Sarah Asper-Smith, Lou Logan, Pat Race and Aaron Suring are four creative artists who have joined forces to make their unique mark on Juneau's art scene. With various specialties and overlapping interests, the members of this creative quartet each do their part to contribute to the collective in their own ways.
Asper-Smith and Race first met as students of Juneau-Douglas High School. Logan, Race and Suring met as students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where they were involved in film club and other film-related events. Now, their collaboration has continued past their educational careers and they have pursued a number of diverse endeavors, including community events that spotlight the work of other artists.
The Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society Film (JUMP Society) Festival has become one of the group's staple events. Held twice each year, the JUMP festival highlights locally-produced short films, which are displayed in festival form at venues including the UAS Egan Lecture Hall and the Silverbow back room.
Continuing the JUMP legacy, Logan, Race and Suring produced a short film series, "The Alaska Short Forum," that aired on 360 North in 2007 and 2008. The series is presently on long-term hiatus, but the group hopes to resume production in the future.
Currently, in addition to various film projects, the three focus much of their time on "computer stuff," which ranges from web design and server work to creating programs for the Alaska State Museum's new Science On A Sphere exhibit.
Race also writes and illustrates a comic, "Alaska Robotics," which chronicles events of his daily life, as well as the events of his cohorts, mixed with a dose of Alaskana as well as daydream fantasy. One strip may feature a thoughtful conversation between Logan and Suring, the next week followed by a strip in which giant robots destroy the Earth.
Asper-Smith's specialty lies in design for print. Her line of greeting cards, clothing and prints can be found at smackofjellyfish.com, and her cards are sold at various retailers around the U.S. and Canada. She also serves as the gallery director for the Ruby Room, which displays different works by local artists each month.
Though the four each work on their own endeavors, they also get together to work on collaborative projects, many of which are video-oriented. In May, the group traveled to Anchorage to the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships, where they conducted interviews and shot video footage that they are in the process of editing into a documentary.
In September, the group will travel to Seattle to participate in Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, where they have plans to hold a film festival that will include work by both Alaska and Washington filmmakers. They have had a presence at Bumbershoot for several years, but this time they'll have to do it without Asper-Smith, who left Juneau last week to enroll in a master's program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Asper-Smith will study museum exhibit planning and design and plans to return to Alaska and put her new knowledge to work after the culmination of the program.
Despite the seemingly scattered directions that the foursome has taken, their collective body of work is evidence that they possess the dedication and organization to successfully act on their ideas.
The various work and wares of Asper-Smith, Logan, Race and Suring can be viewed and purchased online at akrobotics.com.
Libby Sterling may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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