3 artists talks

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3 artist talks: Nick Cave, Taro Hasano, Northrop Artist Panel

I want to start with Nick Cave. I saw an exhibit of his in Denver last summer. Not knowing what exactly he did, but hearing his name before hand I paid to see his show. I was amazed at his culmination of craft, dance, and fine art. I think that his sound suits are amazing. I also think his sculptures involving dogs are amazing. His show was an unexpected benefit of a visit to Denver so I jumped at the chance to hear him speak about it.
At the M.I.A nick cave spoke about process and how he came to be where he is today. His process seemed simple but intuitive and natural. At the talk he explained that although he was involved in dance he wanted more; to say more. That is when he decided to take a leap and decided to mix dance, sound, and art. Great story! One thing he mentioned during Q&A was that he didn't sketch which was surprising but comforting to some extent because I don't. Another aspect of his work that he touched on was the fact that he works in a studio where he is the master and his apprentices do the labor. I found this rare but a good thing to hear that it has not totally dead, especially since he teaches in Chicago.
Taro Hasano was a product of an environment that Nick Cave uses to create his artwork. As an apprentice for over 6 years Taro learned and mastered his trade. I hate to use the term "trade" but it is for lack of a better term because it is associated with craft. I do feel, however, that his trade is so specific it falls into an artisan craft. Taro was so humble during his talk. At one point during the Q&A he said, "I think my sword will cut." in response to a question. It was funny but so familiar in the pottery making sense regarding the Mingei pottery tradition and the humble potter. Very inspiring man though. I had the pleasure of working beside him during the Tatara steel firing and it was anything but kitsch. Like I said artisan craft at it's highest level. Put it this way; whomever would purchase a sword with his expertise involved better have a 1% income.
The "Three Artists Talk" was probably the most interesting of all. It was not because of an argument on craft or high art. I was most impressed by the debate atmosphere that developed during the talk. There was an obvious exclusiveness during some of the responses to the moderator, which was egotistical from an audience member's point of view. I am glad there was someone there to bring up the question of how we teach our youth to learn about art. It started the fireworks. And although the "Buyer" that stood up and gave his opinion on his soap box has money and explained to us about his grand notion of art, I still say fuck him and get over yourself. Art is for beauty and interpretation. Money or monetary value is not a way to devise what is good art and bad art.

The theory of Craft

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I was very pleased that we had a discussion about the lines between fine art and craft because it a a problem a majority of us have as ceramicists. The question arises when we delve into the history of the ceramic object and its intentions of functionality. Why is it difficult to identify ceramics as fine art? Have we been conditioned to separate both worlds? I think the problem lies in how other mediums in the "art world" has a higher prestige than craft objects. The intellectual framework of placing painting, sculpture, and even architecture into the realm of fine art makes me wonder why can't ceramics exist in the same realm? If a object has a conceptual background to it, is inventive, and creative, is it not art? Must I make non-functional ceramics for it to be considered "fine art"? What about creating content through the use of functional ceramics? I feel like the discussion of craft vs. fine art is an aging discussion because I notice that the lines between the two have been blurred and both worlds have been intertwined.

3 artist talks

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Sigrid Sandström (11/14/13)

I had the opportunity to attend Sigrid's less formal talk in the morning with the drawing and painting students, and I found it interesting on how different it felt from the formal talk in the evening. The morning talk seemed very intimate because the audience size was much smaller, and I could tell that Sigrid was very passionate in how she approached her less formal presentation. It was more about her experiences in graduate school, and the life after that found very interesting to hear as a young artist. The evening talk felt awkward because it felt like Sigrid was nervous in presenting to a larger audience. She spoke softly and quietly to articulate her ideas to the audience in a careful way. But what I found interesting was the later half of Sigrid's presentation when she became comfortable speaking and spoke about her current work and the struggles she has as well. The idea of control that she brought up resonated with me because I also am in conflict with the limitations I place upon myself. Like the uneasiness she has with spray paint because of its wild nature, I have to let go of some control and just let my art do its thing.

Taro Asano (11/07/13)

I found Asano's talk very humbling in the way he presented his craft and the way he views his work. He stated very early on in the presentation that he only creates the sword blade, while collaborating with other masters to make the other components for a finalized sword. Asano's use of footage to show his collaborations with other sword blacksmiths in the West and teaching the ways of the Tamahagane arts was very exciting to see. This idea of both Eastern and Western cultures highly influencing one another is something I have been exploring in my work. It was also interesting to see what the general audience demographic, which mostly consisted of old Caucasian men or young people highly interested in Japanese culture.

Powderhorn Kitchen (12/02/13)

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a talk by the women of Powderhorn Kitchen.
Which is a collaborative business endeavor by Jess Hirsch and Ginny Sims, both of which who are recent MFA grads from the University of Minnesota. I really enjoyed this talk because I knew both of these women when they were students here. Ginny was my intro ceramics teacher, and Jess is a good friend of mine who I met last year in my intermediate handbuilding when she was the teacher assistant. To hear about their roots and the struggles they went through early on in their lives, I was captivated to learn more in depth of who they are as a person and their goals in this wonderful collaboration. Jess and Ginny were both very humble in their presentation and I could tell that both were very passionate about Powderhorn Kitchen. The way they combine Jess' art of making objects that heal the body through alternative medicine and Ginny's love of food and the creation of objects familiarly found in the kitchen, is very exciting. It was wonderful hearing about the success of a friend's endeavors and I can't wait to see their future plans come into fruition.

3 artist talks

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Opening-Day Talk: Claes Oldenburg
September 22nd
A wonderful talk of the artist talking about his early work. Scale is a wonderful way of evolving things. When you make something large, it just completely transforms it. I realized that for the most part, I didn't write anything down, because I was so easy to get lost in his talk. It was very interesting to hear about his artistic process, and how his ideas moved from small to large scale. Seeing all the old footage about the spoon bridge and Cherry was very exciting, because I had spent all summer at the sculpture garden working on the mini golf holes. I think as a young artist the best thing you can do, is listen. If you get the chance to hear from someone like Oldenburg, who knows so much, and is so successful.... Just take in everything they say.

Artist Talk: Liam Gillick & Hito Steyerl
October 26th
Discussed criticism, theory, and contemporary art and society. The importance of artists writing about their work. Artists are in control of their own mediation, but they also have a responsibility to the public to connect. The writing becomes a way to negotiate the work. Brought up some really good poinys about the lines between copyright and censorship. Also what kind of dialogue artists create, with the refusal to participate.


Talking dance with Arwen Wilder and Kristin VanLoon
November 7th
I did my internship over the summer with artist Susy Beilak, and had the chance to work with HIJACK for a video performance piece that Susy was working on. After the project, I was really interested in learning more about their work and their process.
One of my favorite things that Kristin said at the talk was that there work is "just the right amount of balance between improvisation and preparation"
Coming from a dance background and being interested in performance art, this really spoke to me
Also this idea of working out ways to be able to "see the whole" how multiple things can exist together as one piece.
Spoke about how great collaboration as artists can be, and how crucial titling work is!!

3 Talks

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September 19th
MIA: Verso Magazine Presentation
Diane Richard, Content Strategist
Kristine Thayer, Content Strategist and Designer

This talk was an great opportunity as an Arts Major and Design Minor because I was able to see a real life and successful example of how design and art merge in the professional world. The creators and designers of the MIA's e-magazine discussed their creative process on creating their award winning ap. If you haven't seen it, you must check it out. My favorite part of the concept behind the ap is that they simply wanted a way to expand the way in which people could interact with art. When you go into a museum such as the MIA and see works that are centuries years old, a didactic can't even begin to tell or show you the fascinating stories behind that work of art. Through VERSO, the museum could create interactive content to engage the viewer with the artwork and elaborate on it as much as they wanted to. VERSO in Italian also means the backside of a painting which I just loved and found to be so poetic.


**I wasn't able to attend these next two talks in person but watched them online through the Walker Channel.

Artist Talk: Liam Gillick & Hito Steyerl
October 26th

I'd first like to say that I hope to be able to express my ideas as an artist as well as Gillick and Steyerl one day. Start practicing Ly! I also think I've found a new favorite artist - Hito. This talk really emphasized the cruciality of writing in one's artistic practice. While it the topic was quite a serious one, I truly appreciated Steyerl's comment on how she never takes herself too seriously. Throughout the rest of the talk, she was a great example of how to go about articulating a very abstract and twisted perspective in a clear and concise way. Overall I feel that this talk has really inspired me to take art writing not necessarily more seriously but as an important component to one's artistic practice. Beginning with the audio of Adrian Piper was a pretty effective move on their part, but I feel as though the conversation didn't really address that idea, but its okay. I feel like the tangent conversations are the most interesting anyways.

Talking Dance: Arwen Wilder & Kristin Van Loon
November 7th

In this talk, Arwen and Kristin discussed how visual art has inspired them to push the form of dance from the traditional models of performance into very conceptual movements. I deeply enjoyed how real they were in describing their process and how they sought in art ideas and concepts that would be "useful" to their creative practice. I've never seen someone explain so deliberately the process of how they absorbed the inspiration from another work of art. One interesting observation I took note of is how they presented their material. They way the two shared one mic and had to alternate between the spotlight to express their thoughts became a performance in itself. At first I found it distracting and wondered why someone wouldn't just hand them another microphone. But after a while I started to draw connections between the meaning of their work and their artistic practice to the duet like presentation performance.

3 artist talks

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Taro Asano (November 7th, 2013)

I just have this romantic notion of learning a particular skill and mastering it over a life time. I find it highly appealing. The the level of skill and craftsmanship of Asano's swords are undeniable and I did like how he noted that he only creates the sword, and others create the other components who are also masters in their own craft. I found the talk fairly enjoyable, but the strange translation problems, and the particular impatience of Asano's colleague was odd and off-putting. I had a brief moment in the morning of the presentation at the department office to talk to him, his english seemed to be completely fine. Not sure what the reasoning was for having a translator. The questions at the end kind of annoyed me regarding how much he charges and if his swords "cut." I just felt it was the wrong forum for this kind of discussion.

Sigrid Sandström (November 14, 2013)

This was my favorite talk this fall, as I haven't had the opportunity to see many artist talks focusing on abstract/landscape paintings. I went to the less formal morning talk she presented to the drawing & painting students and also the more formal talk in the evening. I was able to talk to her for a short time in the afternoon before her talk and I found it to be an enlightening experience. Particularly, when she said that using tape has a seductive quality and that there is nothing wrong with trying other things that are unfamiliar. An example would be her recent work using spray paint, that she is still unsure of the medium because she doesn't have much experience using it. She also seemed to embrace her failures of some of her past shows. I also enjoyed hearing about her collaboration efforts with other artists not just visual ones, but writers as well.

Nick Satinover (December 5, 2013)

I think overall I enjoyed his writing and poems more than his actual work. I think his prints are an extension of his writing process, but I do have to mention that I haven't seen prints in this particular way before. I like his emphasis of place, and where he works and lives has a direct relationship to his work. The words he uses becomes the landscapes he is investigating and the titles he gives his work gives extra context. I know that printmaking is heavily processed based so I am intrigued on this level on the creation process and execution.

Artist Talks

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Powderhorn Kitchen
Powderhorn Kitchen is a collaborative endeavor between artists Ginny Sims and Jess Hirsch. Through alternative medicine and other holistic approaches to health they explore the kitchen, community, art market. The two came to the University and discussed their wisdom, ideas, and products with anyone who was interested in listening. Their approach was casual which was comforting considering academic status. I was not particularly sold on their merchandise I more saw it as a way to continue making art. I know Sims teaches courses at the Northern Clay Center on occasion but you can tell her passion is in Powderhorn Kitchen.

Robbie Lobell-American Pottery Festival
Robbie Lobell is a well known and renound potter who currently resides near Seattle, Washington. Lobell requested an overhead 45 degree mirror which resembled one from a cooking show so, the audience could see her hands while she did a demo during the talk. She continued with technical information like clay recipe, cone fired to, and her newest experiment the ram press. Lobell addressed using the ram press instead of throwing and how technically she would not be categorized as a potter, this struck me as strange, I had not heard someone defend themselves as a potter so passionately before. She described clay as poetic, sensual, and physical. Lobell performed her demos which consisted of roasting some potatoes in a pot then proceeding to dip it in ice cold water. Overall, it was interactive, informative, and interesting. Lobell is by far one of my favorite America potters.

Alexa Horocorowitz (Spelling?)
Alexa's talk was academic, her work was brilliant and her story was inspiring. The kelp sculptures and metal casts really defined earth art for me. Viewing her process was fascinating, I really connected with her presentation structure and I found every bit of information relevant. Alexa's work was relatable, her idea impressive and her approach innovative. I felt I got to know her as a person as well as an artist.

3 artists

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Joe Lawson from the Asylum- I went to the Minnesota electronic theater event on December 5th and listened to guest speaker Joe Lawson form The Asylum speak about his studio and the work that they do. Joe is best known for his work on Sharknado this past summer. When Joe presented him self he made sure to drive home that his studio did not make the best graphics, and in fact he mentioned several times how awful they were. Included in his presentations were loops form segments of film that he picked apart and pointed out all the mistakes, or short cuts take. He then backed this up with a quite compelling explanation. He said that on average his studio not only does the graphics for, but shoots and sometimes directs these films every two weeks. Making a feature length film every two weeks! That's insanity! On top of that he explained that they have never lost money making a film. Something that every other studio seems to have problems with. Joe Lawson was a very funny guy to listen to, but after hearing him, I have I new found respect for crappy b movies and the people who make them.

Richard Haesemeyer - I met with Richard from Neighbor, an animation studio based out of Minneapolis. As well as working on projects he also fronts the business side of Neighbor. Him and his team contract a variety of companies ranging from target to the Kentucky state lottery. They primarily work in 3D using the program Maya, but use aftereffects as well for motion graphics 2D work. I also got to meet five of his employees whose skills range from coding and rigging to concept art and design. Talking with Richard was not only helpful to learning more about the industry, but it was incredibly interesting to hear how he got into animation to begin with. Richard presented himself and his business very well. He was very friendly, interested in what I had to say and excited to talk with me.

Allen Brewer- Allen came to my drawing class and spoke to us about his works, primarily his illustrative drawings and paintings. he presented his work very chronologically and included passing around some of his smaller pieces that were presented in book format. It was interesting to hear how one project kind of fed into the next, and where he was grabbing his ideas from, especially looking at how diversely he works. He said in response to a question aimed at the variety of work he does that he doesn't feel like he should be bound to working in one particular way, and his attention span wouldn't allow him to work only one way. This really resonated with me. It is refreshing to see artists working this way. I feel that there is a lot of pressure to just stick to one medium, concept, or platform, but in reality working this way is really suffocating. I also really liked looking at his work. Like me he does illustration, watercolor, and acrylic painting. Afterwords he suggested I make a narrative piece without dialogue, something I've been thinking about, but have not had the confidence to start. It was nice to hear.

Artist Talks

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Jon Swindler
Swindler gave a great presentation on his work, which I was unfamiliar with before the talk. He spoke a lot about collaboration, probably because he was in town from Georgia to work with print faculty Nick Satinover. He explained that collaboration allowed a new perspective on the world - whereas one person looks at the world through one small "tube," a collaborator provides a second tube to look through and perceive things slightly differently. I responded to his recent prints, which have a very distinct collage style. Although the patterns and shapes are discordant in traditional collage style, the uniform white border around each shape brings coherence and order to the composition. Before the talk I had the chance to see Swindler demonstrate this collage technique which added to my appreciation for his work.

Sigrid Sandstrom
Sandstrom spoke slowly and softly, which seemed to match the tone of her paintings. In my notes I mostly wrote key words, such as "melancholy," "caves," "black flags," and "utopia." The piece that intrigued me the most was the series of 24 paintings of glaciers which Sandstrom compiled to create a one-second animation. The contrast between the slow melt of ice and the urgency of film is really exaggerated here, and I also appreciate artists who use animation in a conceptually interesting way. The talk teetered between thoughtful and awkward. It was an interesting experience since I am more used to artist talks that are more confident and fast-paced.

Nick Satinover
As a printmaking major who has worked with him recently on projects outside of class, I was really looking forward to attending Nick's talk and get to know his work a little better. I thought the talk was put together well, and his poetry was an important component to understanding the prints, but I wished that he had spoken with more confidence. His explanation that he transitioned from focusing on the titles of his pieces to making text feature prominently in the image itself helped me understand his thought process. Some of the questions raised after his talk were very interesting and I wished he had elaborated on these topics, including his "guilt" about being an artist and not a manual laborer, and the influence of his long-time collaboration with Jon Swindler on his own work.

Nick Satinover

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It is great to hear artist talks of faculty artists of the University. I had the pleasure of hearing Nick Satinover speak about his work in printmaking. I have taken an intermediate print class with Nick, and although I am familiar with his work, I have not had the opportunity of hearing him speak in depth of his process and influences. I was interested in his primary influence from literature and poetry in his work. He focuses more on this creative influence than by observing the work of other visual artists. He supplemented slides of his work with readings of his own poetry. His work identifies spaces and environments, and reflects his upbringing in the Rustbelt of America.

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