Jeremy Castro-Cook & Sam Scott
One of the best things about running a project like Art & About is all the feedback and information we are able to garner through the organic sharing culture that the art community in Portland fosters. Keeping an ear to the beat of the art world here has opened the doors to so many varying angles of the art world, and not-coincidentally, ‘Art from all Angles’ as well.
Portland based writer, Lusi Lukova, reached out to us about an event that was seemingly off our radar but on the beat. The initial promise of an after party was intriguing, but the assurance of a night filled with music, art, and film had us sold. In earnest, many of the events that end up finding us are some of the most unique events we’ve ended up covering.
After connecting with the organizers of ‘Art from all Angles’, Jeremy Castro-Cook and Sam Scott, their motivations behind the event certainly began to take shape. Even more so in light of their aspirations at facilitating the greater PDX art community as first time organizers.
— by Ashley Gifford
What was the inspiration in putting together and hosting this event?
JCC: One day I was on the phone with my father reminiscing on a similar one night event I had done back in PA, called “the D.I.Y. Film Fest and Art Show”. And somewhere during the conversation the idea of doing another one bigger and better came about, and by the time I hung up the phone I decided I wanted to take on that challenge.
Could you share with us a little about the idea behind AFAA and how it came to be?
JCC: I love the idea of different mediums of art existing in a space together. And when thinking on how I wanted to do this event differently, incorporating live dance and music along with any other visual arts we could fit in was the main goal. It’s exciting to think that filmmakers, artists, dancers and musicians will all be mingling about in the same room and our hope is that this creates opportunity for future collaboration to those involved.
This is the first time that you and your team have hosted an event, what was the catalyst behind putting together Art From All Angles. Could you share a bit about your process in putting together an event? What is the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome?
JCC: The catalyst was definitely teaming up with Sam. Before he got involved, I had nothing but an idea and a venue. After our first meeting about the event, so many new ideas were developed and the wheels really started to turn.
SS: From there, it was learning the ropes of navigating different communities, wearing multiple hats at once, and keeping ourselves open to learning lessons on a daily basis. Exploring ideas that ultimately didn’t work was an important step, as it kept us true and honed in on what the core of the event truly is. For myself personally, it was also a challenge putting myself out there to reach out directly to artists I admired and wanted to connect with but didn’t have a “reason” to before this!
How did you choose the artists & filmmakers that you selected to participate in AFAA?
SS: Putting together a community-based festival, we thought an open-call submission would provide as much opportunity to bring variety as possible. Finding connections who were ‘hubs’ and could point us to other potential artists was a game-changer too (shoutout Lusi!). Once we had all of our submissions in, our team narrowed it down slightly to what seemed an amount that would fit well within the space & time of the event.
What do you hope the night will look like?
SS: In my head, it’s a whirlwind. We’re hoping that with both the schedule we’ve built, and the wide variety of mediums & artists in the show, from start to finish there’ll be plenty of stimulation for everyone to sink their teeth into. I’ve honestly been describing it as artistic chaos, and I still feel true to that. I don’t think we’ll really know how it’ll all play together until it’s happening, but that’s the beauty of putting something like this together - it’ll find a flow and take on its own life outside of us, the artists, and the art.
What are you hoping AFAA brings to the community?
SS: Ideally, AFAA offers a shared space for all these different artists to gain exposure to one another. The idea of bringing down self-imposed artistic bubbles is really important to us; most of my good ideas have come from outside my own medium. A space to see how other artists are exploring ideas in ways one might not usually think, and then being able to connect with them on the spot feels like a valuable resource to me. If there’s just one new idea or collaboration that comes from a conversation at AFAA, it will have been a success.
Why should people come to AFAA?
SS: The big draw is the variety of things we’ve been able to corral together. I haven’t seen many shows that offer dance and film and live music and a big ol' mix of 2D & 3D mediums.
These are all local artists, and finding ways to support the community of artists that Portland prides itself on is incredibly important as it gets harder to pay the bills with art these days. Beyond that - to be surprised and inspired, and walk out with some new favorite artists! I’m still astounded at all we get the privilege to show.
Why did you decide to host AFAA at the Mission Theatre?
JCC: The Mission Theater was one of the only venues that had the type of space to accommodate our event in its variety. Not to mention their generosity and willingness to work with us on a not so simple event.
Is there a theme or purpose you're working around?
SS: There’s no particular theme - when talking with artists about what to submit, I encouraged them to share their weirdest, most out there pieces, whatever they felt was the most them. The whole gamut is represented - emotionally honest work, pieces meant to inspire and laugh, and some that are the result of years of honing a particular practice. The wider the range, the better in my eyes!
SS: Supporting a community, to me, goes beyond one event on one night. Whatever we did, it would have the ability to pass the support on. That is to say, we had to be able to be able to offer opportunities, awareness, and the support of our community to those who are doing the truly hard work day in and day out in creating resources to pull others up.
Jeremy was already familiar with Open Signal, having utilized their resources for his own short films. Their mission of open access media resources seemed like a logical fit - film is one of the most collaborative arts out there, and they’ve created a community that we wanted to support and acknowledge.
Marrow’s work in giving safe space for youth to learn their own voices among their peers is something that creates exponential growth. I craved that kind of space growing up, and I warrant the same is true for many artists. They were immediately on board with our vision, and came to the table with great ideas on how to support our artists and enable connections. Keep an eye out for their interactive photo booth at AFAA!
We're excited for the first installation of AFAA, will this be a one-off event, or are you already brainstorming for the future?
JCC: I do not think this is a one-off but there is no room in my brain currently to think about a future event when the one at hand is less than a week away, gotta stay in the moment!
S: Ask us again in a few months, once we’ve had time to decompress! With all we’ve learned from this, though, I think we both realize the next one can be both bigger & easier than this one.
Jeremy Castro-Cook is an a filmmaker and skateboarder whose been based in Portland, OR for over a year and is originally from Philadelphia, PA. He enjoys collaborating with his local communities and creating things for himself and others to enjoy.
Sam Scott is a photographer and visual storyteller. He’s all about creative problem solving, and gaining exposure to unfamiliar situations to learn something new from a different perspective. He probably likes sleeping in my car in the desert a bit too much.