Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Studio Condemned...

Old Brick Firehouse (9x12)

Recently one evening while I was downtown hunting for a subject to paint, I came across this old firehouse -- there used to be several of these around Portland, all built 100+ years ago and long since converted into commercial properties. I actually used to work in this one -- shared a studio here with a couple of other artists until we outgrew it. A number of studios were located on the ground floor with an architects office occupying the entire second floor. The original barn doors were still on the front when I moved in -- they used to have a photograph of the horses that pulled the fire wagons hanging in the entrance when you walked in. This building now boarded up and slated for demolition, is in a neglected part of town near the train & bus stations.

When we were working there (often late into the night) there was always plenty of what we called "theater" going on behind the building. More than once my studio mates called 911 while witnessing addicts shooting up or the local gals servicing their clientele right outside our window... One night a bottle flew through the window, and you always had to wear shoes in the summertime when taking trash out to the dumpster as the side parking lot was usually littered with hypodermic needles every morning. Still it was a cool building to work in and I learned a lot from the other artists there -- hard to believe that was 20 years ago, but I'm glad I got to capture it now before it's gone. This painting is currently hanging in the Laguna Plein Air Painters "Best of Plein Air" show in Laguna Beach, CA.


  1. Eric, that's kind of sad to hear of the demolition of this little bit of Firehouse history. My husband works as a volunteer fireman and he loves the historical aspect of the trade. Regardless, your memories of the place strike a cord with me when I subleased a flat in Berkeley, CA. Lots of interesting things went on there too. Love this piece and congrats on the Laguna Show!

  2. I often think a book of graphic designer/illustrator war stories would be a great project. The 70's, 80's 90's were interesting outrageous times in the ad biz. I'm glad you immortalized this building that contains so many "charming" (haha) memories. Remind me to tell you about the hobo in a wheelchair who peed on our printing rep's shoe outside our office.

    Congratulations on the Eucalyptus Grove painting's beautiful.

  3. Yes that was a great time in all our life's.As you said we all had our theater story,s to tell and not to forget all the great work we put out in that time.
    It truly is sad to see it go.

  4. Wow, you have some stories to tell from your creative life. What an interesting post and a great painting. The values are spot on and the line lover in me really appreciates the order and compostion. Great stuff, Eric.