Five minutes with: Eric Jensen

Eric Jensen stands beneath one of his creations, the halibut, in Morris' Fireside Restaurant.

Portland artist Eric Jensen’s work can be found hanging in Morris’ Fireside Restaurant in Cannon Beach. Much of it is wood-based and all done by hand, but Jensen is experienced in a variety of mediums. He studied sculpture under a master in Bali and taught sculpture himself at Portland Community College. He’s also taught art to at-risk youth. He’s done work for a wide range of clients, including a stone piece for the Chinook Indian Nation and a wood carving for the Oregon Musueum of Science and Industry. And he’s available for requests. Jensen works from a studio in his houseboat, but those interested in seeing his art can take a gander and find his contact information at ericjensenart.com.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your background. How’d you get started with art?

A: I was always interested in art. I was very ill when I was small and so my father encouraged me to draw. It just kind of grew over the years.

Q: What sort of art do you do?

A: I’m all over the place. I did the halibut in Morris’ Fireside Restaurant. I work in various media. Wood, ceramic, synthetics. Anything and everything.

Q: When did you get involved with Morris’ Fireside Restaurant in Cannon Beach?

A: I think it was 2001. I had made the crab on the other side of the chimney here and I had it in the back of my van. I stopped by and spoke with Mr. Morris and he bought it right out of the van. I’ve done four things for him. He’s great to work with.

Q: How many pieces would you say you’ve made over the years?

A: Oh golly. There’s probably 44 images here in my portfolio and this is maybe half of them.

Q: Are there any particular themes you enjoy working with?

A: Not specifically. Although I get a lot of orders for animals, especially pets. I did a series of dogs hanging out of car windows in ceramic and people just loved it. Some were portraits of their dogs and some were just your basic German shepherd or weeny dog or whatever. I like abstract, I like figurative. I’ve always tried to diversify. I’ve mixed media. I did a sign with three different woods for a hair salon in Eugene. The hair was red cedar because the model was a redhead — the wife of the owner of the salon. And like many redheads, her skin was fair, so I made the face out of ash. I work in a lot of media, though, not just wood.

Q: What sort of clients have you had? It sounds like you’ve had everyday people for the pet projects and groups like the tribe for others.

A: I’ve done work with both the Chinook Tribe and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. I’ve done museum work. My artwork usually gets around by word of mouth. These days, I’m trying to appeal to architects.

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