We Design: People. Practice. Progress.
My entire professional life has been in the arts or design field. While my jobs have varied in terms of skill sets used, my current position is the culmination of my background as an educator, musician, graphic designer, exhibit specialist and community builder. I taught college, after school art programs, worked in museums and art galleries, interned at art studios, and worked in the tech industry and have lived in five different states pursuing these passions.
Jonas Angelet creates all community programs that accompany the theater productions at Portland Center Stage at The Armory. This allows him to produce programming in collaboration with underrepresented members of the greater Portland area, including visual artists, dancers, theater companies, local bands, education, and social justice organizations. In addition, Jonas is an instrumental hip hop producer and musician who performs under the stage name Luvjonez, and licenses music for film, video, and podcasts with Portland-based company Marmoset Music.
Aside from his personal work, Jonas also co-founded A Beat Happening with Derrick Taruc. It is a free, monthly, inclusive music producer showcase for all ages held at Future Shock Records, and includes a record label highlighting local Portland musicians with limited edition releases. Originally from Kentucky, Jonas received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic arts from the University of Louisville and later a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin. After graduation, Jonas was heavily influenced by hip hop culture. He worked in the commercial graphics and music packaging industry creating album designs before transitioning into the tech industry, and most recently, to community outreach and nonprofit work. Jonas also has experience working in the commercial printing world, and installed mural and ad campaign projects for flagship retail giants including Harley Davidson, Guess Jeans, The North Face, Hollister, and Vans shoes. Now working in the startup world as a social media engagement team member, he continues to balance his day job with personal creative work, like printmaking, screen printing, painting projects for apparel and textiles, and collaborating with musicians on marketing materials.
Jonas performing at Moth Story Slam.
Photo by Elyse Canfield
Freelance illustration for WBL addressing escalating juvenile and hip hop generation prison populations.
Photo courtesy of Jonas Angelet
Educating Through Hip Hop
“Probably my most transformative moment as a creative person was volunteering with the Washington D.C.- area nonprofit Words, Beats & Life, Inc., where I worked as an art instructor with graffiti and street artists to help them develop portfolios to access galleries and college applications. The organization used the four elements of hip hop to educate and influence the youth of the city. Realizing that you can use those tools to guide a professional life changed my outlook on a career. I sought out jobs and fields that allowed me to contribute to a community and stay attached to hip hop culture.”
An Apprenticeship in Art
“I worked as an apprentice to famed stencil and mural artist Logan Hicks during my time in NYC. I did mostly behind-the-scenes work to create stencils and prep gallery work, and as a thank you, he let me be a part of an exhibit of aluminum stencil pieces he did for the Opera Gallery in France. That subtle thank you to archive me in a crowd of people in a painting is something I’m proud to see each time.”
Pride for Beat Makers in Portland
“Throwing the two-year anniversary of A Beat Happening with my event partner Derrick Taruc was a proud accomplishment. We’ve spent the last two years building community through an intentional, inclusive, and equity-focused vision with no support from sponsors or media and threw an event called Forward Frequencies to honor that community with our own money. It was a moment of pride for an often neglected community of beat makers in Portland, and I continue to be proud of the work we do.”
From Roadblocks to Results
“As with most industries, the art and design worlds are not equity-driven or concerned with representation. These issues presented barriers when job-seeking in different cities, as expressing yourself and your culture was not viewed as an asset but rather a deterrent to ‘fitting in.’ Primarily, in the tech industry, the people in decision making positions come from privilege and don’t value community engagement at the ground level. I faced an onslaught of roadblocks for each ambitious outreach project when it wasn’t ‘mission-based.’ My advice would be to not let constant negative reception dictate your ambitions. Once I left the tech industry, I was embraced by nonprofits and organizations who want to take a more progressive role in future-building. Sometimes, you have to take the battle elsewhere to get results.”
A Beat Happening is an all-ages electronic/hip hop event, a YouTube channel, and record label.
Photo courtesy of Jonas Angelet