Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hamline "Open Studios" is Tomorrow!

If you happen to be in the neighborhood of Hamline University tomorrow evening, stop by the "Open Studios" event:

There's lots of student work to view, and usually snacks too. I hope to be there for a bit, and I'll spend most of my time in the Drew Hall basement around the Digital Media Arts work. (Most of the stuff listed under "Drew Hall" on that flyer is work from the DMA Department. I mainly teach in that dept - my classes are sort of a mix between ARTS and DMA.) Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Speaking About Being a Professor/Photographer

Two days ago, I was asked to speak along with about 60 other professionals about my career at the White Bear Lake High School "career day." I had a group that was interested in being professors, but some were interested in the arts too, so I spoke a bit about each.

The staff bathroom had amazing decorations.

A totally normal gigantic box to be in a faculty lounge.

I make this photo whenever I walk into a school. It's now a part of me.

All done, headed to my car.

I got to speak to a pretty enthusiastic group. It was my 3rd time helping out at this event, and it's always been fun. Below is a bit of a "final takeaway" that I left them with as first seen in last year's post after the WBL event:

I might as well share a bit about what I told them here. After hitting on 8 points that the school wanted us all to talk about (like general work activities, helpful high school courses, skills and abilities, wages, etc), I ended with some of the points below...

My big takeaway for them at the end of my presentations was to that they either need to become THEE most educated in a very specific field, or (more likely) become well rounded and have lots of blanket knowledge in their field. I shared this example: "You could have your Masters and Doctorate on 15th century ceramics from the Ming Dynasty, but it might help to have a general 'Art History' minor or even 'Chinese history' minor. Don’t be TOO specific. Specificity might get you 1 perfect class every few semesters, but being well rounded will get you other classes where you can actually make a living." I told them how nearly half of the 70+ classes I've taught were actually Color Theory or 2D Design classes. I shared a story about a friend who wanted to teach ONLY film photography classes (so that's all she learned), and now she's taught maybe 3 courses in the same time that I've taught 70. There's a lesson in there.

On the photography side, I said I was by NO MEANS a great photographer, but I had tips to share. I stressed the idea of "making your own luck." I wasn't able to share this story today, but in grad school, I was the first to hang my MFA exhibition once the gallery had been prepped. It just so happened that the head of the Photography Dept at the University of Minnesota walked through the gallery just after I hung my work. He recognized my name as I had just recently applied to their "adjunct pool," and he enjoyed seeing my work in person. He told me a few years later that seeing my work up helped get me that job (and I ended up lecturing there for 6 years straight).

Related to that, I shared a story of winning the Golden Light Award and the "Social Document" category over 10 years ago. A senior photo editor from the New York Times Magazine was the juror for that, and because she saw my work, she called me a few months later asking if I could shoot a cover story for them. Umm, YES. And since then, I've completed 4 more projects for them. Had I not kept entering contests and submitting to galleries, I wouldn't have had my work in front of that photo editor, and I never would have done these 5 projects for the Times.

I CAN picture my life without having done those projects for the Times, but I CANNOT picture my life without the 6 years I taught at the University of Minnesota. Those courses really helped set the groundwork for my teacher career.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Small Grant for some Summer Work

I posted this good news yesterday on Facebook:

It's a pretty small thing, but I'm super pumped! Thanks for the "professional development grant" Hamline U!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Rare Mamiya RB 67 Sighting...

We had a fun day in my digital photo class recently when I introduced a Holga film project. I brought in my Mamiya RB 67 which hasn't had a roll shot through it for a while. My students thought it was a pretty sexy beast:

We destroyed the roll of film on purpose so I could show my students how it "works." Don't think I'm an incompetent photographer.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Large(ish) 4 a.m. Print

Last week I did a roll printing demo in my advanced class. I decided to print this 4 a.m. shot of mine of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and the Grain Belt Beer sign as the demo:

Click here for a larger version.

Afterwards, I hung the print in my office:

Roughly 16x20" image size on 17x23" paper.

It's now the first decoration in my beautiful, modern, sleek office:

OK, it's none of those words. Except "office."

Maybe I'll have to fill that bulletin board up with test prints. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Photos from CVA's History

CVA Legacy had a great slideshow of images from throughout the history of the College of Visual Arts that they had looping at the CVA Reunion back in July. (Click that last link for lots of photos from that reunion.) I went through the slideshow and narrowed NEARLY 600 PHOTOS down to less than 200. It’s still a lot, so get ready to scroll. I’ve been working on this post for the last few months. (Some of these are photos I made while doing some “student life documentation” for the admissions office.) Here's some I'd love to share, in no particular order:

Some sort of orientation project.

Fresh faces.

The big 3D plastic thing that CVA did for a few years at orientation.

Lynda in the foreground.

I can't tell who's on the left, but then it's Rachel, Rosie, Anne, and Carmen.

One of me teaching in 302! (I think that's Alaina and Alexandria in the foreground.)

Meeting with Anne White in the back of Ninas.

Shark and Chloe down in the printmaking classroom.

Print exchange / holiday potluck?

Prize drawing winners.

John Marshall (head of photography) talking with freshmen. (And look... a Munsell color book!)

A pic of Aaron Dysart from around my days at CVA.

After some student event (in the Photo Studio).

Some (quality) student reps for admissions.

Above the entrance to the CVA rooms in Blair.

The student lounge area transformed into a mini gallery.

Printmaking classroom before my time (is that Jeremy Szopinski in the front left?).

Prepping for the senior show in the gallery.

Figure drawing critique.


Heads of departments from around 2011/2012 I’d guess
(based on Jessica being there for fashion, but John still being there for photo).

Party in the side yard.


I may have taken this photo. Joe A and Paul B in the Grotto building.

Another one that could be mine: Joe, Graham, and Nick.

Some old Macs! Look: Zip drives!

No one knew it at the time, but this would be the last round of foundation students the school would ever see.

Neil T, Val F, Jeremy S, Shannon B, a guy I don't know, Heidi P, and Jada.

New York trip?

A late 90s/early 2000s trip with Karen W and Julie.

Some students at the University Club.

Valentine’s card making in the printmaking classroom.

My pic: the “40’s Ball.”

The CVA Triathlon Club! We all did the Chicago Lakes Triathlon in 2009!

Midway Bowl! Now leveled for the soccer stadium.

This was some visual pun about “being exposed to art.” That’s Nancy D by the CVA sign.

Photographer friends just a year or 2 ahead of me.

Jake, Tyler, and Brie at Halloween.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum talking at CVA.


My graduating class in 03 (that’s me giving a thumbs up in the middle). RIP Meat and Aaron.


Again 2009?

Room 101 many years ago.

Thought this was 101 at first, but it’s a different fireplace. I think it’s computer lab 302.

Computer lab 301 back when it was a drawing studio.

That same room from 3 pics above.

Yeah, I think this is 302 before computers went in there. That’s Barb S’s computer office to the back.

UPDATE: (11/12/18, 7 pm) I posted a link to this on Facebook last week, and long-time CVA printmaking professor Maria Santiago left some insightful comments on some of those spaces above that I thought were 302 but may have been at the back of the 2nd floor before some walls were up. Here's part of the new info:

Colleen was the gallery director who I worked for as a freshman at CVA.

School founder Lowell Bobleter in the back yard.

Before the “College of Visual Arts” it was the “College of Associate Arts.”

Old view of the lobby.

The “crappy” little computer lab (304?) when it was a small gallery-like space.

Room 102 (always my favorite room) with drawing/drafting tables.

The printmaking classroom when it looked like a semi-gross bingo hall.

Summit 3rd floor before adding a wall to make lab 301. Here,
it would be open to the “common area” by the stairs.

The sculpture studio (garage) being used for some 3D/clay work.

An old darkroom before my time. Maybe where the old color lab
was in Summit? (The letterpress room when CVA closed?)

My fav 102. Open to what I’ve only known as being John Dufresne’s office in the back.

These next 11 photos are from Caroline Houdek-Solomon as she documented the last days of CVA:

Setting out computer paraphernalia in 302 in order to sell.

The tiny computer lab sans computers.
(Same view as the mini gallery shot about 10 photos above.)

The high bridge from Barb S’s computer office on the 3rd floor.

Lab 301.

102 with the partition down between 102 and 101. (Student mailboxes to the left.)

The vault hidden in the paneled walls of 102. The story was always that
this was for the fine silverware and china when Summit was a single family home.

A peek inside. Student records and other boring things.

The basement lounge.

The old darkroom sinks.

Nancy D in the background.

Someone tried to rip the shield off the wall.

Back to some old photos.

Matthew J being a sculpture studio tech.

Note the guy on the 2nd floor.

Some CVA posters. The left 2 were always my favorites!

Here are a few more from Caroline at the “CVA Wake” from early summer 2013 when CVA officially closed:

Someone stole the shield.

Kolean speaking at the wake.

A final goodbye from a lot of former students.

Back to some old photos again: another shot of CVA photographers from the late 90s.

Possibly a photo of mine: Belva and Osamu.

Also possibly mine: photo buddy Heidi on the right.
(Cole’s prints on skateboard’s in the background. I *think* those were Cole’s.)

Working on the light table outside of the darkroom when it was in the basement of Summit.

Another one that could be mine: buddy Andy T in our drawing II class.

Tom T was the president when I was a student. This could be my “new student orientation” in 99.

I don’t know this space. Possibly before the school moved to Summit.

Somewhere on the 3rd floor maybe? Before some walls were put up / moved?
Or the back of the 2nd floor before some walls were put up?

Lighting in the side yard.

“SAA” shield when it was School of Associated Arts. I didn’t know there was a
shield before the mosaic shield I knew about since the 90s!

School founder Bobleter with students on the front step.


This has been SUPER overgrown since before I started at CVA, but “the back 40”
as we called it used to be a huge garden. That willow tree is still there, and
so are some of the foundations for these small garden buildings.

View of the old garden from outside of the sculpture studio.

In 102, looking through to 101 before there was a false wall built there.

The front classroom on the 2nd floor. Old car on Summit Ave out the window.

Sweet 7-Up bottle next to the stairs in Summit.

I LOVED those Beseler 23Cs!! They were fantastic enlargers, and easy to maintain / align.

Nancy D and Joe LaF on the front office.

President Tom Triplett (note Rolodex and Zip Disk).

Possibly a photo of mine: I remember those photos and those big orange things hanging in the stairway.

Again, possibly mine. From my days at CVA.

This photo reeks of the 90s.

I forget the guy’s name on the left, but he’s with Belva and Cadex.
Outside of the printmaking studio in the Summit basement.

When the front classroom (NE corner) was the photo studio / classroom.
Note the dry mount press in the background. (Loved that press.)

Another one that might be mine: from my color theory class. Dena, Christina, Eric, and Keith’s Dad.

Before Tom T, Chris Cabella was the CVA president (right).

The hair. The fingerless gloves. The bracelets. The large sweater. I love this.

The front/back of a CVA card. I had many of these over the years.
(Like “thank you” notes from my work study bosses or things like that.)

The Western building with the Library behind it.

In the Library. Mary Beth’s name on the right.

Dena and Erik (?) studying in Summit. Most likely my photo.

Not sure what this is for, as there’s an odd combo of CVA faculty and staff:
Val J, Carol Z, Pam V, Phil O, and president Ann L. (Possibly LMI back there too.)

Val and Phil, with 2 presidents in the middle: Ann Ledy and Joe Culligan.

Phil O, John D, John M, and Pam V in the big drawing classroom.

Western with the Blair Arcade and Nina’s in the background.

Western from the Library.

The ugly Grotto building (used 2001 through closing in 2013 for some drawing and 3D classes).

Photo critique with John M.

An odd self portrait that someone CVA had their hands on. It was a color temp test
for a weekend “documenting art” workshop I was teaching in the Western Building.

Aaron D doing totally safe and normal things on the table saw.

Figure drawing teacher Dan B on the far right.

The admissions crew (around 2003?). This is amazing. Possibly the best thing to come out of CVA.
THEE Lynn T, Adam S, Britt U, and Betsy C.

Out the back/side door from the basement.

New student orientation for my class! Brett E in red, and Brian L (best man in my wedding) with the goatee.

Joe LaF and Lynn T at orientation. Vanessa sitting on the steps.

Nick Z with some CVA posters.

One of the front offices before they were packed with cubicles.

More nudity in 301.


Ema T in 301.

Matt V? I can’t tell. In the big Western drawing room.

Bobleter running an edition of one of his prints.


I think this was my 3D class. That’s Denise T on the right.

Looking down to the driveway outside of the sculpture studio. Beyond that is the overgrown “back 40.”

The 3rd small computer lab.

Caro L, one of my roommates for a year.

Matt in my drawing II class.

A classic shot of Summit (the Watson P. Davidson House).

Again, here are a few photos from the CVA Reunion back in July.

Long Live CVA.

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