Local Gallery Showcases Art Student’s Work

Michael Luzadder in front of the featured exhibit. Photo by Nicole Dean.

The combination of blacklight, people spinning poi and using other flow tools and a live DJ blasting psychedelic electronic music gave the “Visionary Artist Showcase” a surreal ambiance. The event was hosted on Jan. 31 at the Geodesic Collective in southeast Portland, an art and performance space. Michael Luzadder ’21 showcased some of his paintings at the event, which was his first ever galley showing.

Luzadder had been to the space before while visiting with some friends and looking at artwork and spoke to the owners of the gallery. In their conversation, the owners expressed interest in showcasing his artwork in a public event.

“What’s really cool about the gallery space is that they’re really open to having new artists in the space and having all different types of artists,” Luzadder said. “So they really reach out to a really broad community and a lot of people who might not have other gallery opportunities to show their work. You get to see a lot of unique stuff you wouldn’t get to see elsewhere.”

Luzadder describes his artistic style as visionary art and mystical painting and takes great inspiration from artists such as Jonathan Solter, a mystic painter, and Hilma af Klint, an abstract artist. He began seriously creating art his sophomore year of high school and ever since then has made the act of creating things, especially painting, a focal point of his life.

Luzadder has made painting a part of his daily routine and describes the feeling he gets from painting for long periods of time as a “flow state.”

“I usually like to paint for two to three hours (a day) and more if I can because it takes a while to get into that space where things are flowing naturally, and it’s not mental decisions anymore,” Luzadder said. “It’s just guided by intuition. In total, in a week I paint maybe 15 hours.”

Luzadder displayed seven paintings at the gallery, two of which are massive pieces he created for his Painting I and Painting II class finals. He estimated that just for one of his large pieces, he put over 60 hours of work into not only painting them, but building and stretching the canvasses. Putting that many hours into one piece of art is something he finds deeply rewarding.

Prior to the showcase,  Luzadder had never seen his paintings underneath a blacklight, which completely changed the color palette by accentuating orange tones and giving the paintings a sort of neon quality. He found this to be fun, especially in interactions with others where he held up a flashlight to the paintings to show the original color palette versus their appearance under blacklight.

In fact, Luzadder found his interactions with others at the gallery to be the most rewarding part of this experience.

“All of the work that I put into those paintings, I don’t do it for anyone else really,” Luzadder said. “It’s all for myself, in a very plain manner. But, I really enjoyed seeing other people talk about it, talk to me about it and get excited about it.”

Luzadder’s art will be displayed in the Geodesic Collective gallery for the next month. Dates and times when the gallery is open to the public are on the Geodesic Collective Facebook page.

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