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Art Posts

Selective Focus: Travis Novitsky

When you get away from city lights and can look at a clear night sky, it’s remarkable how much is up there. Travis Novitsky takes this experience even further with his photography, showing the amazing detail of stars, the milky way and auroras that shine down on our world every night.

TN: I have been making photographs for over 25 years, specializing in images of Lake Superior and the Minnesota North Woods with a passion for the night sky. A self-taught photographer, my knowledge about photography has come primarily from reading books on the subject and from countless hours of experimentation with the camera. I “got my start”, I guess you could say, early on in high school. My first camera was a very basic point-and-shoot Pentax film camera. After that I graduated to a Minolta X-700 SLR film camera which I used until purchasing my first digital camera in 2001. Since then I have used a variety of camera brands including Olympus, Canon, Nikon and Sony. All have helped me create unforgettable imagery. What’s more important than what camera you use, however, is your way of looking at the world around you. How you interact with that world and how you choose to photograph what is around you.

Five-star Customer Review of Richardson Brothers Duluth-based Amazon Kindle Book

Thought you should know about this. We published a novella on Kindle a while back and this review just appeared. The novella is Menno Zwonk: Amish Outlaw, which we excerpted in the Transistor over the course of several years:

This hyperfantastic shitstorm of a story will make about as much sense as anything in 2018 without the frightening public policy implications. Filled like an overflowing park garbage can on Memorial Day weekend with biologic catastrophes, double and triple crossing henchmen, some forgivable juvenalia, ungodly sea mutants, Duluth references, and hope in the form of ecoterrorist lesbians, the Meatco minions can’t possibly know who really works for who as experiments become kill triggers plowing through law enforcement and launching giant lamprey. Can’t wait for Book Two.

Duluth native gears up for directorial debut on independent film

As much as I wish I was writing this about myself, I am glad my time has not yet come. No, I am not making my directorial debut, but I have been working as a production assistant for an independent feature film called Seed of Doubt. In fact, I like to believe it was my connection to Duluth that landed me said gig, and not the more likely scenario that I was the only one with free time that bothered to reach out. Although I do have video production experience, I have significant inexperience when it comes to independent feature films. And being a PA for a mere three months has taught me that indie film making, is completely nuts. What sits arguably at the top of the completely nuts castle, would be the film’s director. Producers certainly have no breezy time either, but when the cast and crew converge for production, even the producers are asking the director, “What’s next?”

Cut to: Will Cox.

Selective Focus: Daniel Benoit


If you were out and about during Homegrown 2018 and saw the giant chicken on the front of the Blacklist Beer / Solve Entertainment building, you’ve seen some of Daniel Benoit’s work. He pulls together design, video, animation, projections, and all kinds of technology to create immersive art. He tells about how he started working with this relatively new and experimental medium.

DB: I work in multiple digital mediums, but lately my focus has been projection design for theatre and immersive design for escape rooms. The path to getting here has been long and winding. The short version is that my love of filmmaking, theatre, and graphic design all happened to converge in 2012 when I created projections for my friend Davey T Steinman’s play Bagman at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis. Davey introduced me to the software I still use today, Isadora, and that was it, I was hooked.

Duluthian Joe Klander on “America’s Got Talent”

Joe Klander, aka Uncle Clutch, aka Kinderchomper was on the season premiere of America’s Got Talent on Tuesday. Mike Scholtz’s documentary about Klander’s wrestling career “Kinderchomper” will be at the Duluth Superior Film Festival with other shorts on Friday, June 1, 6 p.m., at Teatro Zuccone.

Filmmakers of Duluth

A short documentary highlighting three filmmakers working in Duluth — Keith Hopkins, Robert Larson and Matthew Dressel. Directed by Wyatt Buckner.

Selective Focus: Ed Newman

Ed Newman is a prolific artist, writer and supporter of the arts in our area. His frequent blog posts at “Ennyman’s Territory” cover the work of other artists, events and issues around town. You can almost always count on seeing him at openings, and he’s also very involved with this week’s Duluth Dylan Fest. He talks about how all these passions and interests come together for him.

EN: I work in a variety of media. About four decades ago I re-defined myself as a “creative person” which opened up all kinds of channels for creative expression beyond painting and drawing. I became serious about my writing at that time, and have always been drawing and making art in the background of what has primarily been a career in advertising.

The new issue of Freshwater Review has been published

Internal Landscape oil painting by Natalie Salminen Rude

The new issue of Freshwater Review has been published. It is the College of St. Scholastica’s student-run annual journal of literature and art, including work by writers and artists throughout the region.

2018 Duluth Superior Film Festival Trailer

The Duluth Superior Film Festival runs May 30 to June 3 at five Duluth venues — Clyde Iron Works, Zinema 2, Teatro Zuccone, Blacklist Artisan Ales and AICHO — and also the Comet Theater in Cook.

Selective Focus: Nick Wroblewski

Nick Wroblewski gets beautiful layers of color and detail from his woodcut printing process. You may have seen his work in local galleries and shops, and you might also be seeing it in your refrigerator on 6-packs of Earth Rider beer. Simpler, limited-color versions of his art are being used on the Earth Rider packaging. Be sure to check out the video at the end of the post to see how he builds up the layers of color for some stunning effects. He will be talking about the work for Earth Rider tonight (Friday, 5/18) at the Cedar Lounge, and doing a demonstration tomorrow (Saturday, May 19) at Zeitgeist Art’s “Spirit of the Times” event.

NW: The medium I am working in is called woodcut printmaking, and it’s been my primary medium for about 15 years. All the images that I make are printed from the inked surface of a carved block of wood. This technique is an ancient method used to create multiples of a single image. I was first drawn to this technique because of the way that it combined elements of drawing and painting with sculpture and woodworking.

Selective Focus: David Barthel


This week, photographer David Barthel talks about building a career from his art, how his photography evolved from a hobby and curiosity as a kid, the turning point of a job loss, and some of his inspirations from our area.

DB: I’ve been photographing the natural world for over fifteen years, with a primary focus on the North Shore of Lake Superior and a secondary emphasis on the vast and rugged American West. I’m often asked how long I’ve been involved with photography, a question that would seemingly demand a concise answer. The reality is, my journey into photography didn’t result from any single moment of epiphany, but rather the gradual development of a long-held hobby.

Lake Superior Writers 2018 writing contest winners announced

The winners have been announced in Lake Superior Writers annual writing contest. Winner in each category receive a prize of $250 and publication on the Lake Superior Writers website.

Selective Focus: Run Smelt Run

Sunday, May 13, is the annual Run Smelt Run Parade. If you’ve never witnessed or been a part of the parade, it’s a blend of art, absurdity, puppets, community, ecology, humor, music, dancing and things that sparkle.

The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. near the Aerial Lift Bridge and north pier, on the lawn in front of the Maritime Museum. Look for the people on stilts.

Chris Monroe’s 2008 Homegrown Highlights

A little cartoon retrospective on the 2008 Homegrown Music Festival, drawn by Chris Monroe in 2008.

Selective Focus: Random Squares from Aunt Becky

The focus of this Selective Focus series has mostly been current artists and what they’ve been working on, but we also enjoy swerving into the realm of “found art.” This week is one of those times. PDD’s own Paul Lundgren fills us in on this collection.

PL: What we’ve got here is a sampling of old photographs that were temporarily stored at my house while my wife’s Aunt Becky was in the process of moving last year. I don’t know any of the people in the photos, I just pulled some out that I thought had an artistic quality. I asked Aunt Becky about them and she didn’t seem to know much of who was who or what was what in the pictures either. That’s something that naturally happens when you accumulate stuff as your elders die off. Pretty soon half of your photos are of someone’s grandmother’s ex-husband’s third cousin, etc.