Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jason Huntzinger and the 42nd Annual Park Point Art Fair

About three years ago I flew in to Nashville on a business trip and the city had just been devastated by rains and flooding. As we drove along the highway we could see the immense losses caused by this storm, a whole lumber yard under water, auto dealerships and more. I couldn't imagine the work that would be involved in restoring things back to normal there.

Today, as some of you know, I am getting a close up look at what this kind of devastation looks like. Our beautiful city on a hillside has just been decimated by large volumes of rain, including four inches in one hour at one point. Hills and heavy rainfall can produce destructive flash flooding and Duluth took a beating yesterday. If you have Facebook friends, be sure to look at their photos of washed out roads and cars in sink holes or under water. 

Nevertheless, even though Duluth mayor Don Ness has declared a State of Emergency here, this weekend, June 23 & 24, the 42nd Annual Park Point Art Fair here will go on as planned. Situated out near the end of a seven mile long sand bar, the heavy rains slid back into the bay and the lake so that come Saturday this outdoor festival featuring 120 Midwest artists will go on as planned.

In anticipation of this event I interviewed photographer Jason Huntzinger, who had a piece in our Red Interactive Phantom Galleries Superior show this past autumn.

EN: What is your relationship to the Park Point Art Festival and how long have you been involved?

Jason H: This will be my third year in the Park Point Art Festival. The last time was in 2008. I have been in a few art festivals over the years, not many. It takes a lot to put one together. It would be a very difficult way to make a summer living. I usually have a day job of some sort and don't have the time to devote to that many shows. I am no longer living in Duluth so I thought it would be a good reason to get back up there. Duluth is where I am best known. I am also doing the Minnesota River Arts Festival at the end of July in my new hometown of Shakopee. In August I will attempt to drive halfway across the country to be in the Helper Arts and Music Festival in Helper, Utah, one of my favorite places. It's a great little historic mining town and they have a really good festival. That's my art fair tour for 2012.

EN: What are the hours and what else is happening in terms of special music or entertainment?

JH: The PPAF is Saturday and Sunday 10-5 each day. Not sure what is happening in terms of music and entertainment, I can't see it listed anywhere. Their Facebook page says there will be live music, puppet theater, storytelling and food. It is a great way to spend a few hours. I assume every one has been, but that may not be the case. If you haven't, go. It's a beautiful setting.

EN: How did you become interested in photography and who have been your biggest influences as an artist?

JH: I became interested in photography because it suited my disposition. I picked up a friend’s camera one day about twenty years ago and made an image of a scene in the rain and realized just how transformative a medium photography could be and that was the beginning. I started checking out a lot of photography books from my college library on great 20th century photographers like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Minor White, Ernst Haas, Lee Friedlander, etc. Minor White was the first great influence as far as another photographer. He was photographing spirit.

EN: What are you up to now? What do you do for a living?

JH: Since I moved to Shakopee last fall I have tried to get active in the Twin Cities art scene. I've been in one group show at Altered Aesthetics and have other plans in the works, including being in group shows with Duluthians at Cult Status gallery in Minneapolis next month and at Wing Young Huie's The Third Place gallery in the Fall. I've found a few artists here in Shakopee and have been part of an effort to start an arts group. I've been making a lot of photographs of my new hometown.

I also traveled to New Orleans earlier this year with my wife Lisa and came back with enough material to self-publish a book 'A Brief Encounter With New Orleans' which will be available at the Park Point Art Festival.

EdNote: Thanks, Jason. And to everyone... For more information on the Park Point Art Fair this weekend, visit their website at http://www.parkpointartfair.org/ . Hope to see you there.

Photos courtesy Jason Huntzinger. Click images to enlarge.

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