First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

First Friday at 2010 Artblok

On the first Friday evening of each month, the artists of 2010 Artblok in Northeast Minneapolis, along with FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts Center, open their doors to the public from 5pm–9pm.

Participating artists will change each month. Stop by the studios and see what they’re creating! Find more info at the Facebook page.

Jen Delos Reyes: Liberal Arts Lecture at MCAD

Jen Delos Reyes is a creative laborer, educator, writer, and radical community arts organizer. Her practice is as much about working with institutions as it is about creating and supporting sustainable artist-led culture. Delos Reyes worked within Portland State University from 2008-2014 to create the first flexible residency Art and Social Practice MFA program in the United States and devised
the curriculum that focused on place, engagement, and dialogue. The flexible residency program allows for artists embedded in their communities to remain on site throughout their course of study.

Jen worked with the Portland Art Museum from 2009-14 to on a series of programs and integrated systems that allow artists to rethink what can happen in a museum, and reinvigorate the idea of the museum as a public space. She is the director and founder of Open Engagement, an international annual conference on socially engaged art that has been active since 2007 and hosted conferences in two countries at locations including the Queens Museum in New York. She is the author of I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song: How Artists Make and Live Lives of Meaning, a book exploring the artist impetus toward art and everyday life.Delos Reyes currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she is the Associate Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago. Learn more about the artist at her website.

Edith Garcia: MCAD Gallery and Fine Arts Lecture

Edith Garcia creates site-specific installations and sculptural objects, focusing on the minimal
occurrences that transpire each day while addressing wider contemporaneous issues. Her artwork
has been exhibited throughout North America, Mexico, and Europe, in spaces such as Transmission
Gallery, San Francisco; the Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis; the permanent Sculpture Garden of
the Archie Bray Foundation, Montana; Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas in Mexico City; and
Gimpel Fils, London.

Garcia’s drawing and sculptural research practices also inform her curatorial and writing projects,
which include the book Ceramics and the Human Figure (2012) and other online and print journals.
She received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MFA from the California
College of the Arts, and MPhil at the Royal College of Art in London. In 2015-16 Garcia was awarded
the Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the California College of the Arts (CCA).
Currently, she continues to teach CCA and at the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more about the artist at her website.

Edith Garcia: Fabricating The Real

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is proud to present Fabricating the Real by Edith Garcia. Presented in conjunction with the 2019 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts annual conference, March 27–30, 2019.

The site-specific, commissioned installation Fabricating the Real by Edith Garcia ’98 explores ideas of transience, the status of the object in contemporary art and theory, and the notion of the sublime.

Influenced by artists Francis Alÿs, Joseph Beuys, and Roman Signer and their embrace of everyday objects and common places, Garcia elicits visceral reactions to her artwork that similarly move visitors’ interactions from the expected and ordinary to the extraordinary. By creating an environment that references the Minnesota landscape in color palette and form and brings together a range of media including sculptural ice, slip cast objects, hand-built figurative pieces, unfired porcelain, and engraved wall drawings, Garcia establishes a way of seeing the familiar in unfamiliar ways.

This exhibition runs from March 25–April 21, 2019, with a free opening reception on March 28 from 5pm–9pm. Learn more at mcad.edu/event/edith-garcia

Studio Breakout with Mauve Haas at Boom Island

When life gives you winter, paint that canvas bright! Break out of the winter whiteout by joining us for a special studio session with Mauve Haas at Boom Island Brewing.

$25 gets you an 8 x 10” canvas, a beer to start, and the inspiration you need to paint your own masterpiece! Acrylic paint, brushes, and other basic supplies provided. Mauve will provide a subject and detailed instructions to combine color, create shape and texture, and a relaxing experience.

Spots are limited to 12 artists each month. Save $10 by signing up with a friend! Learn more and register at boomislandbrewing.com

As always, please feel free to bring your own food. Nearby restaurants like Element Pizza & Pizza Luce (Downtown Minneapolis) will deliver.

Art, Printed: Computers are redefining fine art. But is that a good thing?

A 3D printer at MCAD creating an artist's design // Photo by Harrison Barden

A 3D printer at MCAD creating an artist’s design // Photo by Harrison Barden

Watching a lumbering 3D printer slowly churn back and forth, painstakingly adding minute layer to minute layer of material to an ambiguous shape is far from exciting. It can take hours—sometimes days—until a final product reveals itself. But for as cumbersome as 3D printing can be, the technology has had a profound impact on the art world in recent years, affecting everything from how art is created to how it’s shared and consumed.

If the idea of using computer software and a printer seems antithetical to fine art, it’s worth talking to third-year Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) student Zachery North. He’s an advocate for using 3D printing to make art and sees many reasons to embrace the technology. “I can much more easily correct or change things that don’t work. My work is very iterative and 3D helps me keep building on what I’ve done,” he says. “A lot of my work is experiential. I want people to be able to experience it and touch it. It’s not the traditional fine art gallery where people aren’t allowed to touch the art.”

Some artists, fine art enthusiasts, and curators might be concerned that developing art via coding and pre-written algorithms is a poor substitute for more traditional artistic craftsmanship. But as more artists (and art school programs) work with 3D technology, concerns are lessening. “The art world in general is accepting of change, even if there is some grumbling,” says Brad Jirka, professor of fine arts at MCAD. “Some people worry that you lose the artist’s ‘hand’ in the artwork. But then they see exhibits where the 3D printing is used as a tool—an invisible component, often with analog tools—and the artist’s hand is there.” 

Brad Jirka explaining the process of 3D printing // Photo by Harrison Barden

Christopher Atkins, the curator of exhibitions and public programs at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, feels the art potential with 3D printing goes beyond just technology. “Think of 3D printers the same way you think of charcoal or clay,” he says. “It’s elemental. It’s a tool for artists to use, just as people use clay to form ceramics.”

3D printing only dates back to the 1980s and has strong roots in Minnesota thanks to Eden Prairie–based Stratasys. The printers have greatly improved in quality and precision over time, which has expanded the types of products they’re used to produce. At first the devices were considered industrial in nature and were developed with an aim to create less-expensive manufacturing processes and parts. Eventually a wide variety of industries took to using the technology, from medical device companies to gun enthusiasts developing online designs for guns to be printed at home to NASA installing a 3D printer on the International Space Station for the printing of tools. 

As technicians and scientists were looking into the mechanical possibilities of 3D printing, artists were taking note of the technology’s artistic potential. At MCAD, students began exploring the tool decades before they could execute the actual printing. “The digital part of 3D came to MCAD in the late 1980s; we had an Intro to Digital Imaging class and slipped 3D modeling into that class,” Jirka says. “The first actual 3D printer arrived in 2000.” 

The process of 3D printing art varies depending on the artist but usually includes web-based modeling tools and/or scanning equipment to capture designs. Once captured, the designs are programmed into 3D-printing software to create a printing template. From there, the artist selects the desired materials for and scale of the piece, and ushers it into the final stages of actually printing. 

Related: See the 3D printed art featured on the cover of The Growler’s January issue

Unlike the ease of using a conventional printer, there’s a somewhat steep learning curve to using 3D printers—especially to create. “Even handing off the 3D models to printing machines requires some technical understanding,” says Duluth artist Jonathan Thunder. “You can expect to learn along [with] the process.” 

Challenges aside, 3D printing and modeling has enabled artists to pursue ventures previously unattainable. David Bowen used a drone above Lake Superior to photograph the lake, capture undulations of waves, and carve them into acrylic columns using a CNC router, which is similar to a 3D printer but uses a wood carver. Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s exhibit “Stranger Visions” featured 3D renderings of individuals’ faces developed from DNA she’d extracted from things like hair, chewed gum, and cigarette butts collected on the street and in public spaces. 

Duluth artist Jonathan Thunder with a rough cut of one of his pieces for the “Manifest’o” exhibit // Photo courtesy Jonathan Thunder

Beyond pushing artistic boundaries, 3D printing can also be used to overcome more basic limitations. Files of 3D sculptures can be sent to exhibit locations and printed on-site. After the show, the piece can be destroyed or donated. For the visually impaired, copies of famous sculptures provide an opportunity to engage with a piece that would otherwise be off limits. 

There’s also an archival application to the technology. MCAD’s 3D shop director Don Myhre creates models of buildings scheduled for demolition so they can be kept for posterity. Iranian artist Morehshin Allahyari used 3D printing to create scale models of historical art and monuments destroyed by ISIS. Even the Smithsonian is using the medium: the organization is scanning their entire collection to use for research, education, and, for select items, to allow the public to 3D print and study them at home.

At the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), curator and head of contemporary art Gabriel Ritter sees a world of possibility in 3D printing, and believes acceptance of the technology in art has largely arrived. “It’s an art form already accepted by collectors, especially those who like to have one foot in the future,” he says. “Museums are along for the ride, collectors are on board. It’s the embodiment of the future.”

Not every museum is embracing 3D art with as much aplomb as Mia or The M. Both the Walker Art Center and Weisman Art Museum declined to be interviewed for this article, citing a lack of experience with the medium.

As more artists experiment with 3D printing, more museums are paying attention to the medium // Photo by Harrison Barden

As more artists experiment with 3D printing, more museums are paying attention to the medium // Photo by Harrison Barden

More likely than not, though, the art form will eventually be accepted at museums as nothing out of the ordinary. According to Ritter, the art world is infinitely large enough to embrace tools traditional and new. “Artists will always use the tools available to them, and 3D printing is a tool,” he says. “It’s like when
synthetic paints became available. People didn’t stop using oil. It’s like digital music, or digital books. There will be people who prefer the older techniques. It’s important to understand that 3D printing will not make other things extinct.”

Ritter does have one concern about the new tool, though: the materials being used—namely, plastic. “What is the longevity of the materials used to print? The raw material varies from one printer to another. For a curator, that’s not the concern, as the curator focuses on form and ideas. But anyone involved in conservation sees it as a bigger issue. Will the sculptures brown, fade, melt?”

It’s a fair question, and one that will eventually have to be addressed, but right now artists are still in the
exploration phase of the technology. In Duluth, Thunder was commissioned by the Tweed Museum of Art for a multi-media installation featuring his animation work—as well as his first attempt at 3D printing. “They wanted to bring it a step forward and have me create sculptures from the animation, so we printed out the models used in the animation,” Thunder says. “To have something I’ve created on the computer become a thing I can hold in my hand is almost unbelievable. I’ll look for more opportunities to work with it in 2019.” 

The experience of putting together the exhibit, called “Manifest’o” and running through July 2019, left Thunder in awe. “My own experience in the process is that I was able to bring something from the digital to our world, the real world, something born into the world out of creation. 3D—any single thing you can think of, just hit a button and it comes to life. It blows my mind. And that we can take a technical thing for devices and turn it into fine art—it’s a beautiful thing.” 

Artist Profile: Brad Jirka & Katherine Jones

A piece of art 3D printed by Brad Jirka // Photo by Tj Turner

A piece of art 3D printed by Brad Jirka // Photo by Tj Turner

Before it even hit the printer, Brad Jirka and his wife/collaborative partner Katherine Jones spent upwards of 65 hours on the model for this cover. Between laying out the initial design and recreating it 40 different ways in the 3D printing software formZ, the design duo behind Northfield studio Bohemiawerks eventually came full-circle, landing on a design closest to their original concept. Then came the time to print; Jirka tried three different 3D printers, ranging from a couple hours to a couple days to produce the final model.

But even with tens of hours spent digitally fine-tuning the model, Jirka says such a concept would be near-impossible to do without the precision and flexibility of 3D software. 

“That’s something that you couldn’t even try without the computer. It wouldn’t be realistic,” he says. “By the time you’d figured out how that worked, that’d be months of messing around with a piece of wax. You’d have to do hundreds of iterations.” He points out the option of adding a slight change in the final modeling phase, which would be out of the question if one was working with a physical object. “When you were done, you couldn’t go, ‘What if I twisted it 15 degrees?’ That would be impossible,” he says. “That’s where I think [3D printing] is most effective, is in exploring what the possibilities are.”

As a young student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the 1970s, Jirka found his passion for sculpture and intermedia, falling in love with the open-ended possibilities (and lack of rules) that the artform promised. Between his years as a pupil and now as a teacher, Jirka’s been involved with MCAD for over four decades. 

Brad Jirka // Photo courtesy MCAD

Brad Jirka // Photo courtesy MCAD

It was also at MCAD where he and Jones met as students—they were married in 1980 and have been partners in life and work ever since. The duo opened up their first studio, St. Elmo’s Inc., in Minneapolis in 1984, then moved to the countryside of Northfield where they started Bohemiawerks in 2001.

St. Elmo’s focused in what Jirka describes as “neon works” and creative lighting, birthing the American School of Neon which ran from 1984–1996. The school, where Jones worked as director and Jirka the lead instructor, was specifically designed for the training of professional “neon benders,” as Jirka puts it. “We trained somewhere around two hundred ‘benders,’ some of whom are still working and training the next generation of neon people,” he says.

Jirka's "Plato Dew Line" // Photo courtesy MCAD

Jirka’s “Plato Dew Line” // Photo courtesy MCAD

Jirka’s work ranges from massive public installations to petite sculptures, all of which utilize materials that are universally accessible but unconventional in the arts world. “I think it’s looking for new things, but not necessarily things that other people aren’t using, because we all use so much stuff.” 

His particular form of art is hard to define, largely because Jirka most enjoys the element of exploration. This explains why he’s so taken with 3D printing, because it is such a young, unwieldy artform that’s just beginning to get its footing in the art world. But he’s willing to admit that the technology isn’t without its issues—namely, the potential for making unlimited copies of his artworks. 

But with his own smaller, toy-like work, Jirka does harbor a dark fantasy. “My dream’s always been to have something turn up at Kmart,” he jokes. “I can go into Kmart and buy it out of a bin.”

As an artist who also enjoys crafts like wood turning and metal working, Jirka does maintain that working with his hands is an unbeatable experience. But he admits the time saved by 3D printing opens up opportunities for more exploration: “There’s something really refreshing about going through that ideation process faster, and actually being able to get product out of it.” 

The challenge, he says, is in creatively mastering the software, rather than letting it master you. “It can both limit the process and it can expand the process—it depends how tenacious you are about exploring what’s possible.”

The cover created by Brad Jirka for the Growler's January issue, and photographed by Tj Turner

The cover created by Brad Jirka for the Growler’s January issue, and photographed by Tj Turner

Lowertown First Fridays: Handsome Hog

Come to Handsome Hog on December 7 from 5pm–9pm and warm up with a hot toddy and some spicy southern-contemporary cuisine while you peruse beautiful works by local artists

Contact Alex Narva at artbyalexnarva@gmail.com or Annika Leiknes at annika.pb.design@gmail.com with any questions, or find more info at the Facebook event page.
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ARTISTS AT HANDSOME HOG:
– Adrienne Sherman
– Madalyn Rowell
– Salena Retsos
– Stacy Hollman
– Tom Stancampiano
– Steven Roach
– Shelly Losee
– Malik Laylark
– Jeffrey Hansen
– Heather Friedli
– Carrie Arnold
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ALL PARTICIPATING VENUES:
– Handsome Hog
– Gallery 333
– AZ Gallery
– The Show Gallery
– 12welve Eyes Brewing