The Cultural Landscape: Part 13

K.B. Dixon's cultural-portrait series continues with black & white images of jazz drummer Ron Steen, multimedia artist Pamela Chipman, musical-theater leader Sharon Maroney, filmmaker Jim Blashfield, and author and environmentalist Allison Cobb.


Text and Photographs by K.B. DIXON

As with the portraits in the previous installments of this series, I have focused on the talented, dedicated, and creative people who have made significant contributions to the art, character, and culture of this city and state—in this case a musician, a visual artist, a director, a filmmaker, and a poet.

My aspirations have remained the same: to document the contemporary cultural landscape and to produce a decent photograph—a photograph that acknowledges the medium’s allegiance to reality and that preserves for myself and others a unique and honest sense of the subject.

The environmental details have been kept to a minimum. The subjects have the frame to themselves and do not compete with context for attention. This provides for a simpler, blunter, more intense encounter with character. It is character that animates the image.


Portland Opera Puccini in Concert Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon


Ron Steen

Black & white photo portrait by K.B. Dixon of jazz drummer Ron Steen.

A legendary drummer and bandman, Steen has been a leader in the Portland jazz scene for decades. He is a member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame and is known as the Godfather of Jazz Jams in Portland, having hosted ongoing sessions since 1980. He has performed with an impressive list of jazz artists including Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Dexter Gordon, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt, and Charles Lloyd. A sought-after session musician, Steen is held in high regard by his peers for his precision and versatility. “Ron Steen remains at the center of the city’s jazz culture,” writes journalist Lynn Darroch. “His love for the music and his dedication to passing it on is evident in every stroke on the drums, every jam session, every song.”


Pamela Chipman

Black & white photo portrait by K.B. Dixon of photographer and multimedia artist Pamela Chipman.

Pamela Chipman is a multimedia artist. Using photography, print, films, video loops, and public installations, her work has focused on the struggles of women in our culture. She was a co-founder and curator of Blue Gallery in Portland. Her photography has been featured in exhibits at the Vashon Center for the Arts in Vashon, Washington, and The Art at the Cave Gallery in Vancouver, Washington, where her photo-based installations “Inner Voices” and “Threads” debuted in 2019. Her photographs are held in numerous public and private collections including the Portland Art Museum and The Portland Visual Chronicle. Her video art books, which make creative use of QR code technology, are held at the UCLA Library and the University of California Santa Cruz Library. Her video work has been exhibited in galleries, film festivals, and on television.



Portland Opera Puccini in Concert Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon

Sharon Maroney

Black & white photo portrait by K.B. Dixon of musical-theater leader Sharon Maroney.

Maroney is a director, actor, writer, and producer. Together with her husband, Managing Director Dan Murphy, she co-founded The Broadway Rose Theatre in 1992. She graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in Theater Arts in 1980 and spent ten years studying and performing in New York City. She is a member of Equity and AFTRA. She has staged more than 175 productions and has directed many shows for Broadway Rose, among them Oklahoma!Fiddler on the RoofBye Bye BirdiePhantomMy Fair Lady, and The King and I. She has also written several children’s shows for Broadway Rose and co-wrote the 2005 Broadway Rose holiday show Broadway Goes Christmas. She continues to perform on stage at Broadway Rose and at other Portland area theaters. She has also served on boards for PHAME, The Westside Cultural Alliance, and the National Alliance of Musical Theatres.


Jim Blashfield

Black & white photo portrait by K.B. Dixon of filmmaker Jim Blashfield.

Jim Blashfield is a filmmaker and moving-image installation artist. His work covers a wide range — from live-action, animated narratives, and experimental films to recent multiple-screen moving-image and sound installations. In the mid-1980s, with producer Melissa Marsland, Blashfield’s studio initiated a series of classic music videos for Talking Heads, Joni Mitchell, Nu Shooz, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears, Marc Cohn, and others, receiving a Grammy, a Cannes Golden Lion, and several MTV awards and nominations. He’s a recipient of grants from the NEA, the Oregon Arts Commission, and a RACC Media Arts Fellowship, and his work has been screened and broadcast internationally. He has presented work at the Chicago Art Institute, Ottawa Animation Festival, Northwest Film Center, Seattle Art Museum, Walker Art Center, Art Futura in Barcelona, and elsewhere.


Allison Cobb

Black & white photo portrait by K.B. Dixon of poet and author Allison Cobb.


Allison Cobb is the author of four books: Plastic: An Autobiography (winner of the Oregon Book Award and the Firecracker Award), Green-Wood, After We All Died, and Born2. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and other journals. She has been a resident artist at Djerassi and Playa and received  fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She sits on the board of Fonograf Editions and is Senior Director for Equity and Justice at the Environmental Defense Fund.


Earlier in the series

  • The Cultural Landscape 12: Special Edition. Portraits of five trailblazing woman artists in Oregon: Lucinda Parker, Judy Cooke, Phyllis Yes, Sherrie Wolf, and Laura Ross-Paul.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 11. Portraits of visual artist Marie Watt, percussionist and musical conductor Niel DePonte, dancer and choreographer Oluyinka Akinjiola, poet and storyteller Brian S. Ellis, and actor/producer Lauren Bloom Hanover.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 10. Portraits of All Classical Radio President and CEO Suzanne Nance, poet Carlos Reyes, playwright and librettist Andrea Stolowitz, visual artist James Minden, and flutist and Aligned Artistry founder Amelia Lukas.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 9. Portraits of illustrator and educator Kate Bingaman-Burt, visual artist Dan Gluibizzi, novelist and nonfiction writer Cecily Wong, essayist and journalist Aaron Gilbreath, and choreographer and Oregon Ballet Theatre artistic director Dani Rowe.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 8. Portraits of writer and Portland Parks Foundation leader Randy Gragg, playwright/director/photographer Lava Alapai, mixed-media artist Erik Geschke, writer Erica Berry, and dancer/choreographer Samuel Hobbs.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 7. Portraits of singer/actor Susannah Mars, violinist Tomás Cotik, Native Arts and Culture Foundation leader Lulani Arquette, sculptor Ben Buswell, and artist, costume designer, choreographer, and filmmaker Fuchsia Lin.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 6. Portraits of Profile Theatre’s Josh Hecht, Pacific Northwest College of Art leader Jennifer (Jen) Cole, opera singer and teacher Hannah Penn, novelist Tony Ardizzone, and make-up, prop, and effects artist Christina Kortum.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 5. Portraits of musicians Marv and Rindy Ross, artist David Eckard, actor Maureen Porter, and writer Todd Schultz.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 4. Portraits of Oregon Symphony’s Scott Showalter, Renegade Opera’s Madeline Ross, theater leader Michael Mendelson, poet Genevieve DeGuzman, roots music legend Lloyd Jones.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 3. Portraits of Reser Center Executive Director Chris Ayzoukian, Shaking the Tree Theater Artistic Director Samantha Van Der Merwe, Oregon Public Broadcasting President and CEO Steve Bass, photographer and head of Pacific Northwest College of Art’s photography department Teresa Christiansen, choreographer and interim artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre Peter Franc.
  • The Cultural Landscape: Part 2. Portraits of musician and composer Kenji Bunch, opera leader Priti Gandhi, actor and theater director Dan Murphy, contemporary art leader Victoria Frey, dancer and choreographer Shaun Keylock, landscape and urban design leader Zeljka C. Kekez, visual artist Barry Pelzner, poet and editor Susan Moore, musician and composer Cal Scott, writer and indie filmmaker Kelley Baker.
  • The Cultural Landscape: 11 Portraits. Portaits of theater leader Marissa Wolf, musician Darrell Grant, museum film leader Amy Dotson, Red Door Project leader Kevin Jones, bookstore owner Emily Powell, philanthropist and art collector Jordan Schnitzer, visual artist Jef Gunn, actor and singer Ithica Tell, guitarist Scott Kritzer, publisher Rhonda Hughes, and poet John Beer.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals. His most recent collection of stories, Artifacts: Irregular Stories (Small, Medium, and Large), was published in Summer 2022. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the winner of both the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. He is the author of seven novels: The Sum of His SyndromesAndrew (A to Z)A Painter’s LifeThe Ingram InterviewThe Photo AlbumNovel Ideas, and Notes as well as the essay collection Too True, Essays on Photography, and the short story collection, My Desk and I. Examples of his photographic work may be found in private collections, juried exhibitions, online galleries, and at K.B. Dixon Images.


One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing this
    Very enlightening. Such wonderful. Talent in Oregon
    I have sung with Ron Steen as his featured vocalist on several occasions

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