The day started off with morning coffee and shoot with Jay and Allison and their two kids, Jackson and Bobby Sue. Allison is an artist and teaches art (she was actually my little sisters art teacher at Portland High). Jay owns Local 188 and Sonny's, both restaurants are Portland favorites. I met them in the late 90's when they ran the Pleasant Street art collective across the street from me.
Aimée's and their two girls, Blakey and Clay. Mark is the director of the Portland Museum of Art, and Aimée teaches art history, African art, and contemporary art at Bates College. They also helped to build an amazing school in Tanzania, the Africa Schoolhouse. I was greeted with ice coffee and delicious baked goods from Standard, perfect for a day of shooting. They gave me a tour of the beautiful house they are slowly renovating (and were kind enough to take a break from scraping and painting to sit for a portrait and catch up). Aimée proudly showed me her dream bathroom and tub and Blakey also very proudly showed me her lego version of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. It took her also summer to put together and was amazing. I also met Aimée's mom, but she somehow disappeared for portrait time.
Then around the corner to Sonya and Jay's. I met Sonya when she was 15 and she came to visit her sister and my friend, Jessica when were students at Hampshire College. She is an incredible hip hop artist and poet and performs as Sontiago. She also is a girl friday and currently works for the Maine Women's Fund as well as teaches workshops all over the State to teenagers. This is one of my favorite videos with the kids at the Telling Room. She is also responsible for building the strong hip hop community in Portland and brings musicians from all over the country. When I arrived, Jacques aka bleubird was there in his tripped out van project freeebird. He was kind enough to let me do his portrait in the van and we swapped stories of being on the road and our favorite cities and events that we had been to. He told me about Best Friends Day in Richmond, VA which sounds amazing. Needless to say, it has been really awesome watching Sonya grow up and turn into not only a spectacular artist but also community organizer.
It also got me thinking about finding more artists that are traveling and collaborating on different parts of the country together. I am already talking and jumping in the letterpress truck with my friend Kyle who was an inspiration for this project.