Our final Inspired Interview finds us with local graphic designer, and mixed media artist, Kristine Reiner. Read up, and be sure to keep her on your radar!
Describe to us what type of work you do, and what your preferred mediums are.
I really prefer to reuse stuff around me. I’ve actually just called it mixed media. I paint with roses, mainly. I went to school for graphic design. I received an abundant amount of roses, and I didn’t know what to do with them, so I started painting with them.
So when did you start?
I had one art class my whole high school career. I was from a really small town. My senior year they cancelled my art class…all art classes. They cancelled them, and cut funding. I didn’t know what to go to school for, so I just chose graphic design. I’ve never really painted or done anything like that. 2012 was really when I started painting and experimenting.
How has your work evolved over time?
In high school, my confidence level wasn’t up, and there were all these other stunning artists who make things picture perfect. I was like, I’m never going to be that good. That’s why I leant towards abstract, just seeing how I progress each series I do. It’s funny cause I’m not trying, but my improvements are there. I can’t really gauge it.
Were there any factors that led you to where you are today?
Absolutely. I didn’t really know why I was so attracted to art. I’ve kind of had a rough childhood. I was looking for a hobby, and I was creative, but I hadn’t really gotten to that point where I knew how to use it. I realized in college that creating art was therapeutic, and I started using my art to bring awareness to sexual and domestic violence around town. I’ve actually donated to a few shows, and volunteered and helped, and all other sorts of stuff. It’s actually really cool. Art is too crazy, and it’s such a easy way to open an awkward conversation.
I do graphic design for a living. Selling paintings is harder, but I had one good show.
What usually inspires you to create your work?
My emotions mainly. If I really stressed out and cranky, that’s the time to create. It’s so weird. It’s hard to describe it. I can just tell if I haven’t painted in a while. I kind of get an itch.
Do you do paint every week or so?
I do so many different things. I make lip balm, I make dog bandanas, and other stuff because of my ADD. But sometimes I get in the spur of it. I think my last series, within the matter of 2 days, I made like 12 paintings. It’s just kind of when you are in the flow, you are in the flow.
How long does it typically take you to complete a project?
Well, the one behind you took like probably two weeks. But I’ve gotten a lot quicker, because I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my style. So, I would say a day tops, unless I hate it. Well, that’s not true, I’ve been fighting with one downstairs, that’s been months. It’s all about my mood.
Do you have anything you want to work on in the future?Any skills you would like to develop over time that you have not yet done?
I would love to actually get where I’ve completed one or two works a week. Where I try to challenge myself, that way I don’t get so creatively blocked.
Does it happen often where you are in a funk?
It does, but I’ll do something else, and then I’ll come back to it.
How has Sioux Falls influenced your work? What are your thoughts on the art community in Sioux Falls?
Sioux Falls has been absolutely amazing…just sharing my work and meeting other artists. The community is so tight knit – so close and so helpful. I guess a lot of artists have competitors and people like that, and I’ve never even experienced that.
They are just helpful and nice. You can call them up and say like, “Hey, this really fricken sucks.” They can give you some tips, and they just get it.
Have you been here your whole life?
Basically, I grew up in a small town like 30 minutes away.
How did you get know about JAM?
Was in a media class at USF here in town. I needed to volunteer at some art thing for my degree, and JAM was just starting. They were in of the little studio rooms at the time. So, I got to watch that whole progression. It’s so crazy.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out as an artist?
Don’t give up. Keep trying. Someone in the world somewhere is going to love what you make. It may you take you years to find them, but somebody will.
Where do you showcase your art?
Usually downtown. I’ve been in a few banks and museums. Just kind of event-type of things to raise awareness for nonprofits. As far as current projects go, I’m just working on some commissions, and getting ready for a show coming up later this spring. I don’t have any more information on that however. I do have a piece in the “Finding Our Voices” traveling show. It was just at the Third Eye Gallery. The show aims to bring awareness to sexual and domestic abuse. It’s all survivor-led, and will be at a new location in Sioux Falls soon.
Upon introductions, Emilie started in describing her recent artwork at her day job, Schmitt Music. The mural on the wall was installation-mounted to be sculpted to her designs of Sioux Falls, and the high school marching band community near the music shop’s location.
“It’s definitely a learning experience. It’s new for me. I usually do clay sculpting. Actually, right now I am doing a series with beeswax, so it’s all different stuff. This is definitely something different – applying heat to it, and burning myself a lot.”
Did your boss ask you to create this?
“Yes he did. That’s what I went to school for, and I have degree in. This is my day job. They just built this new area for our repair man to have his own space to do instruments. This wall here was just big and plain. Actually, this is like my fourth attempt at doing this wall. I’ve painted it over and over and redone it, because that’s kind of an artist thing, but I never found what I wanted to do. I was like, I’m a sculptor and not really a painter, so lets do a wall that I can kind of make three dimensional. So, that’s what I’m going for.”
Describe to us what type of work you do, and your preferred mediums:
Sculpting of all different materials. I use to say I’m just a ceramics sculptor, I’m just a clay sculptor, but I’ve definitely branched out these past couple of years. Like I said earlier, the beeswax is super new for me…then styrofoam, and mostly three-dimensionals.
Did you go to school for that?
I went to school for fine art, but I had to study all the different mediums. To do that, you have to do painting, and printmaking and all that.
Do you have more work at your house?
Yes, I have a series right now that I’m working on that is all about honey bees. I’m actually using real parts of beehives, and then beeswax to sculpt bees out of honeycombs and the wax.
How long have you been doing your specific medium? How has your work evolved over time?
I would actually say for sculpting it’s been since college. Probably about 9 years I’ve been doing all creative stuff, not just one certain thing. I’ve done all different crafts growing up…not just one specific thing. Oh man…overtime just the simple basic pottery wheel stuff, like cups and bowls, to putting it on the wall.
Never done anything like this before, though. Did one sort of wall thing that was actually downtown. In the basement of JAM there was a thing called Art Maze, last year. They asked local artists to pretty much do whatever they wanted with the space. People walked through it like a maze. I did drywall mud on the walls, kind of like a mural to do something different, but never with styrofoam.
Are there any factors that led you to where you are today?
I mean it’s kind of a cliche thing. I was doing something with my hands since I can really remember. Not necessarily coloring in coloring books, but kind of building and making things. It eventually led to the three-dimensional stuff. Just trying to do a painted mural like the one here took three different times, and kept getting painted over. I just couldn’t get it on the flat perspective, it didn’t look good to me. So, it evolved into this.
What usually inspires you to create your work?
Honestly, for this specific one right next to us, my experience from working here these last couple of years. I didn’t know a lot about the band scene and high school marching band until I worked here. Right down the street is the biggest Sioux Falls high school. In this area, and kind of in the country, they are really good. Their marching band performances are outstanding. Just hearing them in the summer, and their practices inspired me. So, this mural is going to be kind of a city with marching bands and stuff like that.
The rest of my work, like the beeswax and everyday life things…it’s kind of advocating, because bees are super important. So, it’s about using the most natural things. All of it is the real thing. I’m using real beehives, and not using glue or paint. All the materials belong to bees.
How long does it typically take you to complete a project?
This one took me a long time. Since like last December, so that doesn’t count. This one would be my longest one. I don’t have a specific set date on it, yet. But, I would say for me it takes longer than a lot people. For me it takes months to do sculptural things. I can’t do quick drawings or paintings. People can do stuff in like a day. Takes me quite longer to do stuff. It also, takes me longer because I have a 3-year-old, and I have my own business, and I work here.
What is your other business?
I just started two months ago – art appraisal, and music instrument appraisal. So, I’m fitting it all in. It can definitely take months to do sculptural things. If its clay, it takes building, letting it dry, and firing it. I don’t get to commit to a lot of shows, because I don’t have a big compilation of works waiting around. But that’s ok, that’s just who I am. I have stuff made specifically for certain things.
Have you sold any of your work?
I have sold smaller works. Downtown Sioux Falls does a great job with the downtown shows for local artists and stuff. The last couple of years I’ve done little clay pieces that were framed. I made like relief things, kind of like this with clay, and actually just fit them with regular picture frames. No glass or anything, and they were painted and everything. So, I’ve sold things like that.
Do you have anything you want to work on in the future?
Yes I do. I feel like it’s kind of secretive, but I’ll give a clue. I definitely have a big idea specifically involving coffee, and like the downtown coffee scene. Using actual parts of coffee, the beans, and all that.
Any skills you would like to develop over time that you haven’t yet?
I don’t know. I would definitely say, sculpting things I have never tried before. Metal working, actually…not sure if you guys noticed the sculpture walk. I would like to do a sculpture like that, but I haven’t done anything that huge, monumental or big. So, just learning how to work with bronze is a long-term goal of mine.
How has Sioux Falls influenced your work? What are your thoughts on the art community in Sioux Falls?
I’m not native here. I’ve been here for like 5 years or so. So, just kind of taking it all in – a lot of the downtown vibe, the people that are down there. The art scene has been influential. I’ve even included the city logo, and the city itself with the old buildings in some of my works.
I think it’s really growing. It’s kind of…I use the word vibrating, and you feel it when you are down there. It’s just growing a lot. People should check into it.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out as an artist?
I would say, just be authentic, and just be who you are. Don’t try to fit in a certain bubble of art. What you are inspired to make, make it. Make it genuine, and for yourself. There will be people who will find you.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For five years Reina Okawa’s cranes have greeted visitors at the north entrance of the Washington Pavilion. But this fall, the exhibit comes down. This Tuesday, August 29, the Pavilion offers a last gathering to appreciate the cranes that have become a fixture in the Sioux Falls community. The cranes have been at the Pavilion so long that Meagan Dion, the lead curator for the Visual Arts Center, clarified that the exhibit was always a temporary one. “It wasn’t ever intended to become a permanent installation,” she said. “But we wanted to give people as much time to appreciate [the cranes] as possible.”
Since they were installed in 2012, the cranes have become a Sioux Falls community favorite. The send-off event on August 29, “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”, celebrates the partnership between Reina Okawa and the Pavilion and gives the community a chance to say goodbye to the exhibit. Okawa will be at the event, though the actual removal of the cranes will not happen until later. The 30-foot-long strings of “You, Me and the Cranes” hold thousands of origami cranes, a limited number of which will be given away early at the party.
The farewell party intends to alert everyone that the cranes are going away, and ensure that the community has a chance to say goodbye. “We just want to make sure people can enjoy them one last time,” said Dion.
Some of Okawa’s other origami work is on display in the “Above the Fold” exhibit in the Visual Arts Center Gallery until September 16, 2017. The Visual Arts Center will be closed during the farewell party, but the cranes and her work in the gallery can be viewed any time the building is open until the end of the exhibition. Please join us in saying goodbye to the cranes from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29. If you’ve only seen the large cranes towards the bottom of the strings, try going to the fourth floor to see the smaller more colorful ones! You can RSVP on Facebook to the “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”.
For several months, I have wanted to visit the Museum of Visual Materials for their First Friday art receptions. My first impression was joy when I saw their sidewalk covered in fun chalk doodles. The smell of savory wine and cheese definitely peaked my senses. For someone who has never stepped into the building, I thought that the layout of the space helped me feel welcome to walk about and spark up conversation over the artwork by artist Isz.
Once I noticed my time was rapidly escaping me, I decided to move on to my next destination, the 8th and Railroad Center. Boy, was I surprised to find the chance to ride a mechanical bull!
After the sweet seduction of the delicious food trucks, I wandered into the Eastbank Gallery. They had some fun, new art displayed throughout the space. I can’t help, but take my time to gaze upon these diverse artist’s work.
On my way to the Washington Pavilion, I spotted one of the most artistic paintwork on a vehicle I have ever witnessed. I’d be telling myself lies if I said I wasn’t impressed. To be honest, I’m quite jealous and was considering doing the same to my own car.
As usual, the artists being held at the Pavilion always are enjoyably engaging and ever breathtaking!
A large crowd gathered in the Schultz Gallery for the opening reception of local artist, Anna Youngers.
Right outside Lucky’s stands Steve Bormes‘ sculpture, “School Spirit,” which is part of the Sculpture Walk. I try to take the long way around downtown just to see all of these wonderful sculptures as much as possible, even when driving to work.
There have only been a hand full of times that I’ve seen inside the Rehfeld’s Gallery. For me, each time seems to get richer as I explore the layout of artists.
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Rehfeld’s is Vishnu Bunny and their Third Eye Gallery. Each month they host different artists, along with a different theme. All I can say is, you’ll want to go check them out!
With the night slipping away, I found myself getting my nightly caffeine crave. What a better situation having the downtown Coffea right next door to Vishnu… Yay, that means more art!
I am someone who is incredibly receptive of my surroundings. That amazing doughnut photograph by Amy really influenced me to go stop by Half Baked Cupcakes for some sweets. To my delight, I was able to see if Sara Bainter had put up any new pieces in their space!
Don’t forget, right outside The Phillips Diner and Woodgrain is usually some outstanding live music! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw crowds of folks gathering around the Dakota Snow truck giving away FREE shaved ice courtesy of National Bank. Cool! (Ha, get it?)
Even though I haven’t always been aware of all that First Friday has to offer, Downtown Sioux Falls continues to grow on me with each venture I take. Plus, I was able to look up into our bright, blue sky and watch some hot air balloons drift around town. Until next time fellows.
(June 24-September 16, 2017) Everest Gallery of the Washington Pavilion
It seems to me that the Washington Pavilion often appears as just a landmark to Sioux Falls inhabitants, and not much else. Contrary to this perception, however, the Pavilion is always changing; providing new sights, activities, and learning experiences. Recently, the Pavilion’s Visual Arts Center staff transformed their largest gallery (the Everest Gallery) to accommodate an exhibition that travels internationally. The show, Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, has been traveling since 2015, and features unique works of origami from artists around the world.
With my first step into the gallery, I was immediately aware that I would not be peering at any paper cranes that day. Instead, I was greeted by whimsical, inflated creatures that dangled from the ceiling, and fantastic forms encased in blown glass bubbles that surely could not be made of paper. The Pavilion’s assistant curator, Sarah Odens, was right when she stated that this “is origami like most of us have never seen before.” The works vary from large-scale installations, to optical illusions that hang flat on the wall. A massive, seven-foot-tall piece by Jiangmei Wu, is waiting in the back of the gallery to take your breath away!
While exploring the show, I also took some time to watch the PBS film that is screening in gallery. To my surprise, the artists interviewed within the film are many of the same artists featured within this show. I’m glad I took a few minutes to listen, as it outlined how these artists are at the forefront of the origami realm, but are also wildly intelligent engineers, architects, and mathematicians. They are not only changing the way we think about origami, but also how the science of folding can be applied to real world problems! I learned that origami artists like Robert Lang and Erik and Martin Demaine have used paper folding to solve issues surrounding air bag folding, expandable space telescopes, and human proteins that fold to fight disease!
I highly recommend making a stop at the Pavilion to see this show. As Odens mentioned, “pictures do not do this work justice… to see all these folds up close and in person is an experience.” Allow yourself to be amazed by these pieces! Make “connections to the origami [you] learned when [you] were young… and then see what paper can do and what origami artists, with science and mathematics, can achieve.”
This international show will be on display in the Everest Gallery of the Washington Pavilion until September 16, 2017. And don’t forget about Free First Fridays! On August 4th, not only will entrance to the Visual Arts Center be free, Robert Lang (one of the many artists and engineers featured in this show) will be speaking about his work, his education, and how he uses origami to solve real-world issues. Don’t miss out! Lang is speaking at 7 p.m. in the Belbas Theater of the Pavilion.
The first weekend in July may have set a record downtown. From events, to people traffic, to motorcycles; everywhere you went there was something to enjoy, a crowd of people enjoying it, and virtually nowhere to park. Like most summer weekends, you have to pick and choose what to do, but July First Friday proved to be a roided out rendition of Sophie’s Choice. No matter what you picked, you likely still felt like you were missing out on 10 other things. Some, to be never experienced again, like Art Maze II. It was arguably the busiest of all time that downtown has ever been. A couple of our bloggers caught merely a sliver.
ART MAZE II
With all of the outstanding events occurring Downtown Sioux Falls on July’s first Friday, I certainly hope everyone was able to hop down and enjoy the festivities! One of such events was the Art Maze II, which happened during the First Friday and Saturday. For those two nights, 30+ local artists, including myself and JAM, come together to create an aMAZEing event full of art installations, performances, murals, henna body designs, interactive spaces, lemonade stands for a cause, food trucks, and more!
As you walked through the spaces, you teleported into a world of extraordinary imagination. The truth is, even photographs couldn’t quite capture the excitement one experienced throughout event. For me, being one of the artists and witnessing the transformation of the entire space, I was filled with a surreal sensation. I still am unable to pin just what that feeling was…a pride in my city and its accomplishments, an excitement for everyone involved, watching and engaging with folks throwing confetti in my interactive installation, seeing such happy expressions on their faces. Maybe it was what the possibilities could be for the future…Art Maze III? Perhaps just an all-encompasing, epic feeling. Rock on Sioux Falls.
EASTBANK BLOCK PARTY
As the sun bent behind high-rising buildings, guitar chords jumped out of large rectangular speakers and danced along the open air. Erik Koskinen and his band just began there 2-hour-long set. Erik told timeless tales of American life through the eyes of a hard working, Michigan born man. The concoction of Erik’s folk rock, mixed with the community of the crowd in the art and cultural hub of Sioux Falls, made for the perfect end to an exciting and fun-filled First Friday.
YOU CAN STILL CHECK OUT THESE OTHER NOTABLE ART SHOWS THROUGH THE MONTH OF JULY
CIGARETTE MONEY @ THIRD EYE GALLERY
Visual artist include:
Solomon Carlson – Sioux Falls SD
Derek Meier – Minneapolis MN
Kimberlynn Jo Floren – Sioux Fall SD
Angela Meyer – Minneapolis MN
Melanie Ratzlaff’s artwork includes unconventional materials such as VHS tapes, pop cans, and recycled paper to create artwork that is a contemporary interpretation of her Lakota heritage. In this specific body of work, one will find references to pop culture & female identity. Melanie’s work has made its way to homes in South Dakota, Washington, and Arizona.
For me, experiencing the full spectrum of the First Friday scene was a first. I am incredibly glad that I had the ability to visit much of what downtown had to offer for the month of March. It’s a delightful surprise to find that there is such an abundance of activities continually going on here. I look forward to the increasing opportunities that Sioux Falls has to offer. ~Hannah
MISHEARD LANDSCAPES: IPSO Gallery
As I stepped into the gallery space of Fresh Produce’s IPSO Gallery, my eyes were drawn to Amanda Smith‘s large scale painting. This painting was placed so perfectly, it activated the remaining area. It gave me a sense of a night sky, or even, that I was floating around in the gallery from piece to piece.
At first glance, the viewer might find it difficult to recognize the subject being portrayed. It did seem like the theme of landscape were indeed present. However, I wondered if Smith had other themes streamed throughout the pieces displayed? She has a great way of bringing the movement and brightness of each painting to the focus of the viewers. This made me feel as if the artwork, hand in hand with the space, were able to tell their own story and reasons behind their creation. Sadly, I did not have the chance to speak with her about my wonderings, I simply found closure in the explanations her art had given me.
IPSO Gallery is strategically entwined with Fresh Produce and all that they do. When visiting the gallery, the set-up encourages art lovers, and bystanders alike, to roam freely about the building. I was excited to discover that I could take home with me a pen and a key chain, both saying “keep Sioux Falls boring.” How quirky? Along with the booth, there was the long-lasting joy that always comes as a bonus when food is offered.
WIDE OPEN SPACE: Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center
As someone who works for the Washington Pavilion, I had the chance to get a bit of a sneak peek of the Wide Open Space exhibit in the Jerstad Gallery before the First Friday events occurred. I remember thinking to myself, what is this? Why does this look so amazingly cool in the space? When can I stop by to hear the artist talk? Wow!Brian Frink did wonders making this area come to life!
When I walked into the gallery, time seemed to escape into Frink’s work. After viewing the pieces, displayed in a quirky manner, I noticed a pattern within the space: he strategically placed the constructions in a way that added a special sensory experience to the works. Being able to see his perspective of elemental themes fascinated me. They all have a certain character of their own that jumps to the viewer’s attention. I was dumbfounded by the layers of meaning. I agree with Frink’s statement: “the paintings exist within the space of the Visual Arts Center in a particular way that will never be repeated.”
JORDAN THORNTON: Sioux Falls Arts Council
Jordan Thornton is the featured visual artist at the Sioux Falls Arts Council. From observing her work, including my previous knowledge of her style changes, it’s clear to see why she was chosen for this space. As a whole, I feel that the gallery’s surroundings actually drew out the most important strengths in Thornton’s work. It was incredibly fun to wander the space draped with naturist pieces.
Thornton’s style is one that I have always been entertained with–it’s something that is so distinctly her own that it can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. She places each piece on the walls in a way that gives a structural feeling to the area. In contrast, the subject matter is often roots, or other means of nature and life. I found this to be the most intriguing aspect of her work. The theme of nature being distorted to fit her own views and perceptions of it was a nice consistency. Thornton has the means to push her printmaking techniques to create works that relate to the viewer’s eye.