Monday, January 2, 2012

Summer Scharringhausen - 2D Artist

 "Two Stones on a Hilltop" spray paint and acrylic on canvas
Summer Scharringhausen

Altered Esthetics Featured Artist for 
January 5 -26, 2011
Reception: Friday 1/6 7-10pm
Artists' Discussion: Saturday 1/21 1-3pm

Name: Summer A. Scharringhausen
City/State: Saint Paul, MN
Email: profile:
Facebook page:

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

I am currently working on a series of paintings for a book that my brother and I are planning to create. His name is Geoff Collins, he is a writer and we have talked for years about creating a children's book together which would be enjoyable for both children and adults to read together. He wrote an entry in his journal on a dream that he had about the two of us. We decided that it would be a perfect starting point for our book, so we are finally working on it. It has changed my subject matter drastically, which has been really enjoyable for me. This is the first time that I have painted anything specifically about our family. I am usually more metaphorical when I paint, and I focus on an issue, rather than on specific people. This time, I am actually painting my brother and I as we tackle his dream-land adventures together.

Another ongoing project of mine is a collaboration team called Happy Accidents. We call our current project "Penelope", which is a constantly-evolving mural about three mischievous girls. The project started because another artist, Kara Hendershot, and I were discussing struggle of taking ourselves as artists too seriously too often. We formed Happy Accidents with the mission of painting without inhibition, to really enjoy the process of free creation, to connect with other artists, and to help others to laugh once in awhile. The project is currently on tour with the Billboard Art Project, which is "taking over roadside digital LED billboards to turn them into free public art venues for 24 hours or more.”

"Penelope" in the Billboard Art Project (photo by Kyle Bravo)

"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?

Art is my way of sharing something with the community. I might share a story, illuminate an issue that is important to me, provoke laughter, or simply share something beautiful, but I want every piece to contribute to my community in a positive way.

Illustration for workbook in production by Kathy Marshall

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
The best advice I have received as an artist is to know how to say something important through my art and to know when not to take my art too seriously.

"Good Girl Bad Girl" spray paint and acrylic on canvas

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

My work space is a room in the attic of my house, with a south-facing window which overlooks my neighborhood, warm, orange walls, and plenty of floor space. When I create, I use music to set the mood, and I like to move around as I work, making as much of a mess as I want to.


Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

I am a huge fan of the way that D.C.Ice combines child-like imagery with a creepy undertone and a simple color-pallette:
I am a huge fan of the Twin Cities, so Adam Turman's work appeals to that, and I love the way he uses simplicity in such an interesting and well-composed way:
I also appreciate Kara Hendershot's work for its unique style and emotional intensity:
My love of collaboration and accessibility also make me a fan of Rogue Citizen:

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

I live in Como Park, and my favorite thing to do when I have the time is to go jogging around the lake or walking through the conservatory. I love to observe the many different types of people I encounter there and to take in the beauty of nature.

I spend a lot of time with my art students at Lighthouse Academy of Nations, where I am fortunate enough to work full-time, sharing the power of art with high school immigrant and refugee students.

A large amount of my time after work and on the weekends is spent at my favorite gallery, Altered Esthetics, where we work to sustain the role of artists as a voice in society. I love the atmosphere at Altered Esthetics, because it is diverse, warm, and accessible to all.

Many evenings and weekends are also spent at the University of Minnesota, where I am completing a Master's degree in Arts and Cultural Leadership. I am working there to improve my capacity as a leader in increasing accessibility to the arts through sustaining healthy arts organizations so that others might know the power of the arts.

Any time that I have left is spent with my husband, family, and friends... maybe at my favorite bar, the Muddy Pig... or sipping coffee at a variety of favorite coffee houses... or painting in my studio, maybe alone, maybe in collaboration.

"Sissy to the Rescue" spray paint, acrylic, and mixed media on paper

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 go to to learn what is going on in the local arts community and to find interesting learning opportunities.
I visit when I am looking to learn more about artists in my community.
I read Douglas McLennan's ArtsJournal ( and Thomas Cott's "You've Cott Mail" ( to keep informed about the arts and nonprofit environment which we are all working within.

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

Come see my artwork this month at Altered Esthetics. On Friday, January 6, from 7:00 - 10:00pm, there will be an opening reception for the "In Process". The exhibition will reveal the process which artists use in creating a finished piece, through step-by-step images, sketchbooks, notes, and other glimpses into the minds of creative individuals. Visit the show's website at

A collaboration project of mine, Happy Accidents' "Penelope", is also currently on tour around the United States with the Billboard Art Project. View the tour online or track the exhibition's locations to visit in person at the website

Summer Scharringhausen


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