Pursued by ART. Local Spotlight.

Some women always knew they’d grow up to be artists. Others stumbled onto their talent, or set out to do something else entirely. However, art has a way of finding those destined to create. We’re putting a spotlight on remarkable artists. What they have in common is that their journey to becoming working artists was not such a straight, clear path. The following is about a painter, a potter and a poet. 

Hayley Shortridge-Gabriel
Painter, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Though she was born into an artistically rich environment, Hayley Shortridge-Gabriel didn’t initially set out to be an artist; after all, she was good at sports. At a young age her family relocated from California to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They settled into the quaint resort town, where Hayley’s parents opened several stores and art galleries. She is the youngest daughter of the notable television actor and now nationally acclaimed artist Stephen Charles Shortridge. 
Her father has a distinct fine art style that evokes romance and grandeur. Despite growing up around all those paints and brushes, Hayley had no plans to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Hayley pursued anything else, from ballet to basketball, and her athletic ability led her back to California to play soccer on a scholarship. While attending Point Loma Nazarene University, she seized the opportunity to study abroad in Spain, and then, after graduating, she explored Europe with her best friend. During these excursions, she took in the diverse culture and found herself immersed in art. Looking
back she feels blessed to have visited world-renowned galleries and to have studied the works of the masters.

That travel inspiration may have awakened her innate artistry, at least enough to give it a serious try. While home for the holidays just prior to graduation, she wandered into her father’s at-home studio and began to play around. This time, alone in the studio, it was different. Though not comparing herself to her accomplished father, she recalled thinking she wasn’t too bad. This time, art had captured her attention.
“Bugle Boy,” acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, by Hayley Shortridge-Gabriel
After graduating with a degree in Management and Organizational Communications, she returned to Coeur d’Alene to assist her father with the business aspects of his art. Once again, Hayley was surrounded by art, but this time she was ready to let it win her over. She began to paint, learning the tools of the trade. She developed her own style, and began to express the art within her. She soon came to be recognized for her unique talent. Her paintings began to sell, and she started to get commissions. Her father couldn’t have been prouder. Her paintings are her own, inspired by her experiences, travels, and outlook on life. They evoke peace, nature, and sometimes whimsy.

But this is not where Hayley’s journey with art ends. It led her to a second career, one that can be described as art with purpose. Hayley had always wanted to help people beyond hanging her art in their homes. By a chance encounter, she discovered a new artistic direction: permanent cosmetics. In addition to makeup enhancement procedures that improve her client’s confidence, the field also includes scar camouflage and post-mastectomy coloring. She is especially drawn to the medical side of permanent cosmetics, which
fulfills her need to help people. Women who endure the trauma of chemotherapy and surgery – especially following breast cancer – often feel a loss of femininity. Hayley is honored to help them regain it. Her clients benefit from her artist’s eye for color and her steady hand.

Hayley began her quest by finding experienced mentors, and then became certified in Permanent Cosmetics by Permanent Cosmetique International, based in San Francisco. This second artistic career has proven to be a blessing to the first. She finds that painting for herself and not for a paycheck has helped her regain a certain freedom in her artistic impression, similar to playing around in her father’s studio when no one was looking.

For more on Hayley Shortridge-Gabriel and to find her art, 
go to www.hayleygabriel.com. For more information on
her permanent cosmetics, visit www.truelifecanvas.com

Gina Freuen
Potter, Spokane, Washington

Photo Credit: Spokane Life
Gina Freuen was born into a creative family. Her mother painted, ran an art gallery, and taught art in the family home. Art didn’t seem special; rather, it was a way for her mother to supplement the family income. Gina’s father was a teacher and there were seven children in the family. Her sister Kay O’Rourke is an accomplished painter. Despite the influence of art in her home, Gina didn’t set out to be an artist.

While attending Pacific Lutheran University, Gina needed a Fine Arts credit. She passed by the ceramics room almost daily, and grew increasingly curious about what was going on there. She signed up for the class. Perhaps the attraction was that no one in her family worked in ceramics, but Gina
believes it was about being at the right place at the right time. Gina was encouraged and inspired by the enthusiastic, young faculty in the new Fine Arts department, and she graduated in 1973 with a BFA in Fine Arts, with an emphasis on ceramic arts and drawing.

Forty years later, Gina is regarded as an important Northwest artist. Primarily a potter, she is well known for her whimsical teapots and one-of-a-kind vessels. Their oddly shaped
components, mixed textures and colors have an “Alice in Wonderland” quality to them. While the forms appear utilitarian, the shapes have been exaggerated, producing functional art that demands more than a passing glance. Gina is respected for her hand-built forms, surface manipulation, and firing techniques.

“In Search,” wood soda-fired coffee pot-style vessel, 16” x 11” x 5”, Gina Freuen
Living in Spokane in the mid-90s, Gina was once again in the right place at the right time. Her art was getting attention, and, while attending a social gathering, she was asked if she’d like to fill in a teaching vacancy in the Fine Arts department at Gonzaga University. She accepted, and has gone on teach at GU for almost 17 years. In addition to ceramics, Gina also teaches drawing and design/composition and has had the privilege of teaching two summer sessions at Gonzaga’s Summer in Florence program. For her fortunate students, she is willing to share her talent and technique. Outside the classroom, Gina’s life extends into a full-time working ceramic studio, workshops, and graphic design contracts. She has curated several exhibitions in the Spokane community, including the Northwest Atmospheric Ceramics Invitational at Gonzaga University’s Jundt Museum. Gina was the founder of Spokane’s ArtFest, and for more than 25 years has helped manage the Inland Crafts Juried Craft Festival. Her ceramic work and mixed media artworks are represented in galleries and exhibited throughout the United States. Her work is spotlighted in Lark
Publishing’s 500 Bowls, 500 Cups, as well as 500 Teapots. Gina’s work is also represented in 100 Northwest Artists, and Teapots, Makers & Collectors, both published by Schiffer Publishing.

For more on Gina Freuen and where to find her art, go
to www.ginafreuen.com.

Jennifer Boyden
Poet, Otis, Oregon

Poet and essayist Jennifer Boyden grew up in a scientific household. It seemed only logical that she would become a biologist or naturalist. But she was always drawn to writing, and at Eastern Washington University, where she obtained her Masters in Fine Art in Creative Writing, she found other creative beings like herself.

Jennifer’s work is influenced by both her domestic life, and by scientific inquiry, with its notions of theory and hypothesis. The words she choreographs have depth, meaning and, often, moral obligation. Some of the themes she addresses are the importance of place based, experiential art, watershed ecology, and the need to more directly acknowledge how communities are affected by the industries they choose to support.

She has collaborated with visual artists and scientists, and has seen her poetry set in concrete, blasted in stone, and fabricated into license plates. Her chief collaborator, in both life and art, is her husband, artist Ian Boyden. Boyden works across multiple media. His work demonstrates an intense interest in material relevance, place-based thought and ecology, and a deep awareness of East Asian aesthetics. 

The artistic couple’s shared interests make for the perfect environment for joint projects. In downtown Walla Walla, on the west side of 3rd Avenue, between Main & Alder, you’ll find a Boyden husband-and-wife collaboration, appropriately
titled “Convergences.” This intriguing public artwork features a column of basalt, encircled with bands of Jennifer’s poetic text. The polished band represents the horizon – the place where the sky and earth meet. This sculpture encourages interaction, as the observer is reflected in the mirror-like polished surface, reading and pondering the poem fragments. Jennifer’s text is intended to prompt the viewer to finish the fragmented prose. Her thought provoking words can also be found on “Poetic License,” part of artist Buster Simpson’s mammoth sculpture titled “Campanile,” on display in front of the William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center on the Walla Walla Community College campus.

Convergences (2003), a collaborative sculpture by Ian and Jennifer Boyden 
In addition to numerous published essays, Jennifer has published three books, the most recent being The Declarable Future (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.) This collection of poetry has her signature insight into great complexity. The deep subject matter can cause uneasiness, and her poignant words provoke the reader to think long after the reading is done. Her writing awards include the PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Residency Award, which allowed Boyden to live and write for nearly a year in a remote cabin in southern Oregon; and a Washington Artists’ Trust grant for a suite of essays about walking, how environment shapes movement and idea, and observations about how personal and public identities are affected by corporate influence and the removal of nature. In 2011, she was recognized as Alumna of the Year by the writing program at Eastern Washington University. Jennifer lives on the Oregon coast with her husband, their daughter, and a flock of chickens. She has taught at Soochow University in China, Whitman College, the Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology, Walla Walla Community College, and at a variety of workshops. She is currently completing a yearlong writing residency at Grass Mountain in Otis, Oregon, where she will make a transition to co-director of this emerging program. This is the perfect match, allowing dedication to writing, art, and cross disciplinary collaborations that address issues of environmental urgency.

For more on Jennifer Boyden and where to find her art, go to www.jenniferboyden.com.

As published in The Essential Guide (2014/2015) 


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