Friday, May 22, 2015

Ali Beyer - Interdisciplinary Artist

Ali Beyer
10 Years in 10 Minutes

Name:  Ali Beyer
City/State:  Minneapolis, MN

Ali Beyer attended Minneapolis College of Art & Design as a painting and printmaking student and then went on to receive an MFA from Columbia College Chicago (2008) in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media where she currently teaches in the Television Department. 
A working artist who exhibits in a wide variety of media, Ali often works from an autographical space.   In addition to creating her own work, she has worked as a fine arts preparator and an artist assistant since the mid 1990s for individual clients as well as at museums/ galleries throughout the Midwest.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My M.F.A. is in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media – I do enjoy creating interactive digital work, but I’m also a painter and printmaker as well as being heavily invested in both creative and academic writing.  The media I work in depends entirely on the project I’m working on and the audience I hope to reach.

A big change in how I work is that I’m really focusing on a group effort right now.  I’m the Co-Coordinator/ Curator for an arts collective that was founded in 2014 – The Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists (MCPA).
I grew up Pagan and much of my artwork comes from an autobiographical space so this is a natural fit for me.  It’s important for our group to teach others about this spiritual tradition and we see art exhibitions and events perfectly suited for this type of interfaith work. 

So far we’ve had a few successful events and are looking forward to our upcoming exhibition this Summer at Walker Community United Methodist Church in South Minneapolis.

How did you decide to become an artist?
I don’t think I ever decided to become an artist – I just sort of started making art and I haven’t stopped.  In high school I was an accomplished athlete until I tore the ACL in my left knee (which at that time was pretty much a career ending injury).  I spent months resting and re-habbing and it was during this time that I started making art a much higher level than I had previously.  And once I was no longer able to consider college athletics I was interested in attending art schools (which had no athletic teams) so this was a real turning point in my artistic life.

I found that a lot of the drive and determination I had previously channeled into athletics could be directed towards making art and I think just like in sports, hard work and effort are as essential as any sort of talent any of us may possess. 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
While attending Minneapolis College of Art & Design I was shown this model to work: Intent/ Execution/ Critique.  I have found this to be a great way to work because in the subjective world of the arts this allows both artists and viewers a way to gauge the work from the perspective of what the artist was attempting. 
Therefore, even works of art that may not resonate with an individual can still be appreciated on a technical/ intellectual level.  There are works of art I absolutely detest that I simultaneously find engaging because of how well an artist has executed intent and I am able to recognize the importance of a work of art – even if I dislike it on a personal level.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?

I do sell fine art, but I also make money through fellowships and grants and from exhibition awards.  I also teach at an arts college (Columbia College Chicago, where I received my M.F.A.) and that helps with finances while supporting my personal studio work. I’ve also worked with K-12 students in a variety of arts-related programs (from painting murals to working with circus performers).

Although I do need to make a living, I’m interested in the cultural contribution the arts can make much more than I am in creating products for a consumer driven audience.  Therefore, I find teaching a way to fund the work I wish to create and I’m provided a great deal of support from my department and the school I teach at regarding equipment and facilities as well as other opportunities for faculty – such as exhibitions and grants, etc.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy? (Provide links) 
When I attended MCAD, there was an artist named Ernest Bryant who was also attending school and I was impressed with his work and the ideas behind what he created.  I’ve enjoyed following his successful career as he continues to make exciting, provocative work here in Minneapolis:

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I spent two decades installing exhibitions at museums throughout the Midwest - such as the Madison (WI) Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art In Chicago and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, so I LOVE museums.  I have a particular fondness for the Walker Art Center and the commitment they show to video and new media work so I rarely miss an exhibition or event there and last summer’s Christian Marclay “The Clock” exhibit was something I greatly appreciated!

The “Pop International Exhibit” currently on display is an impressive exhibition with an engaging exhibition design that I highly recommend:  

I’m also interested in how art is used to teach about other cultures in an authentic way and I appreciate the high quality exhibitions by Native American artists that All My Relations Gallery on Franklin Ave in South Minneapolis consistently puts on.

Intermedia Arts is another space I find exciting and innovative and the diverse range of programming makes this one of my Twin City favorites.
Also, I love riding my mountain bike around – I’m a street art aficionado and enjoy hunting for and photographing street art and graffiti in the urban environment:

In addition to, 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? (Provide links) 
MN Artists is a great resource:
As is Springboard for the Arts:
I also refer to City Pages for Twin Cities events:

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I’m the Curator as well as an exhibiting artist in the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists’ upcoming exhibition, “Something Under the Sun,” June 1-12, 2015 at Walker Community Church (3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis).  There will be a closing event with an Interfaith Ceremony celebrating the approaching Summer Solstice on June 12th from 7-11pm – all are welcome!

I was also recently selected to participate in the Women's Caucus for Art's "Who's Afraid of Feminism?" exhibition for Fall 2015, A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.  The juror for this prestigious exhibition was Catherine Morris, Curator at the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum & its always a real honor to be chosen for a national exhibition such as this! (#5 on this Image List - Woman Boxer #1 was juried into this exhibition).

*There will be both a print as well as an online catalog, but not until Fall 2015.

If you are promoting an event, by what date do you want your interview/profile to be online?
It would be great to be up around June 1st as I’m most interested in promoting the MCPA’s Closing Event on June 12th for the “Something Under the Sun” exhibit and that would allow us to link to your site to do so.

Ali Beyer

Image List:

1. 10 Years in 10 Minutes
digital video
dimensions variable  (9:48)

This is a still from a digital video.
You may access the actual video on the artist’s Youtube page:

2. Sparky: His Songs Will be Remembered
mixed media on unstretched, unprimed canvas
110” x 52”

3. Graffiti Girls
72” x 60”
mixed media on unstretched, unprimed canvas

4. Graffiti Girls

5. Woman Boxer #1
95" x 69"
mixed media on unstretched, unprimed canvas

6. Woman Boxer #2
mixed media on unstretched, unprimed canvas
95" x 69"

7. Image of artist

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