Wednesday, February 29, 2012

David Cunningham - Painter

 Lighting Up
David Cunningham

Name: David Cunningham
City/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Email: profile:

David Cunningham’s interest in art began early due in part by the influence of his older brother and cousin who are also artists. In fall 2000, at the age of 16, David started attending classes at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art; A traditional art school that adheres to the French academic tradition of the 19th century. David completed the program in 2006.

After completing the program, he took up studying landscape painting while living in southern Argentina and became tuned into tonalist painters George Inness and James McNeil Whistler. Their atmospheric paintings along with the works of countless other painters, musicians, writers, and photographers continue to influence his work.


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

As a painter, my goal has always been to convey an emotion to the viewer with the simplest means. I was trained as a portrait painter and have emulated the work of John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and JoaquĆ­n Sorolla for their fluid use of paint. As far as subject matter goes I was raised in a blue collar family and that shows in my work. I prefer to paint ordinary people in public settings such as bars or cafe’s as well as on the streets or waiting for trains. 

Lately I’ve been really focused on street photography and begin every day shooting photo’s for the first 30 minutes of light. I think of these photo’s as studies for paintings. Since I started shooting street photography, I’ve been integrating it into compositional techniques such as viewpoints between 1 to 3 feet from the ground as well as the golden light that’s too fleeting for me to ever paint on the spot.


"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 to me is about encapsulating an emotion within a picture. I will have succeeded if the audience feels that emotion when they view the picture.

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

To always keep my mind open to other ways of seeing the world. I consider myself a realist painter but that does not limit my interests to just realists work. Mark Rothko’s one of my favorite artists.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

I work out of a north light 500 square foot studio in The Casket Arts Building.

I always have my journal near in case an idea comes to me. I keep my work fresh by never sticking to one process. With that said, the genesis of my latest work starts with the question “What are we dealing with.” Every painting must be about something. From there I draw out the composition, or rather the big picture. Then I seek that layout on the streets and bring back photo’s which I use as studies for backgrounds. After that, if I can I work from life on location with small studies and work from life with models in my studio. 

Working from life is the most essential aspect of my creative process. Mostly because it entails time constraints and forces me to get the most out of every brush stroke and I have a difficult time getting inspired if the piece is done strictly from a photograph.

Image of workspace

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Steven Levin -
Joshua Cunningham -

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

Minneapolis Institute of art -
The Russian Museum of Art -
The Rogue Buddha Gallery -


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? - Networking and checking out other artists work - Local news/opportunities - Competitions and other opportunities - Other opportunities - Links to dozens of helpful artist websites

The night passes by

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

308 Prince St, St Paul, MN 55101
Reception: Friday 3/2/12 6-9 PM
Through March 2012


Cafe Maude / Solo Show
5411 Penn Ave S
Mpls, MN 55419
3/12/12 Through June 2012

David Cunningham

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Danielle Feliciano - Book Artist

Nightsong - Digitally Printed, Graphite, Watercolor, Metal Powder

 Danielle Feliciano

 Altered Esthetics 
Featured Artist 
3/1/12 - 3/29/12
Opening Reception: 3/2/12   7pm-10pm
Artist Discussion Saturday 3/17 1pm - 3pm

Name: Danielle Feliciano
City/State: St Louis Park, MN
Twitter: @RightBrainBook

I hold a BFA in illustration from the Savannah College of art and Design and have practiced art making all of my life. I am currently pursuing a design MFA from the Minneapolis
College of Art and Design.

I have a fondness for collecting antiques, old books, and mysterious, discarded objects. A love of history and tradition inspires a classical, romantic style in my image making. My design aesthetic also takes root in traditional ideologies. My interest lies in preserving the technical skills and long held beliefs in both design and image making through reinvetion. I am both fascinated by science and captivated by religion and find that both practices play powerfully in my work. I have always faced duality in my life and find that many of my interests are counterpoint to one another. I love historical techniques such as gilding, and hand setting type but use digital printers and InDesign with equal reverence. I am an image maker with one hand in the past and one in the future. I am someone who strives to be passionate but meticulous, technically traditional and conceptually progressive.

Conditions of Content - Gilding on a raised base

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

I'm currently working on a book about visual thinking called Unlocking the Right Brain. I've written, illustrated, and designed it myself. I'm in the process of printing it now using a combination of digital and letterpress techniques. It's one of the biggest projects I've ever undertaken on my own so it's been a bit daunting. I've also been working on synthesizing traditional media with digital media as a way of mixing old and new. It is part of my thesis work and will be on display in May. For now you can learn a bit more about it by going to the blog

This project has been a real technical and conceptual stepping stone for me because I designed it with an actual audience in mind. Much of my work is introspective and so my book works tell a personal story that doesn't necessarily need outside input. I try to make works that are beautiful but I've never felt compelled to make the work truly interactive in the way Unlocking the Right Brain will be.

Nakusa - Letterpress

"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 believe art is the transcendence of craft. Where craft is the skillful execution of a particular medium, art springs to life when that medium is used to say something meaningful. 'Meaningful' content can be anything, it simply has to matter enough to the artist that they were compelled to give it physical form. The medium of letterpress is actually a prime example of my point. Fine printing is a craft, there is essentially a 'right' way to do it. Creating a crisp, perfectly inked print is a technical skill that anyone with some patience could learn. Letterpress only becomes art when the artist takes hold of the medium and imbues it with a part of themselves. 'Art' is the artifact of the artist in the object. It is that quality which can never be reproduced - the breath of love, aesthetic sensibility, and intent the artist breathes into the work.

Blind Love - Letterpress & Gold leaf

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

My first letterpress mentor Barry Moser told me something once (maybe twice) that I won't forget. He essentially said that we are swimming through life like fish in a river. We are going to hear so much and people are going to say so many things to try and teach us. What we chose to accept 'becomes blood and bone' and we'll just 'shit out the rest'. Sounds a bit funny, but it always helps me remember that we have the power to choose who we become as artists. We actively absorb the knowledge that will most benefit our practice. Sometimes something strikes us so powerfully it literally becomes a part of us - our blood and bone. What we reject simply returns to the river.

Antediluvian - Digitally Printed, Graphite & Ink

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

My work space is usually meticulously organized. I love to sort my materials into boxes and categories. I have so many plastic containers it's unnatural. If I didn't stay organized and make hundreds of sticky note lists I'd never get anything done. I'm actually a really efficient worker because of how orderly I keep things. Every project gets its own file and label so I never lose things. I know for many people this would be oppressive, but for me it's liberating and comforting. Books are such an undertaking that if you don't stay clean and neat you'll lose pages, or get glue dots all over the place.

My process is just as organized as my space. I make schedules, and gather tons of visual research before I even put pen to paper. I work in a lot of media and for each technique my process is a bit different. In any case I do a lot of prep work and then move into production with (hopefully) a smooth glide to the finish. With books you have to be thinking pretty far ahead. You need to consider the final format before you can really begin making anything. You have to think about things how to cut a sheet of paper down so you don't have waste, or how many yards of book cloth you'll need to order. There are so many things to consider, but in the end that's what makes it interesting because there are so many places to play with technique and express your aesthetic.

Image of workspace

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Chip Schilling

My letterpress mentor in town. Tons of really cool book work.

A fabulous letterpress studio. Try and hit one of their open houses and see all their wonderful presses!

A professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a thriving book arts practice.

An artist working in the fascinating field of Data Visualization.

Molly May

Her current project deals with inspiring social change through humor.

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

Well, I'd certainly take you Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art on one of their open studio nights. They always put up a fabulous event, and graciously open up their studios for everyone to see. To be honest, I'm really in love with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts They have such extensive collections, and for a free museum you really can't find anything better. I could visit the MIA a hundred times and always see something I missed the last time. As a bonus it's right next to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design There are usually quite a few shows going on at MCAD at any one time - a different one on each of the first three floors and usually a fourth in their back gallery (Gallery 148, which is curated by students). Northeast Minneapolis also has a lot of cool smaller galleries. If you keep an eye out there is always something to see in the twin cities.  

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 like to cycle through artists at random and so I enjoy perusing Tumblr ( and just following links through other people's pages at random. In addition Kickstarter (, a mass funding site, is a great way to connect with ambitious artists and support projects that interest you or watch how they unfold. You can look for artists working locally or abroad and get connected within the community.

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

I do, I'm going to be the featured artist at Altered Esthetics for their Belles Lettres Exhibition on March 2nd, starting at 7pm. Altered Esthetics is one of this great little galleries in Northeast Minneapolis and you can find it at 1224 Quincy Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

Also, this May I'll be part of MCAD's amazing thesis exhibition at the Northrup King Building on May 11th. Keep an eye out for it because we hope to make it  major event. Work will range from book arts and projection mapping to conceptual installation and animation. A bit of everything for every taste.

I'll be both of these events. Hope to see you there!

Danielle Feliciano

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Polly Norman - Photographer - Painter

"Mirrored Masks, Nose to Nose" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 28"X56"
Polly Norman

Name:  Polly Norman
City/State:  Minneapolis, Minnesota


Born and raised in a dutch colonial on Minneha-ha Parkway in Minneapolis, Polly Sandvik Norman
was surrounded and nurtured by her artistic family.  She attended Minneapolis public schools and took 
private painting classes and multi-media art classes at the Walker Art Center.

Her dad was a fiction writer, mom a tailor/seamstress, both brothers were/are musicians, one of them
also a visual artist and her sister, with a passion for science became a doctor.

Norman is a former Registered Nurse specializing in Newborn Intensive Care who
began her photography career as a volunteer PR photographer/writer for the schools both of her sons
attended:  Our Lady of Grace in Edina and St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights.

Admiring her photography, parents whose children were students in the schools 
began hiring her for portrait/child/family photography.  She attended various photography seminars and
her photography business flourished.

Out of that career, Norman discovered a growing desire to again create fine art so she enrolled in classes at the Atelier Studio School of Fine Art in Minneapolis.  There she studied drawing and painting from 1998-2004 and followed that education with a two-year mentorship with Maria Santiago, Artist and Instructor, College of Visual Arts, St. Paul. 

Norman’s work has been shown and published nationally and internationally. She has won many awards for her work in juried shows and her work has been purchased for permanent corporate and museum collections.  
She recently was chosen as a Finalist for The Bush Artist Fellowships and also was a finalist for the McKnight Foundation Photography Fellowship.  
See Resume at for listings of awards, publications, exhibitions, collections, etc.

"Prehistoric Ride Through a Lavender Sky" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 30"X32"

Tell me about your work? 

Abstract hand-painted photographs/grams made by a process of my own invention. 
I shoot scenes or studio set-ups through various types of Pennsylvania glass block in black and white.  Images are then enhanced with an additional layer of photo grams or overlays and/or hand-painted in oils.

These images have been affectionately called, pollygraphs.
What are you currently working on?

Large abstract hand-painted florals.

How is this different from past projects?
The bulk of my work is of formal composition/non-representational, so the florals are a departure from this.  However, the way I capture botanical subjects renders abstract shapes within the compositions.

"Jungle Jyms" Pigment ink print 28"X52"

"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? 
Their own story. 
This is why I make non-representational symbolic art.  

It stimulates the subconscious and allows for individual interpretation.  

I hear such a great variety of stories about what is seen in my works.  This is very exciting to me-to stimulate the imagination!!!

"Smile Down" Pigment ink print 30"X30"

What statement do you hope to make?
That imagination is limitless…

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

"Talent is nothing without hard work and persistence."

Artist in studio.  Photo by Todd Buchanan

Tell me about your work space and your creative process. 

Work space is a studio above our garage.  

I gather every kind of Pittsburgh-Corning glass block I can find to shoot through.  There are many styles, however "Decora" is the one I use most because it has a simple deep design and nicely warps objects placed behind it.  It also allows more light to come through than the other designs.  Other blocks are also fun to use because of the variety in pattern.

For larger, multi-block pieces, a carpenter fused together many blocks and adhered them to a wheeled base so I could easily move it around the studio.

Before he constructed this for me, I would stack loose blocks and in the middle of a project (or in the middle of the night!) they would come crashing down!  Then I'd have to pick them up and start all over again!  So frustrating!

Creative process is using my wild imagination to create fictional scenarios, sort of like "frozen stories"

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy? 

The classy, gorgeous carved and painted plexiglass works of Dick Brewer and Josie Lewis's intricately layered papers under resin

"Garden Party" Hand-colored gelatin silver print 30"X64"

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

Some local galleries, like Gallery 13 - a large space with an eclectic mix of some very unusual beautiful abstract works. Gallery 360 and the Grand Hand Gallery -both fabulous intimate galleries with the best Minnesota artists and craftsmen/women.  Mpls Photo Center for an expansive collection of photography. Painting, sculpture and multi media at Nina Bliese Gallery and of course the art crawls like Art-A-Whirl and the St. Paul Art 

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?

Polly Norman - Photo by Megan Norman

Do you have any exhibits to promote? 

"Lush Floral Refractions" by Polly Norman
 March 13-May 4, 2012. Nina Bliese Gallery
 Opening Party/Reception 5-8 PM Thursday, March 15th with Artist Talk at 6:30PM
 Gallery Hours:  Tuesday-Friday, Noon-5PM and by Appointment
 225 South Sixth Street, Suite 100 (Street Level) Minneapolis, MN 55402

"In the Garden" Floral Works by Polly Norman
 September 4- October 31, 2012. The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
 Opening:  Thursday, September 6, 5:30-7:00PM 
 410 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis, Mn 55403

"Photo Abstraction in Pollygraphs"(WT)
 Abstract Hand-painted Glass Block Photography
 Date: To Be Announced, Mpls Photo Center
 2400 North Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55411

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