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Art Posts

Selective Focus: Lydia Noble


Lydia Noble is an artist who loves making comics, and is also branching out into printed products like shirts and bags. She talks about finding work right after school, investing in her own career, and staying motivated to build her own business.

LN: I graduated a few years ago with a BFA in Entertainment Design with a concentration of Comics in Sequential Art. Nothing makes me happier than making comics. Comics is a way I can express my wildly varying emotions with my love of illustration. The comics I’ve made have varied from one panel digital comics to a 50-page water colored graphic novel. Lately I’ve been working exclusively with my tablet drawing digitally. When I moved back to the Twin Ports I was told to invest in myself as an artist, so I bought a large Wacom tablet. I draw on the tablet and it pops up on Photoshop, where I can swiftly change colors, draw and re-draw lines, experiment with fonts and textures. It makes the process of drawing and illustrating much more effective- especially when working with clients and doing freelance work.

Such Magnificent Ghosts

Back in January, Don Ness emailed me something like, “Hey, Anna. I’m hosting a party at the NorShor Theatre on March 3 and I’d like you to tell some stories. Would you do a reading?”

Ness, as you probably know, is the former mayor of Duluth and, as you might not know, a positive master of understatement. I figured he was inviting me to perform at a little reading party. You know, 50 people or so in the NorShor’s mezzanine. And then a friend of mine messaged me a poster for a Low concert in the NorShor’s 632-seat theater. I zoomed in to see the date, to see if I could go, and saw MY NAME ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POSTER — and I, embarrassed and panic stricken that my name had somehow gotten on the bottom of this poster, looked at the date, and was like, “And I can’t even do it then, because I’m gonna be at Don Ness’s party!” Took me like ten seconds to figure out this was the thing Don had invited me to. Lord.

The truth is, when Don asked, I responded that it meant a lot for me to be a part of such an event — and I knew he knew exactly what I meant by that. I was honored to do it. The following is a transcript of what I read to that 632-person crowd.

Selective Focus: Ten Years of Homegrown Music Video Festival

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Homegrown Music Festival and 10 years of the Homegrown Music Video Festival. Participants in the video fest are assigned a random song by a local band and usually have a few weeks to put together a video. Over the past ten years, there have been videos with found footage, lip-synced performances, dolls, puppets, pets, animation, just about anything goes.

Phenomenal Art Exhibition for Women of Color

Photo by Ivy Vainio.

In continuing a tradition of Duluth “firsts,” the American Indian Community Housing Organization hosted an exhibit last month celebrating artists who identify as women of color. This was the first exhibit to feature only the work of our region’s least represented demographic of artists — Indigenous, Black, Latinx and Asian women. A total of 31 different artists representing a wide range of backgrounds and cultures submitted their work for display in the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, drawing in a crowd of 300 in an opening reception that took place alongside an award ceremony for some of AICHO’s most influential women leaders. As the exhibit comes down this week, here’s a few ideas for reflection … 

Selective Focus: Brenna Jordan

Brenna Jordan has nice handwriting. But she doesn’t just get complimented on it, she gets paid for it. And she’s a member of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. This week, Brenna fills us in on the art of calligraphy and how she works a very analog art into the digital world.

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
-James Michener

BJ: When I’m not out enjoying Duluth’s many natural wonders, I work as a calligrapher/hand lettering artist in my home studio that officially opened in 2014. I use an assortment of inks, gouache, watercolors, chalk and colored pencils, and have lettered on all kinds of surfaces, including wood, rock, pressed leaves, canvas, walls, and even boats! I have been in love with letters and great quotes for as long as I can remember, and started learning traditional calligraphy as a teenager. Teachers and coaches hired me to do lettering on certificates and awards, which gave me a lot of practice. While I didn’t formally study art in college, I continued doing calligraphy for events on campus, along with wedding calligraphy for family and friends. For many years, calligraphy was more of a hobby, with occasional commissioned projects.

Duluth-made feature film “Solatium” released online

To rent or buy Solatium through Vimeo on Demand visit vimeo.com/ondemand/solatium.

Postcard from Skyline Drive at Night

This postcard image looking out from Skyline Drive at the city’s hillside, downtown, Aerial Lift Bridge, Minnesota Point, Lake Superior and so on has been used a few times as Perfect Duluth Day’s cover photo on Facebook, and more than once has been met with the question, “Who did this painting?” The answer is, we don’t know. Old postcards rarely credit the artist. But maybe someone out there knows.

Selective Focus: Joe Klander

Joe Klander can definitely be called a multimedia artist. He paints, he sculpts, he puts opponents in a full nelson. His art show last year at the Duluth Art Institute was called “Strongman” ond explored his heroes and influences as a kid. He will appear on the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent, and a documentary about him is currently making the rounds at Film Fests, opening last weekend at the Fargo Film Fest.

JK: From what I’ve been told I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, and watching pro wrestling not long after that. Mike Scholtz’s documentary “Kinderchomper” hit on my childhood-like arts and crafts art exhibit I was working on and my life as a pro wrestler father and husband. I am constantly reaching back to my boyhood imagination and dreams for inspiration and for some reason always ask myself the question “Would me at the age of 10 think this is pretty awesome?”

Coldsnap on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Spectrum West”

Photographer John Gregor‘s interview on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Spectrum West” arts program with Alan Ross is now available for online streaming at wpr.org.

Land of the Sky Blue Waters

This illustrated map depicting “The Minnesota Arrowhead Country” is from the Hotel Duluth Coffee Cub menu, circa the mid-20th Century. The illustration is by wildlife painter Louis S. Raymer, who graduated from Duluth Central High School.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article about Raymer’s career in 2014: “Painter Louis Raymer, 85, on life, career and the heyday of wildlife art.” Raymer died in 2016.

Selective Focus: William Garnett

William Garnett is a teacher at East High School, and an avid supporter of the sports and other programs there. He uses his photography skills to provide the student athletes with some amazing Sports Illustrated-level images through his Instagram and Facebook feeds.

WG: I do photography, mostly sports. I began by taking photographs to document the activities of an organization I was the adviser for at East High School and progressed to photographing a variety of activities from sports to theater. I have been called the school photographer and I guess that fits.

Selective Focus: Ingeborg von Agassiz


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.

Superior native reviews “Girl From the North Country”

“Girl From the North Country,” the musical play that features the song catalog of Duluth/Hibbing native Bob Dylan, will close its second run at the Old Vic Theatre in London’s West End on March 24. Superior native Cassandra Csencsitz has published a review in the latest “Critic’s Notebook” on the American Theatre website: ‘Girl From the North Country’: How Does It Feel?

Selective Focus: Found Art – The Squirrels

This week we look at a mysterious collection found at an estate sale. There are 36 pieces of yellow cardboard with photos of squirrels, and typed-out captions glued to the boards. All are numbered on the back, and some have additional handwritten notes on the back. Some of the handwritten notes also appear as typed captions on the front of other cards.

Split Rock Review, Issue 10

The new issue of Split Rock Review is out.