Underground and off the wall. Last October, Bend got its first taste of the local underground art scene when Oxygen Tattoo decided to put together a showcase of local alternative talents. This year, the festival is back, with a name - Elevate Art Festival - a bigger and better line-up of music, art, vendors and several partner organizations including The Rise Up, Grove Presents and B Positiv.
"Last year the turnout was really good, I was really surprised by the amount of people who came out to support us," says Oxygen's Derek Youngberg, "Especially with the minimal amount of preparation that went into [the event] - everything came together in four weeks basically."
Youngberg says that at least six months of planning have already gone into the upcoming festival. The event will include a public art wall, beer garden, raffles, food and vendors selling unique artwork, clothing and jewelry. This year's featured live paint artists include Mark Rada, Chris Wu, Ashley Montague, Chris Callister, Amanda Cancilla, Hawk Chait and Mosley Wotta. Music acts include Grove stalwarts such as DJs Smoke, Moksha, Rada, Swett and Barisone along with Person People and Cloaked Characters.
"This year we also have quite a few mystery guests we haven't been telling people about and we have a special guest coming this town hasn't seen in few years," says Youngberg, who remained purposefully vague about the details of these guests.
Chris Wu was one of the featured artists at last year's festival and returns again this year. Wu recently moved to Portland to grow his fledgling business, Creative Clothing, a T-shirt line that he has been selling at the weekly Saturday markets. Wu, whose designs are a mix of photo and illustration, is looking forward to coming back to Bend.
"Bend has such a huge supportive underground scene and Elevate is a chance for all these people to come together and try something new," says Wu.
Wu will be doing some live painting with Mark Rada and Ashley Montague during the festival in addition to selling his unique t-shirt designs. Wu says he draws inspiration mostly from his surroundings.
"Being in Portland there is so much art, I have a lot of friends trying to do new things," says Wu, "I try to do things untraditionally."
Untraditional art is the main theme for this year's Elevate Art Festival. The event focuses on artists "outside the landscape and portrait realm of art school class study" according to its call to artists literature. Look for plenty of "lowbrow" illustration, graffiti style works and anything that's edgy, provocative, strange and unusual. In other words, this isn't your typical First Friday art walk-type show.
Elevate Art Festival
12-10pm Saturday, August 2, Troy Field, Downtown Bend. Call 383-4626 for info. All ages. Free.