Selective Focus Posts

Selective Focus: Sarah Brokke Erickson – Illustrating “A Common Thirst”

Artist and teacher Sarah Brokke Erickson goes in depth into her process for planning and illustrating a children’s book, “A Common Thirst.” The book was written by fellow Duluthian Gary Boelhower.

Selective Focus: Blackbird Revolt

Blackbird Revolt is a team of creatives and organizers who work to raise the voices and increase the visibilty of marginalized groups. They recently published APRÈS, an elegant, beautifully designed and written zine that started out as a way to honor Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie at the 100 year mark of their lynching. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others caused them to change direction with the project. The zine now contains content to help people who want to make meaningful change happen, but may need some suggestions for next steps, and ways to sustain the energy. This week in Selective Focus, we take a look at the work of Blackbird Revolt, and hear how they use their skills as artists and organizers to support, challenge, engage and change.

Please tell us about yourself and your work, and how you came to work in your style.
Influenced by artists and activists, Blackbird Revolt was founded by Jordon and Terresa Moses who felt compelled to engage their community through art and design. The idea to form the company came about in Fall of 2016. We noticed the continued lack of representation and the intentional exclusion of diverse and intersectional voices from the dominant narrative. We are an alternative to that exclusion: A network of artists, designers, photographers, painters, writers, orators and more. Blackbird Revolt acts as a platform for these conscious creatives.

Selective Focus: Silver Bay

Select Instagram photos of scenes in Silver Bay, with particular emphasis on Black Beach.

Selective Focus: LampsnTime – Rob and Teresa Reese

When you walk through the Duluth Antique Marketplace on Grand Avenue, like most antique malls, each booth has its own specialty and feel. But when you approach the LampsnTime booth, even from a distance, it’s clear there’s another layer of personality to it. Rob and Teresa Reese transform old discarded items into reimagined pieces of functional and decorative art.

LNT: With Teresa’s fascination with the Borg technology portrayed in Star Trek and Rob’s interest in all that is “haunted” naturally we fell in love with the Steampunk alternate history of the “Past that never was.” We repurpose all sorts of odd pieces we happen upon into industrial lamps, clocks, steampunk accessories and Assemblage art.

Six years ago, Rob made a lamp and friends expressed a desire to purchase one if he made more. That was the start to what we have become, Lampsntime.

Selective Focus: Annelisa Roseen

Toward the beginning of the pandemic, Annelisa Roseen started posting a photo of herself in make-up and costumes looking like a person who has a birthday on that day. The individual images are entertaining and impressive, but when you view the body of work as Instagram thumbnails, you get a much better sense of the variety, commitment, and skills Roseen has to make this work. It’s not just about the props and make-up, the expressions in her face, whether deadpan or over the top, are often the thing that make the connection to the celebrity.

What was the inspiration for this ongoing project?

I had seen that it was Gloria Steinem’s birthday; she is one of my heroes. So when I was brushing out my two-day-old pandemic bun I noticed I was sporting a kind of ’70s Gloria-frizz-do. So I took a selfie (no real make-up or costume) and posted a happy birthday to her. The next day I saw it was Lenard Nimoy’s birthday and thought “that would be funny” to do him today. I studied pics and read up on his life. And then I never stopped! I have been doing my #homageaday every day since then! Every day I pick someone whose work is inspiring or meaningful or has made an impact on culture. I love becoming these (big and small) icons each day! Most days I do an individual’s face, but sometimes I honor their image in a different way — like I did James Brown’s feet dancing on his birthday.

Selective Focus: Double Rainbow

Depending on their vantage point, Duluthians had the chance to see two simultaneous rainbows over Lake Superior today. Here are a few images via Instagram.

Selective Focus: Community Mural at the CJM Memorial

Visual artist Moira Villiard organized a mural project at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial as part of a day of creative expression on Monday, June 8. People were invited to add to the images she created of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and a raised fist. The activities also included interviews of black, indigenous and people of color on the topic of police brutality. The interviews will be used in a documentary produced by DanSan Creatives. June 15 marks 100 years since the lynching of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Issac McGhie in downtown Duluth for a crime they didn’t commit.

Selective Focus: Annmarie Geniusz

If you want to see Annmarie Geniusz’s original artwork, it’s a “right place, right time” situation. She works in chalk on the sidewalk, and the next rainstorm can carry away the masterpieces in minutes. This week in Selective Focus, Annemarie fills us in on the appeal of doing public, temporary artwork.

AG: I work in illustration, stained glass, and chalk art. This time of year (and since the start of quarantine) my main focus has been chalk art. This is a form of street art that involves drawing murals and 3D illusions with artist pastels on pavement. It is considered a performance art, and is often the focus of summertime “Chalk Art Festivals” across the country.

Selective Focus: Protesting the Death of George Floyd

Protests and riots in the Twin Cities spread to Duluth on Saturday. The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer spurred the actions, which were mostly peaceful in Duluth. The notable exception was an incident at the Kwik Trip convenience store on 27th Avenue West and Superior Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Selective Focus: Richard Hoeg

Rich Hoeg is a naturalist, photographer and children’s book author. His blog, 365 Days of Birds, provides daily updates on the birds and animals he follows, as well as an occasional post about his human activities. In Selective Focus this week, he talks about how his other interests have influenced his wildlife photography.

RH: Unlike most photographers who like to use DSLR’s and big lenses which are heavy with lots of reach, I chose to use a “super zoom / bridge” camera. I wanted a camera setup which allowed for easy portability whether birding, bike touring or cross-country skiing. This decision was driven by a decision to retire from the traditional work world (I was a software techie) at the somewhat young age of 57. My wife and I had planned a 2,500 mile self-supported two month bicycle tour of northern New England, the Canadian Maritime Provinces and the St. Lawrence River from its mouth to Quebec City. A large camera would have been impractical and heavy in my bike panniers.

Selective Focus: Allen Killian-Moore

Allen Killian-Moore is a filmmaker who recently released a new experimental project in collaboration with the music of Minneapolis-based Humbird for her new single, “On the Day We are Together Again.” His work takes advantage of the imperfections of film and video — the grain, dust and scratches, pixels, flickering, varied frame rates, and they become an important part of the images. This week in Selective Focus, Allen talks about his process and the experiences that have influenced his work.
 

“On the Day We Are Together Again” Music by Humbird, film by Allen Killian-Moore
 

AKM: I am a Neurodivergent moving image artist (film and video), writer, curator, still photographer, visual artist, and performer. For this interview, I’ll be focusing specifically on my moving image film and video art.

Selective Focus: StayHomegrown

The glamour of big crowds, long nights and sloppy hugs were missing, but the Homegrown Music Festival virtually carried on. Here are a few select images from Instagram of the Homegrown that wasn’t, but sort of was.

Selective Focus: Carolyn Olson

Carolyn Olson (featured previously in Selective Focus) has been redirecting her work a bit. Still focused on everyday scenes, she has been making drawings in a series she’s calling Essential Workers. These scenes are in grocery stores, public transit, street scenes and in medical facilities. This week, Carolyn talks about honoring these people who keep things going in unprecedented circumstances.

CO: Having recently retired from teaching school this year began differently anyway. I began last summer creating projects – challenges I called them – for myself, such as creating a series of images that tell a story, in hopes of illustrating books. When the “Stay at Home” order came I was accustomed to staying home and working in the studio regularly. Talking with our adult kids in the Cities brought home the realities facing the essential workers.

Selective Focus: Lend a Paw Virtual Exhibit

UMD’s Senior Design Studio II class has created a virtual gallery to show their work, and is using the opportunity to raise money for the Douglas County Humane Society. The exhibit, online store and Go Fund Me page will be active until May 5. Each piece in the exhibition is inspired by the story of a rescue pet. Visitors can move around the inside and outside of the gallery space to look at the art, read the stories and interact with the objects in the display. The class is led by UMD Department of Art & Design Assistant Professor David Short, and one of the organizers, Jack Schneewind, fills us in on how the exhibit came together, and what the class hoped to achieve with the project.

Selective Focus: Kari Halker-Saathoff

Scheduled to open at the Duluth Art Institute, but postponed to a date to be determined later, is the work of Kari Halker-Saathoff. She combines methods such as ceramics and graphite drawings to reinterpret stories from the point of view of lesser-known characters. In the DAI show, she explores Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, her situation in The Odyssey, and connections to modern-day events.

KHS: I am a multidisciplinary artist and educator. My teaching role requires me to be well versed in all of the core artistic mediums so I will often combine drawing with ceramics, drawing with sculpture, metalwork with ceramics and so forth.

I’m very inspired by stories, although reading was always a struggle for me. I have dyslexia that went undiagnosed until I was in college. After being diagnosed, the literary world opened up to me. Stories became my drug and — as an artist — my mind went wild illustrating the stories in my head. I soon discovered that the heroes of narratives were not always the most interesting characters and that I was more interested in “minor” characters — often female ones. Those were the characters who spoke to me and to my struggles.

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