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Art 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!

The amazing sensation of being airborne

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Mary Netta Abe‎ tagged Perfect Duluth Day on Facebook with this image. She was born in Duluth, but her family moved away.

“I still have dreams with the old, familiar images of my childhood,” she writes. “I have flying dreams, which are my favorite; I can feel the amazing sensation of being airborne. In one dream, I soared over the Aerial Bridge! As an artist, I used that dream as an inspiration for this drawing! I will always love Duluth!”

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.

Saturday Essay: Select gems from 2016

Saturday Essay logo genericLast week we highlighted the five most-read pieces from the first year of Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” series. This week’s focus is on five essays of similar quality that might have been missed by readers who were cleaning their attics, fixing their hot rods or relaxing at the cabin on the particular Saturdays these stories were originally posted.

The first 50 essays in our series showcased the work of 16 different writers; we hope to expand that roster in 2017. Anyone who has an original piece of literary excellence that seems to fit (or appropriately defy) the established format should email paul @ perfectduluthday.com to get involved.

And now a few select gems from season one, in random order …

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.

Pond Hockey Rink in Shape of Minnesota

What says Minnesota more than pond hockey? How about a rink in the shape of Minnesota? I made this rink in the shape of Minnesota over the course of two days. The project took a total of a few hours and I had some help on the final shovel off.

 

 

Arrowhead Christmas by Knute Heldner

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Impressionist painter Knute Heldner lived in Duluth during the early 1900s.

The Most Read Saturday Essays of 2016

Saturday Essay logo genericPerfect Duluth Day launched its “Saturday Essay” series at the beginning of 2016 and it quickly became the most popular recurring feature on the website. With the first set of 50 essays now complete, it’s time to take a look back at which pieces have been the most read of the bunch so far, according to the folks at Google Analytics.

Before we get all Casey Kasem, a few notes about how the “Saturday Essay” feature works: Yours truly, Paul Lundgren, is the editor. A small group of writers are featured somewhat regularly, but anyone is welcome and encouraged to submit a piece for consideration. Shoot an email to paul @ perfectduluthday.com to inquire.

And now, the countdown …

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.

The Event of the Century: Standing Strong for Our Precious Water

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The Standing Strong for Our Precious Water Art Exhibit and Concert Benefit for Standing Rock took place this past Friday at AICHO Galleries and was an amazing success.  400+ people showed up, raising a preliminary estimate of above $7,000 for Standing Rock water protectors and Honor the Earth (and that number continues to rise as more artwork is purchased over the course of the next month). The evening featured artwork by roughly 100 different visual artists, with musical performances by Annie Humphrey, Keith Secola, Jamie Labrador, #theindianheadband, Oshkii Giizhik Singers, Jake Vainio, and Richie Townsend.

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.

Streets of Duluth: 1968-1971

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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!

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.