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Please take this post with a very fine grain of salt, as I wrote about it before really learning about Bobby Fouther as a person and having an interview with him. He does care about archival, but these pieces are, and were at the time, very very fresh and recent.

Febuary 16th, 2024

A.K.A: The two day art insanity.

I wish for this post to serve as a lesson about archival, and why you should always post images of your artwork (and maintain your websites).

This is the story of my two day long insanity, an insanity over one man and his two works of art located within the Portland Oregon Art Museum within the "Black Artists of Oregon" exhibit. This is the story of how one Bobby Fouther drove me insane.

Now you may be wondering, "well, Kat, how did one 74~ year old man drive you insane?" Because he made one of the most inspirational pieces of art to me that I've ever seen. He made a work of art so good, that I was so inspired for days on end to work on my own projects. And in those days following my viewing of this cognito-hazard of an art series I've done my best work ever on Sierpinski, hell, any project I've ever worked on. These two works of art were so influential to me my brain chemistry was rewired for a few days.

This whole art adventure starts with one trip to the aforementioned art museum, it was a very cold day in the winter of 2023, a few days before my last blog entry. I remember walking around downtown Portland, getting bored and wandering in with my girlfriend. We were waling around and admiring the exhibits, with her being interested in the "Africa Fasion" works and me being interested in some of the more "avant garde" pieces. One notable example being a small mac-book placed against a wall in one of the sections entitled "Rent-a-Negro.com", which is a satirical take on how white people treat African Americans like they're a different species (or at least, that's what I took away from it, the mac-book was very strange and there wasn't an easy way to rewind it and I didn't feel like getting kicked out).

Back to the point, in a different section of the exhibit, hung on a wall laid two black canvases with black acrylic paint laid on top of them in, quite honestly hypnotising brush strokes. It was beautiful, and my girlfriend can atest to me standing there and just staring at them for multiple minutes. To this day, even after my long two day insanity spout, I still cant quite place why I enjoy them so much. My brain just can't figure out why I still like them or why they stood out to me so much despite the exhibit being full of other remarkable works of art. I'm forcing myself to cut this part short, due to the fact that I think if I start ranting about my psyche in this post it'll drive people like me who are looking for this art away. I also wish to avoid another two day long insanity.

This work, as told to me by an email exchange with the museum itself (elaborated on later), is the "A Study in Black series", a 2023 work of art by the aforementioned lovely Bobby Fouther (or, at least I assume he's lovely, despite inadvertently driving me insane).

Now of course I didn't remember this, although I don't think it would've even mattered if I did or not, but it sure probably would've saved me a day of research. But the artwork itself still stuck with me, it took a seat inside my head and waited, and waited. It waited until just yesterday to come back into the forefront of my brain (where it stayed until today) where during my Creative Writing class I was asked to write a poem about a piece of art that I enjoyed. This set off the metaphorical rube goldberg machine within my head, ending in Bobby Fouthers work dropping straight down into my train of thought, of course, as any object dropping onto a set of train tracks does, it completely derailed it.

I don't want to say I blame my creative writing teacher, because I don't, but her choice to have us include an image alongside the poem was most definitely the crux of all of this. I had naively gone to try and search up the artwork to include alongside my poem (still unwritten), and that's where it started.

This set of paintings is not mentioned anywhere on the museum website, and in fact worse of all, and what drove me to spend so long searching for it, it was featured in the background for a few frames near the end of the video included on the exhibit page, seen below alongside a centered view of the series for clarity.

Frame of the video, showing a section of the full exhibit. Zoomed in crop of an image featured in a KGW article, showing the paintings in the center.

These are the only two (to my knowlege at the time) images of this artwork that exist on the internet, anywhere. Many mentions will appear when you search up his work, but these are the only two images that show the artwork in its full. And, of course to spite me, the credits are completely unviewable at this distance and quality. By this point in my spiritual journey, my creative writing period had long-since passed. I had eaten lunch while researching this and even spent a majority of the following period trying to find a full view picture of this artwork. No luck. Nothing. At this point I had reached a wall that could only be surpassed by doing one thing, that being looking through all fourty-ish names listed as credits on the exhibit page. This was my worst fear as a programmer, inefficient work. [Insert thunder sound effect followed by a loud horror movie scream] Yes, I know, boo-hoo how sad, Kat has to search through a bunch of really beautiful works of art to try and find the name of one man.

Now you surely are thinking "ok so she looked through all the artists featured in the exhibit, surely this is where the story ends?" And to you, dear reader, I would say, "NO" and follow it up with a loud incorrect buzzer, as if you were on a game-show. After searching through all the names I still found nothing. No artwork that even resembled this piece of art. Of course now with my foresight, I can see his name right there on the page, in fact it's the third name included on the list, go see for yourself (assuming the exhibit page isn't taken down yet.) The issue with the link included is that the artwork is nowhere on this website, meaning to my blind, naive eyes, this was just another artist.

BUT FEAR NOT DEAR READER, THE INSANITY DOES NOT STOP HERE NO, NO! FOR I SPENT THE NEXT MANY HOURS CONTINUING THE SEARCH FOR THIS ARTWORK! And to my utter amazement, still nothing. In fact, just to bring it back around a bit, Bobby Fouther has no reference of this series on his social media what-so-ever, so all my google searches were in vain. So of course, back to searching, at this point in my search I had all but given up, I had emailed the museum asking for the name of the artist as well as any information pertaining to him.

And to my utter amazement, I arrived home to see an brand new fresh email in my inbox.

Screenshot of the information provided by the museum.

This was revolutionary, this was perfect. It was just what I needed, I had a name to the mental image of the artwork that I had spent so long trying to find. But, of course, every story has to have a second act twist. Even when I had the name and and title of the series, it wasn't enough. As I had mentioned before, there was no mention of "A Series in Black" anywhere on the internet. However, and I don't remember how, but I had found it that night.

The art.

Important note. (2/16/24)

Of course by now you've probably noticed that all of this happened in the span of one day, so why do I call this the "two day insanity"? Well it's because I wasn't done. I had noticed something in all my time searching for this picture, one that would put a wrench into my entire thought process. What if the Museum misunderstood me?

This was unlikely of course, referencing the images I included before it's pretty clear what painting I was talking about, but of course human error is a very prolific thing, they could've assumed that I was talking about the work right next to the one I wanted, and given me the title and author of that one instead. And from my very low-quality out of focus pictures that I had of the exhibit section the art right next to the paintings looked very familiar to another work made by Bobby Fouther.

It was a completely new day by this point, and we're getting to the end of this tale I promise. I went and got the image of the art and put it into an image search, finding the source of it in the end. The source, and the only documented place that this work of art that I've spend so long trying to track down for not only an assignment for creative writing, but for my own sanity, was located on a website called "Your Daily Picture", which alongside "A Study in Black" featured pictures of almost every single work in the exhibit.

The website.

With credit.

And now, the moral of the story, directed at a certain special someone in my life.

Mr.B, please, upload more photos of your work, preferably in higher quality. I know you're pretty busy with your ages 4-11 dance classes, but your work is amazing and inspirational and should be able to be seen by everyone.


Kat "likesastudyinblackseries" Smith


Ok so if you'd finished the post, or if you haven't I don't care, you may have noticed both in the images of the painting from afar that there are TWO paintings, not one. This is also why it's called a series. sadly I haven't been able to find the second painting, hell it was hard enough to find the one I did. Both the paintings are incredible in their own right, but together they are truly beuatiful, not becuase they tell a whole story together but just because they're both really well made. I'm not going to try to find the second painting, just to prevent this insanity from becoming called the "Three Day Art Insanity", but if you know where there are any images of the fabled second painting online, please contact me with said website or image using the links on the home page located here.

Edit: Spelling fixes.