Coming Distractions …
April 8 – Arcata Chamber Mixer at Mad River Adult Day Health (Mad River Hospital) 5:30-7:00 pm
April 8-9 – District Training Assembly – Ukiah Fairgrounds
April 16 – RISE EVENT – (Note New Date!) Wine & Food Festival at HSU, presented by the Lost Coast Rotaract Club and the HSU Rotaract Club (more info below)
May 6-8 – District 5130 Conference – Marriott Napa Valley Resort & Spa
May 29-June 1 – RI Conference in Seoul, South Korea
June ? – RISE EVENT – Rotaract Color Run (Date/Time TBA)
June 18 – RISE EVENT – 26th Arcata Oyster Festival
July 4 – RISE EVENT – Independence Day on the Plaza – volunteer at the RCAS Family Comfort Station
- President Howard showed slides from our very successful Star Wars Cantina Spring Fundraiser. He expressed his appreciation and admiration for all of us, he singled out some key people for special acclaim. First, of course, was Susan Jansson, who did a great job organizing the event for the second straight year. He also thanked Auctioneer Rex Bohn and our DJ Casey. And he noted the importance of our “Pit Bosses” – Scott Heller, Bob Moore, Gregg Foster, and Bob Johnson. Space limitations prevent the listing of all the Sunrisers and others who served in leadership and volunteer roles. Thanks to all of you, and thanks to everyone who attended – you all made it a “fun-raiser” as well as a Fundraiser!
- Howard also announced that “the Costa Rica trip is on”! Five Sunrisers, two members of the Arcata Noon Rotary, and two members of the North Bay Rotaract Club will be heading south soon. The tentative dates for the journey are May 12-17. We will be soliciting financial assistance to help the Rotaractors.
- Expansion of our water projects in Pakistan’s Swat Valley were temporarily set aside to deal with the aftermath of a recent earthquake, which caused deaths, injuries, and widespread damage. Howard showed photos of collapsed buildings being rebuilt in the village of Shaheen Abad.
- Arny King stopped by to tell us that the Lost Coast Rotaract Club and the new HSU Rotaract Club are joining forces to present the 5th Annual International Food & Wine Pairing Event on April 16th. The “whimsical evening of food, wine, and art” will feature a Ukrainian theme this year. Plan to visit the Green and Gold Room in Founders Hall at Humboldt State, beginning at 6 pm. TIckets are $50 per person, and they can be purchased online at the Brown Paper Tickets website.
Works Of Art
Our Featured Speaker was local legend Duane Flatmo. Duane has been a vital part of the arts scene in Humboldt County since he arrived here from Southern California in 1977. His murals can be found throughout the area, and his work can also be found on beer labels (Downtown Brown and Great White), posters for the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival, and at Burning Man (Steampunk Octopus and El Pulpo Mechanico).
Cam Appleton noted that Duane had helped our 2002-2003 Exchange Student, Ane Thea Kristofferson, build a Kinetic Sculpture. Duane said that he wasn’t sure he was happy he did that, since “she beat all of us”!
Duane was born in Santa Monica, and raised at Big Bear Lake. He said that “I wanted to be an entertainer all my life”. As proof, he showed a photo of himself at an early age with a ventriloquist’s dummy on his lap. He was on the yearbook staff in high school, and he was inspired by Mr. O’Hare, his art teacher. Mr. O’Hare told him that he should hone his skills as a sign painter, since it would provide him a way to make a living wherever Duane might end up. That is what Duane did when he moved here.
Duane’s mother suggested that he would make more money if he moved to the big city. But Duane said that he enjoyed the quality of life here. “If I ever get stagnant in Humboldt County,” he told her, “I would move.” With the advent of the internet, he was able to connect throughout the world. He said that he didn’t have to move away to continue to find challenges. “That’s what I try to do in my art,” he said, “to outdo myself.”
His work was featured in Mad Magazine, and he showed one of his creations (fondly recalled by Your Editor) – Rat Fink. These early pre-computer works were drawn and inked by hand, and he also used airbrushes.
Duane said that he worked for Sears when he first arrived here, first in hardware, then in displays. He took a graphics design class at College of the Redwoods taught by Jerry Smith, who is still a close friend. Jerry inspired Duane to think of alternative outlets for his art – Heavy Metal magazine and science fiction illustrations and other experimental areas. “I’d get something done, and I always wanted to show Jerry to see what he thought.” About 10 years ago, Jerry visited from his home in Seattle, and rode one of Duane’s Kinetic Sculptures along with one of Duane’s students – three generations, if you will. “We didn’t get in one fight,” Duane said.
For an assignment in Jerry’s class, Duane created a logo and business card for “Flatmographics” that listed his skills – sign painting, illustration, logo design, layout, fine art commissions, and posters. “I didn’t do any of this stuff,” he told us, “but I decided to leave it on there.” He was hired by Old Town Bar & Grill to produce posters for their live shows. One of these morphed into a work called “Three Fools”, depicting two men and a woman checking each other out at a bar. Duane also designed logos for many local businesses.
Duane watched several Kinetic Sculpture Races before he realized that he needed to be part of it in 1981. His first entry was the Pencilhead Express – Duane didn’t tell us if he came in “No. 2”.) His wife-to-be Micki was part of that first Kinetic team. “We didn’t know we’d ever get married,” Duane said. “I don’t know what she saw in me.” He did the race for 33 years. Although he stepped away last year thinking it would be temporary, he is now of a mind that it is time to focus on other things, like Burning Man.
Of his first trip to Burning Man, Duane said, “I was just set back. I saw the stuff that was out there, and it was on another level – big, beautiful art pieces at night would come alive.” He said that it was a wonderful experience. However, he warned that “a lot of weirdos go too – anyone know this guy named Howard?”
Duane had a series of slides showing the evolution of the label for Downtown Brown – from a sketch for a proposed mural at Stanford that was never realized, through concept sketch, to final product. “I always start with a drawing first,” Duane said. He believes that using his hand is “a good way to research” the idea.
He said that about half of his time is now spent working for FoxFarm, designing labels for new products and creating their trade show booths. He likes this situation in part because “I’ve got health insurance. All my life, I’ve paid for my own health insurance!”
Duane is perhaps best known for his murals. The first was commissioned by Bucksport Sporting Goods in Eureka, and the second was the famous one across the parking lot from the Arcata Los Bagels shop. His mural class has helped him execute many of his later murals, however the concepts are his own. Many of the walls were originally covered in graffiti, but once one of the murals goes up, the graffiti generally stops.
Duane has appeared on television shows, including appearing with Jay Leno. The Wikipedia article about him notes that he was on Late Night With David Letterman (in the Stupid Pet Tricks/Stupid Human Tricks segment), and that he played guitar with an eggbeater on America’s Got Talent, where he was a finalist.
For more about Duane, please visit his website: DuaneFlatmo.com.
Jeff Stebbins and Bryan Plumley provided an update from our Competitions and Scholarships Committee. They thanked their committee members, then focused on three areas.
Scholarships Bryan noted that the deadline for the Arcata Sunrise Memorial Scholarships has been extended to April 18th. They are working with Deena Faull, a Counselor at Arcata High School, to get the word out to this year’s seniors. We offer one four-year scholarship, paying a deserving student $1,500 per year. We also award three one-time $1,000 scholarships each year.
History Day Jeff thanked Sunrisers Cam Appleton and Bob Moore for serving as judges in the local competition on February 27th. Rising Stars Director Colleen Toste invited Jeff to observe the next phase for the winners – coaching on their presentations. The group will then award scholarships to some of those moving on to the state competition, based on need.
RYLA This is an acronym for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Each year, the Committee works with Craig Newman to select two members of the AHS Interact Club to attend RYLA Camp, which is held during the summer at Westminster Woods, near Occidental.