If I had known, as a rural Minnesota artist, that Keillor had only spent 3 years in a small town in my county, and benefited more than four decades characterizing my region, I would have likely not spent time listening to his show, quoting his politics, or feeling bad he had a “face made for radio.” While there is, admittedly some accuracy in the fictitious people in his stories, it still set an interesting stereotype in a public radio stone, that is hard to shake. He was given a medium that could be spread throughout the nation, through storytelling and song. I do not know if I feel thankful or annoyed.
Out of sincere concern a friend said, "There's a part of my brain panicking and wondering how you do this without a brick and mortar job. So fun to read about the lifestyle..."
Am I a creative loiterer ? Is there even a purpose to my work, if it is not being acquired by the general public? I know I do work, and I get paid for the work I do, but is the end game the sales of visual art for someone's wall a way of showing one's success?
I love being a teaching artist. I'm not creating work for someone else. I'm facilitating the creative process for young people (in this case... adults in other cases). That's a big difference.
If you think that an artist is not qualified to make a statement about the logistics for the rail to reach all the way to St. Cloud, as it originally should have been, then maybe this post isn't for you. But if you think there's an economically beneficial, socially equitable, and/or geographically wise reason for extending the rail to St. Cloud, then enjoy my perspective... my story:
I went to dinner at the home of a local art enthusiast (to say the least.) We talked and had dinner in their new home. The space is open, post modern, and amazing. I would acknowledge it as the best piece of architecture in central Minnesota.
These pieces started a series on systems, around the time I let color seep into my grids. I was influenced by patterns, walkways, cul-de-sacs, and roundabouts. HVAC. Architecture. Relationships. Dead ends. Limits. Limitlessness.
Each canvas was an opportunity to make a new plan. Color made new relationships with lines and shapes beside it.
It didn't quite make sense yet.
and that was okay.
I just couldn't stop, really. It was one night, that the snow locked me up in my studio. I had wet down some large sheets of watercolor, and stretched them on my wall. I dipped into India Ink and let it drip. I was aware of my posture, like one is in their yoga practice or at their desk. I knew when I bent over with the brush, the composition went with it. I was so aware of what was happening with gravity, composition, posturing, and proportion, it took years to realize what it actually meant.
I did these grids for almost a full year, as my personal life reconfigured, and my professional life overshadowed my life's changes. I had a woman, both artist and mentor, flippantly say, as a critique, "Of course, the grids are about finding structure and stability. Isn't it obvious?"
No, it wasn't obvious. I was too close to it all.
How many handmade squares I made is unknown. Most of the pieces are off in a portfolio somewhere in my archives. The larger pieces are rolled up in my shed.
Much like that time in my life.
I needed to let go of this angst. It soon became more colorful. Vibrant. Analytical. Beautiful...
But this was an essential time in my life, to grow from numb reflection.
A tribute to Doug Anderson, a musician I met once at an exhibit I was hosting for an artist, Erik Karlson. Doug had an attitude that I appreciated, saying "From this point on, I will only perform at art exhibits!" I only spent but a few hours of my life with him and his music.
When he passed away, I felt the energy shift in my community, because there were those who knew him intimately, and those who experienced only his art. The energy fell into this painting, effortlessly raw and limited notes of color. A glimpse of what was our interaction (the green) was only a small part of a larger impact his life had made.
The blues led to a slow awakening to our Cloud Town, and we no longer stuck ourselves in the past. We realized the good ole days are not meant for artists, because we create each day... each breath. If we get stuck in a time before now, then we are not living.
When I was in college, I hung out at Espresso Royal, both Dinkytown and Downtown Minneapolis. It was a time of big coffee mugs that also served as soup bowls and big Doc Martin boots. While this piece looks little like me, or what I envision "me" to be... it represented the inability to share that table with another person, even when there's a chair on the other side.
Looking back at my painting style, and its development over time, I find this painting interesting, because I played with layering that will some day show up in my work someday. At this point in time, I felt self-taught as a painter and in 2D composition. I knew I had a lot to learn, but it was the more likely medium of choice, because I did not have a place to sculpt in metal.
This piece stays in my home, because it still speaks to me. It reminds me that each point in time was pushing me where I am right now... or where I'm meant to be. I often thought this piece was about regret, but now I know I regret nothing... so now, it's about reflection.