The Regional Arts and Culture Council recently posted some terrifically practical and swell suggestions on how to support Portland art and artists during the holiday season—with all sorts of great ideas that span attending and making purchases at local holiday art bazaars to supporting arts organization with gift donations to your loved ones. There are plenty of smart ways to support local art and give gifts that are uniquely artistic, and Portland is just the place to do it.
Many of us, however, are feeling the current crunch—and, think that purchasing art is pocketbook prohibitive. Yet there are amazing local artists and designers who sell their wares at quite reasonable prices, making stylish pieces attractive on oh-so many levels. Check out our short list of faves for fine art and cool craft and design choices that will surely delight the giver as much as the receiver.
Affordable Fine Art
Inspired by bright, bold colors and simple shapes, artist Rachel Ann Austin creates paintings, prints and cards that spruce up any room. The simplicity of her designs are balanced by a variety of textures found in the materials she uses to create original, affordable works. Available from her online store, she also showcases and sells her works at various outlets across town including these local retailers:
3300 SE Belmont Street
Portland OR 97214
7919 SE 13th Avenue
Portland OR 97202
Jeni Lee creates large-scale paintings, small works, collages and commissions in a free-form style and in rich colors that invoke emotions. Mostly abstract, yet often with a deep nod to nature, Lee is inspired by bold landscapes from Vermont to the Oregon Coast. Already a feature on the national radar, her original paintings and prints can be found locally, too, at these retailers:
Studio Art Direct
7031 SW Virginia
Portland OR 97219
2187 NW Reed Street
Portland OR 97210
Brin Levinson likes to tell stories through his paintings that take a different view of the urban landscape, often merging typical forces of nature and cities in unexpected ways. With precision and attention to detail, Levinson’s work offers scenes of strange beauty with mastery. His fascinating work is showcased predominantly in the Pacific Northwest, often, too, appearing on album covers, movie posters, and in books and other publications.
With a love of the fanciful, colorful, and detailed, visual artist Summer Hatfield paints, draws, sketches, etches and more. She works primarily on commission basis for paintings, prints, and murals of all sizes, and yet her work is often seen in group shows around town, like the annual splashy Big 100 event, co-produced by artist Chris Haberman. Hattfield is also the co-founder of Scratch Print Arts, with work that is occasionally showcased at the Portland Saturday Market.
Favorite northeast neighborhood artist Tripper Dungan paints highly stylized yet raw works depicting people, animals and fun elements of pop culture. Splashes of color, movement in all forms and a tongue-in-cheek attitude represent. Dungan uses upcycled, reused, eco-friendly, and scrap wood surfaces for canvasses. In addition to his regular collection, he’s got a smattering of 3D paintings that come with a pair of chromadepth 3D glasses for viewing pleasure! Comic book/skate culture/design hub Grass Hut in Old Town-Chinatown regularly features and sells Dungan’s cool creations (and works from other like-minded Portland artists, too).
20 NW 5th Avenue
Portland OR 97209
Cool and Crafty Gift Choices
“Give local. Give craft.” is the Museum of Contemporary Craft’s mantra this holiday season. And, we should all heed this cry. At the Museum, you’ll find wonderful contemporary craft and design selections in ceramics, metals, glass, jewelry and more—like the “duchess of felt” LeBrie Rich’s felted coffee and tea cozies and Patrick Horsley's sleek ceramic vases, platters, and bowls.
724 NW Davis Street
Portland OR 97209
Painted wooden animal figurines with whimsical personalities feature prominently in Bunny with a Toolbelt’s vast collection of bright and shiny characters. Perfect stocking stuffers, table toppers, hostess with the mostest gifts—you’ll find something fun for everyone in the family as you cruise Bunny’s online store.
Jenna Robertson is behind Woolie Originals, designer and maker of stitched art, apparel and accessories from reclaimed sweater fabrics. Her partners in crime—Lana Robertson and Sara Bergman—help design the very touchy, tactile works. Colorful collages featuring animals and other elements from the natural world are all one-of-a-kind designs, and are created by stitching hand drawn and cut wool pieces onto sweater remnants that are then stretched onto a frame like a canvas.
Find Woolie Originals at these local retailers:
3964 N Mississippi Avenue
Portland OR 97227
Mabel & Zora
748 NW 11th Avenue
Portland OR 97209
The designers at Whale Mountain create in many forms, yet their collection of unique stitched tableaux completely delight. Nature scenes, animals and people embroidered in brightly colored yarn and thread pop against stark white backgrounds. Bits of fabric, vintage maps, and sheet music offer interesting layering, too, revealing fine craftsmanship in small artistic pieces that won’t break your art budget this year.
Art makes a terrific, personal gift. Supporting Portland art and artists also helps boost our local creative economy. Shows that you care about the arts and those talented folks who create work that speaks to us. Give local. Give art. Give craft.