Artists show art and skills in Southeast 'Open Studios'
Several of the artists participating in the 2018 "Portland Open Studios Tour" on two weekends late last year were situated in Inner Southeast. This year marked the nonprofit organization's 20th year.
Inner Southeast Portland artists were easy to locate, thanks to bright yellow directional signs pointing the way to their studios.
This year, we discovered three amazing artists, each of whom shared his or her own unique, unusual, creative pursuits.
Functional and decorative steel artist
In "Watershed PDX", on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue
Greeting us while wearing a welder's apron, Shelly Durica-Laiche said she's a welder who designs and builds steel "functional and decorative steel objects", such as furniture, trellises, fine art sculpture, and garden art.
"While I mostly work in steel, I also create art with brass and copper," Durica-Laiche told THE BEE.
While majoring in sculpture at Portland State University, Durica-Laiche recalls experimenting with any and all available sculpting materials, and eventually she turned to working with metal. "In a class with bronze casting and welding, I fell in love with metal; and, after graduating in 2005, this became my work."
Now working as a full-time artist for the last six years, she says, "I enjoy creative design challenges; finding and looking at scrap metal, and being inspired to create something.
"Then, after I've made it, just seeing somebody else get really excited about a piece of art that I created – enough to buy it, so I'm able to sustain in my artistic practice – is really good!"
S.E. Woodstock Boulevard
Working in a large shop hidden behind his modest Woodstock home, Craig Dorety welcomed us to his studio, which had been darkened to show off the illuminated and almost hypnotic sculptures that he creates.
"Although there's a technology behind it, and involved with it, the easiest way to explain what I do is to say, 'I work with light'," Dorety remarked.
"While I create works of art that one could hang on a wall, the most important medium in my work is the lighting itself, the photons," Dorety said. "Photons are intangible, you can't touch them, squeeze them out of a tube, or paint or model them like clay."
His workshop looks like a "'makers' studio", replete with a huge computer-controlled precision router, a large industrial laser unit, and a small 3-D printer for making parts – all of it gear he's gathered and upgraded over the past dozen years.
While it can be frustrating to get the lighting, controlled by computer circuits, to work just right, the artist commented, "I enjoy the entire process. And, I really like being my own boss!"
The best part of his creative arc? "It's when I turn the piece; it lights up, and I can watch and enjoy it; and I often see a behavior that I don't fully understand until after I finish it."
Spray paint artist
Flat Blak Gallery
6006 S.E. Foster Road
His original art isn't made with any sort of screen printing process, explained artist Rudi Broschofsky. His paintings are created entirely out of spray paint.
Having been raised by parents who opened a Western art gallery in 1987 – he was five years old, then – that gallery likely was what influenced the subjects he paints today, Broschofsky said.
"Growing up surrounded by high-end Western artwork has led me to turn-of-the-century, and older, subjects.
"But I've also been drawn to street art, urban art – graffiti – because it is more aligned with my art-creation process, using stencil and spray paint," commented Broschofsky, pointing out he doesn't use brushes, or an airbrush; he uses high quality "rattle cans" of spray paint.
"It's kind of like graffiti, in that one throws a stencil on a wall and spray paints it; but in my case, I spend a great deal of time carefully cutting my stencil, before spraying the images on canvas," Broschofsky revealed.
While his works are for sale at galleries in Sun Valley, Idaho; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Salt Lake City, he regularly displays his own work in his own studio on S.E. Foster Road, and hosts exhibitions of new Portland artists in it, during the "Second Saturday Foster Road Art Walk" each month.