I feel, often, that my life is quite blessed. Today is one of those days. I have had so many experiences this last month that only serve to remind me how extraordinary the people on this earth are. I am endlessly inspired by the friends, clients and colleagues in my life. How lucky I am to know you. In case you missed it... here's some of the work I was doing in Spain last month.
To call you dear seems so inferior. You are more beautiful than I have words for. I think you know deep down just how gorgeous you are so I hesitate to gush over you. And yet... it seems impossible to stop myself. I loved you from afar for so long. Your food, your music... oh, your wine. I had no idea what mystery lurked beneath your surface.
How could you torture me so... sitting in your own corner of the world... knowing so well that we would be so good for one another. The depths of your character are staggering.
You have seen such riches and yet you are unassuming. You are so free and full of life... but deep down you cling to your family and your history. Which is so hard to turn away from because it is real and amazing. I feel a fool for you. You probably think I have no idea who you are. I guess maybe you are right. But I want to know you.
You know of course that I have always been easily seduced by those souls that are older than myself. I like to learn. I long for a teacher. You lured me in... feigning youth. It only took a week or so to call your bluff. You are a quiet elder. Touche! I am a willing fool. You are the most beautiful seductress one could hope for. Call me a babe Your international open heart has won me. Lets dance!!!
I guess all I wanted to tell you dear Spain... is that no matter what happens between us... I am better for knowing you. And thanks for the lessons learned. You are beautiful.
I guess the thing I keep thinking is that we have so much in common. You are older and wiser than me. That is easy to see. But, like you, I am a free and happy entity with a rich past. I think it is this that draws me to you and makes me love you so. I feel lucky to have known you... even if just for a brief moment in time.
One last thing Spain... even if things don't work out between us... I think I am in love with your friends... so I hope you realize I will keep them. Even if we fall apart.
For the last few months I have worked harder than I have in my entire life. I have been busy at work with an influx of clients and a momentum like a tidal wave. It's been very exciting. But so much to think about. At the same time I have been working to ready for my trip to Spain next month. I am taking a month to explore and paint. Taking time to be me again... and just see what it feels like to have time and space to think and create. But, that trip has required a lot of planning and plotting. I also have been meeting once a week and working on a very special project. MPLS CREATES is the brainchild of myself and Kristina Perkins. We have both long felt like there is more we can offer the arts community here in Minneapolis and so today was the official launch of our website www.mplscreates.com ... it's been a labor of love so far... and I can only imagine the full scope of this beast... here's some more info directly from the press release:
Today, MPLS Creates, an organization focused on bridging the gap between the creatives and the
public, announced the official unveiling of their website. MPLS Creates is the beginning of a movement to celebrate the
creative side in all of us. The website, www.mplscreates.com, will be a platform where a stream of interviews and
behind-the-scenes look at creatives around the Minneapolis area can be experienced.
Founded by Kristina Perkins and Jennifer Sandquist, the two set out to make a difference in how the creative
community is viewed and motivated. Their online platform strives to display how creatives arrive at their final product,
instead of the emphasis being solely on the final product. They hope to engage both emerging and established creatives. Perkins and Sandquist are passionate about sharing the creative process as well as providing resources on how to make creative ideas happen. Join them in celebrating all of the local creative talent coursing through this city by visiting their website at www.mplscreates.com. If you or anyone you know is creative, MPLS Creates asks that you reach out to them. They are constantly searching for new creatives to feature and interview, no matter what their medium.
In addition to all of that... I am also showing at Art-A-Whirl this weekend... I have stuff up at Grumpy's and at Vesper College (first floor of Casket Arts Bldg) ... I will be out and about Saturday and Sunday. Please come say hello if you see me!
Further to fly...
I feel like sometimes when you "work" on art... it feels like work... or there is a clear goal. A beginning, middle and end. Although there isn't a lot of right and wrong in art in general... there can be when you paint something realistic. Like a neon sign for example. So every now and then I break free from the constraints of lines... or of any real goal at all and that is where my collage work comes from. A place that is free of requirements. I happen to like my collages more than anything else I do. I think they say more than any of my other work. And they are more colorful (although I use a lot of color in all my stuff) and more free. They make me feel like I am reach beyond myself into something new and unexpected. I am going to focus on collage while in spain. I have already begun loading up my suitcase with supplies. Here are some of my favorite collages.
You can still find a few of them here: http://www.jenniferdsandquist.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
This month I feel like I am doing an elaborate ballet on a tight rope... one thing that amazes me is how much a person can accomplish when they have no time. It seems tasks that used to take me hours are now accomplished in minutes. I should apply this sort of regime to my normal tasks... maybe laundry and grocery shopping could be honed down to mere seconds. seriously though... no time. anywhere. Today the painting was inspired by my friend Oliver Kriston's photography. She did a lot of photography for Burlesque shows a while ago and this photo of Trixie... I found to be totally captivating... as http://www.jenniferdsandquist.com/store/p115/Magic.html so one day I sat down with a hand full of those black and whites and did a few fast paintings... the results I liked quite a bit. Most of those sold... but this one is still available... if you'd like to see more of her photography you can on flickr under
hoping to make a event for the art-a-whirl festivities... and I will be blasting a bunch of information on you about my other project MPLS CREATES here in the coming days... launching in 3.... 2... 1... stay tuned!
Although the idea with these recent blogs has been to showcase the paintings I have for sale in my online gallery: http://www.jenniferdsandquist.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html the painting above is already sold... or it sold today. If you've spent any time on the west bank you know exactly where this is. I think this is the 3rd or 4th painting or interpretation I've done of The Riverside Towers. I guess you could say they fascinate me. That whole neighborhood holds a romantic spot in my heart. I spent a lot of time there. Wandering from a show at The Cedar to the rooftop of The Bedlam (so sad to think that place is gone)... to Palmer's for Spider John ... to Hard Times for a plate full of cheap and delicious food at 2 am. I saw more music in two years than I had seen in my entire life. And it's the multitude of amazing moments and the cast of characters that will forever make the west bank a sweet spot in this city for me. Sorry, but all of these paintings are already sold... I think I am not the only person that has a love affair with these timeless places.
I finished printing up hang tags for my show at Grumpy's this afternoon and loaded all the paintings in my car. Excited for Art-A-Whirl again this year. I've been so busy I haven't even looked at the line up for music... but I am sure it will not disappoint.
These little devils were conceived in my old apartment in Uptown... on a sleepless night... and were intended to go into a show that was timed around halloween... but then was switched... so I never did show them... but yet a few have sold over the last couple of years... they're pretty cute if you ask me. That was such a dramatic shift for me... painting in that space. My old studio was an entire living room in my old house... but in my apartment... all I had to work on was the radiator... my place was a constant mess... but I loved the giant windows and how it felt like I was living with the squirrels.
A couple other things really quick... I hung paintings earlier this week at Sisters Sludge Coffee House in South Minneapolis... so if you're biking Nokomis this weekend and need a little go juice... stop in and say hi.
And I am getting organized for Art-A-Whirl. I will be showing at Grumpy's and Vesper College... I'll also be out and about talking about the latest creative project I've been focusing on... Minneapolis Creates... we are officially launching the website the weekend of Art-A-Whirl... you'll be hearing a lot about that later... but check it out:
AND! Last but not least... I am excited because at my day job... Harrelson Trumpets, I am working on a campaign to collection musical instrument donations for an organization in New Orleans called The Roots of Music. This is a fantastic cause... and I couldn't be happier to tell you about it. Check it out:
When I sit down to think about this painting... http://www.jenniferdsandquist.com/store/p114/The_Ferry_To_Hoboken.html ... and the story behind it... I realize that time goes by so quickly. I was about to write that this painting is from about a year ago. Seems I always think everything happened about a year ago... when in fact this is from a trip I took to New York to visit my friend Laura in Ocotober of 2011... that means it was in fact almost 3 years ago. Man... how does that happen? When I flew in for that trip New York was under siege by a sloppy ice storm. We had plans to go to Transmission... but the prospect of making our way across the city seemed ridiculous. So, we stayed in and drank tea and caught up on life. I've known Laura for about 5 years now. About half of those she's been living in New York. This trip was fun because I stayed at her place in Brooklyn and she had to work daytime hours most of the time I was there... so I had those hours free to wander the city with my camera... one of my favorite things to do. In the evenings we would explore together... I was there for Halloween and so we donned our scary and went to a fun little bar down the street... we sipped hot toddies and in the center of the room there was a spooky man with frighteningly spider-like fingers playing a grand piano. It was very relaxing and sort of the opposite of any halloween I've ever had before or since. It has since become one of my favorite halloween memories. I took a lot of pictures on that trip... here are a few of my favorites.
The day I took the Ferry to Hoboken... I got terribly lost. New York can seem bigger than it is at times... my sense of direction is actually really good but sometimes all those buildings make me dizzy and I get turned around. I phoned a friend that guided me to the Ferry and finally I made it there. I spent the afternoon wandering and when I came back across... we passed not far from Ellis Island. I was reading a book at the time all about it. It's a really intimate book that you should look up if you're interested in that kind of stuff at all. There are hundreds of interviews. Each begins with the persons name... the year they were born and where... sometimes they included a photo. Then each person told their story about the life they had in the old world... then their passing into this country... and the life they had after. Many of the interviews made me cry. So many of the people coming to America back in those days were more poor than you could ever imagine. I recall one account where a woman said that each day she and her brother got to share one egg. That was their meal for the day. Half of an egg. Most of the people that came here sold everything they owned... many times everything their entire family owned simply to afford passage. Many had never owned a pair of shoes before in their life... but their parents would sell a goat or a watch to buy them shoes to wear to America. There was no google. Many immigrants couldn't speak or write a word of English. Once they arrived... they had no idea what to expect or where to go. Countless thousands would never go home again. What must that have felt like? It's something I can't even imagine. We take so many things for granted today. Words are one of them.
Words that people would pay money and wait months to receive via a letter from a loved one. Words that just a few years ago... would cost a small fortune with a "long distance call" ... something that I can still remember. Hurrying to get off the phone because of the financial implications seems like a figment of my imagination now. I think about this again... because I leave for Spain in just 19 days. I have had a few anxious moments in the past few weeks considering what lies ahead. The unknown of course is more frightening than reality. But my mild adventure pales in comparison to the one so many of our ancestors did on blind faith. With little money. And almost no plan or help. We are so spoiled. How quickly we have forgotten what it feels like to truly miss someone. To be alone. To be afraid. To do anything at all simply because we hope for something. Or trust that something good will come of it. When I tell people I am going to Spain for a month all by myself... I get one of two reactions.... "Good for you! How exciting" or... "Oh my god are you crazy? Why would you want to do that?"... Well... just like any journey I have ever been on... I trust that there is something to see... something to do... and something to learn by being alone... somewhere far from home... and I am not the first person to believe so.
And... this is a painting of my friend Laura... that I did a couple of years before I went to visit her in New York.
Today the painting story is from a little island off the coast of Florida. Sanibel is tiny. In fact most of the people that stay there get around on bicycles instead of cars. There are trails that stretch out in all directions. Sanibel is known for two things... the seashells and the birds. In fact the "Sanibel Stoop" is what they call the look you get from bending down to pick up seashells all day long long. That trip was spent lazily soaking up the sunshine... listening to Chuck Berry and chatting with a tiny woman in her 90s that had a smile so big she might as well have been 8 feet tall. Watching the sun set on the beach in Sanibel was a little like stopping time... everything moves in slow motion there there... even the sun... or so it seemed.
Time for todays painting story: http://www.jenniferdsandquist.com/store/p113/Stardust_.html
The Stardust painting you see above is HUGE. Currently it hangs above the record player in my apartment. The one with a curled black and white photo of my grandmother inside . I did this painting a little over a year ago for an art show in Pine City. It's a little town about an hour north of Minneapolis. My mom and my sister came to that show. It was the same weekend as my birthday I believe... ok... that means it was 2 years ago... man time flies.... anyway... the memory of this painting has less to do with that and more to do with my childhood. when i was a little girl my folks would go to Vegas every year or two ... maybe a little less... but anyway. On those weekends we stayed with my grandparents. Which... was actually like one long kid fun party to be honest. My grandmother spoiled and indulged us whenever possible. I remember her often times chiming at the stroke of the hour... "only 46 more hours until mom and dad come home" ... the time that I am thinking of specifically ... she took us to get teddy bears. these were no normal teddy bears.... when you pressed their palms... they had hearts that would light up and they would play a song. we spent most of that weekend playing and shopping and going out to eat... always with dessert... even if we didn't finish our food. but the thing I recall most of all... was the night mom and dad were to come home. although we were staying with grandma and grandpa... I insisted they let us sleep at home. and not just that. i wanted to sleep in the living room so I could be there the moment they arrived. grandma thought it tragic for our tender little bodies to sleep on the floor... so grandpa was assigned the task of carrying the mattress from the basement so we could be more comfortable. jess and I spent hours fashioning streamers and signs from construction paper... and hanging it in the kitchen... there are pictures of that somewhere... but the part that takes the cake... literally... was the welcome home cake we made for them (grandma probably made it actually)... my parents were staying at the stardust hotel... so I took an empty toilet paper roll and wrote stardust on it... gobbed it in frosting and stuck it in the middle of the cake. that's my stardust memory. that beautiful sign is no longer there... but I think of all the signs I've ever seen (and trust me i've seen many many signs... I am sort of obsessed with them... ) the stardust is by far my favorite. the way it would illuminate in phases... and the stars that reach almost off the sign in every direction. a real beauty. I wonder where it is now? on a side note... I have long been interested in old neons of course... and i have a friend that is almost as crazy about them as I am. one time she and I went on a trip to las vegas... and bribed the grounds keeper of "the neon graveyard" which is actually just a junk yard for old signs... $50 to let us walk around for the afternoon and snoop and take photos. It was worth it. That whole trip was hysterical. but this is my favorite photo from that day.