The beautiful, lush, and fertile Skagit Valley produces luxuriant crops and an unexpected bounty of artists. This movie focuses on the artists in the Skagit Valley community of Fishtown. In the 1930's the a group of Northwest artists emerged that came to be called the Northwest Mystics; the group had significant roots in the Skagit Valley. Around 1970, several artists started Fishtown, an artists' community at the mouth of the Skagit River in Washington State. They moved into shacks which had been abandoned when river net fishing was outlawed. About a dozen artists moved into the vacant cabins; the group was productive from the late 60s into the 80s.
Fishtown was approachable only by a circuitous route by land or by boat. The shacks were on tidal lands and were connected by a perilous boardwalk. Fishtown was distinct from the communes of the era; each dwelling took on the distinct character of its owner. The Fishtown artists took their inspiration from the Northwest Mystics, Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, Guy Anderson and others. Most were highly educated; they worked in literature and visual arts. Like the Northwest Mystics, they were greatly influenced by Asian art and literature. Generally, the Fishtown members were young, and the group is notable for its members having long careers in the arts. Some have achieved an international audience; some have achieved a certain notoriety.
It is fascinating how those involved in hardworking jobs such as fishing and agriculture provided fertile ground for the development of these artist in the free-wheeling days of the 60s and 70s. Those days are gone forever, but we will be able to revisit them in this movie.
This documentary has been an ongoing project for several years. It has received excellent support from the community during that time. However, there are still several interviews to be added as well as many technical components. We hope you will consider supporting the project so that it can be brought to completion. Thank you!
Here's an extended trailer on Fishtown.
There's a good Wikipedia article on Fishtown.
Short clip of the Fishtown poet Robert Sund talking to Margaret Lee, neighbor of Fishtown
Here's a blog with entries regarding Fishtown citizen Hans Nelson.
There was a Fishtown show at Kobo gallery in 2007.
Fred Owens has written on topics relating to Fishtown. Step carefully.
A memory of a boat trip to Fishtown.
Images of the beautiful Skagit Valley.
Charles Krafft, mayor of Fishtown and one of the 37 least powerful people in Seattle.
Profile of Charles Krafft.
Wikipedia article on Fishtown. VR images of the 2010 Fishtown Show at the Museum of Northwest Art in Laconner