Tami LaPole Edmunds has taken her art — repurposing clothing, jewelry and accessories — and made a successful career out of it. Art in the Alley now has two locations in Duluth.
TLE: I have been upcycling jewelry and clothing since we opened Art in the Alley 8 years ago. I love taking apart an existing garment and using it to create a totally different piece. It is like putting together a puzzle…without knowing what the final outcome will look like.
This week we stretch the boundaries of Selective Focus — both geographically and conceptually. Moheb Soliman is a poet who will be installing his writing in the form of very official looking signs throughout Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the four other major Great Lakes national parks at trails, vistas, and beaches as part of the National Park Service centennial celebration. Some of the installations are already done and this month he will be finishing up at Isle Royale National Park.
This week in Selective Focus, we feature Tim White, who curated the previous iteration of Selective Focus – photo submissions based on a weekly theme. Tim is a photographer, writer, and proponent of the arts, and has worked on several collaborative projects in his short time in Duluth.
TW: I’ve been making photographs for about the past seven years, having lost my previous practice as a painter to solvent exposure. There were a few dormant years during this time that followed a series of personal crises, and I recently returned to photography after moving to Duluth almost two years ago. I appreciate filmic images (both moving and still), but work mostly — due to the chemistry — with digital capture, then mediate these until they better reflect what I felt when taking the initial shot. I don’t believe in pursuing a personal “style,” though I’m glad when viewers note a poetic quality to my pictures. I admire poetry’s ability to employ elements with conventional meanings (words) toward more ephemeral ends, and hope in a similar way that my work isn’t limited by the literality of the objects I depict.
Years ago, I was having a nerdy discussion about theremins with a friend, who informed me that there was a guy in Duluth who built them. He sent me Tim Kaiser’s website address. It was filled with photos of crazy sci-fi contraptions that made all kinds of even crazier noises. Evil mad science happening in a basement right here in Duluth. This week in Selective Focus, Tim Kaiser explains his combination of audio and visual art.
TK: I create experimental “music” with non-traditional instrumentation. Because I am less concerned with normal conceptions of melody and rhythm, I require different tools to create sonic atmospheres. This led me to design and build my own instruments and devices. I started out as a typical frustrated guitarist, but was drawn to more and more avant garde music and finally put the guitar away.
I’ve been fascinated by screenprinting for a long time, because I’ve done it, and I know how difficult and frustrating the process can be. Joel Cooper tells us about his process for this week’s Selective Focus.
JC: I am a silkscreen printer. I became interested in this medium when attending a workshop at the Duluth Art Institute in the late ’80s. I guess the whole process appeals to me. It fits my personality … It is slow. Each color is drawn with black ink on acetate using a pen or brush, exposed to a screen, and using oil based ink squeeged to sheets of archival paper. The colors are layered one on top of the other starting with the lightest and ending usually with black. Most prints take well over a month start to finish. I take a lot of photos to get ideas in the summer and save the printing for our long cold winters. My style would be considered representational.
You may have seen Nate Lindstrom’s photography at art festivals or through his annual calendar. For this week’s Selective Focus, Nate tells us about his landscape photography.
“Awaiting”, Sunrise along the North Shore
NL: It felt like it took a lot of experimenting, some minor frustrations and a heap of learning to make landscapes my photographic focus, but in hindsight that interest developed a long time ago. I’ve always had a love of nature and being outdoors and moving to a very outdoor-centered area of Minnesota helped me look at my surroundings in a different way. I was spending more time on trails, on the shore, sleeping in our many state parks, living through the hottest 10 days of our summer and diabolical winters. All of these things inspire what I look for in a subject or composition, and shape my overall style.
MV: People are often surprised when I tell them I haven’t been a painter for very long. I’ve always been involved in the arts, but my skills didn’t mature all that much until I got out of high school and spent my first few post-secondary years sketching portraits I found in old National Geographic magazines. Prior to that, I used to draw doodles in my class notes and took pride in calling myself a “surrealist,” though everything I’d done had been on notebook paper.
This week’s Selective Focus subject makes the most of the square format of Instagram with beautifully composed photos of abandoned, forgotten buildings around the area. Andy Miller tells us why he documents them.
Ann Klefstad is an artist who is definitely connected to this area, through her work across many mediums and by the writing, promotion and encouragement she’s given to the arts in our area.
AK: I work in sculpture, mostly, with some drawing, including ink and tar drawing on wood. My real “medium”, though, would be my subject matter. Over the years I’ve drawn closer and closer to doing only work that comes out of the ecosystem I’m in. I’m kind of a literalist, I guess. I love the forms of things, and so I use those forms, I try to learn them and come to know them by imitating them, like a kid learns.
With Selective Focus, we plan to highlight a variety of visual artists, giving some exposure to people working in disciplines that don’t immediately come to mind. This week, we have one of those people. Sasha Howell tells us about her corner of the design world.
SH: I am a costume designer! I work with local theatre and film groups in designing and implementing a costume design – usually my own. I also dabble in my own fashion design and anything to do with clothing and textile – shoes, accessories, hair, etc. I originally started student life at UMD with a Studio Art major and quickly realized it wasn’t exactly what I was looking to do – creatively. So I switched to a Studio Art MINOR and gravitated towards the Theatre department because, to me, that was a much more practical and exciting use of my talents and interests. I became quick friends with all the right people and worked closely with the costume shop there. I instantly fell in love with costumes because with EVERY new show there was opportunity to learn new techniques, new history, and to try something new! I quickly became known in town for costumes and demand started to increase. On average, I’m working on at LEAST 2 overlapping shows, but always tossing around ideas on several shows at once. On the side, I also paint abstract series and enjoy making jewelry.
Marian Lansky is part of the team the operates the Kenspeckle Letterpress, one of the most interesting, fun studio/shops in town. It combines centuries-old art processes with modern technology to create loads of great work. There will be an Earth Day open studio and shop on Saturday, April 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, an opportunitity to stop in and see the work and meet the artist. Marian and her husband, Rick Allen, will also be a part of Siivii’s Earth Day show, just across the alley from DeWitt-Seitz.
Below, Marian explains her work and process in her own words.