Here it finally is – my post about the one and only Paige. She owns and curates Breeze Block Gallery in NW Portland and in line with my rad women doing rad things features, I asked her all about what she does and what she wears while doing it.
In case you need me to spell it out for you, all my commentary/questions will be in pink, in honor of Paige’s favorite color. If there was a neon text format, I would do that too.
Me and Paige at her 30th birthday party last week. She thinks I’m hilarious AND she shares my love of hoop earrings. Hard to find a picture of her WITHOUT them! My girl.
1. Do you think your love of neon has anything to do with being from CA?
My love of neon surely comes from being a native of the grey and rainy Portland. (haha you got confused cause my high school friends I talk about all moved to Oakland 😉 . Not many Portlanders dare wear bright colors, it’s something you see in hot places like Miami (where I recently travelled to for Art Basel!!), but I think the greyest cities should rock the loudest colors – it brings a little joy and pop to the day!
Paige at work in the gallery:
And at Art Basel, rocking a very Miami shirt. …Beinvenido a Miami! :
2. Explain to me your love of neon…
My Little Ponies were my favorite toys as a girl…I didn’t like dolls, too creepy. I think a lot of my fashion color palette is stolen from the My Little Pony’s manes, tails, and rump patterns – bright pinks mixed with pastels and sparkly things and accents of light blues and turquoises – ha! I did go through a brief hippie phase late in high school, with dreads, hairy arm pits and all, but I always had a pink streak in the hair and never wore earth tones. Circa age 22, right before I opened my gallery, I was trying to figure out what the eff to do with my life, what would make me happy. I kept talking about how I felt my life was grey, how I needed more COLOR in my life. I guess my solution was quite literal and I opened the gallery to showcase graffiti and street art (the boldest colored art genre). I lived in the gallery at that time and was suddenly physically surrounded with color constantly. I had never been happier than waking up every morning with my neon green mural behind my bed and wild art on all the walls below my loft. Obviously my curatorial eye not only chooses bright art, but bright clothing as well!
This made me laugh really hard “my fashion color palette is stolen from the My Little Pony’s manes, tails, and rump patterns”. Rump. Hah. But also, this question is mostly funny because after reading my personal feelings about neon (here), Paige texted me to tell me she owned the melon colored pants in the last picture. Ooos!
And speaking of that My Little Pony Collection, her mom cleaned every last one of them off so they could make an appearance at her 30th birthday party. They ended up being hung from ceiling, but not in a death sort of way. In a really cute way. And it was awesome.
Paige’s first fashion inspiration
3. Do you like side-ponies? I mean, like, 80’s side-ponies…
Um, yeah, duh! I had long blond hair as a little girl and my mom used to ask me before school every morning, “Side pony, or regular?” and was always so irritated and would reply “Side pony mom, duh!”. The My Little Pony aesthetic I’m sure had an influence on this too. I don’t really do side-ponies any more, but I do highly appreciate some serious side bangs (you know, the swoopy-across-the-face kind).
Haha! I totally asked that question because I knew she would say yes. I mean, I would have had to reevaluate the meaning of our friendship had she said no. “Side pony mom, DUH!” I can totally see it.
4.You are one of my only friends with blonde hair. You’ve got a very California Girl thing happening that I think is SO hot and love that you’re one of my only friends rocking it … what are some of your fashion inspirations? Where do you think this style came from?
California style embodies fun – I guess that’s why I rock the Cali look so hard – I want my life to be fun! And it is, wink wink. While I follow and sometimes wear fashion trends, I’ve also always had a unique style. I grew up in a pretty homogeneous demographic in Portland and fashion as a teenager became one of the ways I tried to be my own person. Blond hair is a total must for me because of this – one time I tried going a little darker and totally freaked out, going back to the salon the next day for a re-lighten. I felt like a boring and drab girl! I’ll be blond and fun til the day I die (cause blonds DO have more fun!).
So jealous of that necklace. Always wanted a “Lucy” necklace. And come on Paige. I have like, black hair. And you know I have tons of fun, so … GIANT hole in your argument!
5. Did you see a change in your fashion when you went from living in your tiny gallery space to running Breeze Block at its current location? If so, how, why, etc…
When the gallery moved into its current down town location, I had to bring a little more professional style into my wardrobe. The old gallery space was all about the artists, drinking beer on the couch, selling spray paint, and staying up til 4am every night. Looking back I realize that not a lot of art ‘buyers’ felt very comfortable in that setting – but it was the time of my life so I didn’t care. When I moved down town two plus years ago, the space itself is so professional that I started being one of those people that wore ‘work clothes’ and ‘regular clothes’… we were getting more serious buyers coming through the space so I needed to act the part. However, don’t worry, I still rock hot pink and big ol’ gold hoop earrings even in my ‘professional’ wears.
Being a professional babe at the new spot:
And slangin some spray paint:
6. Street art, skateboarding, boys. And your most recent show a fashion show:
“In The Flower Months” by Emily Katz
Described at “New Freehand Embroidery inspired by the dream poems of Jeevan Singh”
Tell me about the art you choose to showcase and why. This must go hand-in-hand with style/fashion…
Emily Katz’s fashion show was a huge first for the gallery! She accompanied her art show with a matching collection of clothes – she is a fashion designer by trade. I really believe fashion and art are the two biggest vehicles of personal expression, so it was special to have both avenues presented in tandom from one talented lady. I curate art that I love, from people and cultures I believe in, which usually looks similar to the fashion I love – bright, energetic, fun, and different. Kind of the like those dang skater graff boys I keep around me 😉
Working the ladder in heels! Very impressive:
Success! … wait … are those Jeffery Campbell “Lita’s“? Ughhhhhh, haha.
7. Did you face challenges being a woman when you first started? Now? Or do you think it helped, or … ?
Female small business owners are a minority, so I always felt like I had to fight a little stronger or had something to prove. I think being a woman, and a young woman at age 23, when I opened the gallery, put a fire under my ass. That fire gave me a sense of confidence that I could do whatever I wanted. Since most of the artists I show are male (not by choice but by genre) I always felt supported and protected like a little sister. Six years later, I don’t think being a woman makes much of a difference to me, especially since the art world is so diverse gender wise – it’s one of the few industries where both women and men seem to be successful gallerists. However, the graffiti street art gallery scene is dominated by male gallery owners like Justin at White Walls, Andres Guerroro, Joshua Liner and Jonathan Levine… but you know I like to play with the big boys and have (hopefully) carved out a niche for myself as the female gallery owner in that genre.
Can you spot the sexy one?:
8. Also – I know you run a lot with our boys … is that because you’re naturally a guys girl? Because you appreciate an aesthetic up to now so predominantly dominated (good writing there, I know) by men, or … what?
I’ve always been naturally a guys girl… I was seriously nerdy before middle school and learned at an early age how mean girls can be, I played chess alone at recess! (omg, I love you) By age 12 I was under the wing of the 90’s grunge skater boy crews while the girls were clique-ing up and being catty. Since then I’ve always ran with a tight knit group of guys… they’re creating the art I’m drawn to for the gallery and I never have to deal with drama or hurt feelings with them. My only beef with the boy posse is they’re really picky about any boyfriend I ever bring around!!
9. What’s your biggest fashion pet peeve?
When people wear jeans that don’t make their ass look good. Come on – it’s such an easy fix!! Duh.
10. What fashion item, trend, icon, are you currently lusting after?
Fancy nails!! I’ve always done my nails super crazy and I’m loving that it’s all over the blogs and streets right now… go girls!
11. And anything else you want to tell me!
Thanks for the interview, Lucy!! I think you are sooo super hotttttt!!! (and more importantly very smart and sassy) xoxoxo
How great is she? Super great, I know. And super hot and inspiring. Paige has an infectious smile and lust for life that is mirrored in her love of bright colors and graphic prints…haha, I had to bring up prints because check this out:
I should probably write my next blog post on this guy. I fucking love this picture, love that guy’s style, and love this girl! If you have any questions for Paige, get at it in the comments, yo!
Now, time to go write my Gossip Girl homage to that twat Serena Van Der Woodsen.
Until next time, xoxo, Lou