High Desert Artistry 25

Three Central Oregon Artists Put Their Stamp on the Community

As Central Oregon has grown, so has the number of talented artists, naturally drawn to the high desert for its enriching environment and intimacy—the perfect backdrop to create. Whether it’s public art, jewelry, furniture or architecture, our corner of the world has a plethora of passionate craftsmen whose creativity seems to never end. Three local artisans—Jim Rozewski, Erik Hoogen, and Greg Steen—highlight this artistic movement by inspiring us with their unique mediums.

Jim Rozewski

Ever since Jim Rozewski can remember, he has loved art and architecture and combined the two in both life and career. Born in Central Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Architecture, Rozewski is a true hometown artisan.

“I left where I came from to find the perfect place to live and found that the perfect place to live was where I came from.” Jim Rozewski.

Rozewski’s structures are mostly located on the West Coast—as well as a completed resort in South Korea—focusing on single and multi-family residential, small commercial developments, and mixed-use spaces.

Besides the concrete and steel of buildings, Rozewski’s other mediums include graphite art on illustration board and color pencil and ink on vellum. In 1984, he produced the marketing poster for the City of Bend depicting a futuristic Bend in 2001. It was a companion poster that coincided with Bend’s first Cycling Classic.

Currently Rozewski’s art is consignment-based and can only be found in private residences in Oregon and around the country. Rozewski plans to continue several more residential and commercial design projects and to complete a selection of portraits entitled, the Homeless Series.

Erik Hoogen

Nine years ago, a truck carrying snowboards, dirt bikes, a two-year-old boxer, and Erik Hoogen arrived in Sunriver. Hoogen had left Seattle in search of a small town community and a place for adventure.

“After two years in the woods, and three on the ranch in Crooked River, I finally made Bend my home.” Erik Hoogen.

At just nine years old, Hoogen spray-canned his way into the graffiti art world. Hip-hop music and life in the big city were his first major inspirations. After graduating from high school, Hoogen spent the next thirteen years doing graphic design for K2 Corporation, a Seattle-based sports company that sells skis, snowboards, snowshoes and other winter apparel.

While Hoogen’s art can be seen on snowboards and surfboards around the world, his true passion is creating wall murals. He paints everyday to keep himself motivated. He currently has an underground mural at downtown Bend’s The Capitol and will be painting another at the new Skjeraas Ski Shop Westside Bend location.

You can catch Hoogen painting live around Bend at local breweries, concerts and on First Friday Art Walks in downtown Bend. His favorite painting, “Bend Oregon Feeling,” was painted live on location at the Eagle Preserve in Smith Rock State Park. Hoogen loves creating art in what has become a very supportive community over the years and plans to continue all his mediums in a place that he’s very happy to call home.

Greg Steen

Born in the African nation of Zambia and traveling most of his childhood and adult life, woodworker Greg Steen fell in love with everything Central Oregon had to offer and permanently relocated. After several years—and a medical scare while serving as a helicopter pilot, Steen came back to his first love of furniture design and decided to pursue it full time. Steen’s inspiration began with a woodworking teacher who helped Steen bring his ideas to fruition. Design and construction—and its many detailed steps—is done in Steen’s personal workshop, while his home serves as the showroom. From writing desks to coffee tables to wine racks, Steen does it all.

“The thing I love most about the process is looking for the right piece of wood and turning it into a one-of-a-kind piece of art.” Greg Steen.

The process begins with a search for a unique wood slab. When Steen finds something he likes, he spends time studying it until coming up with the perfect project to fit the feel and look of that particular medium. Steen looks forward every year to creating one-of-a-kind pieces from exotic hardwoods and showcasing them at as many art shows as possible. His dedication to art was rewarded by taking first place for his twelve-foot dovetail dining room table at the 2016 High Desert Design Competition in Bend.