Have you ever looked at a painting and was so captivated in the magic of it that you felt swept away with emotion? Of course you have! Art has the power to make us grab our gut in laughter, or wipe tears from our eyes. It brings people together, not only in galleries around the world, as we sip Cabernet and sample goat cheese, but also in principle. It’s a universal language we all have in common. Artists and their work bless us in so many ways. Sometimes they even make a difference by delivering a powerful message or supporting an important cause. There are tons of great artists in our area, and here are five emerging artists to watch in Clatsop County.
Drea Rose Frost
Drea Rose Frost is quickly becoming a household name in the Astoria and Cannon Beach art scene. She brings her love of the outdoors to each of her paintings. When she isn’t surfing or mushroom hunting, she is delicately applying paint to canvas. In her own words, “there is something magical about pushing paint around.” She finds inspiration in the gorgeous landscape of the Pacific Northwest and the human relationship to the sea. Her work is currently featured in the Riversea Gallery, and her art ranges in price from around $200 up to $2,000, a small price to pay for such incredible and original works of art.
I was walking through Creation’s Studio on 14th in Astoria when Ryan Everson’s tree sculptures made me stop in my tracks. The intricate details captivated me, and I had to resist the urge to touch them. I particularly liked the copper bonsai in a copper basket. He calls his stunning artistic renderings of trees “REsculptured art” because he uses recycled copper wire, aluminum, and stainless steel. He is a former field mechanic, and graduate of Warrenton High School, that is gaining the attention of art lovers from near and far. His works are still surprisingly affordable, and vary from just a few inches tall to over a foot high.
Wenda Vorce is an Astoria resident that calls her company Columbia River Creations, and for good reason. She takes junk, litter, trinkets, or other things found along the shore of the Columbia River and turns them into breathtaking works of art. Wenda believes in “cleaning up the earth one piece of art at a time.” She also does paintings and mosaics. You can find her art at Creations Studio, and her works will be featured this December at Good to Go, a deli in downtown Astoria. Her art is surprisingly unique and affordable.
Last May I took a fun little mosaic tile class at the Timberland Library in Ocean Park and had the pleasure of meeting Kai Raden, our teacher. Kay has been creating mosaics for over eleven years and her designs are nothing short of amazing. Originally born in California, her family moved to Arkansas when she was young. But, in 2013 when she became an empty nester, she decided to make the Pacific Northwest her home, and never looked back. Her real passion is teaching others how to do mosaics and helping other artists develop their creativity, and grow their business. Her art has been featured at the Art Loft, and at a gallery in Cannon Beach which has since closed. Kai owns and operates Creation Studio and Gallery in Astoria.
Claude Kurtz is certainly not a new artist in Clatsop County, but word of his talent as a glass artist is spreading, and is renowned around the country. With over twenty-five years of experience practicing with stained glass, and over a decade at Portland’s Uroboros Glass Studio, it’s hard to find someone more gifted in glass blowing and design. Claude skillfully balances freedom and planning to create astounding colors and shape that play with the light in the most memorizing ways.
I first met Claude at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale years ago when I purchased a handblown Christmas ornament form his gallery and workshop there. I’ve been following his work ever since. He and his partner, Christ Hucke, continue to gain recognition through their studio, Fernhill Glass, in Astoria. Fernhill Glass has been delighting customers from around the world since 2004 and is on Exchange Street near the historic waterfront area of the mighty Columbia River.
It was difficult to choose only five artists for this article because Clatsop County has such an extraordinary art scene. There are all kinds of artists in the region, from authors to woodworkers, to sculptures, painters, and even performing artists. Spend an evening at one of the famous Art Walks, or other galas that cater to the art-loving crowd, and you will undoubtedly leave feeling impressed, and may even take home a treasure or two for your own art collection.