Agnes Varda Forever in collaboration
with Jennifer “JJ” Jones
Poster from the Agnes Varda Forever project hanging in front of Music Millennium in Portland, Oregon, on April 14, 2021. Photo by Jennifer “JJ” Jones.
As part of an assignment from artist Harrell Fletcher for the Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA Program, I commissioned Jennifer “JJ” Jones to continue her “Agnes Varda Forever” project which began in the summer of 2020 after JJ and her son watched a marathon of movies directed by Agnes Varda.
Acting on a desire for more people to know about Varda, she painted “AGNES VARDA FOREVER” in eight inch high white letters on the base of the utility pole at the end of her block.
On the way to visit a classmate, I drove past this bold message and was delighted by its spirit, not realizing that it was JJ’s neighborhood or her handiwork. I was so excited about the sign and its striking letterforms that I emailed her later that night, gushing about my discovery. (I knew she was a fan of Varda’s movies because a few years ago we saw each other at a showing of Varda’s film “Faces Places.”)
She replied to my email:
“One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I went down to the corner of MY STREET and painted that pole!!!!! What is incredible is that YOU saw it! I thought about sending you a picture of it but then thought that a better thing to do would be to someday, go and paint it on something near your apartment, so you could accidentally stumble upon it! This is SO magical, that it worked out this way. My heart and my mind are blown!!!”
Using the $100 check that I mailed to her, she hired me to design a poster with the “Agnes Varda Forever” message and removable tabs listing movies directed by Varda. She bought colored paper on which to print the poster and perforated the lower portion of the poster making tab removal easier. Lastly, she cut each tab by hand and has been hanging them on poles throughout Portland ever since. As she does this she realizes, “I’m born to post stuff in public!”
JJ hopes that people will take a tab from the poster and use it as a reminder to find out more about Agnes Varda and then watch the film. In May 2021, we celebrated her birthday by revealing our identities and the origin of the project during an interview with the Hollywood Theatre. A more in-depth interview was published in the Social Forms of Art Journal in early June 2021.
Special thank you to Mykle Hansen, Harrell Fletcher, Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA program, The Portland Stamp Company, Independent Publishing Resource Center, Mark, Emma, Nico, John, Polly, and Agnes. ❤️
Would you like to hang a poster up in your neighborhood? If so, please feel free to download, print, cut the tabs, and post wherever you think one is needed! Please snap a photo of the scene where you hung it and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #agnesvardaforever.
A visual timeline of our work together and the development of this project is below.
JJ painted “Agnes Varda Forever” at the base of pole at the intersection of Corner of NE Ainsworth Street and NE 27th Street in Portland, Oregon, in September 2020. I shared the picture of the sign on Instagram and a good friend shared it with Varda's daughter, Rosalie, who sent me an encouraging message. Photos by Laura Glazer.
This is the front of an invitation to the commission that I created and mailed to JJ. On the back of the invitation I explained that the only string attached to the commission is that she allow me to interview her about it. A few days later she received the invitation in the mail and accepted the commission. Photos by Laura Glazer.
Originally, JJ envisioned a "marquee/vintage postcard" style poster and asked me to execute the design. As I worked on her design, I created an alternate version using her handpainted lettering on the utility pole. Even though it wasn't what she had in mind, she thought it was great and we continued adjusting the design based on this draft. Photos by Laura Glazer.
Left: A few days later, JJ picked up a huge stack of paper in many colors from SCRAP for $5. Photo by Jennifer "JJ" Jones. Right: JJ's neighbor, Mykle Hansen, volunteered to print the posters using the Risograph copier at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. The ink colors include neon pink, red, and purple. Photo by Mykle Hansen.
In order to make it easy for people to remove the tabs, JJ worked with the Portland Stamp Company to add a perforated line at the bottom of the poster. Photo by Niko Courtelis.
Without telling me, JJ hung a poster outside of my apartment building. I gasped with joy when I saw it! I removed the tab for the first movie I saw by Agnes Varda for which I will always have a special place in my heart and mind. Photos by Laura Glazer
JJ and I were thrilled to find out that Portland’s Hollywood Theatre was seeking information on our posters. The realization of our shared love for Agnes Varda happened during their 2018 screening of Varda’s Faces Places.
Project byLaura Glazer, Jennifer Jones