By Emma Fletcher in A&E
About 40 people slowly filed into the Ellis Dunn Room as Kate Bingaman-Burt, designer, illustrator and recently tenured Portland State University professor, lectured on her five favorite images that inspire her work.
A photograph of her then-23-year-old grandmother holding her first published illustration.
A love letter written by her father to her mother on a computer-generated punchcard.
An obnoxiously-colored rubber eraser and ribbon collection.
A poster of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.
And an “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” photograph by Edward Rucha.
Bingaman-Burt is one of three artists this quarter to speak in Clark’s Art Talks, an ASCC-sponsored lecture series launched five years ago by art professor Senseney Stokes.
“The Art Talks events are great because it brings the real-world art right onto our campus,” said graphic design professor Kathrena Halsinger. “Students get to interact with artists of all different disciplines, backgrounds and ideas.”
Bingaman-Burt’s longest project, “Daily Drawings,” lasted eight years. Each day she drew one thing she bought. These drawings lead to her career in illustration. She said before then, she didn’t enjoy drawing at all. Her clients include The Gap, The New York Times and Chipotle.
During her Art Talk, she said she was extremely excited to draw illustrations for Chipotle’s new “Cultivating Thought Author Series.” She drew a series of illustrations for a short story written by Judd Apatow.
“Really great talk,” Halsinger said, after the lecture. She excitedly whispered, “She’s done TED!”
Bingaman-Burt spoke at TEDx Talks in Portland on April 27, with other speakers like journalist Tom Brokaw. She spoke about her book “Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?”published in 2010.
Halsinger said at Clark’s Art Talks, “different talks are more popular than others” and attendance is “kind of random.”
“We have an average of about 60 in attendance for each talk,” Stokes said. “However, on occasion, we have had the Fireside Lounge packed with standing room only with over a hundred people attending various lectures over the years.”
Clark student Jodi Fontyn said she came to the Art Talk for extra credit for an art history class but actually found the lectures to be very interesting.
“Whenever we have a lecture, you can see the effect on students the next day in the classroom,” Halsinger said.
But Clark students aren’t the only people drawn to the popular event. Vancouver artists Megan Eckman and Jeffery Opp attended Art Talks for the first time on May 21.
Eckman, who is also an illustrator, said she likes to see “how another artist works, and their process.” She found out about the event through Bingaman-Burt’s instagram feed. Both Eckman and Opp said they will definitely attend the next Art Talk.
The most popular speakers have been Isaac Layman in 2010, Heidi Schwegler in 2011, Jeffrey Mitchell in 2012 and Mike Rathbun in 2013, according to Stokes.
Artists are chosen by what Stokes described as an informal committee made mostly of full-time art faculty at Clark, including Senseney Stokes, Kathrena Halsinger, Grant Hottle, Lisa Conway, Ben Rosenburg, Carson Legree and Jamie Waelchli.
The next Art Talk will be held in the Fireside Lounge on June 10 at 7 p.m. with SuttonBeresCuller, a Seattle-based art group.
— Local Art Community Expands —
“We’re making stuff happen.”
Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association, said an Art District has been talked about for 17 years. The city council approved the final resolution April 28.
“The community was ready for it,” Rafferty said, calling downtown a sophisticated area where there is an appreciation for art.
The VDA holds an art walk downtown on the first friday of every month. The next VDA First Friday Downtown will be June 6 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
VDA announced a final resolution on May 2 for an Art District. According to The Columbian “the district’s boundaries are 15th Street to the north, Sixth Street to the south, Esther Street to the west and Fort Vancouver Way to the east.”
Leah Jackson is the owner of Angst Gallery on Main Street in Vancouver. She was involved in developing the Arts District and said that “it sends a message that arts are an important part of our city.”