Public Puzzle/Crossweird Digital Tip Jar

i admit it. i am weird, naturally kind of strange. up until even recently it really got under my skin when people bullied me or showed me disrespect. for awhile, i thought i ought to be more like everybody else or express myself in some normal way. these days when people show me a mean spirit i embrace their energy as fuel for my fire.

right now i am a puzzle maker engaged in a practice of ambidextrous creative exploration which is leading to me to points unknown. my day to day work is hosting public puzzles on the streets of Portland Oregon or promoting my work door to door. there is a good chance that's how you know about me and my work.

when you contribute to this campaign you giving money to me so that i can continue investing in my creative enterprise. right now a lot of my money is spent printing books. as i am the ultimate beneficiary of this campaign please know that i will be using the funds at my discretion.

my latest weekly puzzle style is Crossweird. the design challenge for Crossweird is to create a crossword inspired puzzle in a language that no one speaks. that means, like all of my puzzles, instead of being exclusive it becomes inclusive. the result is that most every person on earth has an invitation to play : )

are you willing to make one more contribution and join me?

thank you

around the winter solstice four years ago i was laid up sick in bed for over a week with what felt like the flu. it was after a year of grinding through an existentially painful go at handcrafting bow ties for dogs to keep myself fed and pay my rent. even though many people were criticizing me and/or otherwise scratching their heads as they pressed me to quit, i was able to find enough love to keep pushing forward. i had accepted, like the majority of suffering in my life, these challenges were mostly self generated. to continue into the unknown i relied on the people who did show me love, my creativity and a deep well of personal faith. i knew that i was living out the personally imposed demand to be an independent artist. there sick in bed, horizontally shifting between feverish visions and internet documentaries about various artists, it was a good time to float in and out of a dream state. what was i doing? and where was i going? was it time to change directions?

it was the last question that rang out to me and the answer was YES!

figuring out where to go from there proved slightly more vexing. after spending all my time and mental energy looking at the world in one kind of way now i had to ponder what was left. so like all people heading out into the unknown i took one consequential step out of my comfort zone. inspired by my friend Chris of Box Truck Press i drew and published my own coloring book which i titled Colorful Portland. as the first month went by i compiled new pages for a book and sold enough hand made collections on the street corners and doorsteps of Portland Oregon to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. i was off to a pretty good start!

so far as i can remember i always have had a near complete preference for my right hand. that is to say for most all of my life i have brushed my teeth, written, drawn, chopped vegetables and pointed at things in the distance all right handed-ly. though my hand of strong preference has generally been up to the tasks, a feeling of curiosity swept over me as i began to draw these new coloring pages with my right hand. what is going on with my left hand? is there anything weird in there? and if so how do i express it?

shortly thereafter i decided to color coloring books with my left hand and discovered that coloring books are a perfect activity for my gentle hand. coloring is inherently childlike and going outside of the lines is OK. really all you are doing is spending some quality time with a hand you have otherwise been ignoring. that kind of intentional time is critical to a practice of ambidextrous expression.

that shift has proved to be terrifically consequential. the new direction became a vital and all encompassing dimension of my creative process. now, as a practice, i intentionally brush my teeth, write, draw, chop vegetables and point at things in the distance alternating with between my left and right hands.

i believe that all right handed people ought to make an exploration of their left hand and furthermore should stop ignorantly forcing left handed people to act right handed. do you agree?

as if magic, the left hand coloring quickly transformed into left hand doodling and then drawing. soon my practice developed into a generation of symbols. and the symbols were turned into my first style of weird puzzles, a sudoku puzzle without numbers. Ukodus!

so the focus of my first year of independent work was handcrafted dog bow ties, my second year was coloring books, my third year was ukodus puzzles then my fourth year was weird search puzzles and my fifth year has been an exploration of Crossweird and Weird Shortz puzzles.

as stated, after nearly eleven months of developing and promoting my Ukodus line i launched a weekly release of weird search puzzles which culminated in a solo art show at Dorsa Brevia gallery. originally the Weird Search puzzles were based on the pattern matching principle which under-gird word searches and used only my own drawings. they have mutated over time and now also employ looser versions of abstract symbol relationships too and can incorporate a wide palate of elements.

i create, publish and distribute my own puzzles full time. this is all i do for money. i have no savings, no trust fund, no credit card, no help from my parents, no side hustle, no legal settlement, no food stamps and no secret source of funds to pay my bills. i have been gutting it out day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. all throughout this journey the puzzle of art sales have been just enough to cover reinvestment in materials and my basic needs: food, housing and a few dollars worth of spending money.

now it is time to expand! boot strapping is cool and all, in fact i have been entirely self funded for over 5 years. in certain ways it has been a very challenging period of time which on occasion had me picking up boxes of free food from the Oregon Food Bank and wearing my shoes down past the rubber. i am proud to say also that it has been a very rewarding time. as the story i just related and the puzzle you perhaps just played as proof i have been able develop a new and very personal type of work - curious expressions all the more for their intentionally universal spirit.


as the seasons change I desire to know now as much as ever - what is left?


all my work is now and has always been released under the Creative Common License Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike or BY-NC-SA

for more info -

Donations ()

  • Yuya Peco Takeda 
    • $20 
    • 12 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 5 mos
  • Peter Pretzington 
    • $5 
    • 8 mos
  • Kyler Fischer 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
See all


Joshua Force 
Portland, OR
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more