Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: More Art from Bayfront Park

Osogbo: Prince of Art
If you ever need Cash, contact Kristi Abbott
Yesterday I wrote about Bob Dylan's Dreams. Are you following yours?





Every home should have a Husby mug or bowl. We do.

There was something for everyone.
Hope you found what you were looking for.
* * * *

Meantime, here's a reminder that tomorrow, early evening, there is a Pop Up Shop & Open Studio event that is being called THINKING STONES // CONNECTING THREADS. Details HERE on Facebook. Kristina creates sensory sculptural work and paintings. Erika produces free-spirited eco-wearables.

Make the most of your day! It will be gone tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bob Dylan's Dreams

The past 24 hours I have been thinking again about the nostalgic 1963 reflection Bob Dylan's Dream, which I now notice that I've written about on a couple previous occasions, the first being in 2011 and the latter this past January where I called the song a poignant lament. The dream is about happy memories, but they leave him sad because they are times that will never return. What's saddest isn't their passing, rather it's that at the time we failed to fully appreciate how special that time was.

* * * *
John Bushey in the moment, selecting the next Dylan track.
This past Saturday on Highway 61 Revisited, the KUMD radio program hosted by John Bushey, the theme was the humorous music of Bob Dylan. Bushey's brother and a friend were in the studio with him as they played songs like Wiggle Wiggle and Tweedledum & Tweedledee. One of the songs Bushey played was Talkin's World War III Blues, a sequence of hilarious scenarios with characters like Captain Ahab and Chris Columbus, and that throwaway line, "It was a bad dream." Dylan's playfulness was in part what made him so charming when he first emerged on the scene blowin' his harmonica (about a dollar a day's worth) and delivering payoffs like, "you gotta cut somethin'."

Dreams are either mentioned in passing or featured prominently in quite a few of Dylan's songs. In 1986 Dylan sang, "I had a dream about you, baby" on the album Down in the Groove. On Empire Burlesque he sang, "You're a living dream," on the song Never Gonna Be the Same Again. Also on Empire Burlesque he sang, "I know this dream, it might be crazy" on Clean-Cut Kid, which also cites the notion of buying into the American dream. Was this a reference hearkening back to the "crazy dream" of Talkin' World War III Blues?

"When my last dream exploded" appears on the 1986 song Under Your Spell from Knocked Out Loaded. In 1992 he cites the American dream once again: "When my American Dream fell apart.."

Perhaps during this mid-career crisis period Dylan was reaching into the dream machine because the dream imagery of his early work had made such an impact. In fact, one of the great songs that he wrote for Oh Mercy was itself titled Series of Dreams, a masterpiece of imagery as beautiful and haunting as anything he has ever written.

 On Another Side of Bob Dylan, a critically underrated album if there ever was one, he sings of the "timeless explosion of fantasy's dream" in the song Ballad In Plain D. In To Ramona he instructs, "It's all just a dream, babe, A vacuum, a scheme babe, that sucks you into feeling like this."

In Too Much of Nothin', from The Basement Tapes, he writes, "heard it in a dream."

Dylan is certainly a dream-twister, an image he uses to describe the Jokerman on Shot of Love.

So many of these dream references resonate with me as they have been woven into the fabric of many of my favorite songs. Here's a line that packs a punch, from Street Legal: "Son, this ain't a dream no more, it's the real thing." --Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)

On the album Desire he sings, "At night I dream of bells in the village steeple." --Romance in Durango

On the album New Morning, which has so many associations for me, he sings about being "lost in a dream" in Time Passes Slowly.

And there's still more. On Love and Theft, in the song Bye and Bye, he sings, "I've still got a dream that hasn't been repossessed." And there are lines about dreams in When You Gonna Wake Up, Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie and Hard Times in New York Town.

I found all these dream references by means of an online Dylan Concordance I discovered yesterday.

Here's still one more dream reference, from a song I especially like, Every Grain Of Sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand

May all your dreams be good ones, and your best ones be fulfilled.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Two 1938 British Ads and What They Mean

Having devoted more than three decades to a career in advertising, you might think I'd tire of it, but the truth is that I find the advertising game endlessly fascinating. Advertising is essentially getting the right message to the right people at the right time. It involves many variables, but especially psychology. It's about meaningful and effective communication. By effective I mean it generates a desired action.  

What I like about it is that I sit in an office in the upper midwest but try to impact peoples' behavior all across North America, without ever leaving my office -- except to go to meetings. That's an oversimplification, of course, but it does reflect one aspect of the marketing game. (Proper pricing, quality products, customer support and execution are also important variables in a company's success.)

All this to say that although the advent of the digital age and social media have added new variables to the marketing life, at the end of the day it's the same game: people who are sitting in various places and spaces around the country attempting to influence the behavior of people they will probably never meet.

(As soon as I wrote that I realized that now even this has changed, as it is very possible to meet our customers in a virtual way now, preferably through a shout out than a one-star Yelp review.)

* * * * 
Out in my garage I have a large bound volume of all the London Times newspapers of 1938. I've been doing some drawings and paintings on some, and occasionally just reading the stories contained there. This weekend a couple of advertisements captured my attention. The first was this one above for BOURN-VITA. The ad is essentially a story. It's a story about a man who got a well-paying job because of this product which enabled him to get a good night's sleep. The punch line of the story is, "Bourn-Vita tonight makes tomorrow just right."

Here are a few items of note. First, stories continue to be an effective way to connect with people. Of what do many books of the Bible consist? Much of the Old Testament is the history of Israel, as conveyed by the stories of its patriarchs and peoples, and the lessons they teach. Stories not only convey information, they make it memorable. 

Second, the story is about some guy with significant responsibilities who just got a promotion. Success! And what was his secret? The ad copy wants us to believe it was because he is able to sleep at night and not anxiously fretting.  

It's probably true that a person who hasn't slept in months and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown would not be the best person for this promotion. But to imply that the guy is competent and capable because he knows how to get a good night's rest feels like a stretch. It's kind of a twist on the old adage about sleeping your way to the top.

As for sleeping your way to the top, there's a weird suggestiveness in the copy where it says, "And remember, the night is more important than the day."

After World War II my grandfather got this kind of promotion to supervisor of the Packard Plant in Warren, Ohio. The Packard was a luxury car that in its day rivaled the best Detroit had to offer. It's my understanding that he achieved this position by being responsible, a hard worker and eminently likeable. I don believe ht "made it" by his ability to get a good night's sleep.

So who is the target audience for this ad? People who are less successful? People who have trouble sleeping? 

Notice how the last line in the ad also uses a poetic device to make it memorable. It may be that to make it even more memorable it was accompanied by a radio jingle. If you're  Baby Boomer you undoubtedly still remember the tune to the jingle, "Winston tastes good like a cigaret should."

And what is this Secret to Success? According to Wikipedia: "Bournvita, previously called Bourn-vita, is a brand of malted and chocolate malt drink mixes sold in Europe and North America, as well as India, Nepal, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Benin and Togo, and manufactured by Cadbury. Bournvita was developed in England in the late 1920s and was marketed as a health food. The original recipe included full-cream milk, fresh eggs, malt and chocolate. It was first manufactured and sold in Australia in 1933. Bournvita was discontinued in the UK market in 2008. The drink was named by Cadbury which was derived from Bournville, the model village which is the site of the Cadbury factory (Bourn + Vita). It was first sold in India in 1948, the same year Cadbury India was established."

Interesting. It's a chocolate drink that not only has health benefits but also, according to the ad, has career benefits.

* * * *
The second ad that I found interesting on this same page addressed the problem of flatulence. According to Wikipedia: Flatulence is defined in the medical literature as "flatus expelled through the anus" or the "quality or state of being flatulent", which is defined in turn as "marked by or affected with gases generated in the intestine or stomach; likely to cause digestive flatulence". The root of these words is from the Latin flatus – "a blowing, a breaking wind".

This ad caught my attention because I don't recall even once having seen an ad addressing the problem of flatulence? Have you? The subject matter is so unusual that it nearly leaves me speechless.

And what is the product they're selling here? It's Milk of Magnesia. In the ad we see it in tablet form, a product my mom gave us in liquid form for stomach disorders. It had a chalky consistency if I remember correctly.

The thought that I had when I read this ad was, how did the problem of tooting, breaking wind or whatever you want to call it, become so taboo that we never talk about it? Is this a cultural phenomenon specific to the U.S.? The Brits had ads like this one that spoke very directly to the matter. Or at least they used to.

Let's call this a wrap.

Everybody ready to see the show this afternoon? Five hours, 19 minutes until first contact in Oregon. Forecast in Duluth: Cloudy.

Make the most of it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Local Art Seen: Today's Forecast: More Art In Bayfront Park

Nigerian painter Rahmon Olugunna
currently resides in Chicago.
It's another weekend of art in the park, this time Bayfront Park. In addition to nearly 150 artist's displays there's also a car show featuring vintage cars of a wide variety. Best of all, the event is free, with ample numbers of food vendors, beer and wine to keep guests hovering in the neighborhood.

It was a near perfect day yesterday, warm sunshine splashing everywhere. Though you'll find some of our local artists present -- Ryan Tischer's photography, Cheryl Husby's ceramics -- the majority of artists here hail from elsewhere, many from the Twin Cities. In addition to photography and ceramics, the mediums represented include painting, fiber arts, glass, wood, sculpture, metal, drawing and digital designs. 

Yesterday's forecast for the coming three days looked threatening, but right now there are clear skies and the expectation is that it will be all good. In fact, the same for tomorrow's Eclipse-watchers. Yes, the weather forecast has changed, and nearly everyone in the States that had been expecting the worst can now get their gear ready because the skies seem to be clearing.


Many of the booths at Bayfront feature practical creativity, from rings and things to filet knives and canoe paddles. But there's also art for display and collectibles. If you're in need of a gift for a special occasion, it's very likely you can find something unique that is perfectly suited to the person you care about.

Here are some images from our tour of the waterfront yesterday.



Bring out your pet's true spirit at WildBarkingMoon.com




Kristi Abbott's pop iconography can be found at MadeByKristi.com




Meantime art goes on all around you. 
Especially if you visit Bayfront Park today, 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Getting Ready for the Eclipse: An Essay, a Poem and a few Facts

An app you can download gives precise countdown.
We've all heard the expression "Too little, too late." I suppose that there are a lot of people who have now experienced the expression as well, rushing off at the last minute to try and find a pair of special glasses that would enable us to watch first-hand Monday's upcoming solar eclipse, the first total eclipse in the U.S. in 38 years.

Two nights ago I scooted off to Wal-Mart because the newspapers said they had the glasses, but when I got there they only had an empty display. Best Buy had nothing and that was that.

Then last night I needed a fluorescent bulb and used that as an excuse to see if I might find those special glasses at the hardware store. C'est la vie. Nada. nothing. They'd had them, but were now sold out and didn't expect to get any more.

Even without the glasses you can sort of have an experience by making a pinhole projector. I remember the eclipse of 1979 and ended up writing a poem about it in my journal. (see below)

* * * *
People who are into astronomy in a big way have been counting the days since last year, I think. Here is a link to a page of 25 facts about this year's eclipse. It's probably been used by journalists as a background source for the past month in preparation for the story. It's a pretty big event, though it's not having the same "end of the world" effect as the last day of the Mayan calendar. For the record, everyone in the U.S. will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. At least, in theory.

* * * *
After failing to find glasses to watch it with, I decided to look for an app that might help make this event an even more special experience. It turned out to be a pretty easy business. Go to the app store on your smartphone and you will find quite a few to choose from. This C-Net link is also a useful guide.

* * * *
Another way to prepare for the Eclipse would be to read Annie Dillard's essay Total Eclipse, reprinted temporarily at The Atlantic online. I'm not entirely sure why the essay has such a short online lifespan, but their plan is to only leave this posted until the day after the eclipse and then to remove it, a somewhat strange notion to me. Then again, there are a lot of strange things in life, and one of them is the behavior of nocturnal creatures when the sun hides its for a brief spell. Here's a doodle that Annie sent me once. How appropriate it feels for this special event.


Total Eclipse

In the days of the Solar Eclipse

when the sun for a time hid its face

the creatures of night all emerged to explore

the strange world of non-light at mid-day.

* * * *

Here's a strange thought. Is there a reason that the sun and the moon both appear the same size when we look up and see them in the sky? The sun is 93 billion miles away and massive. The moon is quite near, relatively speaking, and one-sixth the size of the earth, a relatively small heavenly body. The sun is 400 times further from the earth than the moon. What are the odds that these two bodies would match up so perfectly when one passes before the other. And considering the vastness of the sky, what are the odds of these two bodies occupying the identical spot in the sky simultaneously?

* * * *

The Countdown is underway. At this moment, it's now 2 day, 4 hours and 39 minutes.... Enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tuesday Artist Talk: Jonathan Thunder @ Duluth Art Institute


Tuesday evening the Duluth Art Institute hosted an artist talk featuring Jonathan Thunder, whose work is currently on display in the Morrison Gallery, Kathy McTavish serving as moderator. Thunder, who hails from the Red Lake Reservation, grew up in an urban Twin Cities setting. His interest in art as a vocation led him to study painting in Santa Fe for three years. After this period of study he proceeded to isolate himself in order to paint without the influence of others and find his voice. What emerged was something of a blend of American cartoons, Southwest art, and a "magical realist" sense of the everyday... though it's evident that there's much more than meets the eye.

Thunder acknowledges that his first paintings were filtered through a Santa Fe lens. When the paintings sold it served as an encouragement to continue in that style, but for an artist it was more important to produce work that was honest. He took an inward journey to find this authentic self.


The artist, who grew up in an urban setting, noted that many stories are tragedies. He cited Shakespeare, who also wrote tragedies, and how the Bard would find light in the darkness. He described the process of chiaroscuro in which one begins with a dark foundation and layers the light over the dark surface, pulling everything forward.

Most of the paintings feature a single character which is often cartoonish, but which has layers of meaning. "I've met with a lot of different responses to my work," he said. Because it doesn't fit the mold of a traditional Southwest style, he added, "It would be hard to get into a Santa Fe gallery. They don't know how to sell it."

"I like to paint truthful pictures," he stated. As a result, his work doesn't perfectly align with a Native or Non-native gallery.

Thunder moved to the Twin Ports four years ago and has appreciated the warmth he's found in this community. He's also begun some collaborative work that has taught him new things about the "beauty of collaboration.


Most of the paintings show strong, defined characters, but two of the pieces in the alcove feature softer imagery. He assented that it was a change of direction, that the softer imagery has become more painterly and is "a reverse of what I normally do," beginning with defined images that he washed over and repainted and washed again. Like many other painters in the room it was evident that he likes paint.

The artist also discussed his interest in animation, which was triggered by his seeing a remarkable black and white film of a shadow boxer at the Walker Museum. Quoting Charles Bukowski he said, "If you're going to try, go all the way."

Nearly all the seats were filled when Kathy McTavish introduced the speaker at the beginning, but as more people arrived, more chairs were brought in. One could tell that everyone was engaged for when the Q&A began. A dialogue commenced between audience and artist for near forty minutes, discussions about every aspect of the work it seemed. One recurring theme was in regards to how far a painting should be explained by the artist. I think a case could be made for taking opposing sides on this, but I did appreciate one observer's remark: "It's like explaining a joke. If they don't get it..."

The impression I was left with afterwards was of an artist whose skills have been honed, as well as his vision. His "voice" has an unrestrained quality, like the singers who accompany the dancers at a powwow: bold, evocative and seriously moving.  It's been good having this voice in Duluth. It will be a worthwhile endeavor to follow him as his career unfolds.

* * * *
EdNote: There will be a September 8 opening for Wendy Rouse, and a September 9 workshop.
Also, Jonathan Thunder will be featured in an exhibition at the All My Relations Gallery on Franklin Avene in Minneapolis.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday: So Many Books, So Little Time

THIS POST ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2008


Today... a few gathered quotes on books. There are few greater joys than reading. This week I started Walter Lippman's Public Opinion, a 1921 discussion of propaganda and mass manipulation that preceded the Bernays book I discussed yesterday. Reading is a great way to meet thinkers who live outside the sphere of our social relations. Books are a wonderful thing.

For this reason, I share a few quotes about books here, and will make a few comments to go along with them.

"Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends." ~ Dawn Adams

It is possible to love a book on many levels. Sometimes for the beauty of the language. Sometimes for the richness of the ideas it conveys. Sometimes one is impressed by the power or magical mastery of language, as in Hemingway's collection of short stories In Our Time. Without books we would be paupers.

"Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors." ~ Joseph Addison

So true. About ten years ago I began listening to books during my commute to and from the office, and on trips to the Cities. I remember listening to Michener's Mexico during a trip to Lake Geneva many years ago. Currently I am finishing A History of England, Volume 3 from 1750 to 2000. Churchill, Orwell, the Irish potato famine, the French Revolution, the descent from world power to has been... it is a history of people and places that speaks much to us today, if we would hear. What a contrast to the repetitive fluff that passes itself off as entertainment or content on the usual airwaves.

"Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life." ~ Mortimer J. Adler

When the internet first emerged, I created a project to help raise funds for a youth center computer room. I named the project Dandy Yankee Doodles, hoping to obtain doodles from celebrities and other famous folk which could be made into collectibles of some kind. Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, sent a doodle. A couple others also contributed as well. And Mortimer Adler's secretary sent a note saying that Mr. Adler did not doodle. I appreciated its thoughtful warmth. When I read this quote, it is likewise unembellished, true and straight, from a logical, good man.

"To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry." ~ Gaston Bachelard

Speaking of poetry, last night I learned that the poem that begins, "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree" was not written by a woman. Joyce Kilmer, the author of these memorable lines, was a man who ended up being killed in the trench warfare of World War I. Journalist, literary critic, lecturer and poet... Kilmer died at age 31 in the Second Battle of Marne. I think of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

"He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes." ~ Barrow

Words good and true. Who has not experienced the comforted of a good book at some point in their lives?

"A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Similar sentiments from yet another space in time.

"Reading is not a duty, and has consequently no business to be made disagreeable." ~ Augustine Birrell

This quote seems directed to the writers of this world. Remember, writer, that readers are only human. If you are writing to be read, keep it in mind that you've got to keep the customer satisfied. Make it worth our while. Please don't think you're so important that whatever you say is something we need to hear whether we like it or not.

"It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything." ~ Lord Henry P. Brougham

I like this quote because it speaks of a vastness which many people are tempted to disregard. There is value in understanding what a Marx or Nietzsche or even a Hitler has written. I've read Mein Kampf. If you read National Review, try a little Mother Jones or Harper's. If you're reading Rick Warren or Billy Graham, how about tackling Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian for something to chew on. If you like postmodern deconstruction, take a stab at Kreeft's Refutation of Modern Relativism.

"After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books." ~ Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle was a Scots Presbyterian Calvinist who lost his faith, but continued to have keen insights about life and the Brit world in which he found himself. Any serious reader can't help but come across a pithy Carlyle maxim now and then. Seems like I came across quite a few over the years, but never knew who he was till reading this third volume of the history of Britain. Carlyle figures prominently in the section dealing with the Victorian era. I half considered a full blog of Carlyle quotes last week, and will probably save them for a snowy day in the near future.

"A room without books is like a body without a soul. ~ Marcus T. Cicero

Yes, there should be books in every room. My office has a wall of books. But it pales in comparison to the walls of books my grandmother had. Alas...

"The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring." ~ Warren Chappell

The same probably applies now to blogging and electronic media..

"The mere brute pleasure of reading --the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing." ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Ah yes.... Chesterton weighs in with a vivid image that tells all. What lover of books hasn't felt this kind of pleasure?


* * * * 
For what it's worth, I have published a number of books since this post was written in 2008. If interested in more details and you're seeking something new to read, visit my Book Page.

* * * *
If you live in the Twin Ports, you can find at least two of my books at the new Zenith Bookstore on Central Avenue, across the parking lot from Beaners. Stop by their Grand Opening Book Fair on September 16. Make reading a way of life.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Local Art Seen: Sue Rauschenfels' Open House

This past month Sue Rauschenfels hosted an art opening in her home on the South Shore of Pike Lake. Rauschenfels is an artist whom I'd first gotten to know through her contributions to a Duluth Dylan Fest art show in 2014 and a subsequent show of her work at Beaners and Superior's North End Arts Gallery, which led to my interviewing her for  my column in The Reader at that time.

Upon entering her home one is struck by the light cascading off the glistening woodwork, showering into the rooms through an abundance of windows, providing ample light for viewing her work. The lakefront property, quietly poised on the waterfront, has a tidy feeling of warmth as you approach it, much like the paintings and pictures she creates, working in watercolor, acrylic, ink and/or collage.


Here are some photos I took of her paintings. The reflections on the glass and all the light flooding the room resulted in several happy accidents.


The colorations and expressions remind me of Marc Chagall.


I see vibrant pastel flowers dancing.

* * * *
Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Artist Shawna Gilmore's Woodlandia

Two years ago when I saw Shawna Gilmore's show at the Kruk Gallery in Superior I was swept away by the personality and vim she put in her paintings. This month Gilmore has an exhibition of new works on display at the Lakeside Gallery, and it's equally fun, her spunk and spirit continuing to run amok. If you get a chance, drop by during the month of August and acquaint yourself with Gilmore's work. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her paintings around town over the coming years.

EN: Where do your ideas come from?

Shawna Gilmore: I think it wouldn't be a surprise to know I have a very active imagination and vivid dream life. I find a healthy dose of escapism through my work which gives me fortitude to walk through the challenges of life. I read a lot. I laugh a lot. I enjoy playfulness and the bizarre. I love to learn and observe. I enjoy a sense of wonder and perpetual curiosity. All of these things feed into ideas for paintings. I don't really limit myself to reality when I think of images for paintings. There are a lot of what ifs in my world which makes for limitless possibilities and scenarios.


EN: Your colors are vibrant and uplifting. Is this a reflection of your own spirit?

SG: I used to be so afraid of color. My focus in college was drawing and printmaking, color seemed scary. But color is so emotive that it became increasingly difficult to avoid my fear for much longer. So instead of running from it, I decided to try it. I've really learned a lot about color in the few years. I try to use colors I'm drawn to that have a sort of timelessness to them. I don't think I'll ever be a color expert. So much of life is facing your fears and putting aside your insecurities, for me it builds my faith and brings me much joy to overcome even something as common as using color.

I suppose the colors I use reflect my own spirit, I guess I never thought too hard about that. But I can lean towards the optimistic side of life so that makes sense. It's hard to feel glum when you recognize all the blessings you have. I want to enjoy life. I want to find the hidden treasures in it and be filled with gratitude not languish in a pit of despair. When I paint, I want to enjoy what I paint. I want to look at it for years to come and still like it. I want to paint pictures that bring joy, hope, amusement, or wonder.

EN: The word whimsical comes to mind when I look at your work. Is that a fair description of your subject matter? Or are their hidden political messages in your paintings?

SG: Hahaha, no hidden politics in my work, I think you might call me apolitical. I have enough drama and chaos in my own personal life that gives me little margin for the intense emotions of politics. My paintings are for the weary of heart, those who need a moment to breathe, dream or escape the weight of the day.


EN: For example, is that a poisonous snake you have decorated with daisies? 

SG: Well, I do enjoy a little mischief, danger and unknown outcomes in my work. Those more politically passionate might be able to draw conclusions in my work that connect with them and to me that is ok. I'm most interested in providing part of a narrative for the viewer to enter and make their own. I'm not especially fond of snakes, but one with friendly daisy flowers seemed a little less creepy.

EN: I see you have begun painting on panel substrates. Care to comment on this new direction? 

SG:  I've always preferred painting on wood. I've dabbled on plywood, hardboard, paper, never canvas, but I continually return to wood. There is something about the solid, smoothness that makes me happy. Once I discovered deep cradled wood panels, I never turned back. Framing has always been a hang up for me and cradled wood eliminates the need for a frame.


EN: Do you have any local artists whose work has inspired you? 

SG: There are so many excellent creatives in our area, but I am particularly fond of the work of Wendy Rouse, Adam Swanson and Jonathan Thunder.

* * * *
Thanks for sharing, Shawna.

EdNote: You can see more of Shawna Gilmore's paintings next door to Lakeside Gallery at the Amity Coffee Shop (have some java while you're there) and at Art on the Planet on Tower Avenue in Superior, as well as at her website.

Wendy Rouse frequently has work on display at Lizzards Gallery in Downtown Duluth, and Adam Swanson's work will be found there as well.

EdNote: TONIGHT Jonathan Thunder will be giving an Artist Talk at the Duluth Art Institute at 5:30 in conjunction with a book signing. Will I see you there?

* * * *
Meantime art goes on all around you. Get into it.