Portland is a city with some odd contrasts. It is one of the hippest, most artsy cities I’ve visited, and yet it has some of the harshest rules against graffiti. There’s a blanket zero-tolerance policy covering the entire city. It is illegal to create a mural on an outside wall even if you have permission (or a commission) from a property owner.
So while Portland is an awesomely cool and progressive city, it tries to keep its exterior squeaky clean. Huge brick walls begging for murals remain free from paint (and inspiration).
Enter the ruins of the Taylor Electric Supply Warehouse, built in 1936, in the Central Eastside Industrial District. After being destroyed by one of Portland‘s largest ever industrial fires, it has become a mecca for the city’s street art. After the 2006 fire, toxic chemicals started to pour out and a thorough clean-up was required, leaving behind huge bare walls that were quickly painted over by graffiti artists.
Every few months the city will paint over the entire structure to discourage graffiti, but all they do is leave behind a fresh, clean canvas for more art.
There are precious few places in the city to see quality graffiti art (as opposed to quick, ugly tags) and the ruins of the Taylor Electric company have sparked debate over whether the space constitutes an artistic gem or a horrible eyesore.
But the land has been sold and is now slated for re-development. The graffiti walls will be torn down and the street artists will have to look elsewhere for inspiration.
Before the shoot, I shot a brief video of the location.
More background, plus lots of images of the building’s graffiti.
El Pais recently published a comprehensive feature on the photography of ruins, “Ruinas, los reinos abandonados” Several photographers were asked to discuss their inspirations and motivations on the subject.
Background on the image they used: Motor City
44th Annual Pilsen East Artists’ Open House in the Chicago Art District
2nd Friday, October 10th: 6pm – 10pm
Saturday, October 11th: 11am – 7pm (I’ll be closing at 5:30)
1932 S. Halsted St, #402, Chicago
Coinciding with October’s 2nd Friday art walk, the Pilsen East Artists’ Open House is a well-loved neighborhood tradition.
My studio and gallery, along with 30 other studios in the area will be open to the public.
Come by for some art, music and drinks…
If you want to purchase larger pieces and you’d like to discuss images and options, a good time to arrive is between 6 and 8pm on Friday, or any time on Saturday, when it is more peaceful.
Visitors can pick up a map at the Event Information Booth, located at 1821 S Halsted
More info: www.nuez.com/2nd-friday
Lots of free street parking available!
The Illinois State Museum, Southern Illinois Gallery. November 9, 2014 – March 15, 2015
14967 Gun Creek Trail, Whittington, IL
“Fragile Relations” is a touring exhibit that began at the museum’s Chicago gallery in Oct 2012. It has been touring the Museum’s network of galleries since then. The Springfield gallery exhibit closed Aug 31st. It has now moved to the Southern Illinois Art & Artisans Center
Fragile Relations highlights the work of fourteen Illinois artists who are inspired by nature and the environment and show diverse ways of perceiving and experiencing the world.
I’m exhibiting two 32X40 Alleys & Ruins, three 32X40 Glam Bug pieces, and an 8×10 foot print of Alley 134, Dub Stop. That image is also being used in much of the promotional material. Unfortunately I can’t attend the opening reception.