Brittany Powell’s “Cell Phone Photo Paintings: Free” project at the Portland Building 5/4 – 29

PORTLAND, ORE – While she was on vacation a while back, artist Brittany Powell lost her camera. Her husband said, “You should just paint all of our photos.” He was kidding, but she did—80 of them. In doing so she noticed something interesting about the process:

“Through painting the scenes, I became actively involved in the memory and gave the images more weight and value—two snow cones became a beautiful exploration of color, a jungle scene turned abstract, and a cityscape transformed into a study of shapes and patterns. Since then I began offering my services to paint other people’s vacations; I use their photos as source material, but the paintings are my interpretation of their experiences.”

-Brittany Powell

For her project at the Portland Building Powell will push this idea further and offer to paint photos from the cell phones of building users and passers-by. Our lives are now more documented than ever, but most of us rarely do more than transfer our cell phone photos to a hard-drive somewhere, or post them on social media, but these are the images that illustrate our daily existence, some of them deserve that extra weight and value Powell speaks of.

After setting up a small, table-sized work station in the Installation Space, the artist will hold “studio hours” (Monday – Thursday between 2pm & 5pm) when visitors can stop by to request a painting. Once selected, the photo will be texted from the participant’s phone to the artist’s phone and painting will commence. Each completed painting will be placed on display for the duration of the project. Participants can retrieve their photos during the final days of the exhibition, hopefully with a new appreciation for the images we take daily without a second thought.

About the Artist: Brittany Powell lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She has an MFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and a BFA from Oregon State University, Corvallis. She has shown widely in the western U.S., completed a Caldera Residency in Sisters, Oregon in 2011, a Djerassi Residency in Woodside, California in 2013, and was awarded a Ford Family Foundation Fellowship in 2013.

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday.  Cell Phone Photo Paintings: Free opens May 4th and runs through May 29th, 2015. Studio hours will be held by the artists 2 pm to 5 pm, Monday – Thursday (excluding Memorial Day).

For more information on the Portland Building Installation Space, including images, proposals, and statements for all projects dating back to 1994, go to