Mary Jane Fonda gets interviewed by Marie Claire Magazine by Amarett Jans

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1- What is Mary Jane Fonda? 

Mary Jane Fonda is a cannabis infused workout party. It has the depth of a workshop but the sparkle of a party. MJF is an inclusive event that brings people together and makes fitness fun.

2- Why Jane Fonda? Tell me your personal connection with her:

I grew up watching my mom do Jane Fonda workouts in our living room. I was maybe five years old, because it was in the early 80’s. I have memories of her talking on the phone and also doing Fonda style workout moves; standing with one hand holding the phone and the other hand holding onto the back of a chair doing leg lifts. I loved watching her workout. Growing up I loved doing aerobic moves for my own exercise. I love selecting my own music and doing moves inspired by what I saw my mom and Jane Fonda do.

The name Mary Jane Fonda was a plant-inspired thought for sure. The idea was already established about creating a daytime event mixing cannabis and fitness. Considering my personal love of aerobics and my memories of my mom doing Jane Fonda, I’m sure the thought process was like, ‘Hmmm I like aerobics, reminds me of Jane Fonda, ohh...reminds me of Mary Jane...how about Mary Jane Fonda!’ That's it. I wanted the name to be fun and easy to remember. 

3- Why did you start? When? What's your goal for that? 

I started MJF Nov 2016. It was right after Trump won the ’16 Elections. The political climate was leaving me and a lot people around me in the greater community feeling pretty depressed. I didn’t start MJF to directly defy or react to the new President, but I knew this event would certainly attract people who felt similar to me and would be uplifting. It was really important for me to create an event that was a particularly welcoming. I’ve always been interested in curating parties and events that involve music and dancing that bring people together. Typically, it was always a late night type of party. After doing that many times, I wanted to do something more day-time orientated. It was also important to create a social event that didn’t leave everyone so drained and exhausted at the end of it. I wanted something more holistic, more thoughtful, meaningful and still really fun. I think thoughtful social interactions, physical movement and cannabis is one healing trifecta. 

MJF is an experience that not only motivates physical movement but encourages people to expand their current friend network. I believe life is better when we have a varied and diverse people in our lives. I’ve seen quite a few professional relationships start and friendships start because they met at MJF. Everyone who comes instantly has two things in common: Fitness and cannabis. What great two things to start a friendship!

4- Tell me more about yourself (i've seen your website, you are very talented professional!)

I was born in Big Bear California in the early 80’s and as a family we moved to Oregon when I was 9. My mom was an artist/athlete when I was younger. My dad has always been very hard working and was always helping people. My mom taught me to paint and my dad enrolled me in my first junior college live drawing class when I was 12. The whole time my mom and dad were together she didn’t have a job and my dad seemed to never stop working. For myself, I’ve translated that into; work SO hard on something you love that if feels as if you're not working at all. 

I was born into a religion that looked down going to college and mixing with people outside of the religion, I had to fight or rebel to do the things that most people may not think twice about. At the age of 21 I was ex-communicated from the religion and began forging my own path. I put myself through enough college to get a Graphic Design degree and I still continually seek out mixing with all kinds of people. I think this experience has made me more open minded, resilient and nonjudgmental. I learned a lot about creating one's own opportunities.

I've worked as a freelance creative for the past 10 years and have made traveling a priority. This way I can keep meeting all kinds of people and learn about life outside my bubble. I continue my education or at least enhance it via my passport. Almost every country I've visited I find the local ganja and I've met some awesome people that way. It's a great ice breaker. The best way to get a local experience is to seek out some flower. I've never had a scary or bad experience doing that. 

5- How long have you been combining cannabis and physical activity? What are the benefits of it? 

My whole life I've been into physical activity and movement, but I only just got into cannabis in 2011. I was dating a wonderful person at the time, who was also a medical grower. He had such respect for the plant. He was the first person to treat and talk about cannabis like it was an Entity, the Green Goddess he called it. He would take his shoes off in the city park and we would walk around, feeling the earth and we would just appreciate being outside so much. He was also the first person to show me how to meditate. I remember crying because it was so uncomfortable at the time to sit so still with myself. I couldn’t think of a better introduction to such a beautiful plant. 

For me, when THC passes through my blood brain barrier my thoughts become very active and creative. My thoughts can sometimes become very therapeutic and inclined to be about personal growth and creative ideas. I enjoy that. My blood is moving, my thoughts are creative, my mind is open. I direct my thinking to be positive. If I’m lucky I’ll come up with a whole new perspective on something.

Physically, I get deeper in my stretches and I feel incredibly connected to my breath. It’s so calming.

6- Is there a specific type of marijuana you prefer / recommend to use it? Sativa, indica or that is just bullshit? Flower, edibles, extract... what's best for your meetings and why? 

I seek out Sativa strains. I prefer Sativa over Indica, because the nature of Sativa seems to give me energy versus the more grounding and relaxing effects of Indica. For working out, vaping is cleaner, more discrete, the effects are immediate and the heat is not nearly as harsh as a joint. MJF as an event is aiming towards less joints and more vaping.  Edibles still scare people a little bit and it takes a little too long for the effects. With a vape, it’s one puff and you’re good to go for quite awhile.

7- Who goes to Mary Jane Fonda? What are they looking for? Male and female? Trans? Any age average? 

I would like to think that every person who has been or comes to MJF is progressive, socially conscious, adventurous, curious, open-minded and is interested in wellness and personal growth. I believe participants are looking for fitness, motivation, thoughtful networking and friendships. I get asked a lot if men are invited, and yes of course. Session’s have had 1-3 men and every one has dressed up in some fashion, furthering the feeling of inclusion and participation. I’m starting to put more focus on how I’m marketing MJF because I want the marketing to reflect the intentions behind MJF, that it's welcoming to ALL types of people. While any age (21+) is welcome, the average age attendance is between 28 and 38. 

8- Can you please indicate two of your clients so I can also interview them? 

Brydie, Leah, Shevonne and Heather (which no one from this list got interviewed)

9- Did you have any issues with the police/friends/family before cannabis legalization? What's the importance of making this plant totally legal?

I personally have not had any issues with the police before cannabis was legal. Before legalization I was careful to not offend certain friends or family. Although, nothing I do surprises my friends or family. The importance of making this plant totally legal is so people stop getting arrested for it. It’s not fair to me to completely bask in this new excitement of this newly legal industry because there are still people being penalized for it. In the states where it is still illegal they don’t have the same luxury as we do, and that doesn’t feel good. 

10- What people usually wear during Mary Jane Fonda meetings? How important is that? Is there a connection between clothing/costumes and what you are trying to bring up? 

Dressing up is way to get guests on a similar page even before they arrive. It also makes an event feel and look more cohesive. People generally feel more connected if there is a theme. They walk into the space, seeing others looking different but having the same vibe. Dressing up is also a creative outlet for a lot of people. It’s a chance to express yourself and giving someone a compliment on what they are wearing is a good way to meet someone. And besides I love dressing up and I know other people do!

Guests are encouraged to mix a retro, individualistic look with modern workout clothes. I steer away from saying 80’s because I’m not trying to be nostalgic. The 80’s provide a good foundation and leg warmers are awesome but making it a little more modern is key. 

11- We are living the women's empowerment era. Why this is important and how is connected to Mary Jane Fonda?

I believe the whole earth is out of balance when it comes to female and male energy, and the outcome is conflict. Thankfully, for progressive pockets throughout the world that are fighting to equalize the rights of not just women but for everybody. We are shifting into another phase of women’s empowerment. But it's not just about women but equal rights for everyone, everywhere. I want to be a part of a great Equalizing Era. I want to look at it as an era where women, people of color, LGBQT work hard together and lift each other up. I hope MJF can help facilitate that.

Cannabis is a known globally and it brings people together. MJF is built upon the spirit of consideration and collaboration over competition. Any of the MJF’s events might be a chance to align people together who might not otherwise have come in contact with. Sometimes all that is needed is the one right introduction to the right person. That person over there might appreciate knowing that person over there. It might mean a mutually beneficial relationship. I’ve been so inspired by the women fitness leaders I’ve collaborated with like Heather Craig of Booty Luv®, Brydie of Byrdie Babes and watching women like Samantha Montanvaro and Lisa Snyder with Tokeativity events which aim at empowering up women.  I want MJF to be considered a space that invites people to unite, mix ideas and create friendships with, in addition to getting a little high and werking out. 

1- The 3 best songs ever are…

Power by Moon Boots

Sativa by Jhene Aiko

Breathe by Telepopmusik 

Alternate State featured Roisin Murphy by Hot Natured

Time to Dance (Maya Jane Coles remix) by Tricky

2- Favorite munchies after working out…
Butter and toast

3- Smoking together makes me…
Feel connected

4- When I say it's time to work on your abs people say…
Bring it

5- What's best: 50 shades of grey or 50 types of green? 
50 types of green and 50 shades of grey at the same time

6- Jane Fonda is a queen because… {edited} She is pretty rad because she started such a big aerobic movement that you could do in your home and is regularly speaking up for Women’s Rights.

7- I always keep reading this book .... The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz because…. I keep forgetting them!

8- If I could run a workout with Melania Trump I would… tell her I wouldn’t tell anyone if she wanted to hit the vape pen. 

To learn more + see all the wonderful contributors and collabs that make MJF magical, follow MARY JANE FONDA on IG: @mjfonda.pdx

Pastel in the Park 5.0 June 2018 by Amarett Jans

Pastel in the Park has been going on for the past 5 years now here in Portland! Pastel in the Park is still the most pastelly photo shoot social around. It’s an inclusive shoot that invites everyone to SHINE and be themselves. It blends the lines between what is considered girly and quaint and sassy and full of attitude. People who identify as men are invited to explore their feminine side and everyone ends up feeling like a model.

The location of this years PP was at the 13th Annual Playground in the Park under the St.John’s Bridge. It was SO hot that day! Perfect for light pastels.

I’m still looking for the right partner(s) to make it MORE than what I can do on my own. This event can be bigger. It can have impact. This outdoor social can conduct awareness and possibly generate funds for a charity. This event would be perfect marketing event for the right, ethical, socially-conscious brand. Do you have a brand or charity that could use some social awareness? Pass this along or send a note if this might be you!

Pastel in the Park 4.0 by Amarett Jans

It turned out so sunny and warm for Pastel in the Park 4.0 with Heartbeat Silent Disco in the Laurelhurst Park last Sunday! Thank you to all the shiny sweet faces who came out and played. This was the fourth year of Pastel in the Park and it keeps getting better and better. TAP PHOTOS TO VIEW. Please apply photo credit: amarett.com if you download/repost! 

There are many goals for Pastel in the Park: 1. Bring community together in a light, fun, social, inclusive, welcoming way 2. Eventually benefit a local charity 3. Eventually become sponsored by a like-minded brand or company so it can grow! 4. Eventually spread to other cities! If anyone has a company for sponsorship or a local charity in mind, please email your suggestion via the contact page. #pastelinthepark

How to start a visual art band by Amarett Jans

It's easy. Paintbrushes are drumsticks, art tools as instruments, lyrics are paint. A painting is a visual song.

IT STARTED In 2012, when I gathered April Donovan (Blue Collar Agency founder/creative director) and Christine Fisher (Blue Marble Creative founder/creative director) Jessica Levin (Freelance stylist) to collaborate on a project where we each rotated one piece. We each spent a week with it, passing it around. Dealing with the challenges that come with not knowing what you're going to get and also thinking about the next artist, within your decisions. It was a beautiful 3'x3' mixed media piece based on the Universe, Tree of Life and the four elements. It was shown at a private party (ODSY) in Hood River and auctioned off.

IT HAPPENED AGAIN Years later in 2016, April, Christine and myself began a new collab. It was one piece that benefited 3 different local Hood River charities. Again, it was a 3'x3' canvas that represented a social/community aspect of helping hands, Tilly Jane/Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. (Read the story in past blog posts)

THE BAND WAS OFFICIALLY FORMED Last weekend when April, Christine and myself planned a coast trip, which was preparatory for the third collaborative piece. April pointed out the fact that we basically just formed a band. A visual art band. This visual song, is going to be 4'x6' and it's cut into three separate pieces. Which, true to our style, we'll pass it to each artist. The song will be an homage to Summer Solstice. We settled on the oak tree being the focus. The oak tree in folklore and legend is the doorway into the inner realms. It helps the inner world to slip back into perspective, allowing new understanding to grow and decisions to be made from a place of balance. Animals associated with Summer Solstice are the bear, symbolic of fertility (of ideas, plans, etc) Bears also remind us of pleasure and taking advantage of the bounty surrounding us this time of year. Bears, mostly nocturnal are seen more often during the summer months - and this is symbolic of coming out of our metaphorical caves, and embracing the summer-lit brilliance of the day. Also, the eagle being an empowering solar animal.  Eagles represent focus, strength, command, liberation and authority. We want the song or piece to emit these things from nature.

The working title is Inner Wild. Besides collectively deciding to go geometrical in style, Christine getting the oak leaf, April the eagle and me the bear, besides those designations, it's all up in the air. We have no idea how each of us will end up doing what we do. That is the challenge and uniqueness to these projects. Or songs. It's like one artist starting with the bass line, handing it to the next artist and they add the harmony and then the next the vocals. 

Now, a Band's name is most important. And like most band names, come out of nowhere. (I read once in Rollingstone Magazine... 'and then someone busted into a room and saw us sitting on the couch and said 'Now look at this Motely-looking-Crew...) Sneaker Wave became our name on this recent coast trip. It comes with an attitude: Be the Sneaker Wave. It's a wave disproportionately large that can sometimes appear in a wave train without warning. It also reminds us, don't just say you're going to do something- do it with force. And most importantly impossible to predict. Just like these art pieces.

Read Christine's post on her blog here. April's is coming soon.

We plan on showing at the Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn in June. Want to come?

The sea is History... by Amarett Jans

Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs? 
Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,
in that gray vault. The sea. The sea has locked them up. The sea is History...

-Derek Walcott

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First. The woman in these images is like an energetic gift from the Universe. You know something or someone arrives by the Universe- there is no stopping it, or planning it. It's the mixture of their history and your history combining... Your Universe and theirs. You have a cosmic occurrence. Lessons from the Universe, sting. Gifts, on the other hand, heal. 

The octopus creature has always been a magical thing to me. I've been using them in art for a long time. One never knows which way their body is going to go, which means endless possibilities. They're so clever, curly, curvy, strong, soft and wet. To me, they are more like a woman than any mermaid can be. Or at least, much more interesting.

We shot outside. It was 50 degrees and raining. We found our 8lb octopus at the ABC Seafood Market for $32 on Powell Blvd, in Portland. The wig for $43, the third and last one we tried on. We were on the street outside my house in NE. In between moments of freezing, cars driving by, flashes working and not working, there were these lovely, composed frames that are now frozen for looking at. The trust, rawness, vulnerability and history is as real as it gets.

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Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you’ve built against it
— Unknown
 2007 Vector printed on paper

2007 Vector printed on paper

 2011 Acrylic on wood

2011 Acrylic on wood

 2014 Acrylic on canvas

2014 Acrylic on canvas

 2016 acrylic and latex on interior wall

2016 acrylic and latex on interior wall

Art Collab Fin! by Amarett Jans

We are proud to announce that the art collab for the 3 charities is finished! The auction begins this evening at Double Mountain brewery in conjunction with the Tilly Jane fundraiser evening.

Christine Fisher, being the final artist to complete the project shares her process here.

The Process

Three artists representing three local charities on one piece of art is both a challenge and a thrill. When I picked up the work from April, my first response was…”oh, it’s big!” For some reason 30 x 30 looks larger in person. My next reaction was excitement because between Amarett’s and April’s works they had put a lot of elements into play that I love, and although I hadn’t a clue what I would do exactly, I knew I would be able to have fun playing off their work.

My Inspiration

Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Their work includes education, water quality monitoring, and activism to contain various threats to water quality. As a person who requires water and food to live (like everyone), I can’t think of a more important cause. Beyond that—rivers and nature are themes that never cease to provide awe and wonder.

As I reflected on Riverkeeper and why I am so inspired by their work…one of the things that occurred to me is how much their success results in things we don’t see. It’s the rare event when an oil train blows up and we have a visual reminder of the catastrophic possibilities that are often averted due to the advocacy of groups like Riverkeeper. While rivers and fish are beautiful, the day-to-day work involves understanding a lot of complex policy and science, and being able to navigate through gray areas when issues are not simple black and white. I also admire the way Riverkeeper connects people across political boundaries and honors native communities who hold sacred traditions and connections to the river.

Creativity within Constraints

A blank canvas can be overwhelming. This collaborative format provides a lot of freedom but also the much appreciated constraints from the agreed theme and work of the other artists. When I got the canvas, quite a few things were defined: All the remaining blank areas needed to be covered by me. Both April and Amarett had left watery elements pointing toward that blank area. Amarett used paint and April used collage, so I used a mix of both to unify their works. And while Amarett’s work was mostly pastel colors, April used black, white, and grey with bits of red and blue, so I knew I would stick with this overall palette and add contrast.

From there, the piece evolved as I worked on it. It took numerous layers of painting and collaging to find a point I would call completion. The weather turned rainy as I was working on the piece so I made it rain and the resulting flood incorporated lots of subtle (and not so subtle) references to the various aspects of our beloved Columbia River.

Collab: 2/3 phase done! by Amarett Jans

This art collab project has the feeling of a relay race. There is an exciting pressure and the hand off of trust to your relay partner.  I handed the piece off to April the other week. Seeing her additions were thrilling and below she writes about her process.

April writes:

The Gauntlet


After Amarett dropped the art off, I freed the 30x30" canvas from its brown paper wrapping. I immediately realized how much more difficult this collaboration was going to be than our last go round for the ODYSY party in 2013.

The previous project came with specific inspirational elements from Amarett, but they were pretty abstract, and so was the art. Capturing the symbolism of three charities—Helping Hands, Save Tilly Jane, and River Keepers—is a tough ask, but the biggest challenges is: How do you make three artistic styles work together with a more literal interpretation?

Pick It Up 
 
I decided to work mostly black and white, with a collection of printed images layered on the canvas with clear gesso. Amarett's "walls" made a great backdrop for my mountain scene. I wanted to bring a strong diagonal to the top right part of the art. I kept envisioning Christine's charity, River Keepers, and thinking how water flows downhill, and so it made sense to save the bottom 1/3 of the canvas.

Historic imagery of people summiting Mt Hood and an illustrated map from the 1920s captures the spirit that Tilly Jane represents a legacy greater than us. I made up my process as I went, peeling away the layers to reveal my built-up board, all the way down to Amarett's painted background.

To create continuity from Amarett's piece to mine and to Christine's future layers, I did a few things. First, the climbers at the top of Hood are offering a "helping hand". Second, I added torn paper layers to parts of Amarett's elements, and to the foreground where Christine will play. I tried to capture movement and to create depth.

Fearlessness into the unknown

I thought of Amarett and Christine through my whole process. I didn't want to cover Amarett's work, and also wanted to reserve one third of the blank canvas for Christine. It really is hard to think down the line and envision the piece all pulled together. Will the composition flow? Will the colors play well together? Will there be enough contrast? Will the concepts shine through to the viewer? Will someone want to hang this on their wall? More questions than answers, but that is exciting. Plus, fearlessness into the unknown is one of our specialties.