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Where EAST meets the Northwest

KITE ART COMMISSIONED. A new installation is being planned for Concourse E at Portland International Airport (PDX). The display will be created by Jacob Hashimoto, an artist who was raised in the Pacific Northwest. The new installation is projected to be complete by summer 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Portland)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 11.

PDX commissions artist for permanent installation on Concourse E extension

For decades, the Portland International Airport (PDX) has worked to bring the heart of Portland and the best of Oregon to travellers — from featuring local musicians and artists to offering Portland-based retail and restaurants. In a year, a new permanent art exhibit will be installed on Concourse E at PDX, according to the Port of Portland.

The new installation, projected to be complete by summer 2020, will continue the celebration of the region. It will be created by Jacob Hashimoto, an artist who was raised in the Pacific Northwest and has displays in the U.S., the Middle East, and Europe. Hashimoto will draw on his love for the region to create a unique structure that celebrates Portland’s architecture, city landscape, and natural beauty, along with elements found at PDX.

"PDX is an iconic space in my mind. It was the big city to me when I was a kid, and the opportunity to come make artwork in collaboration with PDX was really inspiring," Hashimoto said. "I am interested in how I can design artwork that is a pleasure to discover as you travel through it visually."

Drawing from his Japanese heritage, Hashimoto brings a unique style to his art. His interactive three-dimensional structures comprise thousands of miniature kites, which are made from bamboo and silk or paper and joined together in larger compositions.

Hashimoto’s path to this signature art medium was inspired by his family. In college, he had plans to become a minimalist painter, but like many aspiring artists, he felt like he was running out of ideas.

The artist’s father encouraged him to keep studying and to start doing something with his hands. He chose to craft kites, something his grandfather started and his father continued to enjoy as an adult — flying them outside his office window. This small act of creative inspiration became the backbone of his artistic approach. It also brought a new, youthful energy to his art, something that continues to drive him today.

"It’s important to me to create artwork that is generous on many different levels — parents can look at it as they’re playing with their kids, or 12-year-olds can dig it. I think that’s what you do in the west, you create possibility," Hashimoto shared.

Upon completion on Concourse E, the structure will be a nod to the natural beauty and neighborhoods that surround Portland — with kites tracing the paths of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers — while others feature roses and pearls, the city’s flags and seals, and even the PDX carpet pattern.

Hashimoto also wants to invite travellers to draw their minds away from the city and into the broad, vast expanse of the west. His goal is to remind visitors and current residents of the terrific potential of nature and the adventure that’s just a flight away.

The art installation is made possible due to PDX Next, a program upgrading and updating the airport that includes extending Concourse E. When the extension opens in June 2020, in addition to Hashimoto’s artwork, the space will feature new gates for Southwest Airlines, more comfortable places to sit, new dining and shopping options, and a view of Mount Hood.

To find Hashimoto, the Port of Portland partnered with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) to oversee the selection process, which included an open call for artists combined with targeted outreach to artists from underrepresented communities. RACC received 283 applications and selected four finalists for interviews with a seven-person committee, where artists discussed their existing work and proposed approach for the project. Hashimoto’s deep artistic background and expertise, combined with his love for PDX, helped him rise to the top.

"It’s quite exciting to have Jacob’s work featured at PDX, which is often a person’s first and the last experience when visiting the region," said Peggy Kendellen, the public art manager at RACC. "Portland is a city filled with creatives, and what better way to be introduced to the city than with this amazing installation inspired by a sense of place through the lens of an artist."

To learn more about the project or Hashimoto, visit <> or <>.

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