Tommy Kronquist began his career as a graphic designer, and combined his minimal, classic aesthetic with a love of skate / snowboard culture and Lake Superior activities like hiking, biking kayaking and the occasional surf session. His company, The Medium Control is know for screenprinting and apparel with bold, clean graphics. He has a show at the Duluth Art Institute, and will be hosting an opening reception and artist talk Thursday, February 6, 5-8 PM.
TK: I grew up in the country on a hobby farm with horses in Annandale, MN (near st. cloud). Here my love and inspiration of nature was born. I lived outside exploring, creating and building with my brother and friends. My mom worked at Powder Ridge ski area, which somewhat became our daycare while starting skiing at age three. This is where my passion for snow sports thrived. I was heavily inspired and involved with the snowboard / skateboard culture; sports that respect and promote creativity and the individual. A strong innovative community was developed here mainly due to the fact that my friends ran the skate/snow shop in St. Cloud (Sticks / Youth Shelter Supply). My parents were very supportive in my creative outlets and allowed me to travel for snowboarding. Inspired by travel I would get up to Duluth / Spirit Mt. for snowboard competitions and for fun. Which led me to cast my college decision of UMD quite easy with Spirit Mt. being so close.
During this time I fell in love with Duluth’s endless variety of environments, possible activities and this ocean like lake. While at UMD, i did a study abroad in England and met my wife there and current business partner. Traveling around UK/Europe was a visual eye opener. The clean design aesthetic of everything from trains to endless museums, contrasting with the deep gritty history, was and still is a basis for a lot of my art and design. Next, we lived in St. Paul where I started Medium Control, and my wife Kristy was going to law school. We were continuously going back up to Duluth or the North Shore for snowboarding, hiking, camping, kayaking and surfing. These activities were somewhat present in MSP, but not at the level Duluth could offer. So why not live where everything is an arm’s reach, hence our move to Duluth. Much of my work is driven by what I enjoy outdoors, what I take away from travel and a love for art and design.
I consider myself to be a multi-disciplinary artist that is constantly exploring a variety of mediums. I studied graphic design and have been working as a freelance designer since 2001 when I launched my company, The Medium Control. The Medium Control is currently a trifecta:
1. Medium Control Design – focusing on identity design and branding;
2. Medium Control, the brand – consisting of apparel and art prints;
3. Medium Control Printing – screen printing services (paper and apparel), letterpress and vinyl decals / signage.
My personal artwork is entwined within the brand, Medium Control. Within each new piece, I am focused on achieving a classic minimal design which may include a graphic illustration, photography, india ink drawing, or Super8 film. Sometimes a combination of two or more mediums into one piece.
“Letter to my son” super8 film and narrated by Medium Control, edit by Passenger Films of South Dakota.
My desire to transform my designs into tangible pieces propelled me into learning to screen print. Bringing my graphic illustrations to life with ink, colors, and the organic nature of color overlays. I am continually challenged by the nature of screen printing on paper and find myself drawn to this method of artistic output more than any other. Screen printing on paper has an imprecise perfection which is a stark contrast from my clean and minimal graphic design.
When I create a design in Illustrator that has straight clean lines that clean precision does not always translate into the perfect screen print. Sometimes, I am unable to achieve the precision I set out for but in turn end up fine tuning the original design to accommodate how the ink wants to flow. Being accommodating can be extremely frustrating and rewarding. Learning overtime that I can achieve interesting layers and subtle nuances within my artwork keeps drawing me back into screen printing.
I am currently wrapping up installing a show at the Duluth Art Institute in the Corridor Gallery, with an opening and artist talk on Feb 6th, 2020.
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