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Selective Focus Posts

Selective Focus: #BWCA

Selective Focus: Northern Lights

We sure do love our auroras up here. There are predictions of moderate activity tonight and Saturday according to the internet experts and local astronomical legend Astro Bob.

The week of Sept. 17-23, Night Sky Week will be taking place in Duluth. Click here for more information and a schedule of events. The project is organized by Starry Skies Lake Superior, a group raising awareness of the effects of light pollution.

One of the main events will be a showing of the movie Skyglow. The trailer below is pushing some product pretty hard, but there are stunning images in it.

Selective Focus: Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel lives in Grand Marais, working as a photographer and educator. His photos have been published in many national magazines including National Geographic, and his classes take students to sites in the region and across the country to National Parks.

B.H.: I could say I developed my style from years of practice starting with three years of black & white photography in high school — I graduated in 1989. But, that’s not really how I came to do what I do. About ten or so years ago, I decided I needed to make my photos eye-catching and worked toward a style that accomplished that. Then about six years ago while reading a book on haiku I had an “aha” moment. I was reading about juxtaposition in poetry and it occurred to me I could do the same thing with photography. After messing around with the approach, I started teaching it at my photography workshops. Basically, it’s all about using simplicity to create flow and relationships in an image. Now I approach all my photos that way.

Selective Focus: CSS Mural Initiative Project 2017

This winter and spring, Sarah Brokke Erickson from the College of St. Scholastica headed up a the art department’s 2nd collaborative mural project, with artist Shawna Gilmore, students from CSS, students from Harbor City International School, and Safe Haven. This short documentary shows the planning and process of the art. The finished murals will hang at Harbor City International School and in the Safe Haven shelter.

Selective Focus: Erika Mock


Erika Mock is a textile artist and arts activist who uses recycled materials to make zero-waste artwear. On Thursday, Aug. 24, she will be co-hosting a Pop-Up Shop and Open Studio along with Kristina Estell (previously featured in Selective Focus).

E.M.: I create textiles for body and soul; free-spirited sculpted art to wear to wake your body and perceptions. Most are richly colored accessories (wraps, eco-scarves, skinnies, wings, feathers, talismans, and tendrils), both organic in shape and elegant … a kind of sensitive chaos juiced with symbolism and surprise.

Selective Focus: #parkpoint

The prime beach-going days are numbered, so if you’ve got a chance to go, you’d better go. This week in Selective Focus, we’re taking it easy, taking a look at life on #parkpoint.

Selective Focus: Brianna Hall

The Duluth Playhouse production of Cabaret opened at the Underground this week and runs through August 19th. For this installment of Selective Focus, we hear from Cabaret Choreographer Brianna Hall.

I am a dance artist and choreographer. For my current project Cabaret, I created jazz dance. Although this is my first time choreographing a full musical, I made my choreographic debut in musical theater with “The Wells Fargo Wagon” for my high school show choir. In college I earned a B.A. in dance where I studied modern dance performance and composition. To the uninitiated, imagine modern as a lot of artful running & falling followed by rolling around on the floor.

Selective Focus: Tyler Johnson

This week in Selective Focus, we take a look at the work of Tyler Johnson, a designer who has worked in identities, clothing, art prints and more.

T.J.: I am a graphic designer and art director by day and a doodler/painter/screenprinter by night. I started out as all creatives do, scribbling out sketches as a youngster. One of my earliest memories is making Star Wars and Power Rangers books with my Mom. I would tell the story to my Mom as I would draw the pictures and she would write out the words. As I grew older and my interests changed, art became the constant that I could apply to all my other interests at a given time.

Selective Focus: Linda Naughton

Linda Naughton just opened a show of her intensely bright and beautiful watercolors at Lakeside Gallery. The show will be up through July, and Linda talks about the work.

L.N.: For painting, I start out with transparent watercolors. But I want my work ultimately to express the joy of exuberant color. If I’m happy with the initial result, then I don’t add anything else. But if the painting isn’t as dynamic as I want, then I might add India ink or alcohol ink or both. If I still think it needs more oomph, I will add acrylic ink, colored pencil and/ or oil pastels. Finally, if all else fails to thrill, I have a large supply of hand painted collage papers, handcut stamps, and stencil designs!

Selective Focus: Midnight Oil

The work from Allison & Jonathan Metzger – aka Midnight Oil Studio – has been popping up around the area at galleries and art fairs. They even do live screen printing demos. Here they talk about how they got into screen printing and where they hope to take the medium and their business.

M. O.: We make fine art, original silk-screen prints on paper; our imagery is based on Midwestern landscapes, Nature, retro-and contemporary Pop-Culture, and American Inventions. We have a lot of fun with our pieces and enjoy making work that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

We both earned our Master’s degrees in Fine Art from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS – Jonathan in Printmaking and Allison in Textiles – so the silk-screen technique is a fantastic crossover between the two disciplines. Also, creating silk-screen prints does not require much more than a spare room, a darkroom, and a little know-how, whereas other printmaking techniques often require large, expensive and HEAVY equipment. The silk-screen process took a little getting use to, but we really enjoy the challenges it brings.

Selective Focus: Michelle Bennett

Photographer Michelle Bennett specializes in portraits and makes fascinating images of the artists and musicians from our area.

M.B.: My medium is photography. My subject of choice is people, particularly women. It started when I was in 6th grade when I went to summer camp and my mom would pack a disposable camera in my overnight pack. One year instead of firing away all 36 frames on the camera in the first night I decided to take portraits of my friends and set up each shot with intention. Later on in high school I had an incredible photography teacher. By the end of that school year I was hooked so my dad gifted me his old Pentax Asahi Spotmatic- fifteen years later it’s a paper weight, but I bought the same one once it gave out. In college my professors encouraged me to apply for grant money and was awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant two years in a row. The grants allowed me to explore analog cameras while road tripping across the country which ended up being hugely influential to my subject matter.

Selective Focus: #perfectduluthday

A collection of recent photos hashtagged “perfectduluthday.” Happy Summer!

Selective Focus: Patricia Canelake

Patricia Canelake is a painter and teacher who creates large, colorful paintings that combine figurative drawing with the spontaneous drips, layers and other effects of paint.

P.C.: My aesthetic is an aesthetic of attraction — both obvious and mysterious. Simple figurative, and animal subjects, leashed and unleashed, are the subjects of my work. That push and pull are recognizable experiences. My painting style is a fine balance between storytelling and the rough elegance of form, line and color.

Selective Focus: Karen McTavish

Duluth’s Karen McTavish has been named the Minnesota Quilter of the Year for 2017, and her work is being displayed at the DECC as part of the Minnesota Quilt Show this weekend, June 7-10. Her work can also be seen at the quilting studio she runs at 1831 E. Eighth St..

K.M.: In 1997 I came to Duluth to machine-quilt full time as my only source of income. I had no prior experience quilting so I had a lot of fear. I had no mentors and no idea what I was doing. I went to the Duluth Public Library and started my research into the medium, carrying hand quilting books out of the library six at a time. I applied for a studio at the Washington Studios Artists Cooperative to live/work and was accepted. I met a hand-quilter named Cheryl Dennison there. Cheryl was a modern quilter, my mother was an art quilter and I was this wandering idiot trying to find my style, my passion and my voice.

Selective Focus: Goodiel Beads

After the Vinyl Cave record store in Superior closed, Goodiel Beads moved in. Goodiel sells beads and supplies, and hires employees with disabilities who might not be able to find employment at other businesses. The store also has space for local crafters to sell their items on a consignment basis.

G.B.: Goodiel Beads is a locally owned bead store that was opened April 2017 by a local bead worker, Jamie Goodiel, and her best friend, Matt Hill.