Saturday, March 12, 2022

Tristan Hilliard, Artist


Hello and welcome to the 42nd 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed super talented artist Tristan Hilliard who I met at the awesome Frameworks Gallery. I really admire Tristan's art and videos and his Instagram is a lot of fun. He has lived many places and has a unique perspective. I think you will enjoy his answers! Thank you for reading! (Instagram: @tristanhilliard) (All images courtesy the artist)

Jackson: Did you have a specific experience that made you want to be an artist? Did you always draw or was it something you learned how to do?

Tristan: Hmm, I don't know if there was any specific experience that made me interested in art. I've just been drawn (pardon the pun) to create for as long as I can remember. Art definitely runs in my family's veins. My paternal grandmother, Judy Kusinitz, was a calligrapher and watercolor artist. My dad is a musician. Both my parents, immediate, and extended family have always been incredibly encouraging of art. I think as soon as I could hold it I grabbed a crayon/pencil /pen/whatever and have just been going ever since. It's something I'm definitely always continuing to learn. 

Jackson: Do you think living in several different places has impacted the way you make art?

Tristan: Interesting question! You know, I never thought about it that way before, but I would say - yes, living in different in different places has definitely impacted my art.  I've lived in five different states at this point, and in each one I've focused on a different style of art (or creativity in some way). In Rhode Island, where I was born, I grew up drawing constantly; when I lived in South Carolina, I was heavily into photography and video production; in college at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Georgia I studied digital art and animation; when I lived in California I learned the art of design consulting and framing; and now in Minnesota, I've gone back to more traditional art - painting in watercolors and acrylics. I think I am very much inspired by the community and art I observe around me - and in seeing people excited about certain types of art, I can't help but want to dip my toes into that realm of creativity. Over the past five years working at Frameworks Gallery and meeting many Minnesota artists, such as yourself, has been immensely motivating in that regard.

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Tristan: Oh, I think I'd go with one of my all time favorites: Salvador Dali. The twentieth century surrealist painter and big personality most famous for painting The Persistence of Memory. I enjoy his brand of weird so much that I dressed as him for Halloween last year. I remember as a kid and young teen I had little to no interest in artists or art of the past (despite loving to draw and make art myself). I didn't care much for what had come before and was only interested in what was going to be created in the present or the future...but one year, probably when I was about 16, my family was visiting my grandmother in Florida and we went to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg where I saw many of his incredibly unique, masterful, and surreal paintings that were explained in detail through curators. I had no idea so many metaphors, ideas and meanings could be packed into single visual mediums and Dali very quickly became my gateway into a deep appreciation of the world of art history - an appreciation that I've only learned to love more and more over the years. Plus Dali was just a really strange and unique individual - I bet he would have been very interesting to encounter.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Areca Roe, Artist

Hello and welcome to the 41st 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed the multi-talented artist Areca Roe! I have been seeing her work at Rosalux Gallery, The Soap Factory, and online since I was 11 years old and have always loved it so this is very exciting for me, and it was also fun for me to discover we both love David Bowie. Her answers are very thoughtful and I think you will agree. Thanks for reading! (Image 1: the artist, image 2: from Beastland, a 3D exhibition, image 3: Finnian (Angora Rabbit), image 4: Passenger Pigeons, image 5: Katy. All images courtesy the artist)

Jackson: How did you first become interested in art and making art? Did you have a specific experience?

Areca: I've loved art for as long as I can remember - looking at art but also particularly making art. I was one of those kids who would draw by myself for hours, and I became obsessed with photography when I was a teenager. I started using my parents' old 35mm film cameras and learning the chops of photography. There was no specific 'aha' moment, but I remember being enamored with the books by art photographers at my small town library - Cindy Sherman, Richard Avedon, Laurie Simmons, Carrie Mae Weems, etc. I'd never seen anything like that, and it opened up what seemed possible in photography.

Jackson: How do you get inspired and work through your ideas? Are your photographs staged or are the ideas spontaneous?

Areca: Most of my work for the past decade or so is staged photography, not terribly spontaneous. Though in photography, surprising moments always arise. That's part of what I love about it. I get inspiration from so many sources - fiction or non-fiction books, hikes in nature, movies and shows, and of course other artists. I often make work that's inspired by science, biology and ecology but I also follow other paths that interest me at times. The natural world and our relationship to it has been a source of inspiration for me consistently. I usually work through the ideas by reading about the topic, looking at other artists' responses, and just starting to make the work. That's the most important, start making so you can see what the work is saying back to you!

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Areca: Hmm, tough question but I might have to go with David Bowie. Not necessarily a visual artist but just an amazing creative force all around. I'd like to see what he's like in a normal conversation, and just talk art and music with him.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sue Mooney, Artist


Hello and welcome to the 40th 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I am interviewing the talented painter Sue Mooney. I met her on Instagram and then in person at the Mall of America where she was showing her wonderful art. I am very impressed by what she does. Her answers to my questions were very inspiring and I think anyone reading will agree. Thanks you for reading! (Collage photo: Left side portrait courtesy of the artist. Right side detail of the artist's painting from @suemooneyart on Instagram)

Jackson: You have had an interesting journey to becoming a full time artist. Can you tell me about that?

Sue: It all happened by accident. I asked my ex-partner to take a picture of our dog wearing goggles while I was driving. A couple people stated that the photo should be on a greeting card. That's when the light bulb went off and I ran with that idea. Eventually I was putting in 90 hours a week at my full time job and doing art shows on the weekends. Something had to give, so I quit my job and sold my house. I bought a camper van and a trailer and went on the road with my two Yorkies for one and a half years to do art shows in the West, Southwest and South. 

Jackson: Has the global pandemic changed the way you think about or make art? Have you lost many opportunities? 

Sue: Cancelling all of my art shows was a huge loss of income being a full time artist. But on the flipside it has been a wonderful surprise because I didn't have to focus on painting my cityscapes due to the shows being cancelled. It enabled me to discover a new direction in painting abstracts which I absolutely love! And the response to my abstracts has been amazing. I finally found my niche.

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Sue: Frida Kahlo. Because she was her own woman and wasn't afraid to paint what inspired her.

Friday, October 22, 2021

E.M.M.A., Musician and Columnist


Hello and welcome to the 39th 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed the amazing musician and columnist E.M.M.A. I listen to her music when I paint and find it very inspiring. This is the first time I have interviewed a musician and I really enjoyed reading her perspective on being creative. I think you will enjoy the answers too! Thank you for reading! Her new single Magic Hour is out now on Deutsche Grammophon. (Photograph taken by Sophie Davies  @sophiewophy)

Jackson: What inspired you to begin making electronic music? Do you think your environment inspires or inspired you?

E.M.M.A.: I have always listened to music very carefully since I was a kid and made a lot of mental notes about what sounds I liked and the emotion that resonates with me of my favourite tracks and artists. But I didn't think about making my own until I started getting quite involved in the local music scene in Brighton while at university. I was going to club nights and seeing my fave producers, which I found very inspiring and I wanted to throw my hat in the ring and have a go myself.  Sometimes my external environment inspires me, for example in Brighton it was quite visceral with choppy sea and waves, and the sound of a fairground blowing in from the pier into the land. Then you might think "how do I create this in a track?" but other times I tend to synthesize a lot of references from my imagination, whether it be films, people, places or my cat Janet. 

Jackson: Has the pandemic impacted the way you make music? Have you lost any opportunities since it began?

E.M.M.A.: It hasn't really impacted my workflow because I have quite a simple studio set up. But the extra time I've had has helped me to focus and spend more time learning new skills to improve how I am better able to convey what's in my head. I think there was a feeling that opportunities would be lost, but when things like this happen you have to be prepared to adapt and make sure you're open to trying things you might have missed before. So in a way, I've been able to think more deeply about my music and choices. But one thing that stands out is I would have liked to have had a party for my album launch, Indigo Dream. Kinda sucks that we couldn't do one.

Jackson: If you could meet any musician living or dead, who would it be and why?

E.M.M.A.: I think it would be Prodigy from Mobb Deep. Shook Ones pt II is my fave tune of all time and I wish he was still with us.


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Lisa Franke, Artist


Hello and welcome to the 38th 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed super talented Minnesota based artist Lisa Franke. I have loved her haunting art since the first time I saw it and my Dad and I once talked about her Gallery 360 show on ArtHounds on MPR. I called her art dream like then and I think that is still accurate. I love her answers and I think you will too! Thank you for reading! (Image 1: Grow Strong and Reach the Sky (for Lulu) mixed media and encaustic in vintage film holder. Image 2: Release, mixed media and encaustic in vintage film holder. Images courtesy of the artist)

Jackson: What inspired you to begin making the art you make now? Did your art change after you became a parent?

Lisa: I guess that is a question with a long timeline. The first time I remember being really drawn in by a piece of art was in elementary school. On a trip to the Des Moines Art Center I saw Talisman by Robert Rauschenberg. I remember just staring at it and wondering what it all meant. I loved that it was mysterious. It made a real impact on me. Later in life I think it inspired the collection of vintage photographs and random treasures I found at flea markets. I was just drawn to them without a clue what I would do with any of them at the time. I guess I felt badly that these images had lived a life and were being abandoned...I wanted to tell their story somehow. After Lulu was born, I think my art has become more intuitive. Art always has a winding path to its final destination, but I think I enjoy the twists and turns more. I have more patience to let it evolve to where it wants to go.

Jackson: Has the global pandemic changed the way you make your art? Have you lost any opportunities in the last 18 months? 

Lisa: These past 18 months have impacted everyone in one way or another. For me, it was tough to process everything going on especially with a high school senior. The pandemic hasn't really changed the WAY I make art, but it was harder to create. My focus became my family and I think just emotionally drained me. I've been quietly processing everything inside and just lately have started letting some of that out into making new art. Keeping busy with design work was also a focus over the last 18 months. I think we all have lost opportunities along the way, but sometimes it means another door opens and that's how you keep going.

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Lisa: Wow, that's any easy answer. It would of course be Robert Rauschenberg. I admire his work, his work ethic, his curiosity, and his love for life in general. I would have been so excited to have watched him work or walk with him to see what would catch his eye and why. He looked at everything and everybody in a positive way. He also allowed interpretation to his art which I absolutely love. We are all different with different experiences so if you find a connection to something I've made that is completely different than the personal story I created it from, that makes me happy. I feel I'm successful if someone is drawn to a piece I've made and doesn't even know why. That means they are creating their own story and that gives new life to the fragments I used within it. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Kara Hendershot, Artist


Hello and welcome to the 37th 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed Toronto based artist Kara Hendershot. We have a lot of her work hanging on our walls and my parents bought a piece from her before I was born, so this is a cool experience for me to get to ask her questions after admiring her painting for basically my whole life. I think Kara has a distinctive viewpoint regarding art and I really related to her ideas about empathy and art. I think you will enjoy her answers! Thank you for reading, and don't forget to check out Kara's Instagram at @karahendershot. 

Jackson: What inspired you to become an artist? Did your Dad being an artist influence you?

Kara: My father's photographs taught me how to see. As a kid I would look at his black-and-white photographs, candid scenes from the 1970's of anonymous city dwellers on the streets of Toronto, Chicago, and Detroit. He intuitively captured a moment that, when viewing it in a photograph, caused me to wonder and to care about the life of a figure frozen in a frame of a silver gelatin print; just a stranger that my father passed on the street years before I was born. To be curious about the life of a person you've never met, to have empathy for them, that is what art is about. It connects us to one another. That is what my dad helped me see. At a certain point early on in my life, art became something I needed to do for solace and connection. I realized that if I wanted to keep doing this, then I would have to find a way to pursue it indefinitely, or else it might fall to the wayside. My father encouraged me to enroll in advanced placement studio courses in high school, which lead to me focus as a Studio Art major. After graduating from university, I took some time away from art. Then I came back to it and made a conscious decision to pursue art as a career.

Jackson: Do you feel your art has changed in any way since you moved back to Canada? Or since you became a parent?

Kara: Life experiences change your perspective. I feel that my art grows with me. Honestly though, I have not spent a great deal of time in the studio since moving back to Canada and having my son. But there are two components of making art. There is the execution of making the art - the manipulation of materials into a tangible piece. And then there is everything that comes before that and everything that is behind it - life experiences and life observations that influence the work, perspective, inspiration, memories, building a vision and amending it over and over, ideas just burning to become... Everything that has built in your head before it is drawn on paper. Right now, I am breathing in. I am reacquainting myself with the place where I was born. I am spending time with my son, as children are only so small for so long and I do not want to miss these incredible moments. I am building new work, but it's not here yet. I am working on everything that happens before the physical art piece happens. The art in my head will have to wait a little while to be born until I get back into the studio. I find that every time I take significant time away from the studio, to travel or study or just to live my life above the surface for a while, I come back with a drive and a hunger that is much stronger, and a readiness to plunge back down into my creative tunnel.  

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Kara: I saw the film Seraphine a couple of years ago. It is about the early 1900s artist Seraphine Louis, a middle-aged housekeeper who paints late at night by candlelight. With no friends, no family, and no one to believe in her, she paints because she believes it is what she is meant to do, despite others mocking her and telling her that it is a waste of her time. A German art critic, who stays as a guest in the house that she cleans takes notice of her paintings and arranges exhibitions of her work. At some point in the film, on a high after some monetary success from her art, Seraphine buys a wedding gown and runs through the village, announcing her make-believe wedding. The neighbors believe her to have gone mad. She is locked away in an asylum and loses her will to ever paint again. 

I would choose to meet Seraphine, to tell her that we need her art, as much as I wish to tell this to anyone who has lost their will through no fault of their own, to do what they feel they were meant to do.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Melissa Borman, Photographer and Installation Artist


Hello and welcome to the 36th interview for my blog 3 Art Questions With Jackson! This time I interviewed Minneapolis based photographer and installation artist Melissa Borman! She is completely awesome and my Dad and I have loved her art wherever we have seen it on our travels. I think Melissa's answers give a unique perspective into her artistic world and I really believe you will enjoy what she had to say. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out her Instagram at @melissa.borman (Image info: 1. Portrait of the artist by Paul Wegner  2. L'Oiseau Bleu, archival pigment print, 2020)

Jackson: What inspired you to make art? How did settle on photography as your primary way to express your ideas?

Melissa: I always made art as a kid, but it never occurred to me that it was something I could keep doing into adulthood until I took a photography class in college. I was studying Film Theory and Photography was required for my major. I fell in love with the darkroom and eventually added am Art major. Although I learned a lot from all my art courses, photography seemed like the most satisfying way to express myself. The process felt so much like writing in that in that through selecting and arranging a group of photographs I was able to communicate more than I could ever imagine doing with a single image and if I changed the arrangement the meaning changed. That seemed like magic.

I've also always been drawn to the flexibility that working with photographs offers. I can present a project as a series of images on a wall, as a book, takeaway ephemera, a projection, online, or as a combination of any of these methods. I love that photographs are so accessible and that there are so many ways to reach audiences with them.

Jackson: How do you decide what to photograph? Do you set up each shot or do they happen spontaneously? 

Melissa: My projects usually start with an idea of something I want to address. For example, I Started A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter after researching historical and contemporary works depicting female figures in the landscape. I didn't like what I was seeing and was moved to make photographs that reflected my own experiences of being active in the landscape. I didn't know how to make those photographs, but I had a good idea of what I didn't want them to look like, so there was a lot of trial and error in the process. 

My current project, Birds, started with what was just going to be a single image of a ceramic bird I had in my studio. I was going to break it and use the pieces for another project and I thought that photographing it would make it easier for me to break it. It didn't, it just made me like the little figurine even more. I had been working on a project about grief and loss and something about its broken and glued tail resonated with me. I do make plans, but the work almost never ends up anything like the plan. That said, I think the plan is always important. It's a way to get started. I tell my students that it is like a good road trip. You start with a destination, but you stay open to possible detours and maybe you end up somewhere else entirely, but you would have never gotten on the road without the original destination in mind. 

Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?

Melissa: I greatly admire and would be honored to meet Yoko Ono because her work has inspired me to be vulnerable in my practice and to explore new materials and methods. I first became aware that she was so much more than the wife of a famous man when I watched Cut Piece in a film class in college. She addressed so much, such as issues of gender, class, and cultural identity so effectively in the deceptively simple act of sitting still. That piece still inspires me as I endeavor to pack as much meaningful content into seemingly simple works as possible. It's a lot of work to make something look simple and often miss the point, but it's the most satisfying was for me to work. I'll keep trying.

I'll add, although there are many artists I would like to meet, this year of isolation has made me even more grateful for the many wonderful artists I am lucky to know.