The Word on Ticketing
Wordstock Book Fair tickets: Advance/$9  Door/$11  Student/$5  Ages 0-13: FREE book fair tickets get you into every book fair thing except: 

Wordstock for Writers Workshops. Workshop tickets include FREE same-day book fair admission and can be purchased within workshop listings below. click here for book fair tickets and more
avatar for Martin French

Martin French

Martin French is an illustrator, designer and educator. His distinctive style, an interplay of marks, signs, and symbols spanning a diverse media context—has been recognized internationally for its dynamic visual exploration of life and culture.

His unique, graphic expressionist images have won awards in juried shows of the leading visual communication organizations across the United States, including Gold Medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles.
Martin's artistic journey began in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Italian immigrant heritage, blue collar Americana served as a backdrop for his early visual inspiration. His desire to pursue a career in illustration & design initiated a move to Southern California and a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design.  A fascination with the growing digital arts movement resulted in a ten year journey working in digital media, ultimately landing in Seattle, and Microsoft, where he served as design director for educational and entertainment software for kids and teens.
In 1996, while still based in Seattle, Martin opened an independent studio with an emphasis on image-based content focused on posters, marks & logos, and advertising illustration.  His studio and residence eventually settled into a 10 acre piece of property along Indian Ford Creek on the high desert plateau of Central Oregon. The years spent in this secluded territory combined art-making and fatherhood into one creative vision.
A return to the city in 2005, this time Portland, Oregon, began Martin’s association with the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  Energized by a conviction that the mentoring of artists is vital to the creative life of a city, he began development of a BFA program in illustration. PNCA Illustration is now considered one of the top emerging programs in the country. Martin is an associate professor and serves as department chair, teaching classes in professional practice, and the intersection of design & illustration.

In 2011, Martin established the Exile Poster Project.  His deep respect for the art of the poster, combined with his desire to encourage those living in the margins of contemporary culture, led him to start this work.  An annual poster exhibition, the project aims to confront complex social issues through the art of the poster, helping to invigorate and expand the city's efforts to combat injustice and oppression.
Martin currently resides in Portland and works from a studio strategically located on the edge of the arts district and the outdoor basketball courts on the North Park Blocks. 

Where the Spirit

Both of my children came out of dire situations in two far-away corners of the world. Due to the complexities and devastation of poverty, they had somehow been deemed expendable; they were treated as throw-away kids. 

Over the last 20+ years, I’ve been witness to a mysterious interweaving between their nearly tragic origins and their maturation into individuals with profound creative abilities. As far away as the past may seem, its brokenness has always pulled at them, has always tried to claim them. But I've seen them begin to claim the past instead. I've seen them use music, craft, image, and story to pick up the broken pieces of their origins and put them back together in ways that are at once haunting and redemptive, achingly raw and startlingly new. 

Where the Spirit is a symbolic narrative that tries to express the essence of the story they share with so many.

My Moderators Sessions

Sunday, October 6

2:00pm PDT