Category Archives: Inspired Interviews



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




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



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




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



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



JeremyFrislieFEATUREDIMAGEWhen you look at Jeremy Frislie, the first thing you probably notice is that he has a beard. A thick, fiery beard that demands your attention. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll listen. Jeremy is the owner of Frislie ToolWorks, and the founder of Frislie First Fridays Art in the Alley Way. He is also an artist, and an exceptional one at that. He understands that you need passion to prevail, and patience to produce. He is a strong supporter of the arts, and makes it a practice to keep Sioux Falls local.

JAM met with Jeremy at his woodworking shop, located beneath his store. He spoke with us about the time he spent in the Marine Corps, the importance of having mentors, and the piece of driftwood that started it all. Speaking with him reminded me that coincidence has a somewhat romantic notion, and sometimes you just need to soften the focus of your vision and allow yourself more of an abstract approach to life. Jeremy began his journey by picking up a piece of wood on the beach. How are you going to begin yours? ~Amy

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

It started when I was 16, when I picked a piece of driftwood up off the beach in Portland, OR. I had driven down to Portland from Salt Lake City, UT, where I had some family members, and I just started whittling on this stick. I was talking to my then girlfriend-now wife and I carved a spiral. I ended up cutting myself. The next morning my father asked me, about as nice as he could, “Where did you steal it from? Where did you Continue reading JEREMY FRISLIE – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW


LAURA-JEWELL-FEATUREDWhat does home mean? Is it where you were raised? Where you are now? Even if you’ve never left, there is that special gut feeling that just tells you… you are here. You are home. The sanctity of that word blankets many attachments to the notion. That creaky second stair on your family’s porch, the soft nape of your mother’s neck, the warm smell of the wood burning tool you were given as a child. Anything can be home, if it is home to you. Laura Jewell recognizes the importance of knowing your home, and understanding your roots.

 Laura is the kind of person that makes you want to close your eyes and smile. She has a captivating, almost magical quality to her that is effortlessly translated into her artwork. Her most recent series, Rural Superstitions and Astrology, focuses on different lessons she has taken from Old Farmer’s Almanacs. In approaching these lessons, Jewell has had the opportunity to reconnect to her roots as a country girl from rural Kansas, and find re-purpose in the activities of her youth. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to hear her words, and am happy to share them with you. Please read on, and reflect on the lessons that you’ve learned, and the home that you hold dear.  -Amy

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

I’ve been interested in art since I can remember. I grew up in the country, in Kansas, and my first art set was a wood burning tool, which I thought was the coolest. I did 4H and did the arts and crafts, did that in high school. Then when I went to college I tried some different things, like Agriculture Business. I just wasn’t into the math part of things, so I started taking art classes and went from there. I moved up here and finished school at USD,  and just kept going I guess.



Were you attending school in Kansas before USD? What was your major?

Yes, I have a BFA in printmaking.

Did you have mentors, or anyone that helped you through the schooling process?

I had a lot of really fantastic professors. I took a couple of classes from Continue reading LAURA JEWELL – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW


Andres-Torres_FeaturedSometimes understanding what you don’t know can be one of the most beneficial truths to attach bearance. By acknowledging that void, there is an internal release provided, a demand for discovery and intuitive action. For Andres Torres, that visceral approach is matched with strong intellect and an explorative understanding of art theory. His abstract paintings have a captivating allure that provide interest for a multi-faceted audience, which he creates through finding an articulate intersection between playful and purpose.

JAM had the pleasure of talking with Andres before he moved to Wisconsin for graduate school. It feels so much longer than two months ago, when we were sitting outside in mid-August, enjoying iced tea and Torres’ thoughts. I have always enjoyed his company and valued his opinion, and his absence has not gone unnoticed. During these fleeting days of fall, take this time to read on, and reminisce on the warmth of summer, and the flowing thoughts of a genuine soul. ~Amy


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

Well, I’d have to say that my mom was a huge part of me becoming an artist, along with my grandmother. I’ve always been exposed to Continue reading ANDRES TORRES: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW


STEVE-B-FEATUREDSteve Bormes is cool. Or, in nomenclature more appropriate to that of Bormes, you could say that he is groovy… and pretty damn good at it too. Bormes is one half of the husband-wife team that own the beautifully curated Rug and Relic, located at 8th and Railroad Center. But do not be deceived–there is more to the man behind the rugs, and he has a heck of a story on how he got there.
Walking around Rug and Relic, a person would have to be somewhat of a dolt to not notice the intriguing sculptures speckled about the store, providing patrons with the occasional doll arm or antique car part. Large wooden bowls made into lights, antique kitchen appliances adorned aside the muted fists of discarded dolls, endless subtleties to the human anatomy… these are just some of what makes Bormes’ work so inspiring. He creates with the practicality of science and symmetry, and finds a way to seamlessly marry that with nostalgic remnants of his childhood, keeping his work alluringly curious. He was a delight to visit with, and Sioux Falls is lucky to have such a not-so-secret gem. Stay groovy, Steve. ~Amy


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

Man, I’ve been one of those guys my whole life, that when I needed something, I would Continue reading STEVE BORMES: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW



How do we become attached to images? What is the force that pulls a person towards something? Where is the interest forged, and how is that connection solidified? Sometimes, there isn’t an explanation, or at least not one that gives itself to the written word. I was watching an interview with Noam Chomsky last night, and in it he talked about the recognition of an object, regardless of the physical presence that it embodies. Now, I could be interpreting this incorrectly, but what I took from it was the connective process, the inherent cognitive solving of a physical complication. I see this in Jana Anderson. She attaches herself to these images, and sees the abstract connection in her subject matter, much beyond the obvious. It was a pleasure to speak with her, and I hope you enjoy her insights as much as I did. Please read on to see Jana’s views on the creative process, the struggles of private creation and public display, and the importance of creating a routine for yourself.  ~Amy

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

JANA: The path to getting here has been difficult. Some days I don’t even know where I’m at, but creatively I’ve always been interested in art as a kid. It was that kind of path. I went to college thinking I was going to be an art teacher. I like kids, I like art; I thought it would be a good combination… turns out it wasn’t. I’m a one-on-one kind of person. I don’t do that great in a crowd or in a group of people, so classrooms seemed more about discipline than creating art. I slowly realized that all I really want to do is create art and that makes teaching children difficult, in terms of getting that going for myself. However, as it turns out, I am a nanny right now; it’s my full-time job. I do that and then painting. I’ve created a studio for myself for the past four years or so, and have been selling stuff the past couple of years. It’s just slowly been going together more and more, wanting to create and trying to get my name out there a little bit and see where that goes. If I can slowly back off on a full-time job that would be awesome.


Is there anyone that has been a mentor, or given you guidance on how to approach what you’re doing?

Not anymore. I had some really great professors in college that were professors and working artists, and making a living that way. I saw their solo shows throughout my college career, which was really cool to see Continue reading JANA ANDERSON: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW