Feb 25 2010

I am working on a 4'x6' panel, which will be in the new Crystal Hotel dining room and is a tribute to Gary Ewing, a figure well known in some circles for his psychedelic light shows.  He was born and raised here in Portland, went to San Francisco in the heyday ofPsychedelia, that being the late 1960's.He created light shows at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom, Straight Theater, the city's Trip Festival, and much, much more. He also called himself Dr. P.H.Martin. Upon returning to Portland, he was associated with the Family Dog promotion group, and did a lot of light shows at the Crystal, and other venues here in Portland for groups they were promoting, among whom were The Grateful Dead, the Fugs, and the P.H.Phactor Jug Band.

To me, this tribute piece is about Gary and light. Because I am a painter and work in a grosser substance, it's a challenge to portray light. But, that was his creative gift.  He strived for what he called, "Harmonic Totality", which must have been a mixture of music, light, movement, and positive vibes that reached a form of ecstasy.  Sounds like fun.

Luckily, he was visiting the Crystal several years ago when we were engaged in some repair work, and he graciously allowed me to photograph him.  I have used that photo as a reference for a portrait in this piece.

Anyway, I am very happy to be paying some tribute to this man who played such a big role in the music, performance and creative life of Portland.  


About the author: Jenny Joyce is one of our McMenamins artists and has worked with the company since 1993. Visit her website at jennyjoyceart.com.
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Comment on this Posting:

#1 S. Walters

BRAVO! Gary is sorely missed, and this is a wonderful tribute. We look forward to seeing it.

#2 David Jester

This is totally cool thing to do for Gary, Karen, Aaron, and Chrystal... as well as all of his friends... Damn, I miss that Big Boy...

#3 James Wise

Looks great, you may want to verify your data about " He also called himself Dr. P.H.Martin" is not exactly correct, as Dr. P.H.Martin were some the liquid dye's used, and the name was used as part of the LightShow's Name and not Gary's name. Need more info just ask.

#4 Chris Emery

Nicely done. I look forward to seeing it full size. I hope the unveiling will be publicized (hopefully through Facebook).
For your notes. One of the Dr. P.H. Martins Magic Medicine Show's variations included the Traveling Tranquility Circus. It had dancers and more of a total environment presentation.

#5 William McConaughy

That is so cool Jenny

I know that I am speaking for the many of us who miss Gary every day in relaying our most sincere appreciation to you for your fine artistry and the McMenamin's for their continued support of our local family of artists.

Mike and Brian were always quietly and generously supportive of Gary and his divergent creative interpretations. They are treasures.

Thank you for helping remind others of Gary's indomitable spirit and for doing what you do.

. . . really looking forward to seeing this piece soon.


#6 Richard Cremer

I Knew Gary in the late 60's. He was a wonderful man with a great talent. I was one of the fortunates who was invited inside his giant "balloon" on stage at the PSU ballroom. Got to see Gary work and dance as part of the show. A nice trip dancing to the Portland Zoo and Gary's show. I'm looking forward to seeing the painting when the Crystal Hotel opens.

#7 Bill Keenom

Gary Ewing loved me and I loved him. I wish he were here to see this tribute to him, a man who will always be remembered as the one who breathed life into the grand old Crystal Ballroom for so many years. He wanted to bring fun and smiles and love to large groups of people and he was successful. God Bless the warm and loving Karen and their two fantastic children Aaron, and Crystal. Gary gave so much to Portland, his generosity is an example to all of us.

#8 jenny Joyce

Thanks for the input and feedback everyone.  And I think Gary will forgive me for referring to him as Doctor P.H. Martin.  I am looking forward to seeing this panel hanging since I finished months ago and to see it in the restaurant will give me a fresh perspective.  Gary was someone I was proud to honor in paint.  Jenny

#9 Sheila Meyers

What a beautiful tribute to a very special man, and a amazing artist. I lived with Gary for several years and were forever friends. The years we lived at the Crystal Ballroom were cherised memories (although very cold, no heat, no hot water :-) I think would be loving it that you were calling him Doctor P.H. Martin......

#10 Sheila Meyers

What a beautiful tribute to Gary Ewing. He was such a special man, gentle wizard, and an amazing artist. I lived with Gary for several years as he always been a forever friend to me. The time we spent living at the Crystal Ballroom will always be cherised memories. I am sure he would have loved you calling him Doctor P.H. Martin....... I look forward to seeing your beautiful artwork the next time I visit.....

#11 FM

Gee I can't believe its' been a few years now that Gary was taken away. I didn't know him in the sixties but later on from the mid eighties and beyond. Gary had the true spirit and embodiment from the sixties movement. So now that we are in the 2010 decade, this art work will keep Gary's legacy, a burning candle lit for eons to come.