Cassandra Swan and I met a year ago when I finished painting my 2017 piano (the little piano in black, named “Norah” after Norah Jones).

My 2017 piano “Norah” at the Portland Art Museum.

My 2017 piano “Norah” at the Portland Art Museum.

Here’s what I wrote about making this piano: “I love the way these pianos appear in unlikely or unlooked-for places around the city. I wanted to play with that concept in decorating my piano. I'm frequently drawings plants, foliage, and jungles in my illustrations and a jungle seemed like the perfect metaphor for a city where you find unexpected treasures. My piano became a jungle covered in foliage with eyes winking and hands reaching, people or animals hidden among the foliage and looking for something to discover.”

I had seen Cass’s 2016 piano online before I started working on my piano and thought it was awesome. When I finished my piano and revisited the PIANO.PUSH.PLAY website I was totally embarrassed! My piano looked like a dark little sister to Cass’s style.

Cassandra Swan ’s 2016 piano, “Diana”

Cassandra Swan’s 2016 piano, “Diana”

I reached out to her to let her know that I was a fan and I had not intended to poach her jam so hard. She, (like the queen she is) responded with total kindness saying “it’s not like I own plants” and invited me to meet for coffee. The rest is history, we get together once a month to draw plants or other weird shit together. She is a complete and total badass.

2018’s “Martha” by the Drawing Club

2018’s “Martha” by the Drawing Club

In the summer of 2018 Cass and I roped our friend Micheal Buchino into painting a collobarotive piano with us.

Buchino graciously hosted Cass and I in his garage because we needed a space to store the piano (he sweet talked his neighbors into giving him their parking spots). He thought he might take a back seat to the illustration process, but actually turned into our mother. He helped Cass and I troubleshoot our very different work styles, kept us knee deep in beverages and WiFi, did all the lettering, lots of the painting and composed this original jingle when it was finished.

Cass and I somehow convinced Buchino to leave behind his typical red, black, white and yellow color palette for our mid-90s Lisa Frank goes Malibu work.

The piano became a friend of ours, affectionately referred to as “STEG” (for the hidden stegosaurus wrapping itself around her). Every Sunday we took turns picking music, buying lunch and passing around colors we refer to as “frog,” “millennial” or “lil must.” It was one hell of a time.