Thursday, June 23, 2011


I enjoyed the visceral experience walking through dusty buildings smelling of musk, art processes and damp human bodies. The thunder and torrential rainstorms added to the ambiance of Art-A-Whirl but the North Minneapolis Tornado was frightening. The cool of the rain gave way to humidity. I wish that I had worn shorts. At least I tread around in comfy tennis shoes; some fools teetered on heels or slid on wet flip-flops.

Hummus with pita chips and salsa with tortilla chips were the standard treats offered by hospitable folks. Some artists served refreshments and it was very nice when they offered coffee/tea or wine. Interestingly enough, artists who utilized vegetables in their artwork usually served veggies. Strawberries were the favorite fruit. Oddly, no one was burning incense or had out perfume sticks. Very few incorporated music (live or recorded) in their studios.

Lots of naked females and clitoris were featured in artwork. Very few male nudes and nary a penis to be had. Nothing wrong with the naked human body but balance is needed. We need more nude males and their bits to even things out. Also, what about using normal sized people? One artist only photographed anorexic females, ugh. Big is beautiful too.

Disappointed by the lack of ethnic diversity. Very few artists of color were represented in the buildings that I called upon. The patrons were not very diverse either. There must be some way to better represent the real demographics of the core city. Perhaps I was visiting the wrong buildings. I was irritated by artists who were dismissive of the visitors. If they really do not care, why did they bother to open their studio? It would be better to close the doors than be rude to fans and potential patrons or hire a friendly host to welcome people to the studio space.

Here is a list of wonderful artists from the 2011 Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis, MN. I was greatly impressed with many but only have space to highlight a few. Exclusion does not mean that I didn’t like their work; I just can’t include fifty artists. These are not listed in any specific order. Please contact these talented folks for more information perchance to buy! Let them know that you read about them on my blog.

* Alison Price’s paintings explode off the wall. They are neon bright with swooping movements. Definitely a WOW!
* Mill City Makery featured cheerful working girl aprons and stitched goods.
* Hannah Albert’s Japanese woodblock inspired series is fabulous. She blends the outline of a photo with color. Amazing flow.
* Joseph Greco makes certain that his mixed media is interpreted correctly with their individual story. Folkartist almost child-like quality though he is an experienced artist. 612-760-2768.
* Susan Elnora captures skulls and bones with her jewelry.
* Andrea Martin creates intricate hand cut paper art. Bugs can be beautiful.
* Laura Hallen paints hyper flowers. They hum from the canvas.
* Andree Tracey makes collages. Her fifties fashionista series is quite delightful.
* Brian VanVoorst’s exquisite watercolors look like batik over photographs.
* Sarah Thornton’s paint-by-number approach to animal portraits is charming.
* S.A. Roman haunting ghostly images of the veiled prairie.
* Marisa Martinez incorporates cool beads and mini glass sculptures into jewelry.
* Karen Gustafson works in many forms but the sonographic prints are eerie.
* Nancy Reyner’s waves feel like they are about to crash upon you.
* Ochen K features bright starburst quality art. Looks like Hubble photos.

Though it wasn’t for sale it was neat to visit the 100,000+ cranes on view at the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota. Each crane represents one person affected by brain injury in Minnesota; the effect was powerful since the cranes cascaded throughout the entry hall. for more information.

Note: I also wrote about the Whirl on May 25th and the tornado on May 23rd.

Looking forward to Art A Whirl 2012!

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