Best Coast Opening at Future Shock
Written by and Photos by Cassidy Maley
Once upon a time in the colorful, thriving city of Portland, Oregon there was a group of three young female artists. They united from across the country, with one goal in mind, to throw a badass art show in one of the neatest little venues in a cute little corner of the city. On May 5th the Best Coast art show opened for the month of May at the record store and art venue Future Shock, in Southeast Portland. This show was curated by three powerhouse lady artists with well known reputations from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest Coast. Miranda Thomas, Mindie Gum-Grivell, and Katie Costa are three artists that you should get used to hearing about. Their styles are very unique, and each artist has qualities that stand alone in her work. This made the art show interesting. There was Miranda with her intricate detail in wood burning and also nature inspired paintings, which sits in contrast with Mindie’s very graphic, graffiti style of painting. And there’s Katie’s work, which to me brings back some thoughts of a more classic art style, with realistic renderings of faces mixed with some graphic touches. The three art styles, even though they were different, did not compete with each other but rather, complimented each other. The work fit perfectly with the background of records and gave attendees another reason to tour the entire store.
Mindie is a self taught artist, which to me, is almost more speaking to an artist than one who has a degree. All of her skills are self-taught, and learned through trial and error. I think this speaks miles for Mindie’s character. She is one of the most determined artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She puts her mind and effort into something, and expects a result. Her creative drive pushes her, but I think it’s her business world background that has helped form the artist we see today. She knows how to put all of her ducks into a row so to say, she is organized and precise in her efforts, which are qualities not every artist possess. Her background in business has provided her with the necessary skills to not only create her art but how to turn it into her career. It is also the business world that really pushed her to creating art.
For her, creativity was in her heart, but practicality was in her mind. She spent years after graduating high school in Vancouver, Washington working in an office, and creating on the side while working her way up her career path. It wasn’t until she and her spouse had the courage to move across the country, that she was able to fully throw herself into art. Sometimes, it takes a big change in life to reorganize your priorities.
Her work and style really blossomed in the tight knit art scene of Indianapolis. She has a one-of-a-kind style, that to me merges the West Coast color palette with the outspoken messages of the plight of women in the Midwest. Her creations are bold, and colorful with some references to pop culture and graffiti. Much of her art features a female muse, and that has made it more and more relevant as time passes and the feminist movement is becoming current again. These empowering female portraits speak to being a loud and proud feminine voice in society.
She also has another series of work that is called the “Creatch” series. She uses these cute monster creations for much of her merchandise art as well as full scale paintings and family portraits of all of the little monsters she creates. One of the unique things about Mindie as an artist is her unique ability to market herself and her art. The “Creatch” series is easily marketable to all age groups and the variety of products, such as watches, that she puts the images on makes it very consumable.
She has a creative style that carries through in all of her products and throughout her website that gives her a very clear voice in the art world. She has a message to spread, and it is one of passion and color. She has new work that she will be releasing in Oregon and Washington, and is looking forward to creating more work on her journey back home to the West Coast. She is still currently seeking bookings in Oregon and Washington for the month of May. I can’t wait to see what art comes out of the journey across this beautiful country.
Miranda is a well known artist in the Indianapolis art community. She has spent her life in the open skies and fields of Indiana. A formerly educated artist, proud to have studied at Herron School of Art, she has a wide array of skills and mediums that she works in, but recently has stumbled into a new medium that is going to rock the West Coast. Painting was her first love, and many of her paintings feature a nature theme, which I think led her to her newest series of work, natural wood burned creations.
Miranda has always known that art was her calling, she however as most artists do, set out with a different path in mind, practicality over creativity, but as most times, the art won that battle. She grew up with art all around her, her parents and influential figures in her life bred the creativity into her. Painting called her name, and soon she followed. The rest, as they say is history, and Miranda is doing constructive things in the thriving art community of Indianapolis. She currently works at one of the most visited museums in the city, The Children’s Museum. She spends her time not only creating, but inspiring the younger generation to create like she has. I find this very inspiring, Miranda had so many influential teachers in her life that pushed her to be the best and follow your heart, I think she feels called to give back in a likewise way.
This show will be the first time Miranda Thomas has shown her art on this side of the country, but many of her works feature themes that speak to the West Coast, carvings of wide open skies and tall, tall trees are features of many of her works of art. I can’t wait to see what a trip out here does to inspire her style. She plans to stay on a little property in Washington with Mindie and they will be creating together through the month of May.
Katie Costa is a new artist to me, but one I’m coming to love very much. She is the unifying puzzle piece of this three lady art show. Unlike our other two ladies, she is born and bread on the West Coast. She spent her childhood growing up the safe and cozy suburbs of Vancouver, Washington. It’s here that she met Mindie, many years ago, and is our degree of connection between the Midwest and Portland. Currently she is living in Portland and is working and attending college at Portland State University College of Arts to finish up her B.F.A. She is currently working as an interior designer and painter with a student assistant, truly a living the life of an artist.
Just like our other ladies, and I feel many artists, she didn’t set out to make art her life. Like many, she thought that art was just a hobby, something she turned to when life got tough and she needed a creative outlet. Her path to art was inspired by witnessing a tragic event where another person lost their life. She thought, she couldn’t waste another minute not pursuing her passion, life is short and temporary, and she witnessed that first-hand and was inspired to launch herself into creating full time.
Katie has done very well making herself a very consumable artist. She can redecorate your home, paint you a mural, make you a bed set, or draw a portrait of your cat, and create beautiful paintings to decorate your walls. But what truly inspires me about her as an artist is her aspirations. Katie is hoping to break back into the Portland art scene by creating a group space for other artists to live, work, and create together. She’s tired of the separation and competition that comes with a lot of art and is striving to create a community of like-minded people who are there to support, critique, and love each other. I hope to be able to follow her on this journey, an art collective is just what the city of Portland needs, a group of people united under art, not competing with their art. Stay tuned as Katie continues her art education, and comes out with new exciting takes on what being a loud and proud female artist can be.
Their beautiful, intricate works of art have been displayed all month at Future Shock, and there’s still art that is up for sale. They have work that fits all price ranges as well as smaller work and print packages for sale. The opening night, featuring a DJ and the band Indyca from Indianapolis, who are now on a West Coast tour. (See more info here)
All month long, the ladies had been working together creating new works out in the expansive wilderness of the rolling hills and green grasses of Washington state. They got together one last time, at Future Shock on Friday May 25th. This was the last weekend that these beautiful works were available all together in one place, soon they will be traveling back to their respected corners of the USA. But not to worry, linked below are the respective places you can view, and purchase their art. Support your local artist, they need to eat too. More info here!
More work by Miranda Thomas
More Work by Mindie Gum-Grivell
More Work by Katie Costa