Brian Geihl is no stranger to working through changes. He has been passionate about creating art and drawing all his life, but when he started at St. Cloud State University, he wasn’t in the studio right away. Following his love for the outdoors, he decided to pursue a degree in meteorology. But, after taking several classes and spending some time in the department, something felt off.
“I remember my mom said, ‘You should really check out the art department, you have always really liked art,’” Geihl recalls. “And I went over to that department and just took a Drawing 101 class and immediately felt at home.”
Geihl then went through another major change. He quit his graphic design job and launched his own full-time art career under the name Dogfish Media. Without client-based projects, Geihl worked hard to capitalize on connections and build his profile, scratching and clawing his way into the art scene.
Geihl’s photorealistic style jumps off the page. He uses color theory and bright complementary colors to highlight the beauty of some of Minnesota’s most recognizable landmarks. His process involves finding something that he likes while he’s out with his camera (Geihl also has an appreciation for good architecture), snapping a photo, and rendering that shot back in his studio before adding color and art over the top. The end effect creates a bright, collage-like piece. Don’t be surprised if you recognize his style—from helping create concert posters for touring bands at U.S. Bank Stadium to can designs for 612Brew, his art is prevalent in the city.
For this month’s cover, Geihl captures the stunning architecture of the Twin Cities’ skylines, with a shot from inside a bar, stylized with his signature bright colors to make each scene pop on the page. Geihl then adds a mask to these scenes to represent how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected local businesses, breweries, and artists, and what the city is doing now to move forward. Because like many businesses around the city, Geihl was hit hard by the pandemic.
“I built this business for 10 years, and I had all these different angles, and it all just disappeared at once. It was a tough pill to swallow at first,” Geihl says. “At first I was taking it personal, like nobody is ever going to want to buy my art again or work with me again.”
As things slowly move back towards functional, Geihl hopes that the city will come out of the pandemic with a new sense of appreciation for what the city offered before it closed. He hopes that once the Twin Cities safely open, people are encouraged to go out and experience the city, shop local, and boost up local eateries, artists, and venues. He wants his art to instill pride in the viewer, and help them feel the ‘this is home’ feeling from the Minnesota landscapes he features. In the next year, he hopes to strengthen that connection.
“I want to, in the next year, connect with what this city is,” Geihl says. “Other than pretty buildings and cool lakes, and that kind of stuff. I think I really want to dig into what this city has become, and what it means to people, because I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Currently resides: Crystal, MN
Medium: Graphic design and printmaking