In Portland there's something called "First Thursday", where each first Thursday of the month all the downtown art galleries open up for viewings. While my sister was in town we met up with a friend and caught the metro to wander aimlessly (it might have helped to have a map) from gallery to gallery, enjoying the artwork.
I love this one. They look like old sailors and fishermen that you'd find on a windy dock in Newfoundland, full of stories and shanties to share. The choppy use of the oil paint makes them look even more weathered and wind-kissed.
I love the colors of this piece, and would have loved to have it hanging in my dining room to add a splash of color to the walls.
Though there were some beautiful pieces, a lot of it was rather abstract, a genre I've never been too fond of. I always leave the gallery feeling slightly puzzled, as if perhaps I was supposed to garner some deep meaning to the painting I had been staring at, when all I really saw was a bunch of twisted lines and a painted face screaming about the futility of life. Um, ok.
But three galleries into our walk we came across the steam-punk sculptures of Christopher Truax, who was there and chatted with us a bit while we admired his creations. He told us that he made them all from recycled car parts, and the pieces themselves were so intricate and beautiful that they must have taken endless hours and patience to create.
Each one had a robotic, yet strangely alive feeling to it, as if they were going to take off into flight, or blink and walk off the platform whenever you turned your head. I couldn't stop staring at them. Each tiny piece was a part of something bigger, and it was fun picking out all the individual materials -- a headlight, an antenna, a fuel canister, bolts, nuts, screws. It reminded me of those "Eye Spy" books where every scene on the page was simply a compilation of thousands of smaller parts.
My absolute favorite piece was his Elephant, a beautifully burnished piece of artwork with moving legs and trunk, gleaming and gorgeous. I would have loved to take it home if it weren't $10,000. As it was, I took a photo and wished I had the ingenuity to take recycled bits of metal and turn them into something so creative.
If you'd like to see more of Christopher Truax's steampunk sculptures, visit his webpage.