“Soup Can: In Real Life Social Media” is an ongoing art project all of June at LIKEWISE in
Portland, Oregon. Artists Scotty Gorham and Devon McKnight are creating new multimedia and neon light installations each week, based on their conversations with bar patrons. Bright greens, pinks, and oranges set a surreal tone as bar-goers are served craft cocktails and local brews.
Gorham and McKnight came to Portland to be part of the first ever “Bartender in Residence”
program. Started in 2014 by LIKEWISE owners Nancy Prior and Adam Moser, the Bartender in
Residence program “employs artists as bartenders who simultaneously implement participatory, socially engaging art works.”
Gorham and McKnight met in graduate school in San Jose, California. They have collaborated
for years, but this month long project is by far their largest together. Both artists have a similar
approach to art making, often pairing the formal qualities of design with experimental interactive and viewer-based experiences. While Gorham’s work tends to be more sculptural and McKnight’s work more based in painting, their collaborations always seem to lead to engaging hybrid environments.
“Soup Can: In Real Life Social Media” explores the relationships between “real life” and social
media, using the bar itself as a platform for crowdsourced and viewer driven content (much like Instagram and Facebook). The project playfully blends many stories into an ongoing narrative in light. Gorham and McKnight are working with Portland based graphic designer Jenny Frank to illustrate a weekly advertisement using hand drawn versions of the duo’s bitmogis. The team is also working with San Jose based neon artist Kevin Chong, who creates their visions in neon. Gorham says, “Devon and I were really excited when we heard about the program at Likewise.Over the years we have spent a lot of time in bars, and see the potential for this type of space to elevate and drive really great art. It sounded like a chance to do something interesting, while having a lot of fun.”
You can find Scotty and Devon behind the bar Thursday-Saturday.
Soup Can started on June 2nd and runs through Saturday, July 2nd.