We've just been informed that an episode of "The Process" has been nominated for a 2018 Upper Midwest Emmy Award! It looks like stiff competition in the category, but exciting to be in the running! Thank so much to Steven Sherman and Mike McMahon for their faithful labor, insightful guidance, and technical expertise. Small towns can hold big treasures, and I'm honored to work with the crew at New Ulm Cable Access Television (aka-NUCAT)!
I've made some big changes in the past few months! This past Spring I ended 17 years of teaching art classes at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School. Teaching at MVL has been one of the great surprises of my life and an enduring blessing. God has blessed me with new skills during my time at MVL. I've learned to manage tasks, plan for effective communication of concepts, demonstrate techniques, and direct collaborative projects. I've learned to lead worship, listen to students, and work with a ministry team.
God also gave me a series of nudges out of the nest this past year. As a result, I've started working as a full-time artist at Koine Worship Media and I will also begin teaching sculpture at Bethany Lutheran College in the Fall. Here are the ingredients of my new daily reality:
- Commute across the backyard to work.
- Consult with some of the leading creative professionals in Confessional Lutheranism (Koine band members) every morning at 8:15.
- Get my head in the Bible and Hymnal to research projects.
- Sit at the drafting table, easel, or iMac composing original visual content to stimulate the faith of Christian worshipers worldwide.
- Learn new skills and software to open even more possible creative outcomes.
- Eat lunch with my wife and kids.
- Give Tudy the studio cat attention.
- Work late into the night and on weekends just as I have always done.
The following video eloquently explains the new Koine Worship Media ministry...
Meanwhile, at Bethany Lutheran College, my dear alma mater...
I'll soon be sharing the theories and practicalities of creating sculpture (with an eye toward Christian aesthetic traditions and themes) with college students. Sculpture was my major 20 years ago and this will be my first opportunity to teach the topic. My head spins in the midst of so many blessings!
The following article eloquently addresses this transition period and my thoughts on being a Christian creative...
Get a tour of the planning behind this multi-figure painting and the unexpected twists along the way. Oil paint, surprise models, research, and non-gold dust all blend in this ever-evolving design. Learn more about the making of this promotional illustration for the 2018 WELS West Regional Choral Festival in this episode of The Process.
It was a real pleasure to go back to the St. John's Pottery to pick up my sculptures. It's been 6 months since my residency and I felt right at home. Richard, Ryan, and Brandon took good care of me at tea time and throughout my visit. Hospitality has been a major lesson of my time at the pottery. I even got back to the Refrectory (cafeteria) with Brandon! After I was packed up, Richard was very willing to answer some "making of the studio" questions. As we were finishing up, I asked him to put the St. John's Pottery in 5 words. He quickly replied, "a place of sacred beauty."
Richard likes to say that every ceramic piece is influenced by 3 equal forces: the clay, the artist, the kiln. Even though I was expecting to be surprised by the kiln's contribution to my sculptures, I was still surprised. The raw power of a raging river of fire is evident in the kiln's effects. So is the delicate hand of "fire whisperers" who stacked the work predicting the path of flames, and stoked the fire listening to the sound and watching the color. I'm told the heat got so intense in this 14th firing that the steel on the back door was melted and warped by the rushing river of fire. At times the flames blast 20 feet into the sky from the top of the chimney. For all you Avatar fans, these people are earth benders first, then they are fire benders. Now that I think of it, I may have seen some water bending too...
I've teamed up with Steve and Mike, the filmmakers at New Ulm Cable Access Television (NUCAT), to produce a new series of videos. I have a history of making my own "making of" videos. My youtube channel is a sporadic collection of mixed production quality, poor sound, and learn-as-I-go experimentation. My videos turned out ok, but they were always amateur. The NUCAT guys bring it to a whole different level.
It's still called "The Process". We have a handful of videos in the works. Video stories are based on the projects already happening in my studio. Steve and Mike occasionally come by to film some B-role footage and interview me. I make a few GoPro clips along the way. The guys edit it all together into a lovely 24-minute show. In a short amount of my time, I'm afforded a powerful way to explain the processes, concepts, and intents of each project. This arrangement allows me to focus on studio work while the professionals focus on the video production. The result is a Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood-style conversation and tour in which I can be hospitable to so many.
Episodes air first on New Ulm Cable Access Television. If you live in New Ulm, browse the program schedule here. I invite you to watch our first episode below (in which I cope with a large print commission by building a press).
Check out NUCAT's excellent "Off the Shelves" music series. It's an impressive collection of acoustic musicians performing at Bookshelves and Coffee Cups.
Hey Lutherans! Here we stand at the 500th anniversary of the 95 theses! Its time to get your Reformation on. We've collected all our Reformation themed items for you to wear, contemplate, listen to, and read for this special anniversary celebration. Spread the word that God's Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever!