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Meet our 2021 Kimberly Gales Emerging Artist Winners

Article written by Leah Kohlenberg

Each year, Portland Open Studios awards a scholarship to support young artists. The scholarship is in honor and memory of Kimberly Gales, a painter and one of the original PDXOS board members, who died unexpectedly of a stroke two decades ago. Currently, Kim’s amazing daughters, Aimee and Katie, fundraise for the award, so we now can offer a more substantial stipend to promising emerging talent.

Meet our 2021 Emerging Artist award winners, Sophia Hatzikos and Amy Reader. Both are new to the tour this year.

SOPHIA HATZIKOS, age 23, describes her work as multi-faceted, with a focus on raw materials and resource management.   Not surprising from someone who switched majors from Economics to art midstream at Wheaton College, in Massachusetts.

How does that translate to her art?  In a recent piece, she made paper at home from posters gleaned off telephone poles.  “You can see the community in the new paper,” she says.  “There are hints of black lives matter, and stories on location.  The paper becomes the community.”

“I haven't found that I can illustrate all my ideas through one particular medium, which is why my studio is a cacophony of mess”, she says.  “ I have my bio ingredient wall of egg shells and avocado pits, a papermaking project, and ceramics made from natural materials.” 

While Hatzikos says her work is primarily about the physical pieces she makes, COVID caused her to add a new direction to her display, with the camera.  She’s photographed her organic pieces and displayed them artfully.  "I have found that the camera has become an important tool to share my 3D work with a wider audience,” she says.

AMY READER, 28, is a fiber artist who has been drawing, sewing, and painting since she was six. She learned to sew and crochet from her grandmothers.

Reader always saw sewing as separate from painting and drawing. In her senior year at the University of Richmond, she saw the potential in combining the disciplines. “That’s when I started sewing large, colorful sculptures and it was that cliche lightbulb moment - this was the work I wanted to make.”

Reader and her husband moved to Portland just a year ago, and she was quick to meet a PDXOS alum, landscape painter Catherine Freshley, who worked in the studio space next to hers.  

“She brought me in,” said Reader.  “I’m so grateful, and so excited, to meet people and get to know the community this year through Portland Open Studios.

During the past year, Reader has expanded the types of work she makes. She still sews her colorful sculptures as well as fiber art jewelry, but “when the pandemic hit, my focus changed - I had a production line of masks for months!” Later, she started exploring embroideries and embroidery kits, all rooted in what she describes as the core of all her art: “bold, joyful colors, thoughtful details, and layers of texture.”

We look forward to seeing you on the tour this year, the second and third weekends of October (9-10, and 16-17). Find out our complete 2021 lineup at our website, www.portlandopenstudios.com.  We’ll be offering more detailed information about each artist later in the summer!

Sophia Hatzikos

Amy Reader

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