Category Archives: #siouxfallsartists

DAVID SIEH: AN INSPIRED INTERVIEW

Talking with David Sieh in his gallery at the 8th and Railroad Center was a great experience. I learned a lot about what it means to be a contemporary naturalist, and how David approaches his work. Though a small space, Se Gallery was a brightly lit workspace with a lot going on. Getting a glimpse into his artistic process and journey as an artist was a treat.
-Rachel

Rachel: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself as an artist and your preferred medium to work with?

David: Sure. I guess, like we were talking about before, I grew up in the Twin Cities area and then moved here. So my art evolved from nature, landscape and wildlife. Then I was exposed to more contemporary, abstract art, then very influenced by the New York school of artists, all the abstract expressionists and then into pop-art. So my art kind of combines all of that.

About me, I grew up in nature, surrounded by nature and I always had a love of art, to use color and design. Stuff with that really developed my interest in art and I schooled in art so I just continued down that path I guess.

David got his Bachelor of Sciences degree with an emphasis in art from the University of Sioux Falls after bouncing to Augustana and Vermillion for a while. He’s been making art for 30 plus years. He’s been in his current gallery space for over 5 years.

You write that exposure to Terry Redlin’s work drove you to a career in art. What about him and his work inspired you to start making art?

When I was in high school, Terry Redlin was living in Hastings, Minnesota. He was one of the first people to inspire me as far as having a career in art. I actually did go over to his house–his home studio–when he was very first promoting his work. He inspired me in that a person could do the art and make a living. I was very much into nature and environmental art at that time, and I still am. Even though my work doesn’t emulate his work or really show any influence of him, his career path influenced me.

You call yourself a contemporary naturalist painter. What does that mean to you personally and how does it affect your work as an artist?

I’m very inspired by nature, that’s where I recharge my batteries. I have to be alone in nature. I try to do a little bit everyday, even if it’s just walking down the sidewalk or just in the backyard; to kind of get in-tune, get in a rhythm with nature, so as a naturalist I learn from nature. Just seeing how complicated things are…color patterns, designs, all that stuff influences my aesthetic. As a contemporary naturalist, I express that in my own painting through my gestures, colors, compositions. So, my work comes off as non-representational a lot of the time, but still influenced by nature.

You started drawing and painting when you were young “as a form of communication.” How does art communicate to you and how do you see yourself communicating through art to others?

On the representation level it’s a relatively cut and dry conversation where people just see me representing nature or an image. Then I can also combine those images with other aspects so it changes the dialogue to where it makes things a little more complicated. People have to think about the relationship of two images side by side, often times in a conservation aspect where it makes you think about the fragile-ness of nature, also the complexities of nature. Then, if you were to look at the abstract art, it doesn’t necessarily have a dialogue about nature. Its dialogue is more of an emotional impact where hopefully people look at it and have an emotional, maybe even a physical reaction to it. You know, that guttural reaction where you really like something or you really don’t, and then you stop and think about why you do or don’t like it.

Do you feel like you have a responsibility through your art to communicate those things or feel as though you have a responsibility as an artist?

I definitely do. I feel that I have the ability, or talent or sometimes I even feel like I’m a medium. I don’t even know exactly where the work comes from or what the work is, I’m just the medium putting the work down. So yes, I feel that I do have a responsibility to create as much art as I physically can just to get those conversations rolling.

As a part of the Sioux Falls art community, what do you think of the art scene?

There’s a real good talent pool here in town, a lot of people interested in it, but as far as a collector base and as far as general public knowledge it’s really minimal. But it seems to grow a bit all the time.

David’s list of in-town favorite shows include the past “Artists Against Hunger” shows and the Washington Pavilion’s Arts Night. He recommends Exposure, Post Pilgrim, Rehfeld’s and Piper. His work can currently be found at Piper and his studio at 8th and Railroad. He has also done murals at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum.

How often do you create new work? And how long does a piece usually take you to finish?

As you can see, I’ve got work that’s in different stages of finish. I paint every single day. I’m in the process constantly. I’m never out of the process.

I’m gonna go with the usual 50 years and 10 minutes. It’s years and years of developing your technique and style.

Do you have any future plans for shows or specific pieces of art?

For me the art career and the whole thing is a combination of steady and consistent and patience. I’ve been doing this for 30+ years, so for me it’s the long term game.

David does accept commissions, seeing them as “Totally relevant and necessary, and part of the process.”

Follow his work through his Facebook page.

Photo Tour: Ka-Chunk

On Friday, November 10, we had the opportunity to attend a local, one-of-a-kind vending machine art show at Ipso Gallery called “Ka-Chunk.” Both the prizes, as well as the machines were created by an assemblage of 30+ local artists. The engineer of Steve Bormes‘ dispenser even made the effort to create a wheelchair-friendly push button, a refreshing consideration! So impressed.

Tokens sold out not quite an hour into the evening. Prepared for the demand, the gallery had a collection of Fresh Produce limited edition swag to keep the vending going. It was a packed house from start to finish, and plenty for people of all ages. Here’s a little photo tour of the creative machines and prizes artists came up with for the night! 

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: NOVEMBER

This month I stopped by shows at Eastbank, Rug & Relic, and the Washington Pavilion. No new shows at the Pavilion this month, but all of the great activities for kids still happened. There were so many artists talking about their work at Eastbank, I spent most of my time there. The variety of work made fewer stops on my route doable, but I highly recommend stopping by some other locations as well. The Museum of Visual Materials and Rehfeld’s were two stops I had on my list. See more art shows on the Sioux Falls Arts Council webpage.            -Rachel

RUG & RELIC

This First Friday, Rug & Relic hosted a one-night-only feature show of over 150 pieces from Chris Vance. Vance’s work plays on familiar cartoon-like styles and bright colors to bring his work to life. Pieces like “Peanut Butter” take a more abstract turn, but use the same colors and curvy lines as his other styles. Other work on display at Rug & Relic included light sculptures from Steve Bormes, and paintings from other area artists.

EASTBANK

The first artist talk of the evening came from John Kolb. His art style is influenced heavily by his Christian roots. Kolb joked that the goal of one of the pieces on display was to see how many different ways he could do a cross. His pieces focus on shapes in a more abstract approach. He feels that sometimes he gets “locked into” greens and blues occasionally. Using a layering technique with his colors, Kolb’s pieces can get up to 5 coats of paint. He has around 5 pieces on display at Eastbank .

Linda Ackland-Kolb gave the second talk of the night, presenting and describing her pastel-painted beeswax works of art. Her pieces, though small, take a lot of work to get right. She fielded questions about the framing process as well, which is delicate since she does not use sealant to set her pieces. The work on display at Eastbank is a series of vessels and some fashion inspired pieces. Linda plans to branch into more clothing inspired pieces next.

Warren Arends ventured from on-canvas art into stonework and jewelery. His work started as a hobby, but now Arends has two students in soldering. He turns colorful stones from all different countries and continents into pendants and rings. His business, Arends Agates, custom makes every piece for individual requests.

Scott Chleborad was another featured artist at Eastbank. His work combines painting and photography that results in often psychedelic landscapes. Chleborad’s talk was short and to the point, with a few anecdotes about his process. His work with light and contrast makes his work unique and beautiful.

All of the artists’ work at Eastbank is worth a trip to 8th and Railroad to see. More than just these four artists have work on display, and the work they brought is just as exciting. Next First Friday, Eastbank will be doing a “postcard sale” of local art, so be sure to check out the current work on display before then.

 

WEAVING A COMMUNITY THROUGH CREATIVE USE

Weaving is recognized as one of the oldest crafts, dating as far back as 6000 BC. Beginning as a product of necessity, weaving looms were used to create clothing, bedding, and other textiles of a protective nature. This applied art developed into a means of expression, tapestries woven for posterity, for pleasure, for interaction.

When I began weaving four years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I had been intrigued by the craft, and was looking to experiment in a new medium. My journey began when we tore down the half pipe skate ramp in my backyard. Using a four foot scrap of weathered plywood and about 200 nails, I had built myself a machine! Yes, it was warped, full of splinters and even kind of smelly, but it was mine. The design of the loom has not overcomplicated itself, and I was intrigued to use a method that had been utilized throughout time, and all over the globe.

After creating a few weaves, I began to learn, to understand. I adapted my design, and with the help of my father, built a new, improved frame loom. Something with an adjustable stand, something… easy to transport. Through trial and error, I have developed several variations of a standing loom since then, with designs for myself, Hawthorne Elementary, and for JAM Art and Supplies.

Art Teacher Lisa Brunick with her loom at Hawthorne Elementary

Two years ago, we began bringing the JAM loom with us to our booth at summer festivals. We attended events throughout the Sioux Empire, such as: the 605 Summer Classic, Jazzfest, the Farmer’s Market, That Sounds Decent, as well as the Sidewalk Arts Festival. Bringing this loom provided us a way to interact with the crowd, an icebreaker as well as a means to sharing our Creative Reuse mission with young and old alike.

Weaving is a popular means of community building across the country. Using a shared loom is a means of creating your own image and story. The viewer is provided with an actualized representation of problem solving, threads and materials interacting in a self-sustained chaos. Our community weaves represent Sioux Falls, and each participant that helped create the piece.

Each weave that was created was made from donated material, and gave purpose to some otherwise overlooked materials. Our weaves contain everything from yarn, fabric scraps, fake flowers, men’s neckwear, to old sweaters and jewelry. To date, JAM has created 11 large-scale weaves in the past two years, all made from the helping hands of our community. There is pride in production, and we are just beaming.

Please, join JAM on November 9th at Remedy Brewing Company for an all-ages get-together and fundraiser. Drink fine local craft beer, listen to live music, learn how to weave, and take a chance or 5 or 10 at winning one of our beautiful, community-crafted weavings!

Raffle Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20.

You can pre-purchase raffle tickets at JAM anytime before the event, but make sure you join us the night of because we’re giving away a JAM VIP Membership, and you must be present to win. JAM VIP Memberships are a $250 value that includes one complimentary in-house event, a tshirt, bumper sticker, and 25% off every purchase made in our store!

30th Annual Northern Plains Indian Art Market

The 30th annual Northern Plains Indian Art Market (NPIAM) continues its tradition of celebrating world-class American Indian art in a three-day event, September 22-24, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The event showcases over 30 professional artists and features local artists such as: Kevin Brave Heart, Don Montileaux, Jim Yellow Hawk, Dwayne Wilcox, Jennifer White, Lynn Burnette, and Richard Red Owl.

NPIAM is an international gathering of American Indian artists—those who work in contemporary fine arts and those who create art using traditional materials, methods and styles. The show has become a national staple in showcasing American Indian art of the Northern Plains and artists have gained recognition through national publications and exhibits.

The event begins with an Art Reception and Juried Art Show at the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Friday, September 22, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Artist Reception and Juried Art Show admission: $25.00 per person. The Juried Art show allows entries to compete for prestigious awards including: Best of Show—$1,500; Best of Fine Arts—$1,000; and Best of Tribal Arts—$1,000. Judging for the 2017 NPIAM Juried Show will take place Friday, September 22. Awards totaling more than $13,000 are also given in 18 art and medium divisions.
Jurors are selected from a national pool of American Indian art experts, scholars, and respected working artists. This year NPIAM welcomes Jill Ahlberg Yohe, Assistant Curator of Native American Art from Minneapolis Institute of Art; Angela Swedberg, Contemporary Artist and Certified Indian Artisan; Alexander Brier Marr, PhD Candidate in Visual and Cultural Studies from University of Rochester; and Jeffrey L. Viken, Chair, The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge Reservation.

Juror’s forums are also being scheduled as part of the NPIAM’s mission to educate art enthusiasts about American Indian Art and its significance to Indian Culture. Forums are free and open to the public.
The event continues for Art Market days, September 23-24, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Market days allow participating artist to sell their work directly to art collectors, enthusiasts and local art buyers. The market is open Saturday, September 23, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, September 24, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Art Market Admission is $5.00 daily or $7.00 for a 2-day pass, children under 12 are free.

About NPIAM The Northern Plains Indian Art Market (NPIAM) was established in 1988 by American Indian Services, Inc., of Sioux Falls, SD, as the Northern Plains Tribal Arts Show (NPTA). To be eligible to enter the NPIAM a Native American artist must be an enrolled member of 1 of 33 tribes in the United States and Canada the show recognizes as “Northern Plains.” American Indian Services produced the juried art show and market from 1988 to 2003. Since 2004, Sinte Gleska University of Rosebud, South Dakota, has been the producing organization. In the 30 years of its existence–one of the longest running Indian art shows in the country–over 800 artists from 7 Northern Plains states and two Canadian provinces have exhibited at NPTA/NPIAM. For more information, visit npiam.org or call Sinte Gleska University at 605-856-8100.

FIRST FRIDAY: AN ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE BEHIND THE SCENES

September’s First Friday was filled with new experiences and new friendships. I challenged myself this month by doing as many different and exciting things as I could. Having my artwork present in two separate group art shows, while simultaneously displaying quality, was a big part of that challenge. 

My First Friday morning began with appearing on KELOLAND News to chat about the 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show at Exposure Gallery, along with artists Betsy Ashworth and Joan Zephier. Personally, this wasn’t a first time being interviewed about my artwork, but it was a first having it air on television. As nerve-wracking as it was to piece together what I’d say to KELO, it was all worth it. Being able to have the chance to speak about a powerfully impacting exhibition is well worth any amount of nerves. I’m so thankful for Joan and everyone involved with the show.

“Here’s something you could do tonight. #Repost @mattholsen
・・・
The 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show is tonight from 5-9 at Exposure Gallery. A preview of the amazing pieces coming up on KELOLAND News. #kelonews” -KELOLAND on Instagram.

The most surprising thing was the intense amount of people that showed up just for this healing event. I’m, at times, the type of person that would rather stay home and resist any chance to interact with people. Then there are special times that I’m able to move into a healthier mood that pushes me to meet folks and reach out. The reception was an incredibly eventful first.

A fun, interactive aspect to the exhibit is the People’s Choice Award. Attendees were asked to cast their vote before they left. With the pieces being displayed the entire month of September, I hope you have a chance to stop by to look around.

I enjoy seeing written, story-like pieces beside a visual artwork. It’s even more powerful when the viewer gets a written accompaniment to help lead their thinking, and walk them down a path of interpretation. I like to look for little body cues as viewers take in my work, as well. When someone is reading what I’ve placed before them, and they realize how it fits with everything else they’re seeing, that’s one of my favorite moments. It’s almost like an electric connection is sparked inside their eyes. Witnessing people light up with a specific passion for any artwork is a treat.

At 7:00 p.m. I had to hop, skip, and jump over to Vishnu Bunny Tattoo for the other group show I took part in this month. This show served as an introduction to local artists that the community may not have known about otherwise.

Both Exposure and Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu are constantly brainstorming new topics and themes for artists to submit and present on. Keep your eyes peeled for calls for art. A great resource is our very own Call For Art page on JAM’s website!

I’m not a fan of bland artist statements. I like to give information in a more engaging and fun way. The “theme” of my work displayed at Vishnu is similar to a timeline with missing chunks. So, I decided to make my statement more of a funky story to follow along with. I noticed that during the night, I had to point this fact out to folks. Most of whom I chatted with had never heard of an artist statement that didn’t just state the obvious facts.

For those of you reading who are wondering how to get your work into galleries, just keep going. Connect. Keep pushing. Keep meeting people. Keep working on your art. Keep taking in constructive criticism. Keep positive. What more is there to say?
www.patreon.com/HannahWendt

www.HannahWendt.com

ANGIE GILLESPIE: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

One of my favorite aspects about blogging for JAM is having the chance to go out and meet wonderful people. Sometimes they’re mysterious enchantresses or eccentric wizards. Other times, they seem like wildly excited kings and queens. This go around, I was invited into the lair of local Sioux Falls artist, Angie Gillespie. She showed me the wondrous way to create a captivating painting without the use of any paint. I thought she must have used alchemy to bring them to life in such a beautiful and mind-turning way. Having seen her process first hand, I can firmly say that her persistence with experimentation shines like gold through all of her pieces.
-Hannah
“Electric Neon” 6″ x 6″
Layers of wax covering Angela’s studio floor.
Are you from Sioux Falls, South Dakota? How long have you lived here? 

Lived in Sioux Falls my whole life except for a short couple years in Minneapolis.

How long have you been working with your art? 

I’ve painted my whole life, but started painting with wax two years ago. I actually read up and visually studied it for about six years before actually painting with wax. The timing just wasn’t right.
Angela beginning a new piece in her studio.

Dried wax.

Dried wax.

Where do you create? 

My studio is in my basement, in a home my parents built and then sold. It was lived in by two different families, until we bought it a few years back. I work every day in the same room that I once created in as a child. It even has the same wall pencil sharpener.

What do you work with? What exactly is that medium like? 

I create my encaustic medium by mixing beeswax with damar crystals which acts as a hardener. (Damar crystals are a resin.)  Many of my colors are custom created mixtures using dry pigments to which I add to the clear medium, and each layer of wax must be fused together with the previous layer by heat. I work with blow torches, irons and a heat gun. My palette is a griddle full of tins and soup cans. Wax has characteristics that can’t be changed. Almost as soon as my brush touches the panel, the wax on it has cooled. For this reason, wax doesn’t lay down and blend like acrylics or oils; that comes with using heat to push the colors around and melt. When I’m working on a piece, it’s not just about what’s on the surface, it’s also the colors that were intentionally painted before, only to reemerge when scraped away to reveal new patterns that are hidden beneath.

Angela applying wax to a board.
Angela using a blowtorch to melt wax making it liquid like.

Do you do commissions?

Of course! I love commissioned projects and working with clients who have a specific size and color palette in mind. It’s always a good feeling to make something that someone is so excited to get and hang in their home. It’s the ultimate compliment that they chose my work for something they see every day. I always feel very appreciative and grateful.

What’s your printing business?

Out of a challenge came a solution. I created APLIS Fine Art Printing as I wanted to create prints of my work that were the same size as my originals. At APLIS Fine Art Printing, I work with artists of every medium who want big beautiful prints the same size as or bigger than their originals without losing any clarity when enlarged. Through my digital capture technique, I create a base file that requires no upsampling, no interpolation of pixels. For example, I can digitally capture a 6×6 and print it out 24×24 and it remains clear without any fuzzy edges. My website lists my paper selection, sizes and prices.

The equipment and products of APLIS Fine Art Printing.

What is one of, or a combination of, most challenging pieces/projects that you’ve worked on?

Pieces that have a lot of carved lines can be tricky. If you only want to melt the very top layer of wax, you have to wait longer between fusing, or else the previous layers will get too hot and shift the piece. That takes a lot of patience and time. An overall challenge I find is to remind myself to move forward and not try to duplicate something I painted. It will drive you nuts! The only way I could possibly duplicate something is to really document every step I took; from the colors I created to what I laid down and in what order. I had to do this for a commission piece where there were two paintings that almost mirrored each other. I took pictures of each step and documented everything. I even had a little old school tape recorder… which would have been cool if I had used it, but I used my phone.

Feel all of that texture!

Where can people contact you? What’s the contact line for your printing business?

People can reach me by calling, texting, emailing, pigeon carrier, sky writing…. All my contact info is on my two websites.
AngieGillespie.com has images of my work and prints you can order!
APLISfineartprinting.com has information on digital capturing services, printing and prices. I always welcome questions about the process, and what APLIS Fine Art Printing can do for them. I love to help artists create multiple streams of income for themselves by selling prints of their work!

Follow Angela on Instagram: @angie.gillespie.artist

Can you use three words to describe your art and yourself?

Perseverance. Fearless. Optimistic.

“Bloom” 12″ x 36″
“Sea Foam” 24″ x 36″
Angela’s first piece using her beeswax technique.

It’s okay to make your own rules. I try to remember that when it comes to what I want to accomplish as an artist. I’m a huge believer in writing down goals. I have notebooks full ideas and plans, then I break it down and work on what I can accomplish now, months from now and years down the road. Every idea starts somewhere, some with giant leaps, others with baby steps. After taking a few years off and silencing my creative spirit, I found myself standing at the sidelines waiting to jump in; full of ideas and stuffed with inspiration, knowing one day, I’d paint with wax. I didn’t know what I’d create… I just had to let it all out, and remember it was okay to make my own rules.

 

CFA: ART ON THE CAMPUS EXHIBIT – WEST DM

The West Des Moines Public Arts Advisory Commission and Parks and Recreation Department invite regional artists (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota) to submit an Artwork Application to participate in the 6th annual Art on the Campus public art exhibit.
Art on the Campus is a temporary outdoor exhibit, displayed on the West Des Moines City/School Campus from April to November each year.
Selected artists are paid a $2,000 stipend for the use of their artwork.
A selection panel will choose up to 13 original works of art for installation.
A People’s Choice vote will be taken throughout the duration of the exhibit. When the exhibit is complete, the People’s Choice artwork will be named and shared with the public, and the People’s Choice winner will receive a $500 award.
A People’s Choice vote will be taken throughout the duration of the exhibit.
When the exhibit is complete, the People’s Choice artwork will be named and shared with the public, and the People’s Choice winner will receive a $500 award.
Find all of the details and online application HERE.

CFA: MERCY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER

Join the Mercy Child Advocacy Center in their search for artwork to display in the new center!
We are looking to fill our new space with artwork for, and created by, the Siouxland community. We welcome you to submit your artwork and application for consideration to be a part of the permanent collection displayed at the Mercy Child Advocacy Center.
All displayed artwork will showcase the artist’s name and title of work.
Once all the pieces have been selected, we will be hosting a reception featuring the new permanent artwork collection at the Mercy Child Advocacy Center for all accepted artists.
To learn more about the CAC click here.
Send work to Alison.Boughn@mercyhealth.com by 12PM on October 25th for consideration.

ANGELA BEHRENDS: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

Meeting Angela was a wonderful experience! I not only enjoyed insight into her work, but made a new friend. I was surprised to discover several pieces of artwork around Sioux Falls, that have left a significant mark on me, are hers. I was delighted to have the chance to chat more in-depth about those subjects with the artist herself.

-Hannah

Before any questions were asked, Angela jumped right into talking about her work. 

In 2012, I had a solo exhibition. My work was right outside that really long gallery–that A Gallery–I got to have that gallery during the “Beauty and The Beast show.” I did kind of a reboot of the piece that was on the wall. It was all these little bags of clear perfect water, and they were kind of jewel-like. It was suppose to be like a power plant, that could conduct energy from one end of the wall to the other. The wall was close to 30 feet long. So, I sent all of the energy down to one end and then it gathered with the copper wires connecting all of those. It gathered in a mirror, and I had crocheted some copper wire and put a bunch of stuff around that mirror so that the energy would gather around these little wires and come into that. We set up the lights so that the round mirror would reflect the spot of light down onto the floor. It was hung at a height where most people could see themselves in it, but they could also see other parts of the show around them.

At the SD Art Museum until 7/23/2017

I really liked that idea, but when the opportunity for the “Women at Work” show came up, I’m like ‘you know, I think it should be an installation piece instead of, you know, just an object.’ And so, I put that one up. I put India ink into some of the water bags. So there are some that are clear and beautiful and the light doesn’t really refract, but it’s bent to shine spots on the wall from when the lights hit it. Some of them got a tint, and some of them didn’t. Some of them got a lot of ink so that they were just super black. All of the black is up here on the top of the installation,  so some of the lighter stuff is down below, and there’s a spot over here that’s the bright clear water. It’s about water quality and us needing to save that resource and pipelines, and fracking and the fail rate.

You’re probably familiar with the feathers and branches in the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. So, that’s one of mine that’s in a collection now. As part of a collaboration with Post Pilgrim and the Sioux Falls Design Center, Jennifer White and I did a Final Friday with the chalkboards. As far as I know, the chalkboards are still up. That night there were people leaning up against the wall, and as soon as they walked away I would be over there with the chalk fixing it. I guess I’m just a little bit of a freak that way.

A few steps down the street from the Sioux Falls Design Center is the Shriver’s window. You don’t have to go inside the building to see it, it’s just the corner display window at 11th and Phillips. I’ve got that 18 foot raw canvas laying on the floor. I had that thing along with me from when I went on the camping trip that produced the “sold” pictures on the boards. It was a site in the South Jenny Lake in the shadow of the national park. I rolled the canvas out on my camp site, and I brought a little bit of tobacco. I had worked with tobacco before as a staining drying material, so  that ended up being the brown color. I made some bison on the canvas. Then I needed charcoal, so I kind of fished some stuff out of my camp fire.  Along with that installation, I had made these tripods out of branches. They were meant to hold the canvas up. When I went to install the thing, I had some engineering issues and it didn’t work. Now, they are kind of a backdrop, or forest to that installation. So you walk up to the window, and you look down to see the piece.

Piece at Shriver’s Square

I did a Final Friday that was in conjunction with the PechaKucha. You get 20 images and you get 20 seconds per image. You are presenting whatever ideas, artwork, whatever it is that you do and that you’re passionate about. You share that, and then it goes up on a website. I haven’t had the guts to go listen to mine. I was so busy with Jennifer getting the “Love or Money” show together that I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing the PechaKucha. Anyway, it’s out there on the Net for everybody to see!

(See her presentation at Pechakucha Sioux Falls, Vol. 22 )

Angela working on Love or Money show at the Post Pilgrim Gallery

MAST (Madison Area Stands Together) is a local group that formed after the presidential election last year. There was a lot of concern about the travel bans, and the Visa issues. I work at Dakota State University, and we’ve got a lot of international students and faculty members, too, who are from all over the world, and they’re suddenly not able to move about and come and do their jobs. Everything was all kind of scary. So, we held a candle light vigil for them, just to let them know that we care and are concerned, too. This group developed out of that sense of helplessness. It recently came up that they need to have a logo.  So, I don’t know if this [see below] is going to be their final design, but I proposed it and people seem to be fairly excited about it. It was important that there was this sturdy something. I wanted that awareness with the eyes and everything. Then also, the horns are not being used, but they could be, you know. It’s like this defensible possibility.  And black and white is pretty powerful.

You just answered several of my questions there before I could even get to them. I like it–this should be a great time! Are you from Madison? 

I’m from southwestern Minnesota. I got out of there as quickly as I possibly could. I went to college in central Minnesota, and then I went to the Twin Cities, and kind of bounced all over the place there. I was a little too distracted, so I went back to UMM–University of Minnesota, Morris–to finish college and I floundered around for another number of years, then I went to graduate school in Lincoln, Nebraska. After that I moved to Vancouver, Washington for 7 or 8 years, and then I moved to South Dakota.

So, was your degree centered around your artwork? 

Yes, my masters degree is in sculpture. My undergraduate work was a duel emphasis in sculpture and printmaking. I tried to continue with printmaking in graduate school, but it didn’t work out very well. I had a studio that I loved, but it was in this dumpy old building that they were going to tear down. But it was a good quarter mile from the print studios, so that was kind of tough to get stuff back and forth, and I didn’t have any storage space in the print area. I mean, for graduate students, you just kind of carve out your space. You know, it’s all self directed, and I was busy enough with sculpture.

So then, how long have you been in South Dakota? 

2009. So, it’s close to eight and a half years. I’ve been at Dakota State University for eight years, and I started out there with one 3-D Design class, but that wasn’t enough to pay my rent. So, I taught ESL for one semester.

Was at the Sioux Falls Design Center, from artists’ travel snapshots with “SOLD” banner

Cool! You’ve been here for a while then.  You have your artwork and teach, too? 

Yes. I am employed full-time as a lecturer of art at Dakota State University in the digital and arts design department. During the summers, I haven’t done it for a couple of years, but this year I’m working as a part-time naturalist at Lake Herman State Park in Walkers Point Recreational Area. It’s kinda cool. I get the opportunity to come into contact with lots of different  kinds of people. You know, especially with the DSU stuff with students, and faculty, and community. I always try to get my students to focus on something that’s outside of the classroom. It’s not just about earning a grade; I mean it’s important stuff, this visual communication. We’ve got so much screen time and everything. I make them do everything analog. They have to cut paper, they have to tear things and make collages.

I’m not too great with technology, so that style is perfect for how my mind works. 

Well, I kind of call myself a dinosaur. I have sort of actively resisted–I mean I do the things I’m supposed to do for my job. I just think [technology] is another medium you can work in. Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign; these are digital tools you can use, but you still need to have those basic design skills to make something descent. The MAST design that I made is cut paper. I started with drawing it on paper, and then cutting it out with an exact-o knife. Then I printed out the text that I wanted to have on there. I’m perfectly happy with designing the font, or the typeface, I should say. You have to have a sense of composition. You have to be able to make things communicate what they need to communicate. The digital image manipulation is not the end all of design skills. Yeah, I’m a dinosaur.

Magpie

You’ve already mentioned different inspirations that you have, do you have more that influence you? 

I think it’s vitally important that people connect with nature, and that has been so lacking. It’s like there’s this spiritual deficit, I think; maybe even like a sink hole. We get enough racing around, driving around looking at screens, typing things, you know. If you’re taking notes on a computer, you’re not making the same neural connections you would if you are writing with a pencil on paper, or drawing. You know, you have to have this physical connection with the stuff that you’re learning. It’s not as effective to just type things, and look at it on a screen. So, yes, there’s all this technology that we deal with, it is wonderful. There are things that give lots more efficiency, but do we really keep moving at that pace? It’s making everybody sick. Everybody’s not getting enough movement, enough exercise. It drives me crazy, and I’m in the middle of it, too. When I make something, installation work especially, when I make work I’m really careful about the path of the energy, and the path of the people in that energy. I work my ass off when I have the opportunity to put something up. Humility also has a place here. I’m always unsure about it, but I work as good as I can so that I can offer it as a gift to the people that go and see it. When I say I’ve got this show up and I want you to go see it, that’s like me with a little gift with a bow on it offering this experience, because I want to give that. I think it will do something, it will help somebody, or make them feel a certain way, or give them a moment of peace, or something like that. So, that’s my gift. I realize a lot of times when I’m saying, ‘go see the show’, and doing all that self promotion, it’s not self promotion to make a career for me. It’s that there’s a gift that I want to offer that’s not going to get unwrapped if you don’t go and see it.

Monotype prints “Cents”
“Walk Softly” presented in Love or Money show at the Post Pilgrim Gallery

Yeah, I like that point…where it’s just two-dimensional, and people just looking at something. I think sometimes people need that three-dimensional installation that’s actually intruding into their space. It’s very important, I agree.

So, it’s more experiential than something you would just look at. I think installation, and sculpture–three-dimensional stuff–has an easier inlet. There’s a lot of paintings out there, but there’s probably not a lot of paintings that will really pull you in and offer you the kind of physical, or emotional, experience that an environment can. That said, I’m not trying to make judgments on things that I don’t respond to.

Now, how can people contact you? Do you have a website?

Facebook is just fine. My profile picture is me kissing a fake bison. I do have a blog site. I call it an images only blog site, but I haven’t done a really good job of keeping up with stuff on that. So, most of the stuff is older. That is a place where they could go and see things.

www.angelabehrends.blogspot.com

“Land” 6′ 10″ made with artists’ hair

Can you describe your work, art and everything else, along with who you are in three words, or I should say, in three “sections”? 

Art, nature, joy. Those are the things that I seek, and seek to share. I want to add something for people who are stopping themselves because “I can’t draw, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that.” It’s really, really, really important for your heart and soul to just make stuff, and experience stuff. You know, get away from your computer for a little while, and connect with people and connect with nature. Really, really, really important. That’ll make us happier, and it’ll make the world a better place…make it easier to live in.