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Artist Crush: Ashley Moe

June 24th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Ashley Moe is twenty-two year-old Kansas City native studying print, paper and book design in Minneapolis. Her blog, sleepy fawn, is absolutely lovely and she also has a brand new shop on Etsy! Her work is soft, girly and ephemeral but at times includes darker undertones. Isn’t her work just lovely?

I can’t get enough of her handmade books like Waldeinsamkeit, below…

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Le Lapin print.

“Flourish” Opens in Minneapolis

October 23rd, 2010 · 6 Comments

Flourish at Minneapolis Institute of Arts opened last night with new work by Jennifer Davis, Erika Olson Gross, Terrence Payne and Joe Sinness. This show looks amazing! Sigh. I would love to see it in person. I’m constantly impressed by how much great art there is in Minneapolis! Update: many of the pieces are now up for view online.

Here are some gems from the show…

Terrence Payne


Jennifer Davis

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Erika Olson Gross

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Joe Sinness

Jennifer Davis On Symbols, Creatures And The Inner Child

January 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment

One of my favorite artists, Jennifer Davis, has a fantastic and *affordable* show at Walker Contemporary in Boston. (Most pieces are under $700.)

For those not familiar with Davis, her paintings are fascinating in a way that makes you want to revisit them again and again.  She has cultivated her own language of symbols and creatures and other visual oddities which she talks about in the interview. Davis’ paintings are mind-bending yet beautiful and surprisingly serene.

Interview with Jennifer Davis:

AH: Tell us a bit about the work in this show.
JD: This show features a series of mostly small-ish acrylic/graphite painting/drawings that I made during the past year or so.  These paintings are reflections about my life, the people around me and trying to live as an artist in these crazy times.

AH: There are certain themes that are prevalent in your work (faces/masks, musical instruments, balloons, ferns/branches). What kind of significance do these themes have for you?

JD: Each object has a kind of invented meaning for me and I just keep returning to images that resonate. My made-up vocabulary of symbols is always growing and changing. For example, I am currently obsessed with drawing a tuba on everything.  ha ha.  I am surrounded by a lot of music/musicians so I am just using a tuba as a beautiful representation of various musical themes that pop into my head.  Nothing very deep or tricky going on there.

AH: Some of your paintings include what seem like partially-human creatures, which often blur the line between cute and strange/creepy. Who are these creatures? Do you identify with them?

JD: Absolutely.  The animals and creatures in my paintings are symbols too.  I use them as stand-ins for people.  Cats, horses, dogs, monsters all have their own “personality” traits that I project onto the people in my life, strangers, myself and humanity in general. Sweet and soft balanced with more feral qualities, as humans tend to be.

AH: Much of your work has a distinct femininity to it (delicate lines and patterns, pale colors, little girls), but the feminine sweetness seems to be intertwined with loneliness. Do you feel there is a connection between innocence/sweetness and sadness?

JD: I try to strike a cord by finding a balance between things I find beautiful and darker themes running  just below the surface.  If I painted my pictures with dark bold colors (as has been “suggested” to me many times) they might seem overly gloomy and depressing.  Instead, I think they celebrate beautiful things as if through the eyes of a child that has reluctantly grown up a little bit.  I take such great joy in the act of painting so it is funny/odd that they sometimes look very somber.  Maybe today I will paint some smiles!

AH: What are you painting now? What’s next?

JD: I am currently painting like crazy for a big solo show opening Feb 5th in Ontario, Canada.  After that I have a solo show of drawing/paintings on paper at First Amendment Gallery in Minneapolis (http://burlesquedesign.com/category/first-amendment-arts/).  I will also be showing at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Oct.

Thanks, Jennifer!

Artist Interview: Kari Maxwell on the Creative Process

December 10th, 2009 · No Comments

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview the energetic, Minneapolis-based artist, Kari Maxwell, about her new watercolor series and life as an artist. To see more of Kari’s work, check out her website and etsy shop.

AH: Your watercolor series, unadorned yet strikingly beautiful, is clearly a hit, but this is a relatively new direction for you. What did you work on previously and what drew you to watercolors?

KM: Oh, there is a subtle shift with everything and then, all of the sudden, I find myself somewhere else (this is typical for my process).  This recent body of work is meant to represent days I have “wandered and wondered”…  Over the summer, my husband and I made several trips to the South Shore ( a local get away for us) where there was a lot of time to sit, reflect, rest.  I spent a lot of time with my travel Windsor and Newton watercolor set on the beach.  It was glorious.  Although, at the time, I saw it as something temporary, it (obviously) stuck (the watercolors, I mean) to get me to this point, this body of work.

AH: What’s the hardest part about being an artist for you?

KM: Oh, this is easy…  Ha!  There is so much down time for me, so much time between bodies of work.  It’s at these times that I feel so creatively frustrated and anxious, always asking the question, “What is the next direction?”…  Of course, art never reveals itself this way (at least for me).  The creative process always surprises me (something else I LOVE)… I believe that if I show up for my art every day, my art will make itself known to me.  This has turned out to be the case over and over again.

AH: What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an artist for you?

KM: Two things come to the top of my head: 1. When I am completely absorbed in the process, so much so, that I catch myself dancing around my studio or when I am so absorbed that I haven’t even noticed that I needed to eat.  2. When someone can appreciate my work (or “feel” it) without even speaking to me (or even meeting me, for that matter).  I LOVE THAT!

AH: How does social media play a role in your career as an artist?

KM: I see the world and experience the world through images.  In fact, I usually require an image before I have anything to say.  I use social media as a means of putting my art out there, “to the universe”, a demonstration and an acknowledgement of the significance of art AS communication.

The Soap Factory’s October Video

October 8th, 2009 · No Comments

The Soap Factory is a gallery and raw space in Minneapolis that hosts a monthly TV show called SFG4.  The October show, below, tours the space midway through the installation of The Austerity Cookbook and interviews the artists about their process.

Soap Factory October 09 from Soap Factory on Vimeo.

Technology, media and the art experience:

Wendy DesChene (4:37) “There’s no quality control on google (images)… I just started thinking about what that was doing to art and how it was playing with our perceptions. All of these things that were originally done by artists then became these things that they couldn’t even imagine. And people were having art experiences that nobody intended through all this digital distortion. And so it kind of comes full circle back here because this is only a temporary painting, this will only be up for the duration of the exhibit, so to see this the way I intended it you have to physically be here.”

Discovery:

Wendy DesChene (10:10) “I know exactly what it’s going to look like usually before I begin. I take a picture of the space and then I use Photoshop to lay it out. I went through probably about 40 different designs before I settled on this one… And so before I even made a mark on the wall I knew exactly what this would look like.”

Peter Owen (17:20) “With my practice, there’s nothing laid out, there’s no overall plan. It’s very intuitive. On one hand it’s really exciting seeing how things develop, on the other hand since there is no plan there is that possibility of failure.”

Artist of the day: Jennifer Davis

September 16th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Jennifer Davis is based in Minneapolis but her work definitely gets around!  Recent highlights include exhibits at Nahcotta’s ETA in New Hampshire, Walker Contemporary in Boston, Cerasoli Gallery in LA, and SOOVAC in Minneapolis.  Although Jennifer has received a good amount of recognition for her work, her paintings are (for the time being) very affordable!

Below is my shortlist of Jennifer’s available work.  Performer and Yippee!, both a steal at $150, are available through Nahcotta’s ETA, while the rest, at $450, are available through Davis’s site.