For seven years, Visit Bend has had people drawing on the walls, but they’re not vandals.
They’re artists sought after to create unique chalk art on the cement pillars in the lobby of the Bend Visitor Center through the Pillars of Art program, and Visit Bend just unveiled the newest addition.
The latest Pillars of Art featured artist was just nine years old when the program debuted in 2011. At age 16, Cedar Zagurski is the youngest contributor ever, and brings a unique perspective to a program that’s been hailed for promoting artists and exposing their work to the thousands of guests who pass through the Bend Visitor Center each year. Besides receiving a small stipend, participating artists have their framed work displayed and sold in the Visitor Center for one year.
A high school junior, Cedar has lived in Bend since he was five years old. He shared his portfolio and his vision for the pillars with the curator of the Pillars program, and was selected to create his art in August before the start of the school year. We caught up with Cedar and asked a few questions about art, his life, and everything in between. Here’s what he shared with us.
Q: How did you come up with your ideas for the pillars?
A: I like spending time outdoors in Bend, and I wanted to draw some of the things I see when I’m out hiking or floating the river. I enjoy drawing hands and including them in my art, so I thought, what better way to show someone’s hands than to show what the person is seeing? That was my inspiration for the pillar furthest from the door, and the other pillar shows a series of intertwined hands interacting with the mountains through different seasons and events like sunrise and snowfall.
Q: How does it feel to be the youngest Pillars of Art contributor in the program’s history?
A: I’m very honored to have been able to enjoy such a special opportunity.
Q: What did you like best about drawing on the pillars?
A: My favorite part about drawing on the pillars is how big they are. It was fun to get up on a ladder and cover this huge pillar with lots of beautiful colors!
Q: Tell us about your artistic training.
A: My artistic interest sparked in the seventh grade where I decided that I could use a little practice in something that was, at the time, a little outside my comfort zone. We learned how to shade and the other art essentials, and then dove right into drawing faces. By the end of the semester, I had fallen in love with art, and more specifically, realism. I decided to continue my learning of art in eighth grade through a class called “Advanced Art,” where my love for art continued to grow exponentially in an environment where I was surrounded by people who loved art just as much as I did. At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, my only option of art was an intro to art class. I didn’t want to take a class like that, so I skipped a year of art to study hands and do my own art teachings. I resumed art class my sophomore year through “Drawing and Painting 1,” and I’m planning to continue taking more art classes in the coming years.
Q: How would you describe your artistic style?
A: I would put my artistic style under the “realism” category. I have been studying the movement and manner of hands for a little over a year now. Faces were what made me love art because of the realism factor.
A: What’s your favorite medium?
My favorite medium is a tie between oil pastels and graphite. I like pastels because of their vibrant color and ability to smear and spread, as this helps with blending colors. I like graphite because it is simple, and can be used for simple sketches and drafts. Graphite can be hard and soft at the same time, which creates light and dark shades so you can produce more sophisticated drawings.
Q: Who are your artistic influences?
A: My biggest artistic influences are my three art teachers I’ve had: Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Monte, and Mrs. Houska. Besides them, my biggest influence has been Giovanni Civardi. I was very inspired by the art teachings he offered in his art book I found In Hawaii. I was so inspired by him that during my freshman year of no art class, I taught myself a lot of what I know today through his book.
Q: What do you like best about living in Bend, and how does it influence your artistic style?
My favorite thing about Bend is its accessibility to great hikes and other activities around town. I have a glove box full of maps and a copy of Scott Cook’s Bend Overall guide, and I enjoy discovering new places all over Central Oregon. The beautiful colors and scenes of Bend help inspire my art.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in Bend when you’re not creating art?
A: When I’m not doing art, I love doing my job at Sparrow Bakery. Besides art and work, I like to run, hike, listen to music, and watch movies.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: My plans for the future are to take lots of art classes through high school and into college. Even if my main career isn’t art, I want it to always be a part of my life in some way.