Monday, April 30, 2012

Eight Minutes with Artist/Curator Jeredt Runions

The signs of spring vary depending on where you live, but one sign of spring here in the Northland is the flowering of music and art in the month of May. Beginning with the Homegrown Music Festival and ending with the Battle of the Jug Bands at Amazing Grace, with Dylan Fest cranking out history in between, this really is a special time and place. The Homegrown Music Festival has been growing for 14 years to where it now includes 175 bands, and I know still more local musicians not involved so it could grow even more.

The idea later emerged to include the visual arts as part of this creative experience. Three years ago this was discussed and it came to pass. In 2012 there is more art than last year and who knows how far it will go. Jeredt Runions has been part of the impetus behind the Homegrown Arts wing of this all-encompassing display of local talent.

EN: What is the Homegrown Art Festival and what is its relationship to the Homegrown Music Festival? 
Jeredt Runions: The art portion of Homegrown this year has been a work-in-progress for three years now. I’ve been putting on group shows during homegrown for many years because I felt that music and art up here in the Twin Ports should be presented together or at least inspire one another. Finally, the homegrown crew decided to include it officially this year. I’ve been involved with the music scene for a long time now so it is natural for me to think this way, I guess. After three years and showing people I’m serious when I say I’m putting on a group show full of awesome talented artists. 

EN: How did you first become interested in art and especially painting?
JR: Art is what I live off of I think. I was raised with art everywhere, a crafty mother and a wild-thinking step dad.  My good friend Gary Reed, my friends and family I considered inspirational during my tender years of growing up. I picked up a paint brush literally to save myself from a crazy path I was heading down in life with drugs. I personally think it was amazing what art did for me to vent and express what I was going through then and now.  Painting just came so naturally for me at that time, and I took to the styles of Graffiti and this cartoonish aspect that I really loved.  

EN: Do you have any live painting gigs lined up? How does live painting differ from painting in your studio space?
JR: I have some live painting gigs lined up for the summer. I will be at Harmony Park for the Bella Festival at the end of May and then some in Iowa in June. Live painting is a fun way to practice your confidence and quickness in composition. It just brings me back to the days of when I used to run around the city and countryside creating quick street art.  I have also noticed my timed sketches in school have improved greatly because of my past with live painting.  The studio art is just really great to sit back and take your time. I like not having anyone shout  to put something stupid in the work like a heart or their girlfriend’s name. 

EN: You also curate shows. How did you get into that facet of things?
JR: I feel that curating shows is part of my public duty so to speak. I’ve had so many people help me out in the long run of my career, but I never forget the people and galleries that couldn’t give a crap.  I feel that I can make a difference in doing this little thing. For the longest time I never saw any group shows being put on. It was sad; I had to change that message that the gallery scene wasn’t doing here. I never received any help from the galleries that should have stepped up in those days. I was a young kid pushing boundaries in a town full of seagull and lighthouse art, but knew there were more artists like me than the ones that were down in Canal Park being displayed to the tourists.  Time and patience show that a scene can build if you establish a network of like-minded people and continue to push limits. Now we have galleries that are helping to create a dream I and others have had here in the Twin Ports. Galleries and people  such as Ochre Ghost, Prove, Phantom Galleries Superior,  Anne Dugan from the DAI, Andy P. from Goin’ Postal, writers and critics such as you and Ann Klefstad. 

EN: When did you begin incorporating collage and mixed media into your work and what is it you find interesting about this form of expression.
JR: I have always mixed collage in with my work but have really enjoyed it now that I’m in UWS. This school is a collage incubator. I really enjoy the quick pleasure of collaging. It is just like my abstract backgrounds I use. I find it very rewarding when you have some time in the day to make a piece of art. This is my quick fix for the break in the day. 

EN: What are the dates and places where Homegrown Art can be seen? Do you have a list of artists whose work will be in these various places?
JR: There will be a show at the DAI that Anne put on which will be showing on Sunday the first day of Homegrown. It starts at 5 p.m.

The shows I curated this year for Homegrown Art are: "Rent Money" at the Zeitgeist Arts Building Atrium, "Local Walk" at the Duluth Photography Institute, "Soup Town" at the Red Mug, "Abstract Obscure" at the Ochre Ghost and Beaners, and "Saturday Morning Cartoons" at the PROVE. 


Anonymous said...

how did you fit so much shite into eight

ENNYMAN said...

Actually, my titles say five minutes or ten minutes or eight minutes... I'm actually trying to suggest the length of the interview for the reader, which is really not eight minutes but a few moments longer than the shorter interviews which might be a couple minutes. It is always my hope that the reader will actually click on each picture and engage it for a minute as well.
Thanks for the note.

Anonymous said...

That young and a curator? Wow, where did he complete the schooling that enables him to use that title in a professional sense?

ENNYMAN said...

He looks younger than he is, but he does handle the responsibilities of a curator for Homegrown art here and other spaces, and assists at the U.

Anonymous said...

At UW-Superior? Or are you talking about UM-Duluth, because I do not recall ever seeing his name involved with any of the exhibits that have gone on in the Kruk Gallery, which is UWS's main gallery. There is a third floor gallery but that is primarily used to display the works of graduating students and those students pick and choose their own works as well as choosing how to display them and writing an artists statement. After thinking about I believe that I know who he is and I do believe that he displayed some of his own work in the third floor gallery recently, and I suppose you could call that curating, but aside from that I do not recall ever hearing his name involved with the third floor gallery either.

Anonymous said...

And I do believe that the curator for the Homegrown: Visual Arts Edition exhibit was Krista Suchy.

Anonymous said...

My bad, I recall now that he did organize some smaller shows for homegrown. But there is a bit of a difference btwn. an organizer and a curator, probably why the homegrown website says that he organized the shows. Sorry about latching on to this, but I know some curators and they went through years of schooling and assisstant positions before they earned the right to be called a curator.

ENNYMAN said...

It's probably OK to be picky. Language can get fairly abused and meanings diluted by a lack of carefulness. Director, veteran, and even love... I have written about this a few times and understand your point. Thanks for posting.