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Art Posts

Selective Focus: Tim White

SF-TeaserTimWhite
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.

Wonderful Wandering: Lessons on Love from Steve and Sam

Michelle Rowley - Saturday EssayLearning lessons in love from my parents’ relationship was nearly impossible. They were a couple if ever in love, fell out of love long before the sperm hit the egg that created me.

But my father Steve, a very logical accounting professor, taught me much about love. That it is a force of nature, learned through our adventures in woods and canyons. If you get caught up in a storm, make sure you have a sturdy Hefty trash bag to wear, a flashlight, and wait it out in a cave. Always carry toilet paper because you never know when you will have to clean up the crap you’ve created. In other words, like nature, love is unpredictable; he thought it best to prepare logically.

This brings me to Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World,” a song which deeply perplexes my father. As I was growing up, every time this song came on the radio my father would begin a conversation. I was unsure if he was speaking to Sam, God, the Universe, or me. My father has a tendency to think aloud, usually the same string of comments or questions sparked by the same stimulus. “Wonderful World” is one of those stimuli that baffle him.

Selective Focus: Tim Kaiser

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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.

Funding Sources for Low Income Families in Duluth

DAI Youth CampsI’m hosting the first ever Teen Zine Camp at Duluth Art Institute in August.

My concern as the instructor is multiple families have asked me about funding assistance for their children to attend. The camp is $90 (DAI members) and $110 (non-members) for the week. I would like to make this camp more accessible to all community members so I’m wondering if anyone has ideas of camp assistance or programs in Duluth for low-income families?

Thanks for any tips or ideas of local resources! I’m going to do whatever I can to promote zines and youth zines in our community. You’re help is much appreciated to keep young artists inspired.

“Minnesota Moon” Album Cover Design Contest

Matt Ray White Wall SessionsLocal musician Matt Ray plans to release his newest album Minnesota Moon this fall and is seeking help designing the album cover. Submit photos, paintings, drawings, etc. of your “Minnesota Moon” to matt @ mattray.org by July 1. Ray will select one image for the album cover. The winner will be awarded promotional posters, and Matt will probably throw in some CDs and swag as well.

Submissions sought for cellphone photo show

Lets see what you see exhibit

The American Indian Community Housing Organization is accepting submissions for its upcoming cellphone photography exhibition titled Let’s See What You See. The only submission requirements are that the photos be taken with a cellphone and shot in Duluth and relate to Duluth.

To submit send a maximum of two images to letsseewhatyousee @ gmail.com. Submission deadline is July 1. The opening reception will be held July 15.

Fathers, Sons and the Use of Force

DavidBeard_SEI have no memories of my father or the life my mother, sister, father and I lived until age four. Our home was in the middle of the city, but it was so old, it used to be the center of a farm. The garage had lived a former life as a barn, with hay lofts refitted for storing unused garden tools.

I don’t remember my parents’ divorce. In kindergarten, I understood that my mother filed, and that my grandparents moved in with us, because my mother was afraid that he would hurt her. By middle school, I understood the kind of hurt she feared.

My father is my paradigm case of what it means for a man to use force.

I’ve been thinking about the use of force. And every June, I think hard about fatherhood. The thinking is coming together this year.

Christian thinker and philosopher Simone Weil describes force as something that “turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing.” She is writing about Homer’s Iliad, a poem about war, the force that turns men into corpses.  But she goes beyond war to talk about the threat of force as well.

Selective Focus: Joel Cooper

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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.

JoelCooperJC: 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.

A week of art, music and singles mingling

How do I catch you up on the past week, PDD?

Last Thursday, I went to the reopening of the Tweed. Mayor Larson was there, exciting. Ken Bloom directs one of the most significant cultural resources in the region. Bill Payne‘s tenure as Dean of the School of Fine Arts at UMD made great things possible for the Tweed, too.

Midnight Movies at 7 – New Film Series at Zinema 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUJF4_Bx2Gg

In August Zeitgeist Arts Cafe and the Duluth Film Collective are launching a new film series: Midnight Movies at 7. The series will focus on cult classics, genre favorites, and films that are so bad they’re great.

First up in the series is Miami Connection, a 1980s tale of ninjas, rock ‘n’ roll, and taekwondo. The film will screen for one night only: Tuesday, August 9 at 7 p.m.

Down Town

Saturday Essay - Dave Sorensen“I’m from New Jersey, I don’t expect too much
If the world ended today I would adjust.”
–John Gorka

New York, New Jersey. San Francisco, Oakland. Duluth and Soup Town. The Deep North, top of the map, and shallow end of the gene pool. Ugly sister-city. Can you feel the gravitational pull of the swamp it was built on? This force that bends us, slouching like the lowland willows. That drives water, beer and whiskey to seek the lower ground. Rains and fortunes falling, down and down. The banker’s son becomes a biker. The executive’s boy delivers pizza and sells dope well into adulthood. Sociologists call this “regression toward the mean.” Or maybe the swamp is pulling them. Down.

Of course the place tosses off an astronaut or Nobel winner once in a while. But folks mostly seem to understand they were born in second-place, and second place, as we know, is first loser. You get used to it. It helps to have negative role-models. Don’t do what he did. Look out for that. Rest in peace.

Walt Whitman’s Poem About Duluth?

There’s a new posting at the Reference@Duluth blog that involves a little literary detective work:

Walt WhitmanThe Duluth Daily News of March 30, 1892, printed a letter offering an unpublished poem by Walt Whitman. The letter writer claims that Whitman had visited Duluth for his health the previous summer and had been so impressed with the Zenith City that he wrote a poem in praise of Duluth and had sent it to a friend in town.

Selective Focus: Nate Lindstrom

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


“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.

Cheng-Khee Chee profiled on The PlayList

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCSk7UF2B6g

Cheng-Khee CheeLast week’s episode of WDSE-TV’s The PlayList profiled renowned watercolor painter Cheng-Khee Chee. Colleagues and friends share their perspective on his work and his legacy.

Robin Droppings

Jana Studelska - Saturday EssayWhen my boys were young, they found a baby robin in our backyard. That little bird ruled our world for a few days, but more remarkably, it brought me to my spiritual knees. My place in things — motherhood, nature, humanness — all came into question. A decade later, I am still pirouetting with the lessons, the most resonant being my wonderment at the place I hold among animals, which I find to be rather startling. The writer Wendell Berry said in one of my favorite poems, “I come into the peace of wild things.” What I learned was not — and is still not — entirely peaceful. But in being gobsmacked by a few ounces of feathers, I have been able to see the elegance and intelligence of things I didn’t see before. The skills and abilities we are given for our particular deed. It just comes to us. We are so lucky, so blessed, so capable — even while we find the limits of our own animalness.

The robin my boys found was clearly too young to be on her own. She had enough wing feathers to get herself safely out of a tree without a deadly landing, but her landing strip was a backyard ruled by boys and curious dogs. Her appearance at ground level was, of course, a breathless, wide-eyed event for my elementary-aged boys, who instantly and frantically began saving her. I was swearing silently while directing an evacuation of the backyard, contending with that horrible gut heaviness that comes when you know your heart is about to be split open. I peered hopefully out the window with the boys many times before dinner, watching to see if the robin parents would somehow come for her. That was my irrational hope.