Matt Kania is an artist who has won awards for his plein air paintings that capture the light, the feeling and the experience of being in a place. His work brings life to scenes that most of us would walk past without noticing.
MK: I am a professional oil painter and an original printmaker. With most of my artistry coming in recent years in the form of plein air painting (that’s French for ‘in open air’ or ‘on location’).
Carli Vergamini takes old jackets and other items and re-purposes them into a wild variety of accessories. A quote on her website reads “the best fashions are fringey & up-cycling is cool.” In this week’s Selective Focus, we get an introduction to what she’s doing. It’s worth a deeper dive into her blog, where she frequently makes updates about what she’s working on, and she highlights other businesses that she admires in a series she calls “Biz Crush.”
CV: My main medium of choice is leather. Specifically, re-purposed from vintage leather jackets. It happened as a mistake — I was fresh out of college and didn’t know what I was doing with my life. All I knew is that I wanted to make stuff, but I didn’t know where to buy the materials I needed to make the stuff I wanted to make. So I did what I typically do and got resourceful. I bought the first leather coat I could find at Goodwill, took it home and cut that baby up to smithereens.
Duluth’s own Trampled by Turtles recently announced a new song, new album and new tour. The new album, Life is Good on the Open Road, will drop May 4 and be available on CD/LP at the TBT online store, Amazon and Itunes. Above is the first release Kelly’s Bar. The tour also kicks off May 4 at the Palace Theater in St. Paul.
This week, Mary Reichert talks about how she stumbled into the art of felting and textiles. She’s become passionate about the craft, and has even gone to live in Central Asia to learn more about the history and techniques.
MR: I work with wool, making felt. How this came to be feels like an incredible mystery and also the most natural thing to happen. When I speak about felt-making I light up; I feel connected with the world. I have been most at home in my life working with a group of people making large community rugs. I did not grow up making things, surrounded by animals or wool, or ever imagine myself involved with fiber.
Sure, all the theater illuminati were at the opening of the NorShor for Mamma Mia. But across the street and down the road, on Friday and on Saturday, other kinds of theater and performance were opening up at Teatro Zuccone and the Underground, and I want to give them a nod.
Gay Haubner’s memoir about growing up in Duluth during the 1960s has been running as a weekly serial in The Saturday Evening Post since May 24, 2017. It’s at 36 chapters and counting, indexed on the page linked below.
Michael Smisek is a designer and artist whose work would be hard to miss around here. He and his wife operate the DLH Clothing company, and also Šek Design, where they have worked with a number of high-profile clients in the area.
MS: I primarily work as a graphic designer but my background is in drawing and painting. I have a degree in Fine Art from UMD and I find that a lot of my work still takes on a ‘painterly’ quality – especially when designing posters and other collateral for print. I tell all of my clients that I begin every project with open ears and a pencil in hand. I know it sounds corny but it’s absolutely true. Some designers jump right on the computer and use Photoshop tricks and things before truly thinking through the goals or issues that a client faces. If you look at our Šek logo, you can see that the accent above the ’S’ actually doubles as the tip of a pencil.
Dexter Ojeda is a 10-year-old Duluth boy who has a rare form of cancer that has no cure. One of the last items on Dexter’s bucket list is to star in a horror movie. Duluth’s Death Calm Studios and Dexter Ojeda’s family are determined to make Dexter’s wish come true, but they need help make it happen.
This week, illustrator Emily Krueger tells how she began to incorporate digital techniques into her painting and drawing styles, as well as how she has looked for a wide variety of opportunities to get her work out there and make her own job.
EK: My professional training is in graphic design and fine art (specifically, oil painting). I’ve dabbled in most mediums; watercolor, acrylic, drawing, graphic art, pastel, and colored pencil. As an illustrator, my main medium is a mix of pencil drawing and digital painting.
Creative Minnesota has released its second biennial economic report. The effort is a collaboration of arts and culture funders in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts with the goal is to “create solid, hard data about the arts sector.” The data is collected for “analysis, education and advocacy.”
In this remix video, Duluth artist Joellyn Rock collaborates with dancer/choreographer Rebecca Katz Harwood and adds music by Low, while layering in book textures and historical references from the Folger Library’s Shakespeare collection.
This week, we hear from watercolor artist and urban sketcher Samantha Nielsen. Also, this week we have a first, a Selective Focus artist teaching on Skillshare. Read on to hear her story and get the preview for her Skillshare class.
SN: I work in watercolor and ink with a style that many describe as ‘whimsical’. My artistic journey started after my third year of college, when I switched my major from music education to art education. I went into some of my first art classes feeling as though I didn’t have my own artistic voice, and I had very little experience, so all of the mediums were new to me. The first year was spent experimenting and learning the basics, but the following year a project for my illustration class is really what made me feel at home with watercolor and ink. We were instructed to completely fill a sketchbook throughout the semester, but we could only use permanent materials (so no pencils or erasers). This is where my love for watercolor and ink began, and this project really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.
Terrance Griep is a Minnesota writer and wrestler who makes frequent trips to Duluth (see stories on PDD here and here). He’s subject of an art exhibit at the MSP airport; visit when you catch a connecting flight.