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.
This First Friday had some special gallery events at Rehfeld’s, the Washington Pavilion, and Eastbank. Rehfeld’s and Eastbank each hosted a show that focused on smaller size with a variety of artist participants. If you’re looking for a smaller piece of art, this is the time to go get it! The Pavilion had two newer exhibits, plus the “South Dakota Governor’s 7th Biennial Art Exhibition.” These places are all showing a great variety of art this month, and each location has a wide array of different styles, materials, and conceptual art.
Drawn to the Darkroom
Heidi Draley McFallVisual Arts Center Jerstad Gallery (2nd Floor)
Opened October 21, Drawn to the Darkroom features photorealistic portraits of people in the throes of emotion. Starting with 35mm film, Draley McFall’s images start as photos, but are recreated as portraits with added layers of texture, a kind of homage to the imperfections of darkroom developing. All of the images on display are black and white, but striking.
The Tiramisu Diaries
Connie Herring Visual Arts Center Shultz Gallery (3rd Floor)
Guest artist Connie Herring is back at the Visual Arts Center showcasing a project 20 years in the making. The Tiramisu Diaries, in her words, is a project about friendship, eating together, and companionship. This is her fifth or sixth installation of the project, most of which were on a much larger scale. Connie makes her own paper, does the binding, and dyes the ribbons in coffee. The result is an almost tangible (but please don’t touch!) texture that leaps off the installation and into the minds of passerby. A photo collage of various places Herring and friends have eaten tiramisu accompanies the installation, and brings life to the stories she has to go with the project.
South Dakota Governor’s 7th Biennial Art Exhibition
Various Artists Visual Arts Center Everist Gallery (3rd Floor)
The Governor’s Biennial features an array of sculpture and canvas work with an impressive use of colors and subject matter. The whole gallery was filled with these pieces of art, and offered some surprises around the corners.
8×8 is exactly what it sounds like, a showcase of art 8 inches by 8 inches wide. Various artists, 8 to be exact, created small-scale paintings and mixed media on canvas to sell for $88. The wall that displayed these pieces already had several stickers marking sold paintings by the time I got there at 6:45. The other art around the room was by the same artists participating in 8×8 and perhaps a few others.
Eastbank’s size-driven show featured art approximately the size of a postcard from around 20 artists. Larger art was on display as well, but the postcards were the feature of the night. Artists were milling about and talking to patrons as they browsed through the carts. There was a little something for everyone in this show, ranging from wildlife portraits to caricaturish fantasy.
Art made for giving! 20+ artists, pieces $100 or less. All art is buy and go. Take what you want off the wall and give the gift of local art. The show and opportunity to purchase runs all month. There are paintings, jewerlry, sculpture, photography and more more more.
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
Personally, I have moved on from Augie, but that doesn’t mean there are not things happening. In fact, quite the opposite! Did you know that Sioux Falls’ very own, Augustana University hosts several different gallery exhibits every year? I’m always trying to stick my head in the doors, just to peak at what they’re up to.
Currently, they are housing The Augustana Student Invitational, which runs June 1-September 1, 2017. Augustana is located right off of 33rd Avenue; whereas, the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery is a few blocks down on Grange Avenue. Before we get started, I want to add that there is some incredible work displayed in this show by all the participating students. By all means, go take a closer look at all of the interesting pieces! With that, let’s dive in!
DR. LINDSEY TWA
Does the sophomore and junior summer show normally happen every year?
Yes, this is traditional. We always do our Augustana Student Invitational every summer. That’s been true for a couple of decades now, I believe. So, every summer our rising juniors and seniors get the opportunity to get a professional exhibition under their belt as a part of the group show. These are curated out of our sophomore and junior reviews, which are the two major check points for the art major on the way to their senior thesis show.
What’s some outstanding history with the Edie/Dalrymple Gallery?
Sure! Well, the Edie/Dalrymple Gallery was founded in the late 60’s with former professor Carl Grupp, who was a signature print maker of the region and professor of drawing here. He’s still in town. He also founded our permanent art collection. He did it sort of informally, in addition to his very heavy load over the years, by bringing in professional exhibitions and then having student shows. Then eventually, he got a gallery space that is now the archaeology lab, and then this space opened new with the building in 2006. We are free and open to the public. We always do 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm exhibitions every year. There’s always the Senior thesis show that closes our academic year and then the Sophomore, Junior Invitational is always our summer exhibition.
So, does this run the whole course of the summer?
Sometimes it varies on our upcoming exhibitions. Typically, it’s open all summer and then closes the first Friday of the academic year. We use that as a closing reception to welcome back all of the students from their summer breaks, and to reconnect with them. It gives them a chance to see their show, because for many of them out of town, this gets hung post graduation. So, they won’t see their work in it until they step back on campus in the fall. So, we keep this until the first week of classes.
Of the students here, how would you say their progress has been with their work?
Each one of these artists is worth highlighting and elevating. One of the best things about this being our summer show, traffic tends to be a lot lighter, but we also have a lot of campus tours going on. So, the students that are here as prospectives looking at the college, they get to see that all of these pieces were created in an Augustana art class, and they get to see who the artists are. I love this show because I see these students in the art history classes, but I don’t really get to meet them as artists until I get to sit with them in their sophomore and junior reviews. It’s just fun to have. So, we have, of course, sophomore students that are maybe relatively early to the major. We have several students that are double majoring. Many Augustana students also triple major. Then we, of course, have students that are almost on their way to their senior thesis show. So, Sydney Kelly would be one of those that already has a very advanced and large body of paintings, then she’ll be wrapping up next year with both her art major and her student teaching for education major. It’s just a fun show!
Is this show, specifically, any different feeling than previous ones? Is there anything that struck you differently than previous years?
I mean, each show has its own characteristic and is as unique as the group of artists that are here, right. A couple of fun things to point out, we have Alex Meyer’s large stage set. He’s incredibly talented. So, this might be a nontraditional form. It’s his photography, the concept drawings, and then the model on it. He actually presented that in Washington, DC and got a national award for his set design! We were very excited for him to bring that back to campus, and then to display it. This show gives a great set of how wide-reaching Alex is.
That stained glass tower up in the middle area on the pedestal is his, and then we’ve got these graphic design pieces from him. Right next to them we’ve got Marissa Hight’s digital piece. She’s a biology and art double major, and is interested in medical illustrations and sort of blending that. So, that’s a fun piece, along with her hand cast one. Actually, in the Black Hills this summer she got a research appointment at a research lab in the Black Hills. She will be doing laboratory research, but they were also interested in allowing her to do microscope drawings and proofing images for publication. She’ll get really good experiences being a visual artist who assists the scientists. This year we have Anna Reich in our photography department. We have far more photography present. So, that’s another difference. We just haven’t had a substantial body of photography in a while. That, of course, is a testament to her for building our photography program. Even Wyatt, who I think of as being a screen printer, has some phenomenal experimental photography.
Do you have any words of overall encouragement, or words of critique, for the students presented here?
Maybe a good sort of word of encouragement, especially for perspective students who walk in here… I know you had an excellent high school experience as far as an art program goes, but many students don’t. So, they already come to college saying, oh, I can’t draw. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I think, particularly with the faculty here on campus, wherever you are at, they will make you better. So then, some of these students probably had no, or little-to-no, art before they came. Some already arrived thinking, oh, I’m uncomfortable with drawing, or I can’t do x, y and z. Yet, in Drawing I they can do things like Dagne’s castle shading to a t. The students who come out of that, and what they present, are far beyond what they would’ve thought could be possible. Then we have students that come in with a very high foundation of art. Then it’s just fun to see how much they improve year after year. Really just in an exponential type of way.
In three words can you describe your impression and experience from this show specifically?
I would have to say uniformly eclectic, because it all hangs together, and yet, it’s such a broad reach. I think it’s a good sense of just how many different avenues you can pursue in the program, and also do individually tailored expressive experiences. I would say hard work. Inspiration. I think, well, you know how many hours go into the studio!
Full list of students displayed at Edie/Dalrymple Gallery:
Sydney Michael Kelly
Joshua D. Matzner
The process: Straight from the artists
How have the before-the-show steps treated you? What’s your impression of the gallery space process before hand; was this a new experience for you? Did you enjoy it?
For me, I think that’s always hard just because I know what other people kind of like, but I don’t necessarily know what kind of stuff of my own that other people like. I kind of have a negative view point over my stuff, just because sometimes it’s really weird stuff just for fun. I don’t take it as serious at times, so I don’t think other people will, even if it’s a serious thing. So, if it’s for the review, it was mainly trying to find things that I like, at the same time other people might like , as well. I think that it helped by doing a write up. I had all these different pieces up for the reviews, so the professors could critique my work, and eventually pick pieces for the show. I had to have a write up that stated what I was trying to get at, but in a super concise way, so that it’s clear. Sometimes I’m going, well, I took this picture just because I messed with a bunch of settings on my camera, or I made this screen print for fun, or because people said “you probably shouldn’t do that,” and I’m going to do it anyway. I couldn’t really say that, so I had to have this concise thing where I had everything down pat. I think that’s where it was stressful. I don’t know most the time if what I’m trying to convey is read by the viewer. With a lot of my pieces I like to have really open-ended outcomes, so that they can pick what they think maybe in a different way than me. Only after the fact, if they’re wondering what I’m trying to get at, I’ll tell them then. Other than that, either making weird things, or making them more confusing, or purposefully under confusing so that it’s easier for them to get. Maybe even harder for them to get, if I’m trying to have a conversation, or something that I’m just trying to get out there. I guess it just depends on each piece. With the ones in here, I think it worked a little both ways. My photographs are definitely a series where I was just trying to experiment with different objects. There’s a variety of things that I’ve taken pictures of. For most of them it was try something and go with it, rather than going, this is exactly what I’m going for and making sure everything is perfect. It was more of what Dr. Twa was saying, working with an experiment. That’s something that I like to do with photography, because it’s quick.
When putting my photographs in here, I wanted to try something a little different. So, instead of having vague titles, I made little music pieces for each of them. Some of them are bridges that are connected by a chorus that runs throughout the whole series. I’m definitely not a music writer at all, it was just something when I sat at a piano thought sounded good. I was trying to do something, that if the viewer has knowledge of music, they can pick out the little tunings with them and then decide if the sound would really go along with it. I’ve always wanted to do different sounds and photography, kind of like music and movies. I’m really into movies, so maybe that has something to do with it? I want the viewer to gain something from it. I like to have fun with it.
Preparing for the show was pretty straightforward; we just had to matte and mount our work so it was ready to hang in the gallery. We did not hang our own work for this show, so I did not experience that process.
The pieces that are in this show were selected by the faculty during our spring reviews. Though they picked a few of the things that I would have chosen myself, I did have some work in ceramics that was finished after the reviews which I wish had been included in the summer show. There is always next year, though!
Before the show, we create work for the academic school year, and then our work is chosen by our professors in what is known to the Sophomores and Juniors as their review. To me, it is kind of a coming of age rite of passage. With me being a junior and having done a review last year, I am well aware of the space as well as how a review is carried out. Regardless, it is still just as nerve wracking to get up in front of your peers and lay your work on the line. In my review summary, I had written about how with art and being an art major it always feels like I am undressing myself and pulling off my skin, folding it neatly, and handing it to someone, while in a way, asking them to accept and appreciate it. I am literally showing you my vulnerability when I am showing you my art, and telling you about the symbolism behind it. The review was exactly this. Each and every time, no matter the audience, I get a certain nervousness about me when speaking on my work. Mainly because my subject matter is so visceral, but also because there is some part of me that is still afraid to tell the stories of what I have been through, and to tell someone is to let them in, and I am not good about letting anyone in. Review is a good test run though for me being able to talk about my work, and the things that go into it.
We are told to bring pieces of work, usually anywhere from 10-12 (sometimes 15 or so if they are smaller), but beyond that we are given the freedom to choose work that we feel is our best. But then you start staring at your rather large portfolio of about 30 or so works that you have created that year and you begin to question what your best is. Is it the piece that you spent countless hours on that got an A- and yet you still are madly in love with it? Or is it the piece that got you an A and yet you do not really care for it, but you know the professors will like it? You start to wonder if you should cater to your professors or to yourself… and to that, I will say that you should cater to yourself. When your work is chosen to be hung up in that space, you should feel a sense of pride, and that pride only comes with staying true to yourself. I make each of my paintings with a very direct purpose in mind, and therefor when my pieces were chosen, I was very pleased with the result. I also felt honored to be a part of an institution that displays the work of their students so proudly and wants to display mine as well the work of my peers. The process leading up to review is nerve racking, the review is nerve racking, preparing your work to be shown around finals week is nerve wracking, but seeing your work hung up is worth every minute of it.
[DURING THE FUN]
Do you have a specific goal, or immediate impression, that you want the viewers to think and feel when experiencing your work?
Well, like I was saying, I do have stuff there, when other times it’s just if it happens then it happens. So, if a viewer sees something in a piece, I’m glad for them, but I’m not specifically trying to push them a certain way. With some pieces I’m trying to just get them and see how they look, while experimenting with different techniques and things like that. It wasn’t really a process of, this is really important to me and having to let the world know. I think my work is still important, in a way, but just not like that. With the photograph series, we’re suppose to explore something that we knew. However, going after that, I decided to take photographs of objects around my house. In the full series, I think there’s 35 or 40 pictures. Some are as simple as mason jars of tomato paste that we have from canning stuff. Other things are, like in here. There’s a certain image that started that series. It’s the self image. I was trying to experiment with light, which I really like to do with photography. I was trying to experiment with the light on the shelf, that in reality isn’t that important because it’s just a shelf in my bathroom. To me, there’s an importance behind it that I can’t quite understand, if that makes sense. Similar to, well, I know this, so it feels important. To anyone else, I don’t think they feel that, but to me, there’s a reason that this feels important. So, that’s where this series turned into something that wasn’t really just things around my house, but things that have a specific importance even if it’s just really vague for the viewer. For those, I’m not expecting the viewer to get anything out of them. They might find bits of relations that, in turn, can find comfort in, but I’m not specifically trying to get the viewer to see that. So, like I was saying, if the viewers see something, I’m glad they do. I would honestly like to know what they see, just because I think that’s interesting, but I’m not trying to force them to see something that I may be putting out there.
My two screen prints that are in this show are the works which I am most pleased with and feel represent a certain side of my work effectively. I am largely influenced by nature, namely the sky and cosmos. I hope that my screen prints will convey some degree of a connection with nature. The piece, “Where are you now? I still need you here,” was created shortly after the unexpected death of my mother. That is the first piece in a series that I am working on which deals with the concepts of life, death, the afterlife, and the consideration of a higher power. I don’t like the idea of telling a viewer exactly how to interpret my work, but I use titles as a guide of my intent.
My intaglio print of my dog, “Charlie,” explored texture by focusing on hair. Charlie has crazy, wiry hair which I thought would be fun and challenging to convey in a drypoint print. The position of him resting was my way of conveying how solitude can oftentimes be a necessary means to feeling inner peace.
When you first look at my work, you are either attracted it to it or repulsed by it. Often there is an innate reaction when viewing the grotesque or death. Your throat tightens a little, your chin clenches, maybe you blink frequently or your advert your glare, but in general you have a response. The secondary response when viewing my art should be the curiosity of why the subject matter is chosen, in an attempt to figure out the piece. The third common response is why does a 21 year old woman attending an upscale university in South Dakota originally from a small town in Iowa want to paint such things? To that, I would have to tell you to sit down with me and listen to the full story. But when that is not do-able, the viewer often just notices my attention to detail and the craft of my work. Notice the ants that are either fleeing away or being attracted to the objects around them. Pay close attention to the use of color and what you might be noticing as an American flag, a desecrated pie symbolizing human interaction, or maybe the mourning ceremony that gives you a closer view of tragedy and the influence of fate. My work is used to show my occupancy in this world, and how as a sexual assault victim and an abuse victim, I have often felt left without control. From that, I have pushed my feeling of being small in this vast world and how there are many parts of my life that are left open to the influence of greater powers. Dominant versus submissive, choice versus the lack of, nature versus nurture, authoritarian parent versus authoritative, resilience versus conforming, and conscience or the lack of. These are some of the things that play a role in my life and the pieces that I create, carrying out a plan to tell my story through the visual arts.
[AFTER IT’S SAID AND DONE]
Personally as an artist, is there anything else that you would want the public to look forward to? Any shows coming up, are you planning any projects, etc.?
I do a lot of stuff on my own, and apart from that, I don’t hear much going around town. Unless it’s from this one girl, Hannah Wendt, that I know, I don’t really hear a lot going on. I’m working on making t-shirts with print making stuff and using screen printing t-shirts, right now. I like wearing t-shirts, and I just wear weird stuff. Why not make my own? I don’t paint a lot, but I’m wanting to get into making my own inks and paints out of random crap. Maybe just smashing up a whole bunch of stuff and seeing what happens. I’m trying to use a bunch of different materials in my work, and do more experimenting because that’s the name of the game with my stuff. Other than that, I guess I need to get out a lot more. For right now, just through Facebook, Wyatt Dickson, would be a way of contacting me. If you wanna say hi, or if you wanna be like, hey, let’s make something. If you want to buy something, sure!
I am drawn to illustration (pun somewhat intended) and showcase my skills in my ceramics work. They are really fun to look at and people seem to get a kick out of them. I am also developing my series of screen prints which is dealing with the concepts of the cycle of life, and the existence of god. I am always dinking around in the printmaking studio and constantly have new stuff I am working on, which I share online. You can find my portfolio, including examples of my ceramic work on Facebook and my website.
I create about one to three paintings a week during the academic year, and I will continue to work at this rate. My work can best be found on social media, as I post my creative journey. I occasionally participate in small shows, but for the most part, I make work for myself and not for show. I have made such grand progress over the 2016/2017 school year and as I go into my final year at Augie, I do not intend on halting my progress. I fully recommend anyone to come to the senior show in May of 2018 if you want to see my grand finale, and hear me speak publicly on my journey. Until then, I sell most of my pieces for cheap so that they are obtainable by many. You could be the next owner of an original piece and you should be. My Instagram is sydneymichaelkelly and it is where most of my work can be seen. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org for any other inquiries.
As a fellow employee of the Washington Pavilion, I have had the chance to meet Mercedes before interviewing her for JAM’s Educator Interview. We meet regularly at the Pavilion to go over future lesson plans, and she is there to help other teachers understand the more artistic processes with children. Mercedes leaves quite the great impression! She’s wonderful at creating a fantastic learning experience, even with adults. She especially cares enough to make sure every child understands, and is having fun with the projects. It was amazing to have that student to teacher base impression of her before sitting down and chatting.
Where/what do you teach and what ages?
I teach at the Washington Pavilion, ages pre-k through seniors. I teach drawing, painting sculpture and ceramics. I teach outreach to youth at risk at Juvenile detention center, Multicultural Center, Bowden Youth Center, and other afterschool programs funded by grants in the Action Arts and Science Program (AASP).
I teach private lessons, home school lessons, art smarts (primarily school field trips to the Pavilion) OLLI classes, and pottery classes like ‘Wine on the Wheel’.
What inspired you to begin your teaching career? Was the goal always teaching?
I knew I wanted to be an art teacher in 3rd grade. I had great art teachers in middle and high school that encouraged me to stay in the arts. Lori Boldt, Maureen Kaul and Sara Winterscheidt to name a few.
Is there a specific rule of thumb, style, or method that you like to follow when you teach?
Practice every day! Work those art muscles! Step out of one’s comfort zone. If one always draws the same thing, they’ll get really great at drawing that thing. One should try to draw other things, too! For example, I try to push people away from the classic “corner sunshine” composition and ask them if there is another way to put the sun in their picture. In my opinion, art is 90% problem solving and 10% skill.
What are your favorite aspects about teaching?
Watching the self-discovery, and winning the students over. Sometimes they come into the room and see the project we will be working on, and the first thing out of their mouth is, “We’re making that? I can’t do that.” Then when class is over they are usually pretty impressed with themselves.
Is there anything that you would want to change about teaching?
Not now. I taught in the public school system for a few years in Georgia, and grading art for 600 students was a challenge. I also felt I didn’t get to know my students very well. Now I teach in an informal setting at the Pavilion where there are no grades; only learning and exploration and discovery without pressure to make the grade. My students are in my classes because they choose to be, and that feels awesome!
Would you give us a glimpse into your hobbies and interests? What are some of your favorite pass times?
My 15 year old daughter and I like to sing and play a few instruments. I like to play in my garden and I love to feed people delicious food. I do Henna tattoos as a side business, When I get a chance to do art for myself, I like to make drums out of clay and cover them with goat skin. Then I do custom Henna designs on the skins of the drums.
Thinking about the future, what is a larger-than-life goal that you might have?
I would love to travel the world. I was able to visit Europe for the first time last year. Ireland was such a grand experience that it wet my appetite for more traveling.
Are you part of, or are you planning any big events with the public?
Well, we do a lot of outreach through the Pavilion at special events like the Pride Festival, Down Town Riverfest and Jazz Fest. It’s usually easy to find our table. Just look for all the kids having fun!
Can anyone sign up for classes with you?
Yes. Anyone. You’ll find most of the classes I teach at Washingtonpavilion.org. I’ve done private and semi-private lessons with students from 4 to 94.
Using three words how would you describe yourself and style of teaching?
Passionate, creative and FUN!
ANNOUNCEMENT: JAM Art and Supplies will be having Mercedes Maltese create henna body art both July and August First Fridays 7-8:30 pm. We’ll be open late till 9 pm.
Hello, I’m Sharon! I’m filling in here on the JAM blog for the first time to do a Downtown Sioux Falls First Friday review for June 5th. I was able to make it to four different art receptions that evening, but there were many, many more than that going on. The weather was perfect and downtown was absolutely bustling and buzzing with people!
SIOUX FALLS DESIGN CENTER
My first stop was at the Sioux Falls Design Center for Pikachu Night. I mean, PechaKucha Night. PechaKucha isn’t nearly as mysterious as it sounds, though I still can’t pronounce it correctly. It’s a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds, while the speaker talks about the images as they go by.
I made it just as the second speaker, Allyson Bousema, was starting. It was standing-room only and I could barely get in the door! Allyson was speaking about her new business, Prints & Repeat, a printing company focused on the unique needs of artists.
” If it’s not critical, it’s not criticism; it’s just commentary or opinion. That doesn’t mean criticism has to be negative in the sense of pejorative; in fact, it can be affirmative if its negativity is clarifying—explosions clear the air! I don’t write to be pejorative or positive in any case; that never motivates me. What gets me going is to grasp the new thing—an idea, an affect, some mix of the two—that a work expresses but doesn’t articulate. ” – Hal Foster
As artists, sometimes it feels like we’re paddling upstream. All of the work we do for one piece, or one show might give us very little return. We could easily turn into existentialists, banging our heads against the walls, and wondering what the next step is. Most of the time the answer is simple: make work every day and then get out there and show your work again and again. Marc Wagner can attest to that. He recommends it.
Marc is an important ingredient to the Sioux Falls art scene soup. Chipper, inspirational, and knowledgeable only begins to describe Marc, but I encourage you to get to know him; seek him out and spend some time around him because when I do, I’m better for it.~Jess