I started my evening at the Sioux Falls Design Center for their PetchaKutcha Night. With an overflowing crowd settling in at 7PM for the speeches to begin, we were asked for four volunteers from the audience. These brave souls went on to narrate slides that popped up on the screen, each one unknown to the volunteer, and lasting 20 seconds long (coincidently the same amount of time per slide for the awaiting presenters). This activity serves as a warm-up for the room, and also gives the presenters that last boost of confidence; anyone can talk about something for 20 seconds. We can look at this activity in a broader sense, and take this as a lesson in interaction, and a nudge towards the need for open-mindedness. It’s important to keep an inquisitive attitude and a light-hearted approach when participating in community events such as this. Take an interest! Share your voice!
Marc Wagner was the Design Center’s featured artist, and also the first presenter. His talk, “Filtered Through the Red Skull Cap,” gave an overview of his design process for his ongoing series of comic-based work. Wagner began experimenting with his “comic drop” pieces, a process in which he literally drops pieces of comic strips and creates a drawing from the image gravity helped create. Constantly pushing his creative process, Wagner has come full circle, and is now making his own comics from his comic drop pieces. His work is playful, engaging and gorgeously contained.
Julie Anderson Friesen followed with “Cinema Falls: A Love Story.” Beginning on Valentine’s Day of 2012, Cinema Falls has had a fruitful romance with this city, bringing film loving “cine-zens” an opportunity to view indie and world cinema features. This organization works to incorporate the nature of film to an audience unified by their shared demand for access to art house content.
Due to the time constraint of the evening, I left the Design Center early and headed to Vishnu Bunny’s Third Eye Gallery to check out a two-person exhibition featuring Kevin Caraway and Solomon Carlson. Their show, “1 + 1 = ‽” filled the space well, and their pieces complimented the atmosphere of the shop. Caraway pushed himself further towards the graffiti realm of his work, and had some impressive experimentation with shadows, manipulating floating frames to display 2D works in a 3D way.
Carlson offered an impressive array of pieces, some prints and some originals. He has been working at refining his digital production, and it shows. His subject matter rides the line of fantasy, offering moments captured deep inside Carlson’s brain, and often ignited from video games or science fiction. He raffled off a piece for the show, “Grumpy Space Kitty” as a way to encouraged attendance, with tickets going for $1 each. I enjoy Carlson and Caraway’s work shown together, and hope they plan to exhibit jointly in the future.
Next door Coffea was hosting “Caffeinated Creativity: The Artists of Coffea Roasterie,” which featured the work of employees: Esther Clark, Laura Sinkgraven, Kevin Caraway and Jordan Thornton. Such a talented assemblage of artists within one company! The works varied from printmaking, painting and drawing, with a jazz ensemble adding to the intrigue to passers-by on the street. Coffea does not mess around when it comes to coffee, and they are just as serious about their receptions. I especially enjoyed seeing new work by Caraway, painting with a completely different style than the pieces showcased next door. A lovely collection of work in all.
My final stop of the evening was at Exposure Gallery and Studios to check out their Design Sioux Falls show. This show challenged graphic designers to create new imagery for old Sioux Falls icons. With images ranging from Mr. Bendo, the Weatherball, the Zip Feed Mill and many others, I could not help but find myself grinning as I walked through the gallery. Each piece brought an old memory, a spark in my brain. I loved the concept of this show, and was pleased to find it thoughtfully executed.
Andrew Billion was featured in the back gallery, showcasing pottery and paintings. Billion has been fostering a presence within the art community lately, and people are taking notice. Each time I view his ceramic pieces he is becoming more and more refined. I expect to see great things from this artist. Keep your eye out, Sioux Falls!