PDX-CSA: All About Connection

By Kit Carlton

Art enthusiasts, collectors and artists alike, mark your calendar! Sept. 17th  is the last official date to choose an exclusive work from one of the artists participating in our creative program: Portland’s Community Supported Art (PDX-CSA)

PDX-CSA is currently in its fourth season, but began when cofounders Jason Kappus and Kristin Thiel wanted to find a more organic way for the public to interact with the local art scene. The two came up with the idea to introduce a program akin to CSA associations – but instead of farm to kitchen table, PDX-CSA delivers from the artist’s studio to you. This program provides patrons a chance to draw back the curtain on the artistic process by allowing them to select either a paired or individual project to fund, watch the projects progress and upon completion receive specially made art that they in a sense have had a hand in producing. This program is mutually beneficial for both artist and consumer because, as Kappus states, “By pre-purchasing artwork a buyer is saying that they have faith in the artist and their vision, which is a powerful gift to offer. [It] allows the artists to get paid for the effort of making the artwork and the freedom to experiment and push themselves. On the buyer’s side pre-purchasing the artwork means that they get the unique experience of following the journey of their artwork from concept to completion. Our feedback from Collectors so far has been that it’s a rewarding experience, one that connects them to the artists and their creative processes in a way they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

This demystification of the artistic process is essentially what drove Elise Wagner, part innovator and part alchemist, to participate in this year’s PDX-CSA event. Elise takes her cues from the natural world and the realm of science and creates stunning collagraphs from a technique she pioneered:  “People are curious. It’s important to satisfy the curiosity of art loving people; then you make a better connection overall. If your ideas are interesting to them you want to connect with them too because then you can have a dialogue about the work. As artists we’re mostly isolated in our studio and are just ‘going through the motions’ of our practice. We don’t realize someone would be very interested in the technical, esoteric and the inspirational aspects of the process. But if they could come together in a way where you are not talking too much about one or the other and how they work together to make a whole; well, that’s where alchemy happens.”

Click here to see Elise in action   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZWaMda-Tpg&feature=youtu.be 

For Kirista Trask, vibrant abstractionist and tenth generation Oregonian, her involvement with PDX-CSA came about from the struggle to explain the potent symbolism embedded in her abstractions in a way that easily translates to the Portlander experience. “It’s weird to say what you are trying to do and how it is tied to memories – that it is autobiographical. That it is a representation of a moment or a place. How do I expand from there to physically move my space out into PDX? For this project I’m taking my travel art-kit/easel and getting out into the heart of Portland to express the kinds of places that symbolize this city. Not just our beautiful parks, but places that epitomize Portland. For example, Voodoo Doughnuts makes a powerful visual symbolization – that fluorescent pink and bright color palette.”

You can see Kirista at work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hxPRfGHumk&authuser=0 

While PDX-CSA aims to bridge the gap between the artistic community and the general public, at the nucleus of this program lies the reality that creating and experience is what truthfully informs our human condition and connects us all. It’s all about connection. Perhaps this is why Samyak Yamauchi, intuitive painter and constructor of whimsically imagined-worlds, best embodies this spirit of PDX-CSA through her daily practice of creating: “I just love the magic of it. How you have nothing and then you have something. It just happens. I love the mystery in it. I love how I don’t know what is going to happen. I love how in the studio, in any situation I guess, you always get to start over. If I don’t like something in my life or a painting, I can change it, get rid of it or do something else. I love that. I love how the creative process is just life. I just love it. There is no separation.”

Watch Sam in action here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKJoZmPxIZw&feature=youtu.be 

To get more information on this year’s artists, and lend your support and patronage, go to www.pdx-csa.com.

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