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Selective Focus Posts

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.

Selective Focus: Like He

Inspired by other landscape photographers, Like He went from snapping family photos to composing stunning landscapes of our area.

L.H.: My earliest exposure to digital photography started in 2004, when I purchased my first digital camera, a Canon A95 to take photos of my 2 year old daughter. I didn’t become serious until almost 10 years later, when by accident I became a member of a photo competition website, 500px.com, where I was shocked and awed by the beautiful landscape photos posted by the talented photographers throughout the world. I wanted to be one of them. I started to learn how to use my DSLR camera, ND filters, long exposures, Lightroom and Photoshop.

Selective Focus: Derick Cich Makeup Artistry

This week we take a look at a different form of visual art with Derick Cich, a makeup artist specializing in weddings, fashion, and commercial clients.

D.C.: I am a freelance makeup artist with a background in both skincare and painting. I’ve been involved in the visual arts my entire life (drawing, sculpting, painting) and went to school for skincare. Makeup artistry is essentially a natural blend of both of those elements for me.

Selective Focus: Annie Schweiger

Annie Schweiger first achieved PDD fame when she won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Duluth Art Institute Member Show. Here, she shows some more of her work and talks about the balance of work projects, personal projects, illustration and design.

A.S.: By day I’m a graphic designer and at night I work on illustrations. I mostly work with graphite and watercolor but I’ve been experimenting with digital illustration on a Wacom tablet in Adobe Photoshop.

Selective Focus: Art on the Planet

Art on the Planet is a relatively new gallery on Tower Avenue in Superior, offering an eclectic collection of local artists as well as a number of classes. Managers Nancy and Kat fill us in on how they got to their current location, and what they hope to create in that space.

AOTP: “Art on the Planet” is managed by Nancy Senn of Superior Candles and Kat Senn of katsingerArt and we assumed management of the shop when Twin Ports Stage announced intentions to close “Art on the Plaza” (which was a project of the John D. Munsell Legacy Fund), initiated in October of 2015 and formerly located in the Belknap Plaza of Superior.

Selective Focus: Dann Matthews

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Dann Matthews is a designer and illustrator who blends pop-culture knowledge, humor and sharp skills into a mashed-up style for print, product design and more.

D.M.: Most of my work is digital. I’ll sketch and scan an illustration and finish the piece in either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. I have done a ton of designs prepped for screen printing, so I’m most at home in Illustrator. I started designing tees for Threadless.com’s ongoing T-shirt design competition back in 2005. It became my hobby, then my obsession, then my side-hustle. I would usually create 4-6 designs a week and never use two of them for anything.

Selective Focus: Jon Hinkel

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Jon Hinkel operates the Tight Squeek Press, an artistic step back in time on the second floor of a studio building on First Street. The space is filled with old presses, stacks of paper and the odds and ends that help Jon and the machines crank out his artwork.

J. H.: I’m called an artist-printmaker, creating relief prints on paper using letterpress equipment. For me anyway, my initial artist-end is pretty inseparable from my printmaking. I draw, but I can’t remember ever finishing a drawing. When a sketch I’m working on has gained a fair measure of strength and coherence, that stage of things is done weather it likes it or not. If it’s a worthy image, I’ll carve it into linoleum or engrave it into hard maple. Then to the pressroom!

Selective Focus: Yahya Rushdi

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Yahya Rushdi is a designer who moves effortlessly between the tools of photography, design and illustration and he’s an active advocate for living in Duluth.

Y. R.: The neat about being a graphic designer is that I’ll usually start with paper and pencil to sketch an idea, but once it comes into fruition on the computer, there is a wide range of mediums that I can use to communicate a message through. Whether that be in the form of social media, billboards, websites or poster. Sky’s the limit! I like to think myself as a visual communicator. If there is a problem to solve, or a specific outcome that needs to be achieved, I’ll collect information and analyze it to figure out the best solution, visually. I lean to be more simple, but effective in my work.

Selective Focus: Kirsten Aune

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Kirsten Aune just hung a show of her bright, colorful work at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 835 W. College St. She talks about her process and inspiration.

K.A.: I work on cloth to create wall-hangings, garments, toys, table linens, hand bags, lampshades, quilts and lots of other goodies. I create original designs using stencils I cut by hand and then I arrange my visual compositions using bold blocks of color and repeat designs. I have also been using silkscreens to create yardage. However, I have been limited to one color for my designs. I will be implementing a rail system that will enable me to line up multiple screens which will open up more dynamic designs using this medium. Recently, I have been projecting my designs in installations in Duluth, Bergen, Norway and Aarhus, Denmark. Currently, I am planning to incorporate some digital animation for an exhibition at the Nordic Center in the fall.