"In my work, I blend architecture, urban details, and fleeting moments to tell a richly layered story not possible individually. I have always been fascinated with buildings and city elements in my home city and other urban centers during my travels. Now, I capture these elements with my camera: a retro neon marquee, the facade of an iconic theatre, a brash swipe of graffiti, handmade signs and messages, grand bridge crossings, and even a odd pile of bicycles. I see this all as expressions of human creativity, the essence of what I am trying to capture in my work. With my etchings, I use a polymer photogravure technique to translate photographic elements into printed form and then combine several plates into a single scene. The composite scenes build a narrative that represents how I experience the world in an attempt to create a feeling of nostalgia, permanence and personality."
Beth Kerschen is a multi-disciplinary artist using photography and printmaking to express a unique vision. She graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Colorado College focusing on photography, digital art and printmaking. After college, she moved to Boston and worked for Polaroid using her extensive photographic and digital imaging knowledge. She worked for 10 years as a graphic designer with several creative firms in Boston, eventually moving to Portland, Oregon in 2008. She has returned to her creative roots from college and is now creating photo-illustrations combined with her favorite medium—printmaking. She was recently awarded a Professional Development Grant from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and a commission for the Portland International Airport to do a large format installation. She uses a unique blend of photography and printmaking to create urban landscapes that represent Portland’s personality and create nostalgia for the unique city we live in.
5 questions for 5 artists:
What do you do to get inspired?
If I can, I go photographing in a new area or an area I am often drawn to. Also, I like to review the photos I have taken so far….they get me excited about the places I have seen and make me want to build more scenes.
What recently made you smile?
A friend of mine starting to tell me something funny that happened to her…
What was the most powerful work of art you recall viewing?
There is so much powerful work I have seen, but one piece that stands out to me is “Metropolis” by Paul Citroen. It is a photo collage made in 1923 that I saw at the MOMA. It impressed me on many different levels. It expresses such stunning energy of the city, that it feels like such a great celebration of the urban landscape. Also I appreciated the fact that people have been editing photos and doing photo illustration in some way since the early days of photography (without photoshop!). To me there is something about a montage that depicts the real emotional energy of a city; something that most single image photographs just can’t fully express. This piece encouraged me to continue with my work and gives me inspiration to stretch it further. Ironically, a relative of Paul Citroen who owns one of these prints contacted me and I hope to see it again in person, but in Portland!
If you could have coffee or tea with one artist ...who would you pick?
Coffee or tea?
It depends on what I am in the mood for! I equally adore both!