the projects, portland


Location: The Projects, Portland, Oregon
Date: September 20, 2012
Description: Participatory sad penguin painting workshop, sumi ink, watercolor, paper, tape.

The Projects is an annual experimental narrative arts and comics festival in Portland Oregon emphasizing collaborative doing and making. sad penguins was invited to participate in 2012. sad penguins at the Projects took the form of a participatory sad penguin paint in. Previous performances included audience members painting penguins, but this was the first version that attempted to make the whole audience into participants. We had a big table and everyone piled around some folks painting only one penguin, while others painted for the entire couple of hours of the workshop.


We painted penguins and scattered them on the floor. Eventually, I gathered them into a grid.


Many of the participants are skilled amateur and professional illustrators. Their sad penguins were often hilarious. Several illustrators seemed to need to ascribe graphic causes and effects of the sadness. For example, a sad penguin on a melting ice berg surrounded by circling narwhals sezs, “fuck.” In another illustration, a penguin weeps before a broken egg.


After we finished painting, I taped the penguins to the side of the building. Slowly, passersby helped themselves to penguins. Lisa Mangum, one of the organizers, told me they were mostly gone by the end of the festival.