Helen Lessick: A successful art career decades in the making

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Lessick with a rocking chair she made and a broken-down version of a mirror installation in California. She worked with a botanical garden to put an installation in front of a dying California live Oak tree. The mirrors were shaped as acorns and eggs on tall poles and they circled the tree to be an interactive installation for the visitors of the park.

By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside (Contact: kagatucci2@cocc.edu)

Helen Lessick is originally from Philadelphia, Pa. Lessick traveled west to attend college at Reed College to get her Bachelor’s in art. After receiving her BFA, she received her Master’s in art at the University of California Irvine.

Lessick is still a working artist, and is constantly looking for ways to engage the community and the environment with her art.

Eventually, Lessick moved to the North West to Portland, Or. There, she worked in many alternative non-profit spaces with other artists and community groups.

“I think it’s really important that artists have conversations both with each other and with a larger community. It’s not just about what happens in my studio it’s about what happens everywhere, ” Lessick added.

She has spent twenty years in Oregon, working on personal project but also as an activist with other artists public programs as well as in gallery programs at Universities.

As well as trees, Lessick is interested in materials. Understanding how materials like concrete and steel work together as well as wood surfaces engages her, “For me, I have the ability to think structurally. More like an engineer,”Lessick explained.

“Art has really paid off for me,” Lessick said. Within her many years as an artist, her career has taken her to Los Angeles, Houston, Nairobi, China, New Zealand for various conferences and talks.

“If you’re open to where art can take you, it’s a terrific journey,” Lessick added. ■

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