Summer Is Here!

Kind of.

Summer in Portland usually peeks in a few times before presenting itself fully around the 4th of July. This year is no different it seems, so I am taking the scattered overcast, thunderstorm and hail days to do some updates to the site, my life, and unfortunately, my organizational folders.
It’s a task, no question.

I have a tough time promoting myself, or really anything I do. It has undoubtedly anchored me at times when I needed to sail, so to really nail these metaphors together, I am trying to right the ship. These next few months of summer couldn’t have come at a better time, and my hope is to share more through here as I try to find some normalcy in doing so.
My aim is to use this as a more personal view into more that just artwork and nonsense. Still a lot of nonsense, though.

I would say I might try to update this daily, but, that’s doubtful…and probably unnecessary.
Thanks for stopping by.

Make it count!


Sometimes music isn't meant to change the World. Sometimes it's just meant to make you move your ass...

It may sound silly, but those words have effected me in different ways over the years. Spoken to me by a dear friend who is no longer with us, but lives through us everyday, Stuart Andres. At the time, I considered myself kind of a music maven, an elitist of sorts. In that, I missed out on a lot of stuff that was just there to make you feel something. It may not have been a social boundary tune, or a call for change, uprising, defeat, class war, a song for action or plight, or any of the like. Sometimes it’s just a song. It’s open for interpretation, a lot like artists that create visual pieces.

Music goes hand in hand, in my experience, in the creative process for visual artists. It may not always be an explorative nature, or an influence to direct work, but for me it is in the background as much as possible when I work on artwork. It helps a little with the separation of myself and what I am working on, sort of a barrier that makes it easier for me to step back and look at a piece a bit more from the outside. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. For me, personally, it just works.

I can, however, share with you some of my favorite artists, albums, and songs that over the years have cemented themselves as “go to” works that I enjoy while making something. I don’t think I will ever be able to possibly list them all. Nor would I expect anyone to go through the entirety of a lifetime of music in a blog post. I’ll continue to share more favorites in posts like this in the future. There’s a lot of music out there, and a lot to create.

Instead of throwing a quick “Top whatever” together, which is almost impossible to do, I will just share a few artists or albums that I have been listening to. Starting with these staples…

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory

Pound for pound, probably a top 2 album all-time for me. Since it’s release, it has been a constant in my life. Upon it’s release in September of 1991, it completely changed me. It changed the way I looked at not only hip-hop as a whole, but all art. It was, and still is, one of the first albums I completely fell in love with, and it’s been on rotation since day one. A Tribe Called Quest, to people that know me well, are one of my absolute tops as far as artists go.


There’s no way I can aptly put into words what this album means to me, so I won’t try.


I generally celebrate De La’s entire catalogue, and 3 Feet High and Rising could easily be in this place as well. However, when ‘Stakes Is High’ was released in 1996 it completely changed the sound and delivery I was used to with De La Soul. They flipped on this album, and we all reaped the rewards. This has sonically been there for me through good times and bad, and I am grateful for the Plugs One, Two, and Three. It’s really just solid.


I’ve been listening to this basically my entire life. I feel like this album’s sounds are interwoven into my being, and therefore it makes this first list. The first dance at our wedding was “Into The Mystic” and “It Stoned Me” and “Brand New Day” warm me like a blanket when I need comfort.
Top to bottom, it just works for me. Creatively, personally, and aurally.


I had to add this to the first crop, absolutely. This was the first hip hop album I ever owned, and I absolutely loved it. When I was 9, the YMCA I went to had a “fair” and you could win door prizes. As luck would have it, I won. Among the selections of albums, books, trinkets and what not, was this album. It was sitting between a handpainted ceramic elk and Depeche Mode’s “Some Great Reward” album. I picked it out, and thus begun my journey into hip hop culture and it’s intricacies. It was this album that started it for me, and I am absolutely grateful for it. I even wrote the lyrics to “Escape (I Need A Break” as a report for music in elementary school. I still have them…

That will do it for this first handful of albums that shaped me. I’ll be posting these from time to time as a reminder to myself more than anything that “Sometimes music isn’t supposed to change the world. Sometimes it’s just meant for you to move your ass…”

Thanks, Stu. We miss you.


Notice Each Other.

Play nice,


Inktober and Everything After

Inktober has fallen upon us once again. The yearly (since Jake Parker’s creation in ‘09) event is participated in by multitudes of artists on social media.  I was on the fence about participating this year, after doing it in years past; I just didn’t think I would have time. Then I thought about the point of Inktober.

To create something, to learn, and have fun. It’s pretty simple.

That being said, I have seen a lot of traditional illustrators having meltdowns over people using “digital ink” for their Inktober pieces. Part of me agrees with the sentiment of an analog, so to speak, concentration on ink illustrations and what not. However, I was again reminded that this is supposed to be fun. I just don’t see the foul in using a tablet, or what have you. That isn’t something I thought I would be saying a decade ago, but, having been able to illustrate, and digitally ink, has opened up a bounty of creativity and discovery for many, many illustrators. Some of which were originally staunch feet-draggers with concerns to digital art, now thrive in it’s depths. Myself included.

As artists aren’t we supposed to try and push ourselves, push boundaries? Aren’t we supposed to encourage others to stretch their artistic and illustrative legs? I think it’s a foundational responsibility as an artist, to be honest. It’s what has kept people chasing images since forever.

So, with that, and with the decision to participate, I decided to mix it up and do both ink to paper, and stylus to tablet for Inktober this year. Hell, I may even do the majority with a tablet and newfangled whatsit. 

Because, at the end of the day. At the end of the 31 days of Inktober. It’s really just about having fun creatively, and pushing yourself a bit. 

I am looking forward to checking out what everyone is going to make. 

Other than that, I am going to be putting my time on here and the site. I have some pretty exciting things in the works, and Jamie will be adding jewelry before too long to accompany that. 

I hope all is well. Thank you for stopping by, see you next time. 

Make it count! 


The Switch and Forward Movement

Hey folks!

The first of September came and went, and we quietly switched over the site and accounts elsewhere (Twitter and IG) online. The original J.PEDEGANA site will still be connected, just rerouted to this spot. I’m slowly making different changes to the site, and figure that will be ongoing until I find something I am satisfied with. Which, may be forever.

I’m wanting to keep it somewhat simple, colorful, and open to add shop options. When we get more items physically, that will begin. Jamie will be making jewelry and different products, and my work, collaborations, stickers, and short run apparel and prints will all be housed in one spot. Finally.

I’m hoping to dive in more frequently to this blog, adding more personal and assorted content as I feel comfortable. It’s a solid outlet, and I enjoy it as a distraction and substitute for blathering on Facebook. I am currently teaching myself more coding, animation, and keeping up with an ever evolving digital media path, while still trying to keep an analog handle. Learning and experimenting is a fun part of art, maybe the best part. The toughest part is finding the time, but, it has to be made.

Jamie and I are excited about what Secret Fortress Workshop holds moving forward. We have a long term plan, but are open to surprises along the way. There’s still alot to do until either of us will be content with the content. We thank you, whoever you are, for coming by and keeping up. It means a ton, as do the messages and encouragement we have received. It won’t be taken for granted. We’ll do our best to make it count for sure.

Thanks again.

Play nice,

Jason & Jamie Pedegana (J.Pedegana - Secret Fortress)


The Secret Fortress & The Struggle To Find Balance

Hey there!

If you follow me on a social media platform, you may have noticed I am going through kind of a "re-branding" of sorts, personally. At least that is what I am looking at it as. While there are pros and cons in every decision involving a wholly personal matter, I felt that using a working studio title was a good choice in the long run.

I started Portlandism in 2006 as kind of an ode to Portland, Oregon. My home. It started as a photo project, and labor of love. Essentially a scrapbook of Portland throughout time. The good, the bad, the changes, and neutralities. Originally, Portlandism was also going to be my working studio brand. However, the Facebook page I had made for it blew up after I had broken the news first that a local icon passed away. Portlandism went from 126 "Likes" to almost 10,000 in just 2 days. Since the site was associated with old photographs, I didn't want to confuse folks with a drastic change in content. Plus, I still enjoyed (and still do) digging through photos and posting them for folks to look at and appreciate. I toyed with using Portlandism on and off for years, using Portlandism Studio at one point. Finally, I made the decision to stop flip flopping on that, and just used Portlandism for its original intent. It's purely a personal project. I had to appreciate it for what it was, and had become.

With that decision, I created the VERY short lived 11lb Studio as a working studio and online shop that housed some of my prints and designs. I quickly realized that I wasn't really attached to it, and it felt like more of a project on the side, rather than my own, tangible thing. I just felt indifferent, and to be honest, kind of generic about. I liked the logo I made, that's about it. That surely is no reason to base an entire body of work behind it, and it didn't take long for me to slowly back away from that. I took my shop down, all my art work I had curated to show, all my items I had sampled and tested to release, and so on. It was bitter-sweet for sure.

Why am I wanting a studio title? Why don't I just use my name instead of branding something? 

To put it simply: I just want something different. Something that completely isn’t attached to my name entirely. I enjoy being able to separate that to a degree. 

This brings us to Secret Fortress Workshop. As I type this, I am simultaneously tweaking stuff on the site behind the scenes to shift from my "J.Pedegana" page to the current Secret Fortress format. It should be rough, but ready, by the time anyone is reading this. The plan is for it to go live tomorrow (Friday, September 1, 2018) morning. From there it is anyone's guess on what the future will bring. I am excited to move forward with a new outlook, and a bit more experience. I beleive the balance of preserving self, while putting yourself out there as an artist, is an ever tipsy walk. For now, though, I feel like I have some steady footing and am ready to hike through.

Thanks again for reading through these assorted thoughts assembled randomly on the interwebs. By this time tomorrow, the switch will have been flipped, and Secret Fortress Workshop will officially be onto the next step.

I will touch on what that entails in the next post.

I hope all is well. Make it count.

- Jason



Second post - Facebook and random thoughts


Today I had planned on writing a bit more about myself, but I feel some of that could be saved over time. So, instead, I am writing about really nothing. I know that in order to use this more, I am going to have to push myself a bit. Put more of myself out there, so to speak.

I kind of went the opposite direction by fully deactivating my personal Facebook account this week. I no longer felt the platform was of a positive use for me. After years (especially the last few) of aimlessly scrolling through politics, food photos, clickbait, and shares of shares of shares; it was time to step away. Will it be permanent? I'm not sure, but that's what my plan is.

The reason I mention it, and decided to just blather on here instead, is because I feel as though it affected my art and creative ability negatively. I don't know if anyone else out there has had this experience, if so drop me a line. I would be curious as to who else has had this happen noticeably. I think overall it was just kind of a time suck. Time that could be used more constructively, or positively.
I did leave my art page and working studio pages up, because I don't really want to take them down. They most likely will not be updated too frequently, that's the last thing I need to do. To be honest, FB as a platform for illustrators and visual artists isn't that appealing to me. It's very share driven, which is great. Unfortunately a lot of times instead of a share, it will result in a copy and paste of your work with no credit. It will be then shared by someone else, and so on, and so on. I understand that the internet is a rampant place for theft, fully. I just feel like the tact and entitlement to share without arts credit or anything until it becomes a stagnant piece is tenfold on Facebook more than anywhere else. In a nutshell; that's why I left. That and the uptick in sanctimonious narcissism. It was starting to depress me.

All that being said, I am somewhat excited to use this space as a diary of sorts.
A journal of an assorted whatever.
Not knowing what I will put on here, or what will come of it, is kind of appealing in it's mystery.

I am not a writer by any means, but I enjoy getting thoughts and ideas out there into the ether. There are going to be mistakes, and thats the fun of the process.

I do know that eventually this page will be switched over to Secret Fortress Workshop, my working studio. I believe that is actually what my next post will be about. I just want to be able to flush out more detail about it, and what I want to do with it, and why a name change...again.

Until then, thanks for stopping by. I don't know who is reading this, however, thanks for taking the time out of your day to do so.


Play nice,



Hello all!

Firstly, thanks for stopping by and checking everything out! Secondly, I have never really gravitated toward a blog before, so let's see how this goes. I can guarantee it will sometimes be left unattended, but, I will put a concerted effort into keeping it updated.

I guess my first post will just be a simple "hello" to you, and thanks again for stopping by. If there are any questions, info, or the like you would like me to post here; feel free to send me a message with your suggestion. I just wanted to get the ball rolling on this so it didn't just stay blank.

It was annoying me, too.
Talk with you all soon.

- Jason