You may remember the waterfall of 1,000 origami cranes greeting you in the spiral staircase of Sioux Falls’ Washington Pavilion. Hung from the towering ceiling, this giant mobile transformed the Pavilion into a whimsical realm of color and texture. The installation was created a few years ago by local artist, Reina Okawa, who worked collaboratively with volunteers to produce the gargantuan work. Continue reading Why You Should Attend One of Reina Okawa’s Origami Folding Parties
Last month I sat down briefly to chat with artist Em Nguyen about her work. Specializing in watercolor and charcoal, Nguyen creates detailed, whimsical pieces, often inspired by nature or the requests of her patrons. Whether she is managing Lucky’s, or finishing yet another commissioned piece, this lady knows how to hustle. That being said, it is obvious how much thought and care goes into each new work.
Nguyen understands the necessity of fostering the art community, and does her part through organizing the Art Collective at Lucky’s Bar for the past six years. This free event gives new artists an opportunity to show their work without the pressure of a gallery setting, with the next Collective being held this summer. It is because of events like this, and people like Nguyen, that the Sioux Falls arts community will continue to thrive. Thank you for all that you do. ~Amy
There is something special about viewing an artist’s work in-progress. The raw, intimate glimpse of a temporary existence, an image in flux of both content and time. For Sharon Wegner-Larsen, this type of documentation is simply a part of her creative process; each piece seems to be painstakingly documented, and generously offered to the public in an engaging way. Talking to Sharon, you can tell she is a natural born teacher, someone who values the dedication and discipline attached to strengthening a craft.
Much like her marriage of painting, illustration and design, Sharon combines her love of science and art to create vivid, detailed explorations of life on earth and the space above. Seeking to create a dialogue between the two, her pieces celebrate exploration, and the wonder of the natural world. Read on to find the inspiration behind her work, how she keeps herself on task, and how she has watched the Sioux Falls art community grow. ~Amy
Reina Okawa has an eye about her. There is an attention to detail, and an alertness to fluidity in her work. She credits her methods to inspiration from her Japanese roots, and her childhood in Venezuela. Using a variety of material, she creates bright, playful compositions, abstractions from nature in a mixed media context. Her work pulls a person in, each layer possessing lovely detail, intricacies feeling like tiny little secrets between the viewer and the piece. Reina’s work is thoughtful, a direct reflection of her personality, a warmth emanating from an unassuming soul. It was a pleasure to hear her thoughts, and even more so to share them. Never change, friend. You are a treasure. ~Amy
I was introduced to Shaine Schroeder’s work several years before I met him. I had been invited over to a friend’s apartment that I had not been to before, and about two steps into the place, three words slipped out of my mouth. What-the-fuck. Every plausible space on the wall was covered in art, no more than an inch or two between each piece. Upon closer inspection, I soon realized it was all the same artist. Every single last piece held together by the same stylistic semblance. Although this was the largest Schroeder collection I have encountered in a private collection, it is certainly not the last time I would be surprised, and a little bit startled, by the loyalty of his patrons. You rarely see just one Shaine Schroeder piece in a house, there are always at least two, and sometimes more than 20 in one location. After meeting Shaine last summer, I soon understood the appeal.
It’s hard not to like Shaine. He seems to have a perpetual secret, a slew of wonder deeply compacted into his constant half-cocked smile. He is quick-witted with a colorful tongue, and always seems happy to share a story or two. His bold personality is directly reflected in his work. His paintings are impossible not to look at, bright colors and varied mark making pull the eyes around the canvas, the subject matter revealing itself even more after you learn the title of the piece. He is prolific in production, and grounded in his business savvy. He has made large efforts to help those less fortunate than himself, donating proceeds from art sales to a variety of organizations around the Sioux Falls area over the years. Shaine has a love for this town, good and bad, and I think it’s safe to say Sioux Falls could say the same. ~Amy
Jeff Ballard is searching. Like so many other souls, he is seeking that inexplicable trail, the elusive marriage of space and time, and our purpose within it. Comforted by solitude and the ever-pulsing company of his own thoughts, Ballard keeps himself open to whatever the universe may be trying to whisper into his subconscious. He quells the unknown with his study of relationships, seeking out intent and purpose between loved ones, nature and even God. As an artist, Ballard’s work is exploratory, his paintings giving reference to the struggle of just trying to make sense of it all. There is a painful awareness of the flux in life, if only to give fuel to further push through to clarity, and give an understanding glance to the metaphysical.
Jeff Ballard was raised in Sioux Falls, and received his MFA in painting from the University of South Dakota. He teaches art at Dakota State University and the University of Sioux Falls, where he is also the Gallery Director. Ballard is a co-founder of the Sioux Falls publication “The Local Artist,” a biannually released magazine featuring ten local artists a year.* Chatting with Ballard was a delightful, moving experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity. ~Amy
*The Local Artist is accepting submissions for their 2016 issue until October 19th. Apply here.
This past First Friday held an abundant offering of exhibits, and judging by the packed streets of downtown, you could tell that everyone was trying to enjoy the last fleeting days of summer. Art receptions for the evening included:
Frislie’s First Friday Art in the Alleyway, “Art of Colloquialism” at Eastbank Gallery, “No Deck Pics” at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo’s Third Eye Gallery, “The Annual Recovery Art Show” led by Tallgrass Recovery at Exposure Gallery and Studios, “The Annual Portfolio Show” at Rehfeld’s, as well as DTSF’s Chalk the Walk and the Downtown Block Party on the Eastbank. Whew. Continue reading First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015
Are you ready to be intrigued? Because I sure as hell was earlier this month when I got a call from TJ Donovan. A Sioux Falls native, TJ is the curator for the Sioux Falls segment of the 2nd Annual Terrain Biennial, which is an international exhibition of site specific art made for front yards, balconies and porches. The Biennial is supported by a 2014 Propeller Fund Grant, the Guggenheim Foundation and a community supported Hatchfund Campaign.
Zach DeBoer has been a good friend of mine since college. Although he’s several years younger than me, he’s always been the mature one in our friendship. He is a planner, someone who rallies the masses, acting as a source of guidance for the less motivated. The kind of person who cleans his housemate’s room for him if he’s feeling bored or particularly… particular that day. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, but the chances are he’ll be able to make you smile while he’s doing it.
Zach’s work is reflective of his personality. Upon first view, you are met with bright, bold colors, much akin to the warmth of his attitude and outlook. Further inspection reveals concise placement, and well conceived content. Work is created with purpose, and executed from start to framed finished. Zach works methodically, and carries his creative sense through to his business savvy. Although he received his education in Printmaking and Art Education, Zach is currently operating his own gallery in downtown Sioux Falls. The month of August actually marks the one year anniversary for Exposure Gallery and Studios being open under it’s new management. Zach has become integral in the Sioux Falls community, and I look forward to continuing to watch him grow. I’m proud of you, buddy! ~Amy Continue reading ZACH DEBOER: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW