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Brian Barber Posts

Selective Focus: Gallery of Duluth Mayor Portraits

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Happy Inauguration Day. Let’s celebrate peaceful transfers of power with a retrospective view of the portraits of Duluth’s Mayors. For many years, these portraits hung in the hallways of City Hall, but were recently taken down to be cleaned, maintained, digitized and cataloged. The images used here are taken from the Minnesota Digital Library. More information about each mayor is available at the site.

Don Ness says portraits are traditionally done 2-3 years after a mayor leaves office, and he anticipates his portrait will be added to the collection some time this year. So scroll backward through time with us and enjoy the virtual gallery of Duluth mayors.

Selective Focus: Ashley Kolka

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Ashley Kolka is a collage artist who makes small-scale pieces, mostly about small towns and rural settings.

A.K.: I make miniature cut paper collages from recycled magazines. My best one-line summary of what I do is that I make small works about small places. My logic for working small is both philosophical and practical. Small works create a sense of intimacy with the viewer and can be purchased at an accessible price. Most people in the Duluth art community know me in my role as the grants manager at Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. That job takes most of my time; working small fits the space in my life that I have for art making!

Selective Focus: Kristina Estell

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For the first Selective Focus of 2017, we start off with Kristina Estell’s sculpture and installations which depend on form and material but are also defined by their locations around the world.

K.E.: I studied sculpture in undergrad at Herron School of Art and in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Very early in my art education, I knew I was interested in making serial sculptural work that interacted with architectural and outdoor spaces as opposed to singular traditional forms that lived on pedestals. In recent years, I have become primarily an installation artist who creates dimensional work with a variety of materials, processes and spaces. My work is often site-specific or site-responsive … making projects that consider a particular location and/or context. Silicone molding rubber, natural stones, fabric, live plants and gold leaf are a few of my favorite mediums. In between larger projects, I love taking up the process of watercolor painting and have an ongoing series based on bubble wrap packaging material.

Selective Focus: Harry Welty

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Every winter, at least when the conditions are right, Harry Welty turns his front yard into a sculpture garden of sorts, making huge snow sculptures on the side of his very steep hill at 21st Avenue East and Fourth Street. Here’s how it all started.

H.W.: I am a snow sculptor. Like every kid in Minnesota I started by making snow men and snow forts. My ideal work environment is a field of snow on a sunny day in the thirties – the kind that makes for perfect snowballs. If I had a muse it was my Mother who, as a baby boomer Mom, wanted me to be the artist she aspired to be. I was more interested in politics although I always thought being a political cartoonist sounded like a great occupation.

Selective Focus: Hansi Johnson

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For years, Hansi Johnson has worked as an advocate for outdoor recreation in our region, and his photography shows the rest of the world how lucky we are to live here.

H.J.: I am a photographer and I generally shoot full frame DSLR. However I am not married to any one camera, aspect ratio or format. I have published photos from my Iphone, my cropped camera as well.

I am generally considered an action photographer but like all labels that description is not quite right. My style is more around environmental photographs but instead of shots that only show landscapes I love to position a person interacting in that space as well, generally enjoying some form of adventurous outdoor recreation.

Selective Focus: Ivy Vainio

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Ivy Vainio is a self-taught photographer and this week she talks about how she got started, how her photography has grown, and where she would like to take it.

I.V.: I started taking photographs in about 2001 when the office that I work in got a Olympus SLR camera to help document our programs and events. With time, I became better at taking photographs and started to have a yearning to try this art form outside of the University. My husband surprised me, in 2011, and bought me a Canon Rebel camera from a local pawn shop in Duluth one day and that is all I needed to fuel my passion for digital photography. I took that camera out in our woods, and played around with it. It was in the summer of 2011 when I got my big break. I was at a powwow with my camera and I got a call from Jana Peterson of the Pine Journal newspaper in Cloquet. She heard that I was at the powwow and she asked if I would take a couple photographs for the newspaper. I told her yes and I have been taking photographs ever since with more intent of getting the perfect shot.

Selective Focus: Chris Monroe

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If Duluth has an official “look,” it’s a Chris Monroe cartoon. There is no possible way that you haven’t seen her art at some point. She has a show of new work opening Monday, Dec. 12, at in the Zeitgeist Arts Café. In this week’s “Selective Focus” she fills us in on some of the details.

C.M.: I work in several different mediums — gouache, pen and ink for the comics and other drawings, and oil pastel. My upcoming show is primarily oil pastel. It is the medium I often go to for fun.

Selective Focus: Brian Barber

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This week’s Selective Focus subject is … me. You may be thinking, gee whiz, PDD must have run out of Selective Focus subject ideas. Far from it. We still have a long list of artists we want to include, but we’re also open to more suggestions. If you know someone doing interesting work in the visual arts, or if you would like to be featured, send us a note. [email protected] I’ve jammed myself in the schedule here because I’ve got a show of new work opening at Beaner’s next Thursday.

B.B.: Graphic Artist is probably the best way to describe what I do. I work as an illustrator, designer, animator, and videographer. In college I studied pretty equal parts design, illustration and photography, so I guess this mix of work makes sense, and I feel lucky to have the variety every day. I’ve done children’s books, logos, brochures, TV ads, training videos, package design, interactive design, character design, prints for sale, music videos, and more.

Selective Focus: Jeff Ruprecht

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Jeff Ruprecht is a curious guy who’s not afraid to jump into new things. He tells us how he sorts through a constant stream of ideas and projects.

J.R.: I work in many mediums and categories. I’m a graphic designer first, but I consider myself a “maker” at heart. I love to build things, make things, sketch things. I love technology, but love true craftsmanship and ways of doing things.

PDD Gift Guide 2016

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Sleigh bells and cash registers are ringing. The season of religious ceremony and competitive consumerism is upon us. As usual, Perfect Duluth Day has compiled a list of gift ideas with a Twin Ports connection, so we can put those North Pole elves out of work and keep our local businesses and crafters fat and jolly. Featured here are 15 items produced by the hands and brains of your neighbors. If you have more ideas or are a business with a local offering, please add it in the comments and expand our virtual catalog.

November showed up today.

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Selective Focus: Aryn Bergsven

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Aryn Bergsven is an artist and an art teacher at Harbor City International School. She talks about sharing her time and energy between her own work and the work of her students.

A.B.: I work in acrylics primarily but also dabble in watercolors and ink, mostly for sketching and traveling. I love to work with portraiture. This has always been an area of interest for me, even when I was in middle and high school. I think it’s even more compelling to me now though as a mother and an art teacher. So much of my life focuses on people and relationships I have with them that the act of really studying faces and reading between the lines has become second nature in some ways.

PDD Holiday Socks

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We’re going to try something, offering some PDD Holiday swag for you to sport at your holiday gatherings. You can pre-order some Warhol-ish funky socks with the PDD smokin’ reindeer on them.

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If 20 or more people order them, the order goes through, and everyone receives socks in about 4 weeks. If less than 20 people order, they don’t get made. So spread the news, we’ve only got 7 days.

Click here to order:
bakdrop.com/products/perfectduluthday

Selective Focus: Scott Lunt

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No doubt, if you live in Duluth, you’ve been exposed to the work of Scott Lunt, aka Starfire; founder of the Homegrown Music Festival, co-founder of Father Hennepin and Perfect Duluth Day, radio host on KUMD, the list goes on. His latest endeavor is St1tch:::red, a quilt show at the Red Herring, opening Saturday November 12. He tells us how he got involved in the craft.

S.L.: I cut up perfectly good fabric and sew it back together again. I made my first quilt about twenty years ago and another five years after that. At the time I knew nothing about quilting and had to enlist my mother to help me finish. Then about a year-and-a-half ago Karen McTavish opened a quilting studio in Duluth, I took my mom to visit since she is a long time quilter and something clicked. Two weeks later a sewing machine showed up at my door (thanks Mom!) and I have been making about a quilt a month since.

Selective Focus: Bryan French

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Bryan French has been busy over the last couple of years building a photography business as well as the Duluth Folk School. This week we hear about Bryan’s artistic side.

B.F.: I’m a photographer (and director of the Duluth Folk School, an adventure guide with Day Tripper, and on-call naturalist at Hartley). My background includes an undergrad in musical theater (song and dance!) and a master’s degree in environmental education (nature!). I’ve been making photographs for about ten years.