Born in White Salmon, Washington, in 1958, Joan Findlay has lived in Portland, Oregon for most of her life. Joan studied painting, drawing, and dance at Portland State University and Eastern Oregon State College during the late 70’s, and left school in 1980 to dance professionally with Cirque, an experimental dance/theater company based in Portland. For twenty five years she worked with many of the finest choreographers in the northwest, including Jann Dryer, Gregg Bielemeier, Bonnie Merrill, Judy Patton, Mary Oslund and Catherine Egan. In addition to her work as a dancer, choreographer, and collaborator, Joan designed and executed numerous sets as well as costume and hair designs for dance theater productions. Throughout her career as a performer she continued to paint and since retiring from the stage has devoted herself exclusively to her visual art.
Joan & Phil bio
Phil Sylvester and Joan Findlay met in late 1980 and soon became involved in each other’s artistic as well as personal lives. Over the years of many joint visual art exhibitions and collaborations on dance theater pieces, they have maintained a constant dialogue and supported each other’s work. A favorite project, created in 1988, was “Two Humans” for which Joan choreographed and danced solo, while Phil provided sets, music, and also performed live vocal and guitar parts. Then, in 1991, their most important collaboration was conceived, and presented in 1992, a son, Eoin Conor Sylvester. Meanwhile, The Drawing Studio was also hatched, and has been in it’s third, and permanent home on SE Division Street, since 1997. In addition to Phil’s drawing and painting classes, both Joan’s and Phil’s studio spaces, and the phil and joan world gallery are housed therein. The Drawing Studio also serves as home for the garage band jamming phenomenon of Phil on electric guitar, backed up by Joan on drums, known alternately as The Pocket Protectors and The Pathetics.