Fran Bittakis (Joop Joop Creative Studio)
What does she make? Events, short films, music videos, editorial shoots and arts-activism.
Fran Bittakis doesn't consider herself very creative.
"Being a creative person doesn't come easy for me," Bittakis says, "so I watch and learn from folks I admire and respect. I like to say that since I'm a Libra—an air sign—that my job is to fan everyone's flame."
Those who've seen her work, however, would beg to differ.
It was her eye for styling and choreography that made local rapper Maarquii's "Full Oufit" music video—produced by Bittakis' creative studio, Joop Joop—one of the most impressive to come out of Portland in some time. She planned the after-party at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art's 2018 Met Gala, which featured an avant-garde red carpet and voguing walk-off. At the Car Krush Block Party this past August, she arranged a tampon drive, whose proceeds went to local charities.
Bittakis has a knack for creating magical moments—but what's truly creative is how she makes those moments do more.
Born in Chicago to Thai immigrants, Bittakis attended an arts and science magnet school in kindergarten. She fell into punk while attending a high school visual arts program in Orlando. For three years, she cooked vegan food for the houseless as part of the Food Not Bombs collective, which inspired her to go to culinary school, leading her to Portland and Le Cordon Bleu in 2004.
After the election of President Trump, Bittakis "put the activist pants back on" with the creation of NXT LVL, a collaborative event agency made up of teachers, social workers, accountants, small business owners, creatives and activists with a goal of throwing events that raise significant money for local organizations.
And last year, Bittakis founded Joop Joop, a "radical creative agency," to do the same thing in creative circles by making spaces for artistic projects with diverse casts and crew. The "Full Outfit" music video, for example, employed choreographer TJ Yale, a performer-instruc-tor at Steps PDX dance studio; direction by local queer artist Evan James Benally Atwood; and even catering by sex worker-friendly delivery service Meals 4 Heels.
Bittakis hopes to build an agency that represents multidisciplinary creatives and crew, helping them find opportunities but also supporting them with the legal and financial training to succeed.
"Once the creativity starts flowing," she says, "it's hard to disprove that when folks feel safe and seen, we are unstoppable."
Find it: joopjoopcreative.com