Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ian O'Neill - Painter - RAW Minneapolis

"Self Portrait"
Ian O'Neill
Name: Ian O'Neill
City/State:Minneapolis, MN
Website: profile:'Neill

My name is Ian James O'Neill, and I am a Designer and Artist. I am in my last year at the University of Minnesota in pursuit of my Graphic Design, BFA. I have always loved the Visual Arts, my practice of Design and Painting allow me to examine different aspects of visual communication that the different mediums offer.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My work has gone through radical transformations over the course of the last few years. I began painting about 7 years ago, and was fortunate to have mentors who exposed me to different ways of approaching painting. As I have become more confident with my painting, I have experimented. I use Acrylics, Watercolors, and Oils to try to find to exploit the possibilities of each of these mediums.

Beau Ideal IV

"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?
I hope that through my art, the audience is forced to look at the little things in life differently. In my upcoming exhibition, I am displaying a series I have been working on of portraiture. With this series I focus on each brushstroke being an integral part of the whole. It is very loose, dynamic, and free, but still create recognizable forms. This is a comment on each little part being essential to the whole, and also the order that can be achieved from the chaos of different lines.

Beau Ideal III

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I always thought that the simple slogan, "Just do it" has incredible power in it. NIKE got it right. Most of my projects are not planned, and I just had to sit and just start.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
I could probably sum up my work space with one word: Chaos. I cannot throw things away, I hoard everything. I trying to rearrange one of the many piles of the things I collect, I found crazy reflective paper, and paint samples that I said I would use 4 years ago. My creative process is just that, sorting through the chaos to try to find something of substance. I am very critical of my own work, and constantly work and rework projects for extended periods of time. In a lot of my work the chaos is visible, but a lot of times the result is clean and organized, but I feel that it is still only a more organized chaos.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
One of my first true inspirations was Gregory Euclide. He was my instructor for 4 years throughout high school and was a catalyst in the development of some of my work.

Another artist that I had the pleasure of meeting is Ben Olson. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he studied Painting and Graphic Design. The same fields of study that occupy my everyday. The dynamism of his work struck me instantly, it's very expressive and powerful.

Beau Ideal II

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

If we were to go on this art adventure, we could start right on campus at the U of M. The Weisman Art Museum is a cool little place to run in between classes. Then a quick jaunt across 35W to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts would be warranted. Coming October they have an exhibit on Japanese Prints which have always fascinated me. Also Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, and MIA has his painting The Olive Trees. Incredible. Then onto the Walker Art Center to walk through the sculpture garden. One of my best memories of the Walker is walking in and spending almost the entire time staring at the work by Yves Klein and Chuck Close. Getting up right next to one of Close's huge paintings is pretty amazing.

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 run from blog to blog, often stemming from It's a portal, and sucks up a lot of my time.

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Coming up on August 25th, 2011 I am involved with the RAW MINNEAPOLIS artists. This is a one night exhibition @ the Fine Line Music Cafe on 1st Avenue in Minneapolis. Come check out (event link) what we got going on!
Thursday 8/25/11
The Fine Line Music Cafe

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary, Local Artist Interviews!

August 2010 saw the launch of It began with a reposted interview with Emma Berg from City Pages. Basically is was practice to see how an interview would look online.

Posting the weekly interviews on Local Artist Interviews has been a rewarding experience for me and I hope for you as well, whether you were interviewed, ran the gallery where an artist was featured, or were just a fan of local art.

In February, LAI held a "contest" where artists would submit an interview profile using the standard LAI questions, and a panel of jurors would review the interviews for content and rate them. Margaret Wall-Romana and Alison Hiltner were standout interviews from the contest. For contest prizes, LAI asked organizations like the Walker, SooVac, NEMAA, NAC, Bloomington Theater and Art Center, and many others to provide at least 2 memberships to their organizations. Two or more memberships were requested because one membership from each place would go to the Grand Prize winner. Nearly 50 total organization memberships were given away, with 13 going to contest winner, Margaret Wall-Romana for her extremely informative interview.

In the past year I got to learn more about a number of artists I was unfamiliar with and became a better person having experienced their work.

Check out these guys. They are just some of my favorites:

Some artists have had more artistic success than others, and some have more talent than others, but the goal of this website has been to increase the exposure of Minnesota artists regardless of their level of success. If you have a show to promote, I would like to help you promote it with an interview. Check out the questions and submission process and send me your interview.

If you want to work out an arrangement like I have with Altered Esthetics where I feature an artist from each of their shows, I would like to talk to you too.

One of the results of having this website is that with the 75 or so interviews online, there are links to over 400 Minnesota Artist websites. If you want to learn about visual artists in Minnesota, Local Artist Interviews is a good place to start.

I would love to hear your feedback and your experience with LAI. I'm looking forward to many more years of working together with Minnesota artists and galleries.

I would really appreciate it if ya'll could spread the word about the site, maybe even check out the Facebook page.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Erin Hernsberger - Photographer

Honeycomb Stomach and Cow Testicle, 2011
Erin Hernsberger

Featured Interview for
Untitled 8 (August 2011)

Erin Hernsberger
Minneapolis, MN

My photo and video work is rooted in my curiosity and desire to explore and understand personal experiences of disgust associated with the body. I explore abject phenomena such as ambiguous foodstuffs, bodily organs, decay and death. I am also interested in medical epistemologies and the intersection between the sublime and the abject.

I received an MA in Philosophy and a Masters of Art Education, and I am currently pursuing an MFA degree at the University of Minnesota.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My work is centered around my fascination with grotesque yet beautiful manifestations of the human body. Since my first attempt at making work, I have in some way started with this impulse. I work with materials and content that, in some way, I find difficult. And through photographing the materials, I force myself to confront my own reactions of repulsion. My newest works are still-lifes of constructed plates and goblets of animal foodstuffs and body parts, exploring food as an abject, yet seductive, force. The fabrics I use are domestic (suggesting a tablecloth or wallpaper), creating warmth alongside repulsion, saturated with an element of kitsch.

According to theorist Julia Kristeva, “abjection” elicits a psychological reaction of disgust – a subconscious reaction of horror, nausea, and fear when confronted with the loss of distinctions between the self and other, the subject and object. In other words, we view ourselves as both a subject ("I") and an object ("physical material body" dead corpse) at the same time, and we are no longer able to understand/make sense of our own identity. Kristeva outlines three categories of abjection, all of which I explore in my work – Food (certain abject forms of food such as skin on the surface of milk), Waste (vomit, excrement, corpses), and the Feminine (menstrual blood, lactation).

Abjection is the quality I aim to highlight and exploit in my photographs, and I am most interested in the intersection between abjection and the sublime – where the boundaries between disgust and beauty blur. My work also touches on ideas of artificiality vs. authenticity and the act of eating and desire.
Tell me about your creative process.

Liver and Teacup, 2011

My process usually begins with a strong impulse of curiosity. (Why do I react to certain experiences with fear? Or disgust?) I have a background in philosophy, so my first instinct is to question everything. I begin with a question or confusion or difficult feeling and then I start to experiment with materials that elicit the feelings. For instance, I have always been fascinated with food – my picky relationship with food and eating, how food is a tool for pleasure and nourishment, the relationship between food and flesh -- so I began by wandering supermarkets, picking out foods that disgust me in some way and building still-life installations in my studio. Experimentation with materials and giving myself permission to fail has been necessary for the growth of my work. I begin with curiosity and questions, but I never envision what the end product will look like until it (magically) appears in my studio. In my experience, this is one of the greatest frustrations yet greatest joys in the process of making work.

Sheep Heart and Butter, 2010

"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?
Basically, I’d like my audience to come away with more questions. I like for the issues I explore in my work to remain mysterious, ambiguous, and to be perplexing and thought-provoking yet not provide any real answers. I want to challenge the audience like I challenge myself by making the work.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I have three:

1) “Find artists and curators who speak your same (visual) language, and surround yourself with them by any means possible.” I take this to mean: find people who understand/respond to your work, who are interested in what you are interested in, and make them your artistic community.

2) “Write the book you want to read.” or “Make the art you want to look at.”

3) “Make things = know thyself.”

(I got the last two from, which contains other awesome pearls of wisdom )

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
There are many Minnesota artists I love but too many to include here. For the sake of brevity, I’ll include a few very talented emerging artists whose work I enjoy:

Kate Casanova:
Andy Mattern:
Erin Hael:
Jennifer Anable:

Kidney and Curdled Milk, 2011

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
Some of my favorite places are Franklin Art Works, SooVAC, Soap Factory, and the Walker. The MAEP at the MIA is fabulous. And occasionally I’ll get a chance to drive down to Rochester Art Center.

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 am a sucker for online photography journals and blogs highlighting contemporary art photographers. Some of my favorites are:

Pig Embryo and Cottage Cheese, 2010

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I am currently making work dealing more specifically with various medical/surgical approaches to the body.

I am currently showing work in SooVAC’s current show Untitled 8 which will be up until August 23, 2011. I am also in a group exhibition entitled “Regarding Place” in Turku, Finland at Peri Center of Photography on August 18th showing through September. In March 2012, I will be showing work for my thesis show in the Nash Gallery at Regis Center for Art.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SooVac Gallery - Gallery Profile

Soo Visual Arts Center
2638 Lyndale Ave S
Mpls, MN 55408

Who are three or four local artists who represent the quality and style of work you exhibit at your gallery?
We are open to a wide variety of possibilities so it would be impossible to pin point a quality or style though we have images of all our past shows full of brilliant art on our website: And something completely different could be just around the corner.

Image of Annual Fundraiser, Get Lucky 2011, Image Courtesy of Christian Erickson.

For Artists:
How do you prefer artists contact you regarding exhibiting in your gallery?
Looking on our website is the best resource. We keep it updated with deadlines and information on how to apply here: The information is under submissions to our curatorial panel. And if there is any questions about the process artists should feel free to contact us at

What general advice would you give to artists trying to show in local

Do your research on spaces around town…pick the best fit for you and your work. Getting discouraged can easily happen though there are new exhibition spaces always sprouting up and lots of opportunities to exhibit at others.

And remember we need the support of artists just like they need our support. With so much talent in the cities it is impossible to give everyone deserving a chance to exhibit.

Soft Chaos, Installation in the Main Gallery by David Bowen

For Collectors:
What is the typical price range for works for sale in your gallery?
Typically prices can range from $250 to $3000.

Systematics, Featuring work by Liz Miller and R. Justin Stewart

Do you have any advice for collectors looking locally to buy art?
There is plenty to choose from so collectors do not have to look very hard to buy local. Check out all the local galleries and choose something that means something to you, remember you will be supporting and sharing this art. Our exhibitions consist mostly of local artists so there is a great reservoir of them on our website and we would be happy to provide more information and images of work for any of them.

If by chance all of the local art galleries were having opening receptions on the same night, where else would you recommend people go to maximize their art experience?

Go to them all…most openings last around three hours that is plenty of time to fit them all in and that is the best way to maximize your experience.

What is your current exhibit and what is coming up?

Now showing until August 21, 2011 is two must see group exhibitions, the 8th year of our juried Untitled Series and the 2nd year of SooFUZE our juried Minnesota teen arts exhibition:

Featured Artists:
Emily Bennet Beck

Untitled 8


Soo Visual Arts Center is a FY2011 recipient of an Art Access grant from
the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the
Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota
State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of
Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

Current and Prior Exhibit Information:
Greg Gossel through August 2012
Samantha French through 7/7/12
Simon Huelsbeck, exhibiting at SooVac from 11/5/11 through 12/3/11.
Katharine Hawthorne, Chris Schlicting and Kristin Van Loon on August 13th, 2011 7-10PM: (Link)