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Recap: Curiot, Blaine Fontana, Mary Iverson and More Paint Murals in Portland for Forest for the Trees

In its second year, Forest for the Trees, curated by gallerist Matt Wagner and artist Gage Hamilton, brought together 20 international and local artists in Portland for a few days of mural painting intended to encourage the growth of public art in a city already known for its creative flair. Unlike other street art festivals around the world, Forest for the Trees had a notable presence of artists you wouldn't necessarily put in the street art or graffiti camps.

In its second year, Forest for the Trees, curated by gallerist Matt Wagner and artist Gage Hamilton, brought together 20 international and local artists in Portland for a few days of mural painting intended to encourage the growth of public art in a city already known for its creative flair. Unlike other street art festivals around the world, Forest for the Trees had a notable presence of artists you wouldn’t necessarily put in the street art or graffiti camps.

Mary Iverson, a Washington state-based artist known for her collage-infused landscape paintings, painted a wall alongside Blaine Fontana, who is primarily recognized for his painting and design work, and Jshea, who has garnered attention for his miniature sculptures. These artists joined the likes of Curiot, whose deity-like monster characters populate walls everywhere from his native Mexico City to Berlin, and Faith47, a South African painter and active muralist. Take a look at the first part of our recap and stay tuned for more FFTT photos tomorrow. Portland readers, you can check out the murals in person by following this map.

Curiot:

Blaine Fontana:

Faith47:

Gage Hamilton:

Jeremy Nichols:

Jshea:

Mary Iverson:

Maryanna Hoggatt

Mateu Valasco:

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Based in Mexico City, Curiot (featured in HF Vol. 29) creates phantasmagoric paintings where deity-like monsters traverse the clouds. The silhouettes of tiny people floating in their wake reveal that human beings look like mere playthings in comparison. Last weekend, Curiot debuted his latest solo show, "Down the Rabbit Hole with Neon Lights," at San Francisco's FFDG, as well as a downtown mural curated by Fifty24SF, another local gallery. According to FFDG, the new paintings in Curiot's exhibition allude to the rapid pace of technology and the consequential environmental pollution. His creatures travel through a mysterious continuum to attempt to reach the "vortex of souls," only to get sucked into the past where they must confront their previous wrongdoing.
Mexico City artist Curiot Tlalpazotl's mythical creations call upon cultural iconography and traditional craftmaking. In recent years, the artist's work has ranged from gallery paintings to massive installations and mural work. Much of it points to Mexican culture, which the artist said he reconnected with upon moving back after living in the States. Curiot was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29.
As an artist whose illustrations have natural fluidity, it's no wonder that Kelly Vivanco found herself painting water in "Peculiar Tides". Her latest solo at Thinkspace gallery has a water theme, an element that has captured our imagination for centuries. Water is a source of life and vitality, doomed disasters, bold adventure stories and some of the world's most curious mysteries. Telling its story is an undertaking felt by Vivanco's roughly 40 paintings created over 8 months, sculptures, and a narrative starring childlike heroines that vaguely resemble the artist.
Seattle-based artist Mary Iverson creates oil paintings that both celebrate nature and comment on our problematic choices surrounding it. Slashes and geometric shapes obscure parts of the pristine backdrops depicted by the artist, using an X-acto knife to cut through her initial creations. Here, sites like the California coast and Mount Rainier are overcome by shipping containers and similar, intrusive objects. Iverson was last featured on HiFructose.com here.

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