Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ute Bertog - Painter / Mixed Media

Ute Bertog
Ute Bertog
email: ute@utebertog.com

I am originally from Germany and came to the US 12 years ago. I graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 2005 with a degree in painting. Since then I have exhibited my work in local and regional venues. I have an upcoming show at the grayDUCK Gallery in Austin, TX.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I am fascinated by the relationship between abstraction and language, which I would describe as reluctant, even unreliable. I have been working on my current series, which I privately call ‘dailies’, for almost a year. It is based on reading the newspaper and working with an extremely revised and fragmented version of one of the articles until nothing much of it is left. Its source would definitely be hard to detect. Instead the story is allowed to become something else, a freer version of itself that can be interpreted in whatever direction the viewer (or reader) wants to understand it. By transporting this version into the visual realm it becomes more and more a stranger to itself.

Prior to this I worked a lot with tape: applying tape, painting, taking off the tape and on and on for many, many layers until a recognizable form appeared – something that I could attach a name to. It was working in a reverse concept from what I am doing now.

Why did you become an artist?
I became an artist because I loved the potential for escape. Just going to the museum was so different from the world I grew up in. Not that I didn’t like it growing up. It was fun as a kid. But at some point small towns do have their downsides.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Work, work, work and the work will tell you, what it’s about.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
My process is very much based on reading as I said before. I paint text fragments extracted from newspaper articles I find interesting. Through a repetitive process of covering, writing, tracing, scraping and cutting, I slowly revise the original text. My goal is to create opportunities to undermine and confuse the original content to get a different ‘read’ or understanding of it.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
Melissa Breitenfeldt (http://www.mb4graphics.com)
Megan McCready
Melissa Loop (http://melissaloop.com/home.html)
Ruben Nusz (http://www.rubennusz.com/Art/rubennusz.html)
Betsy Byers (http://betsyruthbyers.com/)
Sarah Wieben (http://www.sarahwieben.com/)
and those are just a few.

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
A lot of the common art places like the Walker Art Center or Midway Contemporary Art. I especially enjoy browsing through their libraries, which are full of hidden treasures. The same is true for MCAD. Also on the list would be some antique stores, which are beyond inspiring. At night we would go to a concert or see a theater production. I always find it very stimulating to see other artistic endeavors esp. in the performing arts.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
mnartists.org, NYFA, Chicago Artists Resource , Brooklyn Rail, e-flux, Two Coats of Paint, Visual Discrepancies.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?
I will be included in a show this January in Austin/Texas at the grayDUCK Gallery .

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?
I would travel to far off places. There is no better way to get inspired than by exploring a new country, a new culture. It shakes up my customary ways of doing and seeing things. It refreshes my eye and mind to be somewhere foreign, where the things that you see, taste and hear are not immediately understood.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Peter Happel Christian - Photographer

Black Holes & Blind Spots, No. 8 , chromogenic print, 2010

Peter Happel Christian

Peter Happel Christian

I grew up in eastern Iowa and spent some great times living in Oregon, Arizona and Ohio over the last ten years. I’ve lived in St. Cloud for about a year and a half where I teach at St. Cloud State University.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I make a lot of photographs where I’ve staged objects or situations to be photographed. I also make objects when a picture won’t work for what I am after. I have also done some collaborative projects that take me outside or become installations.

The materials I use can be really varied, but I always seem to come back to photographs in someway or another. I struggle with the idea of just going out and taking pictures; that action seems so passive to me at times, but I still do it—it just usually isn’t the end point for me. So I guess I keep making photographs because I keep having different questions about them; what they can and can’t do. I’m interested in referencing that natural world in my work and looking at how people think of the landscape and experience it.

I draw a lot of motivation from my own experiences of being outside, as well as scientific information and historical accounts of the natural world.

Black Holes & Blind Spots, No. 13 , chromogenic print, 2010

I just finished up preparing for an MAEP show that opens Jan. 20, 2011. I spent the better part of the last year working on the show, making all new work except for one piece. My MAEP show really isn’t all that different from my past projects. Except I think I’ve approached some of my work from a broader perspective, and at the same time a much narrower perspective, regarding popular thinking about the landscape and natural world. Also, with this one I knew exactly where it was going to be shown as I was making the work and how much space I would have to work with. That was really unique; usually I am making work and not sure where or when it may be shown.

In the Black Hole and Blind Spots images, there is a big black hole burned into the center of the image. Is there a hole in the print or a big spot on the image? What idea do you hope to get across with this technique?
No, there isn’t a hole in the print. I’ve digitally applied a black spot roughly in the center of each picture. The Black Holes & Blind Spots series is about me being curious, confused, and sort of desperate in a residential landscape. Almost all of the pictures were taken while on walks in my neighborhood in St. Cloud. I usually set-up things to be photographed and this series is a departure from that approach; I haven’t staged anything in the series, everything pictured is exactly how I found it.

What I’ve photographed are things that seem like evidence of peoples’ relationship to the landscape – sometimes a loving or curious relationship, sometimes a pretty boring one and at other times a seemingly aggressive one. For instance, in image No. 14, I photographed this plant in my backyard. It is a beautiful, flowering plant with succulent-like leaves. I would see similar plants in my neighborhood, but I have no idea what it is called so for me that plant exists in this wild, unknown space because it doesn’t have a name (at least to me it doesn’t have a name). I don’t know what to call it and I think that is really exciting. To know this plant in a way that has nothing to do language, but to know it because I see it often, through repetition – in my backyard and around my neighborhood. I can only point it out and describe it, and so the act of photographing it is out of curiosity and desperation.

The black spots on the images are applied digitally afterwards. I first made one while giving a demo in one of my classes about using tools in Photoshop beyond what they are intended to do. So, I had an image on screen and put a large, black spot on the demo image with the burn tool, almost obscuring the whole picture, and mentioned, really off-the-cuff, that if you wanted to make work about black holes this is a way you could start. It was a completely intuitive thing and it really stuck with me. I didn’t save that demo image, but I started putting black holes in images I had taken while on walks, of things in the landscape I had noticed that had made me stop and think.

Black Holes & Blind Spots, No. 14 , chromogenic print, 2010

I was also reading a lot about American Transcendentalism (mostly about Emerson and Thoreau) at the time so I was in this mode of thinking about what these moments of pause and contemplation while being outside might mean on a grander scale beyond what the subject matter was in the photograph. So my thinking was primed in a certain way while I was experimenting with applying these black holes. The addition of the black holes became a way I could also cancel or negate the actual image and better characterize my experience of being outside photographing. The subject matter is stuff I’m drawn to, like a black hole, but the act of photographing is really inadequate at conveying my experience of it to my viewer. As blind spots, the black spots cancel the images; acting like a blind spot in my field of vision as well as the viewer’s. I really enjoy how one black spot could have two very different, and really engaging, connotations and become a metaphor for me being outside, walking, and looking around.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I don’t remember a specific quote or anything, but over time I’ve learned to just keep making work no matter what—to keep some sense of momentum in the studio and to keep asking questions. I think I learned that indirectly from past teachers and other artists/friends. I’m confident that one idea will always lead me to another if I let it happen.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
I have a studio in my home that I spent last summer really getting into shape. It’s a good little space where I can really focus, leave messes and test out installing work. I also end up working in my garage and back yard when it makes sense for what I am doing at the time. My wife and I have a young son so I don’t usually have big chunks of time to spend in my studio. Between my family life and teaching, I sneak in studio time whenever I can. Beyond working in my studio, my creative process includes a lot of reading and note taking and sketching/drawing – sometimes those activities directly factor into new work and other times those things just keep me on my toes.

Organic Action, prescription eyeglasses, 2010, Image Credit: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
I’m pretty new to Minnesota and don’t know too many Minnesota artists quite yet. I have to say, I work with about half of the people listed below at St. Cloud State and they were a big reason I wanted to move here. However, there is a slightly larger batch of people I am familiar with, some much better than others. I enjoy all of their work and how they seem to think about making things. I’m excited to meet more people over time.
Julie Baugnet
David Bowen
Allen Brewer
Adam Caillier
Keith Christiansen
Jan Estep
Bill Gorcica
Alexa Horochowski
Shana Kaplow
Paula McCartney
Justin Newhall
David Petersen
Justin Quinn
David Sebberson
Joe Sinness
Alec Soth
Bruce Tapola
Margaret Wall-Romana
Rosemary Williams

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
It’d be an epic day: MIA, Walker Art Center, Midway, Soap Factory, Franklin, They Won’t Find Us Here Gallery, and Dressing Room.

I’d also have us check out Kiehle Gallery and The Gallery Vault both up in St. Cloud (Gallery Vault is a new student-run space in downtown St. Cloud). I’d also probably ask you to take me a couple places that I didn’t know about or haven’t had a chance to get to yet. Sometimes smaller historical society museums are pretty great.

A Time Remembered, chromogenic print, 2010

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I check these resources pretty frequently. Each one does something a little different and helps me find new work or points me in a direction for more information.

I Heart Photograph

Little Brown Mushroom. LBM has a ridiculously good amount of photo-related links.





Art Fag City



I Like This Art

Nate Larson – Nate keeps a good list of links without trying to be exhaustive.

Witness Tree, archival pigment print, 2010

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?
I mentioned the MAEP show that opens in January. I have four photo-based books in a show called Small Magic: Photographic Transformations at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. I’ll be heading out there to do a talk at MICA (Maryland Institute of Art) and a workshop at Maryland Art Place in February. I’m also headed to Atlanta for a photography conference in March where I’ll be part of a panel talking about how photography, science and suspicion connect together. And my son turns two in the spring, which seems like a big milestone for him and for my wife and I.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tom Riggle - Painter

Tom Riggle

Tom Riggle is a Minneapolis based artist who received his BFA
from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. In 2006, he was invited
to and participated in a Contemporary Art Show at the National Academy
Museum in New York City as part of the 181st Annual Invitational
Exhibition of Contemporary artists with 124 of the finest American
artists from across the country. Some notable artists exhibiting work
at the museum were Lynda Benglis, Susanne Doremus, Trenton Doyle
Hancock, Sylvia Plimack Mangold,Pat Steir, Enrique Chagoya, Kiki
Smith, John Chamberlain and many others. Tom has also been invited in

both 2007 and 2011 to exhibit his work at the Florence Biennle in
Florence, Italy. Previously Tom has exhibited work at Flanders
Gallery in South Minneapolis and at Art Chicago. His studio is in the
Grainbelt Bottling House in NE Minneapolis.

Tell me about your work.
I'm a painter with an interest in many different things/styles. I've
been working on several bodies of work in the last few years.

One series is abstract where I'm interested in color and the resists
of different chemicals/mediums. Oil and water for example resist each
other. I explore oil mediums and look for those kinds of interesting
reactions. I really enjoy making these because of the process, it
takes some of the control away from me. I encounter lots of trial and
error. The process takes me almost to the point of chaos, but when
things work out there are some amazing reactions.

Another series is color bar paintings. A simple explanation (beyond
all the art speak and references of color field painting) is I enjoy
the composition and you never see the color bars on your television
anymore when programming goes off the air. When I was a kid the color
bars indicated it was time for me to go to bed. Now the TV is 24 hrs
and never goes off the air therefore there is a entire generation that
won't experience the color bars. I find that interesting and somewhat
profound. It makes me recognize my mortality.

I also have a series of figurative work; some painted and others done
with pen and whiteout. The paintings are very expressive and
influenced by social narratives and politics. The pen drawings I've
been doing for sometime but have recently evolved into something
completely different.

What are you currently working on?
The pen drawings.

How is this different from past projects?
It happened more by accident than by design. I started drawing and
the next thing I knew I was morphing a wolf with an octopus. Then I
started to think about what they hunted and so on. Now I've started a
series of drawings that have to do with this idea of hunter and prey
and how they can interchange. I wanted to empower the prey and have us
wonder which is which.

This series is different because I'm repeating some of the imagery.
Instead of trying to recreate the wheel, I'm allowing myself to have
fun with these images and they are becoming something...characters
maybe...definitely something I've never done before. The truth is this
series is so new I'm still in the discovery stage and I'm just excited
that I like it.

What was the best advise given to you as an artist?
The best advice was probably from Robert Colescott who did some
studio visits at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) when he
had a show at the Walker several years ago. He said to look for what
"was working" in a painting. In our critiques at school we always
picked out what "wasn't working" in someone's work but its hard to know
what's working if your always looking for what isn't. It opened my
eyes to another way to approach my work. If you concentrate on what
is working, what is not working will fix itself.

Tell me about your working space?

I share a space with Joe Greco in the Grainbelt Bottling House in NE
Minneapolis, MN. The building is unique in that the middle of the
building is empty and has a three story ceiling. We've had some great
shows there. Because of the amount of floor and wall space we can
have a variety of work in the building. We've had bands, dancers,
performance artists, installations, films, paintings and sculptures
all in the same show and in some instances all at once.

And your creative process?
I'd say a train wreck, at least at times. I really just try to pay
attention to everything because you never know where inspiration will
come from. Instead of looking for it, I just roll with it and hope to
catch it when it's there. When I force inspiration then that's when
everything comes off the tracks.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
There are a lot of great artists in town but I really enjoy Michael
Thomsen; his sculptures or wall reliefs always inspire me. Also I have
just been turned onto Aaron Horkey's work and really dig what he's
doing. He just did a show in Windom, MN called Midwestern Heart.
Apparently it could have been in any major city but he wanted his
friends and family to be able to see it. That makes me dig his work
even more.

Where do you go online for good art resources, or to find a new
artist, or to see what's going on in the art world locally or

Hi-Fructose has a great online site. That's how I found out about
Aaron Horkey. With that said Tarnish & Gold look promising and I've
always liked Rogue Buddha.

If I were to follow you around for an "art day" in Minnesota where would we go?
We could always do the standards however we would take a drive to the
top of the state, the gunflint trail, it's very peaceful and really
unbelievable. A great art day for me is to clear everything out and
take in what's around. I don't paint from nature but it's having more
and more of a role. Living in the city does that...we believe it
contains all of our aspirations- commerce, innovation, entertainment,
our cosmopolitan persona. Really it's just separating us from the
earth, going up to the gunflint trail reminds me of that and inspires
something greater.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Alison Hiltner - Mixed Media

The Colony (detail), 2009. Mixed Media: Hot glue, Rubber bands, LED lights, PVC Pipe, Artificial Terrain, Balloons and Garden Hose. 72" h x 144" w x 164" l full installation.

Alison Hiltner
Website: http://www.mnartists.org/alison_hiltner

Alison Hiltner lives and works in Minneapolis. Her credits include solo exhibitions at Spike Gallery in New York, the International Museum of Surgical Sciences, Heineman Myers Contemporary Art and Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis. Alison was an artist in residence at Sculpture Space and received a Minnesota State Arts Board artist initiative grant in 2007; she has also been a finalist for the Jerome and McKnight Foundation Fellowships.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

Frequently I feel that my work is a series of what ifs…such as what if I take these random mundane materials like hot glue, garden hose, wire twine and transform them into something that appears organic, elements of rudimentary life. This also gives me the opportunity to magnify unique structures rarely scene, the strange architectural that is beneath our skin is a frequently revisited source of inspiration. I utilize a knowing naiveté, if that makes any sense, trying to maintain a sense of wonder in what I see and how I convey my ideas, with a sense of humor or a touch of the absurd always hovering around the surface.

In the spirit of my own personal mad science I have recently been attempting to combine my older work, mostly consisting of questionable medical objects, with the idea of creating artificial life. I can honestly say that nature creates sculptures far more breathtaking than I could ever hope to replicate but it hasn’t stop me from trying. I included a detail from a new piece I am working on titled, Extraction. This is the first piece that I have reintroduced an element of the machine into; however it is an experiment on many levels. I see it as a continuation of the piece Neuromorphic Behaviors that was installed in the Soap Factory’s Basement for HBX. Extraction, plays off of the idea that a sample was taken from the created environment in Neuromorphic Behaviors, then contained and cultivated for study. Using a past piece as an origin story in an alternate natural history and allowing the work to build on its concept with each incarnation is a fascinating idea to me that I will continue to pursue.

Neuromorphic Behaviors (Left View), 2010. Twine Wire, Wax Tape, UV Reactive Paint, Black Lights. 108" h x 153" w x 164" l.

Extraction (work in progress), 2011. Stainless Steel, Straws, Mesh, Sound Reactive El Wire and Enamel nail polish.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Taking a chance and having it end in disaster is always better than playing it safe…which is fairly easy advice to follow especially since not taking chances with your work can also end in disaster.

The Colony (detail), 2009. Mixed Media: Hot glue, Rubber bands, LED lights, PVC Pipe, Artificial Terrain, Balloons and Garden Hose. 72" h x 144" w x 164" l full installation.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

I recently moved to a new studio space, one that is a bit unusual. It is a basement space that could easily be used as a stand in to film some scenes in a 1950s era mental hospital. The personality of the space is growing on me though and I am using one of the bedrooms as an installation room.

My process includes a lot of searching for the right ingredients; it starts with a concept or form that I want to investigate then I start poking and prodding it to see what reveals itself. I find the most inspiration in things that closely resemble science fiction but are firmly based in the real world. One of my favorite quotations is from Kurt Vonnegut: “Science is magic that works.” In many ways that is a guide to what I am drawn to exploring with my work, capturing elements of reality that could easily be considered fantasy.

Mimicry, 2009. Mixed Media: Artificial Flowers, Wax, Clay, Wire, Hamster Runabouts and a variety of other things found and made. 120" h x 64" w x 70" l.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

I could probably fill up two pages of links to artists I enjoy who work in Minnesota, several of whom have already been interviewed on this site or mentioned, Joe Sinness and all the artists he mentioned are fantastic, along with Lindsy Halleckson, Liz Miller and Amy Rice. I do need to give a special shout out to my partner Will Lager, who is an artist and collaborator I very much enjoy!

Upcoming Shows I am Looking forward to (as of 1/2011):

The next two exhibitions / 2-person shows at MAEP: (Peter Happel Christian and Margaret Wall-Romana / Paula McCartney and Liz Miller).

Suspension of This Belief at Soo Visual Arts Center by Karl Unnasch .

The Art of the Self-Portrait and Hennes Art Gallery (a piece by a Suzy Greenberg is my main interest in this).

Andy Ducett at the Soap Factory in 2012.

These are two amazing local artists that haven’t been mentioned on the site yet that I frequently look to for art making advice:

Pamela Valfer: http://pamelavalfer.com/home.html
Aaron Dysart: http://www.aarondysart.com/

And lastly this is a piece I wish I thought of first:
Ruben Nusz: http://www.rubennusz.com/Art/images/Pages/roaches.html#0

There really is way too much talent locally to include all the deserving artists!

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

I think my perfect “art day” would have to include finally going to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. I can’t quite believe that I have never seen the Bonsai Gallery there, so that would be my top priority.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I always find something interesting on BoingBoing.

Recently I was introduced to some sites that post artwork I am really into;

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future? (2011)

I am working on a new piece for a group exhibition, Physiotasmagorical, at Evanston Art Center , which will open on February 20, 2011.

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?

Buy a prefab greenhouse…I have some schemes revolving around this idea of a portable laboratory.

Mimicry (Detail), 2009. Mixed Media: Artificial Flowers, Wax, Clay, Wire, Hamster Runabouts and a variety of other things found and made. Each form varies appro. 5.75" h x 5.75" w x 12"l.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mia Malone-Jennings - Painter/Illustrator

Mia Malone Jennings
Mia Malone-Jennings
City/State: St. Paul, MN
MNartist.org profile
Facebook page

Mia Malone- Jennings’ collection of acrylics on canvas art work has been exhibited at The Carleton Artist Lofts, The Lyric, Saint Paul Art Crawls, 3 Minute Egg with Matt Peiken, The Urban Art Shows, Mill District Art Gallery, Altered Aesthetics Gallery, Density Studios, Outsiders and Others Gallery, Steven’s Square Center for the Arts, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minnesota Black Music Awards 2010, Pantages Theater. Seven Ultra Lounge, and First Avenue Nightclub. Her art work also appears on Minneapolis Television Network, where she has been creating a tribute mural to television history, over the past three years. Her work has also aired on Keith Porter’s program which airs on MTN, A Picturesque View.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

Music in the City – acrylic on canvas

I’m currently working on a collection of art that is done with Sharpie pens and markers, some are created in a pin up girl style and some are done with a dance theme. Ten of my portraits will be exhibited at the Urban Arts Show, A Night of Art and Dance, 4-9-2011 at the Urban Arts Studio in St. Paul. I had foot surgery seven weeks ago. I was currently working on the Minneapolis Television Network Mural with acrylic paints, prior to my surgery. During my recovery, I had to find a way to do art work while sitting in a recliner chair with my foot elevated, which is why I am doing this new collection with Sharpie pens and markers. It’s difficult for me to paint sitting down. This new medium seemed to be the perfect answer to my dilemma. I don’t like to sit still and I don’t like to be non-creative. I really enjoy this new form of art. I feel like a kid again, coloring designs, images, and using the method of stippling. I like to venture out of my comfort zone and learn new skills and techniques.

In between paintings for the upcoming Urban Arts Show, I have been sketching television celebrities and vintage T.V. Guide covers, on paper, with a variety of shades of pencils, which will be part of the Minneapolis Television Network mural project. This article is an interview I did for the MTN Monitor a few years ago, regarding the mural project. During my recovery time, I have also been researching new techniques, such as learning to use an airbrush, and discovering new designs for an upcoming project with the Minnesota Black Music Awards 2011, which I’ll need to begin this Spring. I’m excited to work with them again, creating something entirely new, vibrant, and full of Minneapolis’ black music history.

I began the Minneapolis Television Network mural project three years ago in July, which is a large scale mural, and is a tribute to television history. You can view a majority of my work at MTN.ORG, (Click the “about MTN” icon, scroll down the “about MTN” column on the left hand side, and click on the photos).

A majority of the work at MTN is done with vibrant acrylic paints on many of the walls and editing rooms. My favorite part is the Mars editing room on the second floor at the MTN studios. I’ve been working on it for over two years. The detail of my work is done in 3D. The room appears as if you are inside a space ship overlooking Mars landscape. I never thought I could do something like this. But, with the encouragement of one of the MTN staff, I found the inspiration to do so. I truly enjoy my mural project at MTN studios. It feels like home to me. It’s been a major part of my life for several years. I began this project, taking dark, uninspiring work – space, creating something with a lot of color, vibrancy, creativity, high energy and television history. I’m looking forward to returning to finish this project when my foot is healed.

A Shirt in Central Park – acrylic on canvas

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
To me art is creativity and life. It’s in so many things we do, ie; cooking, painting, drawing, sewing, dancing, performing, in our fashion and the way we dress, hair styles, decorating our offices, homes, community buildings, it’s in our architecture, it’s in a mother who’s creating new life, and it’s even in the daily drama in our lives, etc. (the list could go forever). What I want to portray in my art is life, electricity, vibrancy, passion, mystery, high energy, and whimsical visions.

I want people to feel the playful spirit of a child. I want the ability to touch a million eyes, hearts and souls and make them feel something when they look at my work. I want people to feel the same kind of passion I feel when I am painting. I want people to feel joy and lighthearted. If I can bring just a bit of positive energy into someone’s life with my art work, I would die a very happy woman. If I can continue to do that with my paintings long after I’m gone, I would feel that every bit of my life lived would’ve been well worth it!

Minnesota Black Music Awards #1-acrylic on canvas

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

To follow my heart and do what I feel most passionate about, even if it’s unconventional. To not worry about what others might think. To feel confident in anything I create.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
My main creative space is at the Lyrics in Saint Paul. I have a beautiful apartment with an amazing view! I have a den where I work. I study a lot of books and magazines on other artists. I also like to look through books and magazines for pictures that might inspire me. I read many books or articles on art techniques, and I view a lot of pictures in many comic books. Sometimes I like to paint places I have visited, like New York City, which is my favorite place to visit. I take a lot of photos when I’m there and get inspired to paint from some of these photographs.

I enjoy working during the twilight hours, with my fireplace on, flames of fire flickering, between midnight and 7 am, because it’s quiet and serene. I also need to listen to audio books while creating. It’s easier for me to slip into the zone while listening to a good audio book. J.D. Robbs’ detective novels, Detective Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke, move me into another time and space. I forget about everything and permit my soul to travel wherever in the realms of the imagination. I also love to adventure with Harry Potter, especially if it’s late at night.

Glamour Girl Pin-up – Sharpie pens and markers on paper

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
My favorite artist is Erik R. Pearson http://www.ensnared.net/ep/. He is known for painting the mural at the Bloomington Arts Center. He has such a whimsical way of painting. I feel a rush of good energy whenever I view his work. We used to be neighbors at the Carleton Lofts. He’s very genuine and humble.

I really enjoy the art of April Erickson who is the director of the Urban Arts Committee. She shows her work often at the Urban Art Show. The color and vibrancy of April’s work is outstanding. The lines and curves in her work are sensuous. My heart races and adrenaline intoxicates my brain whenever I view her art work.

Brant Kingman is another artist whose work awes me. I love the large portrait he did of Marilyn Monroe with recycled cans in his studio. It’s simply amazing!

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
You would find me at the Walker, MIA, or Uptown at a gallery, or a comic book store or used book stores looking through dozens of art and comic books. I also view art in life and love to people watch. Some of my favorite places to do so are Como Park, the Walker Art Garden, Uptown, Dinkytown, Nicollet Mall, Stone Arch Bridge area, antique stores, Taylor’s Falls, and even shopping malls.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I Google on many topics of art and techniques, and I look regularly on artyfactory.com, Craigslist, artdealers.com, Connectartists.com, mnartist.org, and www.springboardforthearts.org

Minneapolis Television Network – acrylic on MTN studio wall

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

The Urban Arts Show,

A Night of Art and Dance,


558 Vandalia St. Paul 55112

7pm to 1 am,

$15 at door $10 in advance at vitalculture.com

To learn more visit…www.UrbanArts-TC.com

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

You can expect to see my art work for the Minnesota Black Music Awards 2011, and my finished mural on television history at Minneapolis Television Network sometime soon. – mtn.org.

Read another interview with Mia on the site, Notes From Art-Chelsea.