March Artist: Chris Haberman
The Art of Chris Haberman
Chris Haberman is a working painter, writer, muralist, curator and musician, native to Portland, Oregon. Aside from painting, he has published poetry, journalism and fiction; being awarded the Tom Doulis Fiction award, the Wilma Morrison award for excellence in journalism from Portland State University, and is a lifetime member to the Academy of American Poets.
All of Chris Haberman’s artwork is created from recycled objects, found material from the streets and alleyways of his hometown. A discarded dabinet door or table top quickly becomes the backdrop for an integrated puzzle-poem of figures and text, focusing on subjects like people, politics, the region, pop-culture, media, music, film and literature.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams said in 2009 that “Chris is the hardest working artist in Portland.” Chris’ first curatorship was a show for Adams in City Hall of Portland, Oregon (Portland Pride, 2007). He has also shown art in hundreds of venues, including “Oregon Art Annual” and is a frequent contributor to local artwalks, school fairs and open studio tours. In July 2012, Chris recorded selling over 10,000 original works since 2001, and he was a feature artist for Oregon Art Beat on Oregon Public Broadcasting and awarded “Portland Artist of the Year” for Barfly Magazine. In January 2011, he and fellow artist Jennifer Mercede won a national artist contest in Las Vegas, competing with artists from 10 other cities.
Besides making art, Chris is also a teacher and fervent freelance curator and arts advocate, coordinating hundreds of Portland art exhibits with regional artists since 2001, founding first a non-profit (Portland City Art, 2009) and then Chris Haberman Presents and The People’s Art of Portland in Pioneer Place Mall (with fellow artist/curator/buddy, Jason Brown, The Goodfoot) both in 2010, to help local artists show their works.
In 2011, he illustrated a book with Oregon television icon, K.C. Cowan, detailing a humorous selection of Catholic Saints. In the same year, he also completed a 219 wood panel album reproduction for an office mural for record label Kill Rock Stars, and a 100 piece show about the History of Oregon for Portland State University. In 2012/13 he completed a 140 foot mural about “The History of Hawthorne Blvd.” for 50th SE Hawthorne on the Eagles Fraternal Lodge funded by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). Chris currently is the Art Consultant/Curator/Art Department Staff for TV show Portlandia (Seasons 3, 4 and 5).
I borrow-stole a road construction sign tonight,
Carefully ripping it from the metal tripod.
In reality, I saved its life from a dingy existence
In the cold night air, or perhaps a long distant
Slumber in a lonely garbage pit somewhere.
I took it home like a date and we watched
A movie together.
In my bed I painted on it, not interfering
With the words, but painting around them,
Tracing a brush across colorful ears and ears,
Faces and words and people in traffic.
Road construction ahead, at midnight,
Walking back to the scene of the crime, timing
My actions between headlights and bystanders,
Stragglers from the NE Broadway bar scene,
Hiding the sign in wet bushes, the socket wrench
Tight in my front pocket.
I did this for months, stealing-borrowing signs
And making art and putting them back,
Better to my eye, decorated, re-arranging
The orange and black and tanned light blue clues.
Guerilla Art. From the heart, road destruction ahead.