Photo of Portland Artist Morgan Reedy

Interview with Artist Morgan Reedy

Born and raised in a small town in South Dakota, artist Morgan Reedy moved to Portland around 15 years ago. Reedy attended Pacific Northwest College of Art for her BFA, slowly finishing the degree to allow time to make a living and travel on the side. Reedy now works under the umbrella of “Reedy’s Hardware,” the namesake of her grandparent’s hardware store, started in Vermillion, South Dakota in 1962. Forty-five years later, Reedy has expanded the concept of the hardware store to include the multitude of ways that she now works as an artist and designer.

Reedy recently answered several questions about her art practice via email. A recent selection of her work, a series of paintings inspired by old surf legends, while be on view in WINDOWWALL Salon during the month of August.

Debra Woodward: What originally brought you to Portland?

Morgan Reedy: Coming from the Midwest, I needed to go somewhere, and the West Coast is where I landed.

Woodward: Has living in Portland influenced your approach to making?

Reedy: For the most part, Portland has provided the time and space to make and live as an artist…although that all feels like it’s changing on the broader spectrum with the rising costs of living and growth in general. But with growth comes new opportunities, and I’ve had the chance to help other creative women open new businesses and launch new projects. I also have an awesome community of friends that look to each other, and their trades [and] talents, to support and encourage new opportunities.

Woodward: Is there a definitive moment in your life that inspired you to become a maker?

Reedy: No real definitive moment…I’ve always been a weirdo. It’s been just the last 5 years that I’ve actually identified as an artist out loud.

Woodward: What is your approach to art and design as a maker?

Reedy: Art is life. I try to bring attention and intention to everything I do. Presence has always been my window into seeing. “Be here now” has long been an ongoing theme of the moment…which has also allowed for an assortment of mediums and subject matter.

Woodward: Are there any particular favorites, as far as inspirations, influences, subject matter, themes, or areas of inquiry in your work?

Reedy: Everything all of the time…the present provides 😉

But a few specifics…Robert Irwin, sign painting, Bob Dylan, Bauhaus, Jamaica in the 1960’s & 70’s, old botanical drawings, and cooking. [As well as] …light and clouds and spacey everyday simplicities. I’ve always had a strong relationship to words, text, and letters- both in their meaning(s) as well as their shape and form. This particular body of work grew legs while I was on holiday in South Africa this past winter. On a big road trip along the coast line, I was getting a cool-combo tour of history (political & social), stories (personal & collective), and geography (surf, swell, weather and plants).

Woodward: What are some other upcoming projects, visions, or collaborations for you?

Reedy: This spring I took Reedy’s Hardware (my creative umbrella where I do all kinds of work…but as a business) above board, and have had some neat projects. I’m doing some work for Libby (of Portland Museum of Modern Art) for her big project (for Houseguest & PICA’s TBA Festival) at Pioneer Courthouse Square in September. I’m excited about some hand lettering and hand painted sign projects going into the fall.

For more information about Morgan Reedy’s diverse practice, as well as upcoming projects, check out www.reedyshardware.com.

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