Scott Foster

‘Lessons Learned’: Puppets, Portland, and a Q&A with Art Director Scott Foster

“From small beginnings come great things!” It’s this phrase, breathlessly recited by a character known only as “the boy,” that gets right to the heart of Toby Froud’s live action puppet film, Lessons Learned. In fact, the same could be said of Froud himself, who was only an infant when he appeared alongside David Bowie in Jim Henson’s 1986 film, Labyrinth. Froud’s parents, Wendy and Brian, created costumes and puppets for Labyrinth, as well as for The Dark Crystal, and their artistic influence can be seen in the creatures of Lessons Learned. The fifteen-minute short begins on the boy’s birthday as he arrives at his grandfather’s door, where he is promptly greeted with the flick of a feather duster by the ever-harried housekeeper, Digby. After receiving a special birthday gift from his grandfather, the boy embarks on a journey that leads him through a hallway jammed floor to ceiling with boxes of “collected wisdom,” to an immense, cloudy dreamworld where he encounters beings such as the towering “granny”—a Moirai-inspired spider who furiously knits away at an impossibly long, undulating red scarf. The film features a magical, lush soundtrack by Lillian Todd Jones and Gordon Mills (Jones’ father, William Todd Jones,…

July’s First Thursday Roundup

The Sam Roloff Abstract Retrospective, a look at the artist’s works from 2009 to 2014, kicks off this First Thursday with an opening reception at White Space (1439 NW Marshall St.) from 6 to 11 p.m. “I define many of my paintings as time capsules,” says Roloff. “Many of my artworks have 10 or more layers beneath the surface, indicative of the passage of time and the creative process, which are meticulously documented. “Like time and music, my work has movement that leaves a trail of evidence beneath layer upon layer of oils, wax, and glistening resins. Each series that I develop expresses the reality that each of us as individuals—and as citizens of communities, cultures, and nations—has a unique back-story that informs our present, even if only traces remain of what came before. “When collectors purchase one of my paintings, they are actually purchasing a multi-layered collection of all the paintings and scenes within their many layers of imagery, symbolism, ideas, and emotion. The crux of this approach harkens to the tradition of what the Italians call pentimenti: the ghosts of images hidden beneath a painting’s surface.” Pictured above: Equal Rights Marriage Comes to Oregon by Sam Roloff. Oil on canvas….