Hokey Bear, Ambassador to the Wilds, to be Featured in Local Art Show.

Hokey Flyer 2 WEBHokey Bear, Cascadian black bear and federally appointed wildland mediator, fastidiously preparing for his first major art exhibition due August 26, 2014 in Salem, OR.

Eugene, OR (WEB) June 19, 2014. – His hairy hands worked nimbly, tacking bright red signs to telephone poles and hanging them carefully in local storefronts. When approached, the suspender-clad bear appeared tired but markedly committed to the duty at hand. Asked for comment, Hokey made enthusiastic gestures but, apparently, lacked either the ability or energy for basic, human speech. Luckily, friend of Hokey and local artist, Bryan Putnam, was on scene to address our questions.

“ ‘Bed’ is my first solo art show,” Putnam explained, drinking a lemonade while surveying the bear working in the afternoon sun. “I titled the show after the logging term: a ‘bed’ being the spot where a tree is felled.” He crunched a bit of ice before continuing, “The show is an experimental storytelling project and Hokey Bear is the central character. I’m combining several forms of art to tell a dynamic and really impactful story of ecological destruction, loss, and the crushing guilt one feels when confronted by a landscape torn open by the cultural system they have participated in, blindly, for a great number of years.”

Putnam laughed loudly for a brief moment after saying this, lemon-stained ice cubes reflecting in his sunglasses. Hokey was now paused in his work, clearly lost in some deep, internal world. Noticing this, Putnam cleared his throat and pointed at the stack of signs, ending Hokey’s brief daydream. “Hokey is good to his core, but troubled,” Putnam continued. “My story is about him confronting his demons out in some sad patch of wilderness.”

‘Bed’ will show in Salem, Oregon during the final week of August 2014. It will feature works of drawing, installation, and printmaking. Additionally, Hokey Bear will perform live throughout the week, bringing his narrative to life over the course of the exhibit. The show is part of Project Space 2014, a grassroots art exhibition opportunity organized by the Salem Art Association. “This is really the perfect venue for this show,” Putnam said, “It is community focused and highly experimental. If things get weird, that’s ok.”

In order to help fund the project, Putnam is launching a fundraiser where backers can pledge money in return for unique works of art, prints, and even guest visits from Hokey Bear. A book will also be released, cataloging the show. More information about ‘Bed,’ Hokey Bear, and getting involved in the fundraiser can be found on the artist’s website: