Living in Portland

The hashtag #portland is popping up more and more frequently in the Instagram feeds of creative types. What is the attraction of this west-coast American city, home to so many artists? Lisa Congdon, an illustrator, hand-letterer and pattern designer explains it.

Before deciding to move to the northwest, Lisa had been living in San Fransisco for years and belonged to a close-knit group of artists there. “Several people were moving out at that time; our group was falling apart,” she says. “I chose Portland because I have some family here and also because there’s such a creative community.”

Just over a year on, and she’s starting to feel at home. “Portland is easy to navigate, it feels like a small town. When I meet a new fellow artist on Instagram, we can actually meet up in real life, too. While in San Fransisco I sometimes followed people’s accounts for years without ever meeting them.” Without Instagram, Lisa says she would never have been able to build a new network in Portland so quickly. To create more mutual exchanges she started organizing drawing nights for women at her house. “I invite people I know. We get together, draw together and have a drink. What more could you want?”

  • In issue 17, three more creative people talk about Portland. The issue is available in our shop.

Text Jagger Blaec Photography Margaret Jacobsen