Behind the Oval: FISK

By Abby Morgan 

Hidden in plain sight, only slightly off bustling Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, FISK, is a design studio and art gallery on the border of the Eliot Neighborhood. Your best chance of noticing FISK, their name emblazoned on the facade of their space, is if you plan on dropping by Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen or Mothership Music in the near future. 

Founded by Iranian-American graphic designer, Bijan Berahimi, FISK evolved from a zine into a gallery and professional design practice in 2014. Its evolution coincided with Berahimi relocating from Los Angeles to Portland. Design-wise, FISK’s heart is in cultivating strong relationships with clients, focusing on typography, identities, and experiences. They have worked with Toro y Moi, Cult Classic Magazine, Nike, Akadi, and the University of Oregon.

On the gallery side, FISK hosts artists from all over the nation and world. In the last six years and at the time of this article, FISK has put on nearly 28 shows featuring artists trained in commercial practices such as graphics and set design, animation, and illustration. 

Design and art are treated holistically. Seamlessly and architecturally interwoven, each discipline at FISK informs the other, and often, the intersection happens through products. Made in collaboration with other makers, Maak Lab and Cloudforest to name a couple, the shelves of the FISK store are lined with unique books, prints, and objects.

At FISK, there is never a dull moment and it is that energy that Berahimi says FISK thrives on. 

“Diversity is essential to what we do. We want to offer Portland a glimpse into what the world has to offer and we’re doing that by bringing innovative, exciting artists to the community. No two days are the same, no two projects or products identical. We are always trying to bend the rules or make up our own. We like to have fun and we’re good at it,” Berahimi explains.

It is this mentality of “let’s make cool stuff and have fun” that has allowed FISK to flourish in many ways, especially through free, community events. This summer will be no different. Berahimi along with co-curator Michael Spoljaric, will kick off summer 2019 with a show by British artist, Sophy Hollington. Opening on June 14th, Hollington’s relief prints explore themes and symbolism in folklore. 

Type designers and font fans alike, mark your calendars for August 2nd as local type foundry Future Fonts will celebrate their one year anniversary. Their site allows typography designers to upload work in progress type specimens for peer review and purchase.

FISK plans to offer a couple small pop-ups and get-togethers throughout the rest of summer, with dates announced via their newsletter and social media. If you’re curious about what is to come, drop by or email hey at fiskgallery dot com to join their newsletter –both the gallery and store are open to the public.

Hours: 

Wednesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday and Sunday 12-4

Follow FISK on Instagram @fiskprojects @fiskgallery 

FISK at 3613 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Portland, OR 97212

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Portland Open Studios Provides a Peak Inside Northeast Studios

By Joanie Krug

Portland Open Studios creates a unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor. Through this interaction, Portland Open Studios creates a platform for local artists to thrive, engage and foster a community that values the arts.

This year, out of the total 118 citywide individuals selected, the juried group of artists includes 22 Northeast Portland artists whose studios will be open to the public. The work includes painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, mixed media and jewelry.  The  NE Open Studios  community has also invited artists who participate in the Portland Art and Learning Center to take part in this event.

Dates and times are the weekends of October 12-13, and October 19-20. Hours are 10am to 5pm for each of the four days.

Look soon for the free official Open Studio map guide available all over the Portland metro area!  There will also be a NE Community card with a group map available throughout the neighborhood.

Portland Open Studios will also be convening a meeting of our community artists on August 28 at the Portland Art and Learning Center, 4852 NE MLK Blvd at 6:30 if you’d like to attend to meet some of the artists and chat further about individual work and the overall event.

Union Knott Gallery

Storefront of Union Knot Gallery
Union Knot Gallery at 2726 NE MLK. Photo by Sue Stringer.

Before there were the whitewashed walls of the small gallery space next to Bridges Café, there was clutter and a grotesque carpet. Heidi Snellman and her friends pulled out the carpet, added a wooden window bench and transformed the “box with a great window” into Union Knott Gallery.

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Portland Open Studios – An Art Event Not to Miss  

Karen Spencer at work
Karen Sunday Spencer

Portland Open Studios is thrilled to announce the list of over a dozen artists in NE Portland who will be opening their doors this October as part of the Portland Open Studios Tour, the city’s largest annual art studio tour held in the second and third weekends of October. This group is part of a larger group of 106 artists in communities across the city who will participate in the event.

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PICA Has a New Home

PICA New Home
15 NE Hancock

The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) has a permanent home in northeast Portland thanks to a generous donation from philanthropist Allie Furlotti. Since 1995, PICA has been an integral part of the arts landscape in Portland and the purchase of this building helps solidify its future in a rapidly changing city.

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Williams Ave Art

The Committee to Honor the History of Williams Avenue (the Committee) announces the selection of artists Kayin Talton Davis and Cleo Davis as the artists who will create artwork for Williams Avenue. The artists, who own Soapbox Theory & Screwloose Studio on North Williams Avenue, will install 10 tile sidewalk “murals”, 30 commemorative signs and an interactive kiosk along N. Williams Avenue from Broadway to Killingsworth Street. Final designs will be reviewed by the committee in July with installation expected in late summer.

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