For those who missed the exhibition of D. R. Martin photos on display at the Red Herring Lounge this past summer, or those who want to revisit it, the images are now available online at curator Kip Praslowicz’s website. It’s a collection of street photography shot in the Duluth area between 1968 and 1971. As evidenced by the sample above, these are hot!
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.
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.
This collaborative performance and art installation at Karpeles Manuscript Museum took place Oct. 22. Performing the music in this clip is Low; the projections are the work of media artist Joellyn Rock. The event was held to mark the arrival of Shakespeare’s First Folio at UMD’s Tweed Museum. The video is by Blue Boat Films.
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.
Russell Prather’s “Rope,” a hanging piece made with acrylic on layers of polyester film, took the $1,000 first-place prize at the Duluth Art Institute’s 61st Arrowhead Regional Biennial last week. Prather is a professor at Northern Michigan University who teaches British literary and visual culture of the 18th through 20th centuries.
Words From Nature is a new business created for an entrepreneurship project at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Our business allows customers to customize their home decor by creating their own alphabet letter art. Our large collection of letters are pictures from the outdoors and illustrate the beauty of nature. All of our pictures were taken by us, and only offered by us.
I want to tell you some things that might not make sense. I wish an adult would have seen me clearly enough to know I needed to hear similar things when I was 18. Do you know what I mean when I invoke the impact of being seen?
You’re a sharp kid. Like a lot of sharp kids, especially ones in their first semester of college, you know both way more and way less than you realize. I was the same way. So was—so is—every other adult, including every other teacher, you’ve known and will know.
You should accept nothing from us as truth before vetting it against your own inquiry. We do probably know more than you and your peers know about some things. We also tend to indoctrinate young people instead of helping them become autonomous thinkers. Please heed Walt Whitman and “re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul.”
By “inquiry” I mean deep, active curiosity that includes interrogating your own thinking at least as much as you interrogate the thinking of people you disagree with or consider stupid. It’s very hard work. It’s not just navel-gazing. You will find few examples of how to do it well. Even after doing it for years—after it has helped you learn to discern valid insight from self-serving magical thinking—it will lead you to many inaccurate conclusions because all perception is distorted and opinions can definitely be wrong.
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.
Recently a reporter came a calling, and we had to prepare our house for a photojournalist in just four short days. In the process I achieved a lifelong goal of being clutter-free, and became a better steward of our century-old home that has had only four owners over a breathtaking sweep of history. This place has housed a U.S. Senator, and also Richard Gastler, the beloved Denfeld teacher.
When we moved in we bought the eyesore on the block, because it was all we could afford, and have grown to cherish it as we make a large portion of our living between these four walls. I jotted down some thoughts over at Ed’s Big Adventure, and you can take a look-see at Christa Lawler’s marvelous column here about my daydreaming wife, who is cranking out another amazing painting at this very moment.
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.
Eric Helland makes things from natural materials. His work shows off the beauty in the texture and grain, and also in the imperfections and missing chunks.
E.H.: I’ve always dabbled in art starting with drawing as a kid, experimenting with glass in my family’s glass shop in Southern Minnesota, and photography after moving to Duluth. Eight years ago I made my wife a free form wooden bowl and a sofa table and have been working with wood ever since. Being self taught my technique is always changing and I’m forever seeing what I can do differently. Many people prize exotic woods but I think we have beautiful prime woods right here in the Northland. I like finding my own wood and seeing it in its original form, allowing the individual piece of wood to determine what the end product will be instead of having a preconceived idea when I start. Seeing what hidden grains and patterns I can reveal in the wood is my favorite aspect of this work. My style is always changing but I’m probably best known for my free form pieces, leaving live edges or bark on my lathe pieces, incorporating antler into my pens, and working with burls.
I’m a piano teacher with more than 20 years experience teaching students of all ages and all abilities on the hunt for students! I spent last year getting an MA in Community Music in Ireland, and while that was happening I lost a lot of students (which makes me sad).
That MA is changing so much about the way that I approach my teaching and music making, I decided that I might as well present myself to the world as a brand new teacher, and to do that, I made a brand new website: emilymoepianostudio.com.
All names in this story have been changed, because this is the internet. But not because of you. You’re wonderful.
If you had told me five years ago that a life could be forever altered by a toddler’s stutter, I would have rolled my eyes deep enough to dislocate my optic nerve. Maybe that’s a little melodramatic. My point is, I wouldn’t have understood. Like so many things, there’s often a pretty good delta between experience and imagination. I know a little better now, because of my own experience, and while this isn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me, it actually did change my whole life. This one little thing. A stutter.
I remember how, a week before my second daughter, Lilly, was born, I was thinking about how, in the new Pooh movie, Piglet lost his stutter. I had a little internal dialogue about the ridiculous, reactionary nature of helicopter parents, so sensitive to anything that might hurt … someone … that we couldn’t even joke around anymore. They had probably driven the change in Piglet’s fluency. Except I didn’t know to use the phrase, “change in Piglet’s fluency,” yet.