fair enough

Oil painting by Nicholas Harper titled Sophie depicting a woman with big hair holding an owl that has been blindfolded
Sophie | by Nicholas Harper | Oil on panel | 2017

I was about 20 years old the first time I entered a painting into the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition. It didn’t get accepted. Fair enough (pun), the painting sucked. In fact, the oil paint might have still been wet when I dropped it off and nails poked through the back of my shoddy makeshift frame, that can’t help ones chances… I then entered numerous more times only to have my ego repeatedly dashed against the jagged rocks of the unrelenting shores that is the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition. Continue reading “fair enough”

at home with monsters – guillermo del toro

Over the past two months literally almost everyone I know has asked if I have been to the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to which I calmly replied that I had not yet partaken. I was met with an equal measure of astonishment and encouragement. “You simply must go and the sooner the better” seemed to be the consensus of the day. Never afraid of being late to the party or more accurately, being culturally out of touch, I would ask, “What’s the rush?” Besides, I rather enjoyed the various faces people would make when learning I hadn’t yet visited the exhibit of the year. Continue reading “at home with monsters – guillermo del toro”

open studio tour tips by Nicholas Harper

Holy hell, it’s that time of year again, time for the annual NE Open Studio Tour! What is it exactly? It’s the largest open studio tour in America! Now in its 22nd year, it takes place in Northeast Minneapolis which houses the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, which was, might I add, voted the Numero Uno arts district in the country!

Hundreds of artists will open their studio doors this weekend allowing the public to enter their sacred space. And tens of thousands of people will flood the neighborhood gladly taking them up on the offer. The atmosphere is frantic and festive, celebratory and at times chaotic, and always memorable.

With literally hundreds of studios to peruse, galleries to explore and various venues from gift shops to individual homes all offering original art peppered throughout the neighborhood, it can be a bit daunting, especially for the first timer.

Allow me to share 10 tips for getting the most out of the weekend that I think even the most seasoned tour goers might find useful. Continue reading “open studio tour tips by Nicholas Harper”

drawing 101

In the heart of the Seven Corners neighborhood on the West Bank of the U of M campus sat an art supply store called Pad-N-Pallet. With a dilapidated sign that matched its dingy and oft neglected windows, it opened into a cramped and dusty store that smelled like linseed oil, varnish and the early 1900’s. Packed floor to ceiling with art supplies: paper, brushes, rolls of canvas… from the beginner brand of Windsor Newton’s to the more refined and pricey Rembrandt oils, she was idyllic in every way, especially to a newly minted art student such as myself. Continue reading “drawing 101”

32,850

My mom is, well, my mom. She has been many things over the course of her life, a choir director and church cantor, a master gardener, a cellist in the St Anthony community orchestra, a ceramists, a china painter, a writer, a crazed knitter and for the last 6 years an obsessed–beyond–reason crossword doerer. While she has been all of those things, the thing that she has been the most, and she will be the first to say it, is still a mom. The second thing she has been the most, although it isn’t listed as one of her roles above, but more so because of them, is an inspiration. Continue reading “32,850”

zen (part two)

My toilet has been running for about three months. Although I’ve been to Home Depot multiple times during those three months, I have yet to purchase the requisite replacement tank innards, even though it is a simple job. At first it was out of pure laziness. Then after thinking about it for a while it was more out of stubbornness, like I was thinking to myself, “I replaced those innards only 15 years ago… they should still be good for another 15 to 20 years. They sure don’t make toilet innards like they used to.” Then I thought to myself, “Holy crap I’m starting to sound like my mom. I gotta stop thinking this type of stuff to myself. I should just fix the dang thing and forget I ever even had those thoughts… and who says tank innards anyways?” Continue reading “zen (part two)”