Client: Portland Percent for Public Art Project, Administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council
Location: Portland, OR, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $67,785
Crash Studio LLC
Crash Studio LLC
Eight art installations are strategically placed along the street, between 11th and 36th, and feature fourteen small-scale bronze figures installed on large dolomite boulders quarried in the Northwest. The stones are placed near businesses and adjacent to new bioswales. The miniature scale of these figures is capable of drawing us in close enough to imagine full and complex scenes, while at the same time transforming the stones into mountaintops. The sculptures can be enjoyed in a passing manner, yet have a sense of intimacy about them and details that are rewarding to people who take the time to investigate.
The Division Streetscape Project updated the design of the street by adding bioswales and changing the flow of buses and traffic. At the same time, the land along Division has rapidly been developed and many multi-use residential/commercial buildings have been constructed. The neighborhood has become a thriving district full of restaurants, small boutiques and local businesses.
Our desire was to create artwork that fosters a sense of continuity and community along the street. The series of artworks, in conjunction with the new streetscape, helps tie together the entire corridor and encourages both residents and visitors to walk its length. A search begins for the figures at whichever part of the street you first encounter them and the rocks, in addition to being raw and beautiful by themselves, become markers to help you find the other scenes. The sculptures become an invitation not just to discover the next piece in the series, but also to explore Division Street.
For this project we had a unique working relationship as artists that combined our different yet complimentary tastes and sculpting styles. We would each start building a figure, and then trade them back and forth, contributing and editing as the characters started to emerge. The process was full of trust and compromise, and it helped us distill our ideas into something that kept us both constantly engaged and surprised.
The moments captured by these sculptures are quiet and simple and everyday, mirroring the familiar scenes that can occur on a street like Division. Unlike a statue of a hero or icon, whose story is legend; these people are like you, they are mysterious, complicated, and everyone is invited to guess what goes on in their lives. The stones are monuments to these moments - platforms for the characters, whose purpose is to draw attention to them, but the surrounding cityscape is their stage.