talking to a client in Berlin and he was asking about GX, what had motivated me to create GX, and I told him that selfishly it was so that I could work with him again myself. I’ve been orchestrating these connections between people and brands and artists, but what if could actually activate those connections myself? To actually do something, physically and creatively, with those relationships and ideas.
Dan [Wieden] asked me if they were still getting the best out of me — he asked how they could set me loose. His advice, “Free yourself.” To be honest, the way to get the best out of me is not for me to sit in meetings for eighteen hours a day. You know, I was co-executive creative director of the whole company globally — it was, and is, an absolutely incredible job, but it was no longer really the right fit for me. Every W+K office in each city also has two executive creative directors, and each account has a creative director team who then manages all the creative work for the account. I loved the IDEA of my job on the Global Management Team but truthfully… I wasn’t really making the kind of impact that was important to me.
I’ve always had a version of Studio J [John’s independent studio with his wife and creative partner Janet]. When I was at Bloomingdales, I still had a studio where I was working in publishing, restaurants, graphics. No matter what my day job is, I’m always creating a night job for myself, always creating these opportunities for myself.

I wrote a piece about George Lois the other day and I was talking to him about his Esquire covers — I said, “Not only were those covers masterpieces, not only were 30 of them just shown at the MoMA, but that was your night job!” You know, that was what he did after dinner.
You make your own energy — you have to be “selfish” in that respect, to figure out how you can generate your own energy. But somehow, when it’s done with authenticity and wonder, it always seems to become a more universal source — everyone working to keep themselves at their most inspired, their most energetic.
W+K Tokyo was like a dress rehearsal for GX. When we were recruiting for the team in Tokyo, I offered to hire all the management, but as I was giving this spiel about why Tokyo would be such a great job I thought, “Why would I give this away?” So I decided to open the Japan office and it ended up being an extraordinary time for me.
At the time, Dan said about Tokyo that we should make it the “hothouse” — a place where we could do experiments that no other company was able to do. Eventually, he asked me to bring that energy back to the mothership [in Portland]. And it was great, but you know, the air changes, you change, and you have to continue to feel actively creative. How can I continue to inspire people?

And how does GX allow to you relate to your clients differently?
At GX, and at Wieden + Kennedy as a whole, we get to really make a choice about who we’re working with. Each brand expresses itself in a unique and personal way so to be in a position to choose clients, to be independent, to make our own decisions — this freedom is at the core of being able to do good work. To be able to say no is one of the most powerful things in the world.
When you’re running a business, you have to think about — yes, we need money to keep the company going, but you also need to be able to say “This would not be a good situation for us, creatively, morally, spiritually.” If you’re a publicly-held company, if you’re owned by the bank, you don’t have the power to say no to a poor fit. We can think selectively, as independents, and we can say no. Though you do have to be careful who you say no to — it’s a small world.
When you say no to something that isn’t right for you, that’s 10 more minutes of quiet, peaceful sleep you get to have each night, knowing you are doing work you believe in. That’s powerful.
Stay tuned for part deux, planted soon.
Photos by Wieden’s own, Hope Freeman

INTERVIEW : JOHN JAY, W+K GX : PART I

Does John Jay need an introduction? Recently named one of the top most influential art directors of the last half a century — next to George Lois and Louise Fili — he’s also one of the top most wonderful human beings we’ve ever met. John’s philosophies on making, collaborating and creating beauty in the world are a beacon in a plasticine era. With the launch of his new lab GX at Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland flagship, he’s pushed his canoe off into thrilling new creative adventures and relationships — fueled by his many nocturnal and extracurricular endeavors over the last few decades.

How do you reconcile beauty with advertising?

You can design a product beautifully, or you can design a product and be half-assed about it. You can art direct, write copy and concept with beauty and craft in mind. The world is a better place when there’s beauty, but beauty is most certainly subjective. In the sense of wabi sabi, the most fucked up, destroyed version of beauty is best — but of course, in that regard, nature is the best designer there is.

In advertising, we’re hired to solve a problem — a business problem. We’re really storytelling, with music, film, typography, graphics… elements that add beauty. I do believe that creating beauty is a contribution to society, it’s a way of giving back to the world.

You’ve spoken about GX as a means by which you can get the best work from yourself — it’s been formed from two decades of work with Wieden, and all the experience you’ve carried forward from other endeavours. Talk about your role as a creative director, and what GX means for you as a beacon of creating and doing.

My job is to be inspired. It’s not my client’s job, or my employer’s job or my team member’s job. It’s my job to stay curious. To be ambitious. The first job of a CD is to inspire. You might have this fat Rolodex with numbers from all over the world — well, what are you going to do with it? I was talking to a client in Berlin and he was asking about GX, what had motivated me to create GX, and I told him that selfishly it was so that I could work with him again myself. I’ve been orchestrating these connections between people and brands and artists, but what if could actually activate those connections myself? To actually do something, physically and creatively, with those relationships and ideas.

Dan [Wieden] asked me if they were still getting the best out of me — he asked how they could set me loose. His advice, “Free yourself.” To be honest, the way to get the best out of me is not for me to sit in meetings for eighteen hours a day. You know, I was co-executive creative director of the whole company globally — it was, and is, an absolutely incredible job, but it was no longer really the right fit for me. Every W+K office in each city also has two executive creative directors, and each account has a creative director team who then manages all the creative work for the account. I loved the IDEA of my job on the Global Management Team but truthfully… I wasn’t really making the kind of impact that was important to me.

I’ve always had a version of Studio J [John’s independent studio with his wife and creative partner Janet]. When I was at Bloomingdales, I still had a studio where I was working in publishing, restaurants, graphics. No matter what my day job is, I’m always creating a night job for myself, always creating these opportunities for myself.

I wrote a piece about George Lois the other day and I was talking to him about his Esquire covers — I said, “Not only were those covers masterpieces, not only were 30 of them just shown at the MoMA, but that was your night job!” You know, that was what he did after dinner.

You make your own energy — you have to be “selfish” in that respect, to figure out how you can generate your own energy. But somehow, when it’s done with authenticity and wonder, it always seems to become a more universal source — everyone working to keep themselves at their most inspired, their most energetic.

W+K Tokyo was like a dress rehearsal for GX. When we were recruiting for the team in Tokyo, I offered to hire all the management, but as I was giving this spiel about why Tokyo would be such a great job I thought, “Why would I give this away?” So I decided to open the Japan office and it ended up being an extraordinary time for me.

At the time, Dan said about Tokyo that we should make it the “hothouse” — a place where we could do experiments that no other company was able to do. Eventually, he asked me to bring that energy back to the mothership [in Portland]. And it was great, but you know, the air changes, you change, and you have to continue to feel actively creative. How can I continue to inspire people?

And how does GX allow to you relate to your clients differently?

At GX, and at Wieden + Kennedy as a whole, we get to really make a choice about who we’re working with. Each brand expresses itself in a unique and personal way so to be in a position to choose clients, to be independent, to make our own decisions — this freedom is at the core of being able to do good work. To be able to say no is one of the most powerful things in the world.

When you’re running a business, you have to think about — yes, we need money to keep the company going, but you also need to be able to say “This would not be a good situation for us, creatively, morally, spiritually.” If you’re a publicly-held company, if you’re owned by the bank, you don’t have the power to say no to a poor fit. We can think selectively, as independents, and we can say no. Though you do have to be careful who you say no to — it’s a small world.

When you say no to something that isn’t right for you, that’s 10 more minutes of quiet, peaceful sleep you get to have each night, knowing you are doing work you believe in. That’s powerful.

Stay tuned for part deux, planted soon.

Photos by Wieden’s own, Hope Freeman


I’VE GOT A HOLE IN MY SOUL : BEYONDADOUBTRON BUFORD & URAL THOMAS : DEEP SOUL PT. I
About ten years ago, there was a very well put together woman selling a few 45s out of a plastic bag on street in Portland. She said they had been her father’s but that she had no turntable. She only wanted what seemed like a few bucks for the whole tattered bodega bag. In it I found some of Seattle’s holy grail, hard soul gems, namely, both Ron Buford on Camelot.
The singer on the stand-out track is Ural Thomas, who she said still lived in the neighborhood. Deep Soul Part 1 is still one of the greatest, high-energy tracks of the era, and to our amazement Ural Thomas is still performing it around PDX. This Saturday he’s headlining Downtown at Star Theater and the platters will be turned with the assistance of me, Danny Dodge (No Tomorrow Boys) and DJ HWY7. And I’ll be getting my record signed at long last.

This is the second chapter in our new rare vinyl series with Beyondadoubt, a Portland-based producer, beatmaker, DJ and collector.

I’VE GOT A HOLE IN MY SOUL : BEYONDADOUBT
RON BUFORD & URAL THOMAS : DEEP SOUL PT. I

About ten years ago, there was a very well put together woman selling a few 45s out of a plastic bag on street in Portland. She said they had been her father’s but that she had no turntable. She only wanted what seemed like a few bucks for the whole tattered bodega bag. In it I found some of Seattle’s holy grail, hard soul gems, namely, both Ron Buford on Camelot.

The singer on the stand-out track is Ural Thomas, who she said still lived in the neighborhood. Deep Soul Part 1 is still one of the greatest, high-energy tracks of the era, and to our amazement Ural Thomas is still performing it around PDX. This Saturday he’s headlining Downtown at Star Theater and the platters will be turned with the assistance of me, Danny Dodge (No Tomorrow Boys) and DJ HWY7. And I’ll be getting my record signed at long last.

This is the second chapter in our new rare vinyl series with Beyondadoubt, a Portland-based producer, beatmaker, DJ and collector.


Sexiest man of the year and friend to animals Chris Johanson is also an artist. Meet him and some friends to celebrate his new Phaidon Contemporary Artists’ Monograph at Monograph Bookwerks on Alberta in Northeast Portland tonight. Chris says: “Jonathan Raymond the Portland writer who is a contributor to the book will be there. Sun Foot will play 3 songs. And we are going to have a really good time.” You can see all the details on Monograph’s blog.

Sexiest man of the year and friend to animals Chris Johanson is also an artist. Meet him and some friends to celebrate his new Phaidon Contemporary Artists’ Monograph at Monograph Bookwerks on Alberta in Northeast Portland tonight. Chris says: “Jonathan Raymond the Portland writer who is a contributor to the book will be there. Sun Foot will play 3 songs. And we are going to have a really good time.” You can see all the details on Monograph’s blog.


Powered by Tumblr