Interview of Christopher Mooney, Oil Painter

Christopher Mooney is an oil painter, best known for his large, graphic paintings of bridges. He studied in New York at Parsons School of Design, then came to Oregon in the late 80’s in search of bridges and urban landmarks. Recently, he’s been painting in his workers series, a group of large pieces to commemorate the workers who create and maintain our iconic structures. This series leads him to new painting experiences. The Hawthorne bridge in Portland is one of the bridges that has to open for shipping traffic, and every two weeks it must be oiled. By special arrangement, Christopher was allowed to photograph the workers. He climbed a set of stairs to the top of the arch. They closed the traffic gates and raised the bridge with him on it. Then he moved over to the counterweight. As they lowered the bridge, the counterweight with Christopher went up, until he was at the top of the entire structure with the workers. From there, he had a view of the city, the work, and a perspective on the bridge like no other. Christopher also paints dramatic figures. He has been experimenting with red and blue spotlighting to get a variety of skin tones and shadow casts. He is now painting commissioned portraits for people who want a memory preserved. “Pictures fade, files get lost, but a painting immortalizes.” Get a preview of Christopher’s work at THE ART OF TRADE, a juried exhibit sponsored by the Port of Portland, at 903 NW Davis from August 6-15. Then take note of his studio for your Portland Open Studios tour.
Karen Lewis