Category Archives: Inspired Interviews

KEVIN CARAWAY: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

lance-3I’ve always envied quiet people. The type of people that absorb rather than spew, the seemingly solemn ingestion of everything around them. There is a thoughtfulness that surrounds the eyes, a focused energy that scoops in every detail provided. Don’t get me wrong, quiet people are not emotionless zombies–quite the contrary. They display a marriage of curiosity and wisdom, the silence attached to thought. 

Kevin Caraway is this special kind of quiet. He embodies the stillness that comes with observation and continuous thought. He has a soft articulation with his words, and speaks in such a way that you find yourself leaning closer, wanting to catch every word. We sat down with Kevin and discussed where he draws his technique from, the artists that inspire him, and how Sioux Falls could continue to grow. Take this time to reflect on how you approach your own learning, and the impression you leave behind. ~Amy

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TRISH MAYER: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

lance-2An active mind is an active spirit. People repress their inhibitions, and rob themselves of the opportunity of creation and discovery. You’re tired from work. The kids need a bath. Maybe you’ll have time this weekend. It’s easy to put things off until they exist merely as a floating drift in the recess of your forgotten thoughts. Trish Mayer is not one of those people. A self described butterfly, Mayer opens herself to those whims, those bits of intrigue that lead to actualized ideas. Her work is bright, cheerful, and reflects the awe and wonder she puts forth to seemingly every aspect of her life. She reminds me of an old friend, someone with a warm familiarity in her voice, and a constant smile. Read on to learn about her methods and inspiration, and what gives her that extra special zest in her life. ~Amy

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LANCE JESCHKE – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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It’s not often that people get to do their dream job. Often, there are compromises, subtle stains in the perfect picture you’ve painted of your future self. This is not necessarily a bad thing; often times the things we have to do, make us love the things we get to do even more. I admire the  people who make the leap, and put forth the gumption to play their hand at fate. For Lance Jeschke, he’s done it twice. He began touring with his band after high school, and kept up with the non-stop lifestyle for nearly twenty years. This background in the music business gave Jeschke a proficient business sense, which combined with his passion and talent, has launched his career as a visual artist.

Jeschke creates vibrant, colorful works that spawn from a deep, imaginative love within. Coming from a line of artists in the family, Jeschke continues a tradition of expression and fortitude, no longer creating pieces for himself, but to support his own family. Jeschke is a Royal Talens ambassador, and has shown his work in Europe. His career has progressed at such a rate due to his dedication to both his family and his craft, and can serve as inspiration to anyone out there on the verge of making their own leap into the daunting unknown. ~Amy

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LIZ BASHORE HEEREN – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

LizHeerenI don’t like to admit when I’m intimidated. It seems unnecessary to show that type of weakness, to evaporate any sliver of feigned confidence I may be portraying. There are internalized rules that we each hold ourselves accountable to, certain routes we explore to make us stronger, smarter… more safe. It is the individuals that step beyond these constraints that I applaud, and equally admire. The people who adhere themselves to a path of growth, that embrace struggle to enlighten their perspective in some reaching way. The people who step away from their own shadow, if only in an effort to teach someone else about the light.

Liz Bashore Heeren intimidates me, and for good reason. She is poised, polite, and professional. Heeren is an artist, a professor, a gallery director, a mother… Each role presumably as demanding, and rewarding, as the next. Growing up in an artistic family, Hereen was not a stranger to the role of an artist, and the realities of pursuing your dreams in a thoughtful and practical way. Heeren continues to use her long love of science to pursue that beautifully whimsical line between human and synthetic, the marriage of elemental juxtaposition. Her take on this perspective reminds me to give pause, investigate my world in the immediate sense, and every now and then, step into the light. ~Amy

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SOLOMON CARLSON – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

SolomonCarlsonI have an incredible appreciation for the self-taught artist. It is a daunting task to enter a world in which everyone else can seem to have a leg up, just based on their schooling or connections. The self-taught artist is the lone wolf, the one working even harder behind the scenes to validate their efforts. There requires an overwhelming amount of dedication to follow through with your goals, and an even larger learning curve when you go at it on your own fruition. Solomon Carlson understands the value of experimentation, and embodies the work ethic of a self-motivated individual on a path for great things. 

Using illustration as a starting point, Carlson pushes that skill further on a daily basis, working indiscriminately with a variety of mediums in an attempt to continue his own education. He is involved in numerous side projects, including launching a board game design, starting the Sioux Falls Sketch Squad, and creating an illustrated novel. His work is playful and intriguing, with many pieces carrying their own interesting back-story. He understands the necessity of an active community, and reaches out to the younger artistic community to add their own voice to Sioux Falls. Carlson is polite, thoughtful and genuinely interested in what people have to say. He finds value in connecting with those of similar interests, and takes an active approach to help those around him grow. Please read on, and reflect on how you push your own interests, how you are accomplishing those dreams deep within… it’s never to late to start the rest of your life! ~Amy

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LINDA ACKLAND KOLB – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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When you look at Linda Ackland Kolb’s work, it’s easy to find yourself staring. That’s okay; I don’t blame you. Touching on inspiration from nature, fashion, and her musical background, Kolb utilizes pastels and beeswax to produce vibrant, controlled pieces suspended in soft, soapy deliciousness. Having spent several years working with mixed media, she has rendered some of that technique to her wax pieces, and it reads incredibly well. I was excited to view her work in person, and was even granted the pleasure of being walked through the technical nature of her creative process.

That is what I treasure most with these interviews, the opportunity to see an artist’s work space, to see their progress pieces, to see their home. A residence is an embodiment of a person; small nuances giving circular direction right back to the source. A home resonates with memories, motives, little bits of your soul wrapped into those things your hold most precious. With Kolb, her Sioux Falls home is just as warm and bright as her seemingly perpetual smile. Several months ago, chatting by the warm glow of a fragrant Christmas tree, Kolb shared with us the necessity of creativity as a child, and the strength of perseverance when pursuing your goals. Her thoughtful and articulate words gave soft guidance and strong advice. I found myself pulled in by her kindness, and hope that it translates through to you, the reader. Breathe in, breathe out, muster a smile and treat yourself to a great read about a lovely person. ~Amy

 What is the path that has led you to where you are today?

My mom had a great influence over me and my siblings. We got along with what we had, and we used basic things to entertain ourselves, to be creative in some way. I grew up on a farm, so we pounded nails in some boards and floated them across the stock tank. She made our prom dresses. She was a seamstress, along with my grandma, so I’m sure I picked up some of that from her. She would put Continue reading LINDA ACKLAND KOLB – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

JORDAN THORNTON – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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Sometimes it takes leaving to really find out where you want to go, the direction you want to take. Memories become your most valuable possession, the strength of your home giving guidance to the unknown, and foundation to what you do. The traits we manifest take part in forming who we are. What we are drawn to. What we do. You may be able to alter your environment, but it never really leaves you. Jordan Thornton has embraced the embodiment, and is back in a familiar place. This printmaker captures motions from her everyday life, her surroundings, and presents them in an active and engaging way. Her work stretches beyond the frame, and guides its audience to do the same, to take notice of the intricacy of life directly in front of you.

Much like her work, Jordan seems to be constantly reaching further, pushing herself to stretch beyond obvious boundaries. Her work develops fluidly, almost instinctual. She is absorbed in her craft, and conscious of the beauty within her own world. Often we forget to simply pause, to breathe in a summer day, to look closer at the trunk of that tree, to even take a peek at your own self. One must not forget the obvious, as there is a reason it is right there in front of you. ~Amy

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ANDREW BILLION – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

Andrew BillionArtists have special access to their third eye. There is this intuitive union of looking beyond the immediate, and yet remaining fully absorbed in the present. Inspiration is in even the most mundane of endeavors—nature boasts a plentiful palette, and a muse can be an ephemeral thing. It is about looking beyond what you think you know, and possessing the inquisitive nature to understand something other than what it may appear to be. Art is about pushing yourself through the struggles, searching for the answers to questions you haven’t even asked.

Andrew Billion knows how to look, how to push himself in the search. It appears he is not afraid of the unknown, or the daunting task of conquering new endeavors. He just takes it in stride with a big warm smile. Andrew is a painter, and as of late, a potter. He is prolific in production, and modest in promotion. His study methods may be unconventional, but to say they are effective would be an understatement. Speaking with Andrew reminded me that I can do anything, if I only put in the time. How will you use your time this year? Please read on, reflect, and enjoy! ~Amy

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MARC WAGNER – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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As artists, sometimes it feels like we’re paddling upstream. All of the work we do for one piece, or one show might give us very little return. We could easily turn into existentialists, banging our heads against the walls, and wondering what the next step is. Most of the time the answer is simple: make work every day and then get out there and show your work again and again. Marc Wagner can attest to that. He recommends it.

Marc is an important ingredient to the Sioux Falls art scene soup. Chipper, inspirational, and knowledgeable only begins to describe Marc, but I encourage you to get to know him; seek him out and spend some time around him because when I do, I’m better for it.~Jess

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MICHELLE ST. VRAIN – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

MichelleStVrainCoverAs children, it is not unusual to find fascination with animals. These creatures are a source to relate to, innocent beings living through the dichotomy of coexistence with man. To me, it makes sense to be drawn to the innocence and wonder of just… being. Children hold this magical quality to them, this ability to approach life with unbridled awe. Life has hopefully not begun to teach it’s hard lessons, to discern one’s path. In the end, we are all drinking the same water, breathing the same air. One should not be so quick to discern the hierarchy of existence.

I wish I had known Michelle St. Vrain as a child. I imagine her exploring through the dense trees of Kentucky, followed by a small body of animals; bunnies hopping at her feet, butterflies flitting above her hair in a blurry crown. This is a delightful image to hold in my mind, but I am quick to point out that Michelle is not some dainty maiden traipsing in the woods with Bambi. She is a strong-willed and mindful soul, and uses her personal beliefs as a point of exploration in her work. Michelle fosters a deep compassion for all living creatures, and continuously develops that connection. Using images of animals, or at least parts of them, she creates moments of interaction with these creatures in their various forms. Instead of focusing on the variance of our existence with the animal kingdom, she finds a refreshing unity in the disparity, and I find that to be just lovely. ~Amy

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