Ingeborg von Agassiz is a multimedia artist who writes and performs music, paints and draws, creates videos and also teaches music. She just released her album “O Giver of Dreams” and hosted a combination release show / art show at the Red Herring. Her art will be up into the month of April at the Herring. In December, she and her students worked with PDD on a video for “Oh, the Hillside,” a song from the new album. Her music embraces technology with looping vocals, synths and effects, while her paintings are distinctly handmade with bold lines, shapes and strokes.
IVA: I work as both a musician and visual artist. I’ve shared my visual art publicly under another name for over a decade and once I launched my musician project as Ingeborg von Agassiz, I decided to use that name for all the art that I make. I make acrylic paintings on canvas and also pen & marker drawings on paper. And sometimes I use watercolors and also typewriter text on paper. I’ve created a couple of zines with drawings, doodles, essays, song lyrics.
Back in the early days of Ingeborg, I create about two hundred trading cards that I gave away as swag which were marker portraits of imaginary people on heavy cardstock and most recently, I illustrated the cover and liner notes artwork for my recent debut album, O Giver of Dreams, which I spent a few months working on. I consider my art to be ‘folk art.’ It’s a style that is playful, fun, and happy with a tinge of melancholy and/or weird, demented humor. Some of my biggest influences are Georges Rouault, Shel Silverstein, Tomi Ungerer, Keith Herring, Adu Gindy, Quentin Blake, and Daniel Johnston. Probably by far my biggest influence right now is children’s artwork.
Back in my college days (I have a music degree), I worked at Bixby’s Cafe near UMD and they had a different artist every month for display on their walls. One day when working, I saw the list to sign up and the next available spot was two years away, so I signed up thinking I had plenty of time to create a body of work. Exactly one year and fifty weeks later, I began working on the paintings based off of drawings that I doodled when working overnights at my job. I had taken a couple of drawing and painting classes in college and that’s how I began doing working with acrylics. I worked really hard in those classes, and that’s what gave me the idea that I could do a whole solo show of artwork. Also, I had drawing class with Adu Gindy, and she’s one of my favorite artists ever!
The biggest challenge for me comes in making a commitment to a larger-scale piece of work. When I work small scale like on 8.5″x11″ paper or 12″x12″ paintings, I feel free to explore and go with the flow and use every line that I make, but when I work on larger paintings (like 3 feet x 4 feet is considered big to me) I start to feel pressure to create a masterpiece in order to justify how much space my art will take up the wall. So I end up erasing and painting over the canvas a lot when I create big. It happens one out of every four canvases I make, where I cannot commit to a color scheme or to even subject matter and repeatedly paint over the canvas. So for this recent show at the Red Herring, it was a challenge to paint the larger sizes that are shown there.
Currently, my work is on display at the Red Herring Lounge from now through the month of April 2018. I also have a website that showcases a substantial portion of my back catalog … some of which is rather embarrassing and I may take down at any minute …
Video for “Sun Beats Down”
There are a few different ways I’d like to incorporate my artwork into my music. I’d like to create smaller pieces that are easy to lug to shows to sell as merchandise. I would also like to open an Etsy shop. I’ve signed up to show my art at a couple of other Duluth venues this year, and then next year I’d like to start showing in Minneapolis and beyond.
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