‘Happy Daze’ hits campus

Psychedelic and Northwest vibes brought to CCC in the latest art gallery in the Niemeyer Center

Story and photo by William Farris

The Clackamas Print

With 22 large canvas prints by Josh P.A. Gross on display through Oct. 27, Happy Daze is the latest art display to be set up in Niemeyer Center and keep up with the Clackamas Community College tradition of using the space to promote new and amazing artist on campus. True to its name, Happy Daze features prints done in a unique psychedelic punk-rock style that make for a new and unique aesthetic, as well as visually stunning paintings. Each painting depicts a mesh of real-world objects, people, and places combined with abstract shapes and forms to create Rorschach-like compositions. They range in style from warm rustic landscape-focused pieces, to macabre images done in neon or dark shades of gray and brown.

Gross, the creator of the gallery, works as an artist for Vans and a graphic artist for a variety of other projects and commissions. “Art is something that lives in every nook and cranny of life and not just the galleries,” said Gross. “Because I have gotten so much of my artistic inspiration from places outside of the fine arts I make my art geared towards the disciplines that originally inspired me, such as music and skateboarding.”

Gross says that he also pulls inspiration from things like classic-rock album covers, movie posters, advertisements and even real locations like skate parks in the Oregon City area. Most of all, Gross wants his art to speak to people in their lives and their creativity. It’s, he said, “about making something fun that people can be inspired [by].”

Many people who came to see the exhibit also expressed just how emotional and nostalgic the pieces felt. Many described them as vibrant, spiritual or even somber and mysterious. While others said they were reminded of the good times and injuries they got while skating and hanging out in the very spots in the images. But more than anything, everyone who came said the gallery felt it was a combination of everything about Oregon.

“It captures the essence of the Northwest,” said Jordy Hargrove, a visitor of the gallery.

All of this culminates in a gallery that is both unique and utterly amazing to look at. “It’s just interesting to see stuff like this versus what they’re teaching us in art class right now …” said Marjorie Griffiths, another visitor to the gallery.

So, if you’re interested, stop by Niemeyer Center between now and Oct. 27 to see some truly captivating art.

You can also see more of Gross’s work on his Tumblr page at j144-art.tumblr.com or buy one of the prints of the art being displayed for $150 by contacting Kate Simmons through the art department or by email at kates@clackamas.edu from now until the end of the show.

If you love Oregon and its culture, or just want to see some fun prints that will make your day, then you should definitely stop by Happy Daze.