Owner Prairie Clark

Prairie Clark

Meet the Owner

Prairie has worked here since early 1995. She took over ownership in 2020 after Mark retired. This was a planned change for several years prior to the pandemic. It was just that her time to take over fell smack in the middle of a global pandemic. She is currently reinventing the business to adapt, adjust, and overcome the challenging landscape we find ourselves in. She has worked countless hours creating new ways of serving our community, fought hard to keep our staff during the pandemic, and is focused on keeping the business afloat while serving our beloved community and artists.

She loves vintage everything and curates the selection in our art supply museum. She has a ferocious appetite for knowledge, enjoys researching art supply products just for fun, loves business strategy, bookkeeping, and helping people start their own business. She loves recycling, upcycling, and whatever other fancy words you use. It’s a form of giving new life to an old treasure and she finds that rewarding.

She’s worked here so long, it seems like her whole life has been spent at the art store. Prior to working here, she managed restaurants for several years, tasked with turning around poorly performing locations before they were closed. She also created her own product line of notebooks and journals made from recycled record album covers and sold them all over the world. She loves creative recycling. She looks forward to many more years here following the old man’s dream and honoring his legacy however she can. She loves serving the art community and her amazing employees.

Prairie is an artist and a writer, dabbling in almost all mediums over the years. Acrylic painting, collage, and serving others are her favorites. In her spare time she also loves hiking, gardening, natural medicine, and spending time with her family and grandson.

Bob Brisack

Meet our founder

Bob Brisack started out as a delivery boy at J.K. Gill downtown Portland in 1947 and had moved his way up to assistant manager by the time he left seven years later. The more he learned about business, the more he wanted to go out on his own. He started Art Supply Center in 1955, which would eventually evolve into being combined with his later business, I’ve Been Framed. For many years he had one business adventure after another, with various business partners and an amazing array of business, mostly all art related. The art store remained present through it all and he bought out his partner and struck out alone by the early 1970’s. He still had his hands in quite a few businesses, but his primary store remained solid.

We have grown from a tiny room to multiple stores, and have always uniquely offered services like buying used supplies, large wholesale lots of damaged salvage goods, and otherwise helping artists, distributors, and manufacturers move the items they no longer need. Bob’s love of a good deal and fearless wheeling & dealing have brought us semi-trucks of assorted art supplies over the years. We are the only unique store out there buying in this manner and we have Bob to thank for his unique love of wheeling & dealing. People and companies from all over contact us to move product, many of them just know of Bob or have heard of us.

Bob sold the business to his son Mark in 2003 and still worked 20 hours a week for several years. The whole time pretending to be a stock boy and complain about the boss, haha. Bob passed away in 2018 after living a life full of creative business adventures. He blazed his own trail the art supply industry and left behind an immense legacy in the art store and frame shop that we all love. He built a business that maintains the core values that he built it on. “People over profit” was cool here long before it was a buzzword. Employees and customers alike have all been changed by knowing Bob. I hope to write a book about Bob someday there are so many fun and inspiring stories to be told about him.

​We continue to serve artists of all ages & professions, schools, teachers, and even other businesses by buying large and saving money. We now have two locations and have offered a full custom frame shop along with the art supplies since 1996. We have knowledgeable staff who love to help others and love art.

Bob’s personal business adventures could be a novel, and I hope to someday expand this article to include a much more accurate history of this family owned store we all love. A customer of ours interviewed him awhile back and published an article online from the interview. It is a wonderful write up of his story. Read the interview with Bob.

Thank you Bob! For living a life that is inspiring and worth imitating. That is such a rare treasure to find these days.