Blog / 2012 / Following Paintings: Gabe

March 7, 2012

I met Gabe Flores in 2006. At the time, he was curating a show called Boredom: I Learned It By Watching You at the Portland Art Center. I had answered his call for artists, but my proposal for Boredom wasn’t entirely on the level. In my application, I explained that my contribution to the show would be portraits of Gabe, his co-curator Josh, and Gavin, the director of the space—a not-so-subtle condemnation of what I thought was a thoroughly silly idea for a show.

I was fully expecting to have my proposal rejected, but it wasn’t. Instead of shutting me down, Gabe poked me back. He told me he wasn’t certain the portraits would read conceptually, so he said he would only sit for me if I first conducted a survey with a random sampling of Portlanders and the consensus was that it would be a good idea to include these portraits in Boredom.

In retrospect, I can’t quite believe that I tried to fulfill his requirement, but I did. I may have run out of steam when the first three people I phoned refused to participate in my survey, but the fact remains that I did try. Six years later, I can’t say what possessed me to call up three strangers, but I do know that it was the beginning of a good thing. Gabe acquiesced to having his portrait done for Boredom, and I’ve been enjoying his sense of play ever since.

Gabe’s current curatorial project (and the space where I’ll be showing my next series) is Place. To learn more about Gabe’s own art practice, go here.

Gabe isn’t the only portrait subject I’ve interviewed: see my conversations with James and Lyndsay as well as with Katie and Mary Anne. You can hire me to paint your portrait!

painted portrait of Gabe Flores
Gwenn Seemel
Curator of this Show (Gabe Flores)
acrylic on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Receive an email every six weeks with announcements about books, talks, and events.


Receive an email whenever I publish a new artwork or article.



Microdonations are the fuel powering this art machine. You can give once through Ko-fi.


Or you can give on an ongoing basis automatically through Patreon.