At 90 years old, Portland artist Eunice Parsons has more spunk than many 60 year olds I know. She also has one of the finest handshakes of any woman I’ve met; her fingers, curved with age, fit my hand like a glove. Like most of the senior Portland artists I’ve photographed in this series, she has a lot of stories, knows a lot of people, and has produced a lot of work.
Eunice is a well-known collage artist; you can see some of her work here, at the 12×16 Gallery. (She also has a show and lecture this month at the Helzer Gallery at PCC Rock Creek.) She is known and adored by her many students, from her many years teaching at the Museum Art School (now PNCA) and PSU, many of whom still visit her in her West Hills home and studio. This year, she is being honored, along with a select few others, as a Faculty Emeritus at PNCA.
Up in her attic studio, Eunice seems to melt right into the floor. She kneels to work on collages she constructs from boxes and boxes of collected and sorted materials, setting antique irons atop them to help them dry flat. As she talks, her face is animated, and as she makes a point, her face lights up and her eyes sparkle.
I could have stayed several more hours, talking and photographing, if I weren’t so allergic to her dogs and cats….