The old adage “can’t see the forest for the trees” has a simple meaning: it means that you are too caught up details to see the big picture. Before FFTTNW 2013, Portland couldn’t see see the walls in our city as canvases. Hindered by the Clear Channel lawsuit, the city had painted over artwork and repressed artists for the sake of corporate pandering, unable to differentiate between marketing and artistic expression.
The final brand package for FFTT is earnest and whimsical. With the letterforms derived from a tree carving and the primary icon a simple, recognizable and friendly tree, it communicated our goals in everything from leather coasters to two separate website builds:
The initial 2013 event was a smashing success, thanks in part to taking a few cues and pointers from POW! WOW! Hawaii, a similar art event in Honolulu. Contributors and artists from the incredible Hawaiian events played a big role in helping Portland get our feet on the ground to launch the first annual Forest for the Trees.
Here are some of our favorite murals from the event:
As the festival progressed, we also had the chance to paint some walls. One wall was a collaboration between Zach, LA-based Madsteez and Gage (above); the second with local artist Blaine Fontana and Tokyo’s Jun Inoue (below).
The next summer, Gage was at it again. The 2014 event brought new challenges, a new, blacked-out aesthetic, more artists, more walls, and more fun. Here’s a few of our favorites from 2014:
We also had the ability to contribute more paint to a few Portland walls, including Zach’s brilliant SE Division piece that we swear isn’t inspired by Miss Lauryn Hill.
Each year, the artists’ process was beautifully catalogued by the public with the hashtag #ffttnw, check it out here.
And Empire Green lent their video skills again as well in another beautiful recap video:
We’re already excited to be a part of the team each and every year Forest For The Trees returns.