Skid Road floats into Portland

Once again, it’s getting toward the end of the term. For most of us, this means we’ll be getting lost in our textbooks.

Once again, it’s getting toward the end of the term. For most of us, this means we’ll be getting lost in our textbooks. Studies have been done that suggest taking a break while studying causes less study fatigue and helps you commit your recently acquired knowledge to memory. If you find yourself needing a study break in the next few weeks, a great place to go is the Skid Road Art Collective, which is landing at the Floating World Comics on Monday.

Curated by Jason Miles, the Skid Road Art Collective is a two-part event. The first is a collection of some of the best contemporary drawing Seattle has to offer. Artists in the exhibit were chosen based on a variety of factors including proximity, spiritual connection and contribution to the Northwest tradition pioneered by such greats as Jim Woodring, Peter Bagge, Morris Graves and Mark Toby. The artwork being featured this month comes to Portland as a mix of figure drawing, drone drawing, totem drawing, cartography, illustration, pattern cartooning and metamorphic automatism. Sounds to us like a list of pretty impressive skill sets.

Not only will Floating World offer an awesome art exhibit this month, they will also be offering the second part of the Skid Road Art Collective, advanced copies for sale of Jim Woodring’s (again, one of the great cartoonists the Northwest has to offer) new graphic novel, “Congress of the Animals.”

“Congress of the Animals” comes as a Woodring’s first full-length “Frank” graphic novel and a follow up to Woodring’s previous 2010 graphic starring novel “Weathercraft.” For those unfamiliar with the subject, Frank is the naïve, bucktoothed anthropomorphic animal whose species is never really revealed and who serves as the main character in the fantastical stories that take place in the Unifactor.

The Unifactor is a surreal world in which concepts like justice and logic are foreign. On occasion sinister, but for the most part picturesque, the Unifactor is the stage on which Woodring’s plays of morality appear. Ruled by dream-logic and unknowable forces, the most noticeable thing about the Unifactor and the “Frank” series in general is the lack of speech bubbles. No words are written in any of the comics, with the action and emotions instead being conveyed solely by the art. Woodring’s novels definitely require more than one reading, as they are layered with multiple meanings and interpretations.

“Congress of the Animals” answers the question of what would happen if Frank were to leave the Unifactor. An act of casual rudeness proves to be the catalyst for Frank’s departure, but once he finds himself alone at last, he is forced to contend with realities of which he had no previous idea.

Floating World Comics is the self-proclaimed record store of comic book stores. There’s a different sort of vibe at Floating World, which comes from the fact that they’re not just a comic book store. They’re also a store that offers books on art, illustration, animation and graphic design, along with international art magazines, music and movie related items—basically, whatever they think will inspire creative individuals who are looking for something new.

The people at Floating World believe you should buy comics you’ll read more than once, and they’re always willing to help you find just the right selection. They want customers to be able to add comics to their bookshelves that will continue to entertain them for years.

Floating World will be running the Skid Road Art Collective until June 30. Take a break from studying to check out some excellent art and comic work. You might find just the right thing to inspire you. ?