Kelsey Birsa

Born in Henderson, NV

Lives & works in Portland, OR


Kelsey Birsa is an artist living in Portland, Oregon. She recently graduated with a BFA in Art Practices from Portland State University. Kelsey is the recipient of awards and scholarships such as The Artist Magazine Student Portrait Competition and the PSU Lucille Welch Scholarship. Her work has been exhibited locally at Blackfish Gallery, the Lewis and Clark Gender Symposium, in Littman and White Gallery, and published in Beacon Magazine, Pathos, and The Artist Magazine.

Artist Statement

Artist Statement:


    I am fascinated by the idea of consciousness and the connection, or disconnection, that we can feel with our physical selves. Painting the body is my way of processing my experiences of body dysmorphia and perceived physical flaws. It allows me to reconnect with my own body that I at times feel disassociated from. Our bodies are how we experience the world and, though I can never view another person’s experience, painting the vessel allows me a small window to it. 

    My paintings are united through my use of detailed rendering, bold colors, and gold highlights. Painting realistically allows me to thoroughly know what I am painting. Every time I focus on a new detail or area in my paintings I come to a more complete understanding of it’s form and nature, as I’m painting I think, “Oh! This goes like that”. In my current series I examine how we interact and communicate through our hands, for example texting through a phone in, ‘Touching Reality’, covering a yawn in, ‘John’, or literally putting a hand out in, ‘Cone of Invisibility’.



BFA in Art Practices, Portland State University, Portland, OR 2015-17

Portland Community College, 2014

PSU Certificate in Project Management, 2011

University of Nevada Las Vegas. 2005-2008

Awards and Recognition

Lake Oswego Art Festival Open Show 2017, Honorable Mention

PSU Lucille Welch Scholarship 2016-2017

Blick Merit Scholarship 2016

The Artist’s Magazine Competition, January 2016, 3rd Place, Student Portrait Category

Portland Community College 2014-15 Student Show, Honorable Mention


Figures and Flowers, September 2017, Gallery 360, Vancouver, WA

*Amorphous Figures, September 2017, Goldrush Cafe, Portland, OR

Realism vs. Impressionism, September 2017, Boomerang, Vancouver, WA

X-Ray-ted, September 2017, The Artist Loft, Vancouver, WA

Scratching the Surface, August 2017, Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR

Medieval Times, July 2017, The Artist Loft, Vancouver, WA

We ____ ., May – June 2017, Littman Gallery, Portland, OR

*I/You See Me, April 2017, Blackfish Gallery Fishbowl Window, Portland, OR

*Hands, February 2017, Circular Window – Littman Gallery, Portland, OR

*Filtered, January 2017, Sugar Cube Gallery, Portland, OR

PBR Show, November 2016, Nemo Design Studio, Portland, OR

Shit Show, October 2016, Sugar Cube Gallery, Portland, OR

Art of Politics, October 2016, North Bank Artists Gallery, Vancouver, WA

Scholarship Exhibition, October 2016, MK Gallery, PSU, Portland, OR

Gender Studies Symposium Art Exhibition, March 2016, Lewis & Clark College Templeton Campus Center, OR

“Stopping Points: 4th Annual Juried Exhibition of PSU Student Works”, March 2016, Littman Gallery, OR

“I’m No Rotter” Gallery Show, May 2015, Alberta Street Pub, OR

Portland Community College 2014-15 Student Show, May 2015, Helzer Art Gallery, OR

PSU Student Show, January 2015, PSU AB Lobby Gallery, OR

*solo exhibition


BEACON Magazine, “Gold Digger”, Fall 2016 Issue

Pathos Magazine, Portland State University Literary Magazine, Spring 2016 Issue

The Artist’s Magazine, January/ February 2016 Issue, “The Next Wave”

Pathos Magazine, Portland State University Literary Magazine, Fall 2015 Issue (Cover)

Community Involvement

Assistant Curator at Lake Oswego Art Festival, 2016-2017

Portland Women in Art Lecture Series Committee Member, 2015-Present

Volunteer at Disjecta, 2016

Academic Advising Council Student Representative, 2015-Present

Teachers Assistant, Intro to Painting Class at PSU, Fall 2015

Volunteer at Portland Art Museum, 2010-2011


© 2017 by Kelsey Birsa, Artist