I've noticed that shops around Portland that have window painting all have it done in the same style. Is there only one window painting company in town, or is there a "standard" style they must adhere to? —Alison A.
One of these days I'm going to sponsor a quiz, "Are you an O.G. Portlander?" in which all the questions are about stuff like Ramblin' Rod and Blitz beer. High scores will be invited to the world's most curmudgeonly wine-and-cheese reception.
Not to bust your chops, Alison, by suggesting you wouldn't be invited to my exclusive 70-and-over debauch, but most longtime Portlanders are probably familiar with the work of Scot Campbell, also known for many years as Extremo the Clown.
Campbell has been decorating Portland windows with various commercial appeals since 1986—if you've looked up from your phone at all in the past five years, you've seen one. (Current examples: Pets on Broadway and the Lippman Co.)
He also drives what is probably Portland's most elaborately decorated art car, a 1993 Chevy Astro covered with hundreds of bronze-colored figures in various attitudes of torment, like a version of Rodin's Gates of Hell you can drive to the bowling alley.
Campbell says he's now redesigning the van to include 1,000 skulls and "a waterfall of blood coming out of a large statue of the Vampire God." You know, like ya do.
As alter ego Extremo, Campbell ran for mayor in 2004 on a platform of more school arts funding and a year-round indoor theme park for Portland. (He didn't win, but WW gave him the nod for "Most Honest Campaign Slogan" that year: "With your help, we can make my dreams come true.")
Scot retired the character Extremo in 2014 to focus on his YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/1extremo), an online course in window painting. Still, he remains a Portland institution, assuming that being well-known for saying or doing outlandish things without actually getting paid for it makes you an institution. For obvious reasons, I say yes.