This current, on-going work is inspired by the huge influx of construction and architectural changes in Portland, Oregon. Through this work, I want to raise the issue of balancing of new growth and preserving our history, long term residents, and the unique Portland culture.
MORE INFO: After living in Portland for 9 years and photographing every section of the city during this time, I got to know the city very well. Significant changes are happening so fast that it was a shock and inspired work about this topic. Growth and additional housing is needed in Portland, but the demolition of older buildings and the construction of newer buildings is happening at such a fast, exponential rate without regard to infrastructure, cultural, and affordability concerns. In this series, I attempt to addresses these issues through depicting the changes to Portland’s urban landscape. I believe the city’s culture is reflected in the built environment. If we don’t consciously make an effort to preserve what makes our city special, we could lose our soul and our to development.
“Building East Burnside” is a piece that was inspired by a commission I did for Wildlife Blocks. I photographed the East Burnside area and it allowed me to take a closer look at this unique, wonderful microcosm where all types of business and residential buildings exist and is now being taken over by development. I decided I wanted to depict a scene of the area before it continues to change.
CASE STUDY: Custom Wildlife Blocks’ neighborhood photo montage
LOCATION: East Burnside Area, Portland, Oregon
CLIENT: Wildlife Blocks, Portland, Oregon
WHEN: October 2016
MISSION/SCOPE OF WORK: This locally owned company has restored old factory buildings in the East Burnside area of Portland and made them available as innovative office spaces and fabrication shops. They wanted a photomontage of this area for their office to highlight their involvement and pride in the neighborhood.
RESULTS: I thoroughly photographed the East Burnside area and distilled the photos down to the most noteworthy elements and the clients favorite spots they associate with. I created a photomontage showing their restored buildings right in the heart of this bustling neighborhood which is a multi-use, diverse microcosm of the city where they fit in perfectly. They were inspired to name it “Hello Neighbor”. Three large format, limited edition prints were created for the owners and the Wildlife Blocks’ office. Then smaller prints were produced and given to business that lease out their spaces to spread the good neighborly vibe of East Burnside.
SIZE/MEDIUM: 24” high x 36” wide / Archival Pigment Print on Rag Paper
CASE STUDY: Rodgers Variety Store Customization
CLIENT: Gail Rodgers & Family, Port Townsend, Washington & Portland, Oregon
WHEN: November 2015
MISSION/SCOPE OF WORK: Rodgers Variety Store was a staple in the Portland metro area for 60 years. At one time, it the largest independent variety stores on the West Coast. A member of the family asked me to incorporate Rodger’s into my “Portland Marquee Totem” to show Rodgers as an integral part of Portland’s history and culture.
RESULTS: The client didn’t have a lot of original photos of the various locations, so using one photograph and one advertisement I was able to construct a sign that reflected the Rodger’s brand and could be naturally incorporated into the “Portland Marquee Totem” piece. Then, a new bottom etching plate was made. Lastly, I printed a limited edition series of etchings with the Rodger’s plate and each member of the Rodger’s family received a print.
SIZE/MEDIUM: 25″ high x 16″ wide / Photographic Etching on Cotton-based Paper
CASE STUDY: Oakwood Portland Apartment Complex (Originally Janey II)
LOCATION: Pearl District, Portland, Oregon
CLIENT: Gerding Edlen, Portland, Oregon
WHEN: October 2015
MISSION/SCOPE OF WORK: To add artwork expressing the Portland area through the 7 floors of the apartment complex.
RESULTS: A series using my Portland Bridge scenes was a perfect fit. The artwork shows the majestic bridges that keep the Pearl District connected to the rest of the city and also highlights different skyline views reflecting the urban landscape. Each floor could showcase a bridge, while also giving the whole building a cohesive feel. Six bridge scenes were available at the time, so another one was created (the Broadway bridge) for this project.
SIZE/MEDIUM: 32.5” high x 48.5” wide / Archival Pigment Print Mounted on Wood Panels
Statement: Beth Kerschen is a multi-disciplinary artist using photo-illustration and printmaking to reflect a city’s culture via the urban landscape. For the past seven years, Portland, Oregon has been her focus. In her installation at PDX, Portland: East Meets West, she has captured Portland as it exists at the present moment: a city bursting with creativity. Portland: East Meets West celebrates the cuisine, music, cycling, artists, technology, cinema, vintage, DIY, alternative movements, outdoors, history, architecture, bridges, transportation, and even rose gardens of our fair city.
By memorializing these everyday scenes, she hopes to inspire others to celebrate our city’s present. With enough awareness and appreciation of what makes Portland unique, we can sustain the best of our culture as Portland’s landscape rapidly changes into a world-class city.
Shown: 1) Airport version 30 feet wide x 9 feet tall (printed on sintra & plexiglass). 2) Smaller 64″ x 21″ version (using dibond & plexiglass).
A Retrospective of Portland, Oregon and all it’s amazing highlights. Here I used my photographs and converted them to a line-art that can lends to all sorts design, style, and color. All about remembering the best of the city and evoking pride!
Urban Retrospectives is sold via my product line, but archival, large format prints can be custom made, even using different materials.