Tag Archives: Jeff Ballard

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: AUGUST

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.

Photographs by Hannah Wendt

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.

Something that caught my eye inside Rehfeld‘s was a poster for the upcoming IPSO Gallery reception with Marc Wagner and Amy Jarding on August 11. I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo of the advertisement art. See you there!

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.

Photographs by Hannah Wendt

 

 

JEFF BALLARD: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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Jeff Ballard is searching. Like so many other souls, he is seeking that inexplicable trail, the elusive marriage of space and time, and our purpose within it. Comforted by solitude and the ever-pulsing company of his own thoughts, Ballard keeps himself open to whatever the universe may be trying to whisper into his subconscious. He quells the unknown with his study of relationships, seeking out intent and purpose between loved ones, nature and even God. As an artist, Ballard’s work is exploratory, his paintings giving reference to the struggle of just trying to make sense of it all. There is a painful awareness of the flux in life, if only to give fuel to further push through to clarity, and give an understanding glance to the metaphysical. 

Jeff Ballard was raised in Sioux Falls, and received his MFA in painting from the University of South Dakota. He teaches art at Dakota State University and the University of Sioux Falls, where he is also the Gallery Director. Ballard is a co-founder of the Sioux Falls publication “The Local Artist,” a biannually released magazine featuring ten local artists a year.* Chatting with Ballard was a delightful, moving experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity. ~Amy

*The Local Artist is accepting submissions for their 2016 issue until October 19th. Apply here.

Continue reading JEFF BALLARD: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

MICHELLE ST. VRAIN – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

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

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

Continue reading MICHELLE ST. VRAIN – AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

LAURA JEWELL – 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.

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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

Around and About – Studio 301

Studio 301 at the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center

10AM – 5PM Live Art Making

10:15AM Story time with Hector Curriel in the Children’s Studio

6PM – 9PM Art Reception and Celebration

8PM Live Music with Thomas Hentges of Burlap Wolf King

Studio 301 started off as an idea in 2010 by Justin Schleep and TJ Donovan. Originally called “Take the Day,” this event is a one-of-a-kind experience in Sioux Falls. At this yearly art making event, artists set up studio spaces and create while being watched and interacting with the public. Many artists have stayed committed to the growth and change through the years of the event. It has become a networking event for visitors and artists alike, making it truly an art & community extravaganza.

The Visual Arts Center worked with and listened to local artists while planning this year’s event.  Two artists were contacted to be liaisons for the Visual Arts Center: Jeff Ballard and Michelle St. Vrain. Their job was to Continue reading Around and About – Studio 301

Around and About October’s First Friday Art & Wine Walk

Art & Wine Walk

Downtown Sioux Falls, participating locations

Friday, October 4, 2014

5:00PM-9:00PM

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Ever since I went to the May Wine Walk this past spring, I’ve been itching to go again. It was so much fun to see the local artists creating live work and to sample new wines. If you haven’t been downtown in a while or haven’t been before, I strongly suggest this event as a perfect opportunity to find out about both local businesses and budding local artists.

There are 21 participating locations in Sioux Falls (most of them downtown). Viewing the art is Continue reading Around and About October’s First Friday Art & Wine Walk

A New Sioux Falls Zine: The Local Artist

Mitch Torbert, Jeff Ballard, and Hunter Murphy are happy to share with you their mission of printing a professional zine showcasing South Dakota artists. “The Local Artist” will be printed twice yearly, plus a yearly book, and distributed state-wide. South Dakota artists must apply to be considered. The mission of this exciting project is to “exist to support South Dakotan culture by exposing local, visual artists to the public in two free print publications annually, and fostering development of emerging artists.”

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To be considered for “The Local Artist” email Jeff with 3-5 images (shortest dimension 1000px, include title, dimensions, medium, & year), an Artist Statement, your website URL, your mailing address, and email address. I hope you all send off your applications; they’re due October 12, 2014 at midnight with the first publication printed in April 2015. 

JAM: What inspired you guys to start The Local Artist?

THE LOCAL ARTIST: We started The Local Artist through our experience of knowing Continue reading A New Sioux Falls Zine: The Local Artist

David Lethcoe: An Inspired Interview

 

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I once had a tae kwon do coach tell me that when you’re out there on the mat, you want your performance to inspire people. Your performance should look effortless, but high energy. It should be fun, so that people think, “I want to do that, I want to start practicing tae kwon do.” David Lethcoe does this with his sculptures; his creations are fun and carry a lot of energy and he makes me want to create. But Dave isn’t performing or just acting inspired. He knows how to stay inspired; you have to keep learning different things. When you keep learning you don’t have to think out every step–your subconscious can work out the problems that your mind creates. You just need to keep it simple.
Some people intuitively know how simple the world can be. That doesn’t mean they’re simple people. With Dave, it’s just the opposite. He has theory, art history, and new art movements all rolling through his head, fighting for his attention, when deep down he knows that just looking at the sky will suffice. It takes courage to admit that your subconscious can solve problems better than your ego can. Dave’s approach to life is romantic. I am a romantic—that’s probably why I became an artist. I like the idea of working in your studio, having your whole day to just clear your mind and cut materials. To me, when Dave tells us about a day in his studio, it is inspiring and encouraging. Keep things simple. Learn so your mind can stay fresh, and every now and then, look up at the sky. ~Jess 

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

Dave: I’ve always wanted to be an artist since I was young. I drew all the time and played outside. I didn’t have any artists in the family, but my older brother drew as well. I always thought he was good, and I wanted to be as good as him. After a while, he got to point where he didn’t draw any more and I kept doing it. When you’re in elementary school, art kind of makes you the cool kid because everyone wants to see what you’re doing. I would compete with another kid in the class by trying to outdraw him. We were Continue reading David Lethcoe: An Inspired Interview