Friday, Sept. 27, 4-8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 28, noon-5 p.m.
Centrum artist in residence John Hillmer returns to Fort Worden State Park with “Blues Taco”, an exhibit of paintings and prints that playfully explore two very important things—music and tacos. OK, it’s also about art, spirit, and travel.
First, the theme of music runs deeply through Hillmer’s work which has accompanied many jazz and blues artists in Port Townsend and beyond. His illustrations and designs have celebrated more than 50 music, literary, and community events across North America, including Northwest Folklife Festival, Earshot’s World Jazz Festival, and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival. His large stage murals have backed up many artists including Ray Charles, Keb’ Mo’, John Lee Hooker, and Maya Angelou.
Second, Hillmer lives much of the year in Mexico, a country he says that’s alive with music, majesty, and madness. “It’s crazy beautiful and just plain crazy. It oozes life.” Such south of the border color and energy make frequent appearances in Hillmer’s work.
One distinction Mexico can claim is a world class cuisine that includes, of course, tacos—the original global melting pot that melts in your mouth. Hillmer’s work attempts a similar mix—always experimenting with visual elements and symbols. His ingredient list includes music, myth, animals, color, and play. “Musicians and kids play a lot,” he says, “I hope there’s a sense of play, which hints at deeper things, alive in these pieces.”
Finally, Blues Taco is something of a metaphor to reconnect, to break down, not build walls, to reach out over borders. And since there are a number of roosters in the show, it’s also something of a wake up call. Wake up and smell the tacos.
Add some art to a lovely September weekend in Port Townsend. See you in the park!