By: Kelsey Jacobson
On Friday, October 16th, northern Minnesota’s best-known artists opened their studios for three days to display their art. They also gave demonstrations, ranging from 30 different artists, to the community for Bemidji’s First City of Arts Studio Cruise.
The following day, Saturday, October 17th, Butch Holden gave demonstrations on his pottery wheel in his classroom at Bemidji State University.Holden, Professor and Chair of the Visual Art Department, described how in elementary school his classmates and teacher would ask him to do drawings. Holden became interested in the arts from that point on. This led him to receive his BA degree in art from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. During his undergraduate study, his focus was painting as he had no interest in ceramics at that time.
Holden found himself at the University of Minnesota in Duluth in order to receive his teaching certificate in Art. He recalls one time sitting down and having a potluck with the ceramic students at UMD. “There they were using their ceramics and talking about shop,” said Holden. This later led him to take a workshop at UMD with Walter Hyleck. He then discovered his passion for ceramics in 1974. When asked about why he chose teaching, Holden said he enjoys seeing students who find their niche in ceramics and have fun creating art.
Brad Becker, a senior at BSU majoring in Technology Art and Design with a double emphasis in Graphic Design and Ceremics, showcased his work alongside Holden on Saturday as well. He took a ceramics class as a freshman with Holden as his teacher. “Because of him I decided to go further with this,” said Becker. Post-graduation, Becker hopes to go to graduate school in order to teach ceramics at a college level. Becker went on to say why ceramics interests him. “If I buried this in the woods, and a thousand years went by, it would still be there.”
Natalia Himmirska, Associate Professor of Technology, Art and Design, showcased her oil paintings in the painting studio in Bridgeman Hall. She demonstrated how to create layers and work with colors that complement each other. As a child in Russia, Himmirska found herself painting and drawing. She thought that if she created art it would connect her more to her language. Himmirska throughout high school found herself coming home late at night due to lessons she was taking in painting. She found herself later graduating with an MFA from Fine Art Faculty at Technology Art Institute in Moscow.
Himmirska says when coming up with an idea it is best to use what you see and hear around you. She describes the creative process as trying to catch a fish, where you have to pull it out, and there is no guarantee you will catch it. “Style is when people care about what they say,” said Himmirska. She believes that if a painter sticks to a certain style it will lead to the death of the artist. “It is a lot of work, and you have to be brave to expose yourself to others,” said Himmirska.
Brian Grund, a nature photographer at Chasing the Wind Photography, opened his studio to talk about his many adventures into the unknown. His goal as a photographer is to capture images that tell a story all on their own. He has traveled all over the world ever since his oldest son was three weeks old. Grund opened his gallery to raise money in order to bring youth kids from his church with him when he travels. He got back into photography 12 years ago because he realized he was always in a rush to get to places. His camera slows him down. What fascinates Grund is when you take someone with you on a trip, you both come back with different pictures.
Seth Larson, a junior at BSU majoring in Art and Design with an emphasis in Studio Art, thought that one of Grund’s candid photos could be sold for a major magazine. He described how he believed some of his photographs were paintings. Larson was fascinated by all the stories Grund told in his studio on Saturday.
The First City of Arts Studio Cruise ran officially throughout the weekend of October 16th to October 18th, showcasing a variety of artists who demonstrated their techniques and shared their creative processes.