7 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Portland, Oregon

Watercolor Palette | © Björn Laczay / WikiCommons
Watercolor Palette | © Björn Laczay / WikiCommons
Photo of Anna Kramer
2 June 2017

Portland, Oregon is a creative hotbed, whether you’re a photographer, chef, culture-maker, or artist. No matter one’s medium of choice, creators are drawn to this jewel city of the Pacific Northwest for obvious reasons. With inspiration and breathtaking views almost everywhere you look, the area is an artist’s dream. Take a look at this selection of local creatives who can’t help but be inspired by Oregon’s natural wonders, often incorporating them into their contemporary fine art.

Jordan Domont

Jordan Domont is a storyboard and fine artist living and working in Portland, Oregon. He’s partnered with a range of high-profile clients to create exciting, on-brand imagery and storylines while producing a personal collection of paintings on the side as well. His artwork and illustrations have been featured in numerous publications and on gallery walls, unique in their intense and fearless use of color and innovative techniques. He’s known for layering ink onto Mylar in a way that produces “a rich, almost melted effect.” As a result, he’s a go-to choice for celebrity portraiture projects, for instance [David Lynch pictured below], as well as various commissions. Follow him on Instagram.

David Lynch Portrait | Courtesy of Jordan Domont

Julie Costanzo

A lifelong painter, Julie Costanzo, who works mostly in oil and acrylics, focuses on murals and fine art, extending her craft and skill to other surfaces as well, such as furniture, walls, woodwork, decorative pieces and beyond—as well as canvas and board, of course. She provides free consultations out of Portland—where she lives, after growing up on the East Coast and earning a studio arts degree from the University of Boulder—happily exchanging ideas for new projects and commissions, such as children’s rooms, as well as personal and professional interiors and exteriors. Costanzo’s fine art ranges from the abstract to landscapes, seascapes, portraits, and wildlife. Find more of her work on Instagram.

Judy Wise

Judy Wise has been living in Portland, Oregon since the late ’70s when she attended Portland State University before moving on to the Pacific Northwest College of Art to pursue painting. Over the past years, she’s taught and exhibited across Portland and the world, from Spain and the Netherlands to Australia and Mexico. Her work is abstract and often has a frenzied quality. “I paint chaos and then try to bring order to that chaos,” she says. “Sometimes it works, often it does not.” Wise is not afraid of imperfection, trusting her creative process above all else to produce powerful and emotive works of art again and again. Keep up to date on her Instagram.

Searching for a Right Angle | Courtesy of Judy Wise

Christine Joy

Mostly self-taught, Christine Joy has been painting almost all of her life. Working in watercolor, oil, and acrylic, Joy creates a steady output of bright and beautiful landscapes, waterscapes, and cityscapes. A studio art graduate of nearby George Fox University, Joy now lives in Portland, which means all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest are right at her fingertips—and they shine through in painting after painting from this prolific full-time artist. The young creative also teaches the craft, frequently submits her work to competitions and shows, and specializes in creating customized and commissioned paintings as well. See more of her work on Instagram.

Ruth Shively

Ruth Shively casts a spell with graphite on paper and oil on canvas. Originally from Nebraska, and by way of Paris and New York, she’s made Portland, Oregon home. Inspired by artists such as Egon Schiele, Lucian Freud, and Neil Welliver and driven by a background in drawing and illustration—she received her BFA from the University of Nebraska—Shivley’s work tends to focus on the human form and facial features. Her portraits give off a sense of magical realism, constructed by a looser style met with careful composition and color choices. Her work has been on display in many solo and group exhibitions. Follow her on Instagram to see more of her art.

Reflection à Paris | Courtesy of Ruth Shively

Yong Hong Zhong

Born in Canton, China, Yong Hong Zhong came to the U.S. as a 12-year-old and quickly developed an interest in drawing. He received a first-rate arts education at New York City’s LaGuardia High School and Pratt Institute, and after an illustrious career in animation—working with the likes of MTV and the Walt Disney Company—decided to devote himself entirely to his true passion: painting. Zhong now lives and paints in Portland, having moved to Oregon in part for the stunning surroundings [Portland’s Mount Tabor Park is pictured below]. His watercolor portraits and natural landscapes display a keen mastery of his craft, earning him multiple awards and exhibitions. For more of Zhong’s work, find him on Instagram.

Mount Tabor Park | Courtesy of Yong Hong Zhong

Paulette Insall

A prolific abstract artist and social media maven, Paulette Insall has 32.8 thousand Instagram followers and counting. Her mission? To deliver a dose of beauty to her audience each and every day—and to her clients on a regular basis. Insall’s artwork is in private collections around the world, and she prides herself on being able to completely transform an interior with one of her creations. “I believe beauty is necessary, serving as an invitation to savor life and a way to experience a sense of the eternal,” she says. “My intent is to make art that stirs the soul and connects us not only to the human experience but also to what lies beyond our sight.”

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