331 Club Posts 2015 Art-A-Whirl Weekend Lineup

Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash
The Blind Shake at Are You Local? 2015.

As the symptoms of winter subside, Art-A-Whirl weekend approaches. In recent years, the NEMAA-organized showcase of some of the best local visual art talent has become a time for unofficial AAW block parties that conveniently coincide with the official events.

The biggest of the batch has historically been the 331 Club, which turns its parking lot into a garden of delights, including the outdoor stage, food trucks, and art vendors. This year, 27 performances are scheduled at the northeast Minneapolis club, led by the Blind Shake, Retribution Gospel Choir, MaLLy, and Mixed Blood Majority.

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See Your Favorite Rappers Drawn With 8-Bit Pixels

Categories: Art
Art by A. Mulli/instagram.com/amulliart
The Bawse Rick Ross, rendered in 8-bit, eating healthy and drinking fancy.

It's gonna be a movie Nintendo game.

Famous rappers love to boast about their x-rated, violence-addled, billion-dollar blockbuster lives, as if every day were a supersexy summer action epic.

But rather than the Hollywood treatment... Maybe their flashy, larger-than-life, often ridiculous celebrity existences might be more adequately captured via candy-colored 8-bit portraiture?

A.Mulli seems to think so. Over the last two months, he's "pixeled," as he says, about 150 of rap and pop culture's most outlandish characters, from Miami's own Ricky Rozay to the fabulously cartoonish Kanye West and the only man on Earth with an ice-cream cone tattooed on his face, Gucci Mane.

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Behind the Cover: Picked to Click Photographer Colin Michael Simmons

Photo by Reed Fischer
Allan Kingdom's cover shoot with photographer Colin Michael Simmons and City Pages art director Emily Utne
The now-ubiquitous cover shot of our Picked to Click 2014 winner Allan Kingdom is the work of now-local photographer Colin Michael Simmons. The well-traveled shooter spent time working in New York, both capturing the flair and fashion of the streets, and putting in some long days working on the imagery of Saturday Night Live.

As he sets up shots, he's talking steadily and creating an atmosphere of collaborative thought. It's deceptively casual, but the finished results show he's taking in every detail. Gimme Noise spoke to him a bit about working on our cover, and the process he brings to his creations.

See also:
The Best New Minnesota Musicians of 2014

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10 New Duluth Trading Co. Slogans Not Inspired By the Eagles

Categories: Advertising, Art
Composite/AB Hotel

Local clothing merchant Duluth Trading Co. faces accusations that an email ad sent out recently includes unauthorized use of Eagles singer/drummer Don Henley's name. The ad copy in question reads, "Don a henley and take it easy."

We'll leave it to the courts to decide what happened there. But it's worth noting that Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne wrote the song "Take It Easy," so it seems like a stretch that there was any intentional reference to Henley. I mean, who isn't taking it easy when they don (a widely used term meaning "to put on") a shirt featuring three buttons for a customizable neck hole? This is just stating facts.  

Duluth Trading Co. probably wants nothing more than to put this lawsuit to bed and get back to focusing on moving inventory, including a durable, comfortable T-shirt that "cures plumber's butt." To help them get going, we wrote 10 new slogans promoting their clothing based upon common phrases that were absolutely not inspired by the Eagles. Sometimes it's best not to overthink things and keep it simple.

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Play Rock the Garden BINGO!

Tatiana Craine

It's that time of year again! Rock the Garden is back and bigger than ever this weekend. For the first time ever, it's a two-day event -- which means lots of people-watching. And with tens of thousands of folks roaming the grounds at the Walker Art Center this weekend, you're bound to see a few trends. Why not make your gazing at the crowd into a game?

We gathered up some of the familiar sights and styles you're likely to spot for some nifty BINGO cards. Print out our BINGO cards or check 'em out on your phone and challenge your friends to a game or two while you're waiting for the next band to start up or for the beer line to shrink.

See also:
Rock the Garden 2014 lineup

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Art-A-Whirl: Is music overshadowing visual art?

Categories: Art
Photo of a person admiring Alison Price's painting by Kendra Sundvall, live photo by Erik Hess
Which image better represents Art-A-Whirl in 2014?

In 1996, David Felker brought an idea to the Minneapolis City Council for an art crawl to showcase the work of the growing community of artists utilizing studio space in northeast Minneapolis. Art-A-Whirl has been going strong and increasing in size ever since, featuring hundreds of artists and annually drawing upward of 30,000 visitors to the area. It's recognized as the largest open-studio tour in the nation.

The influx of people into the neighborhood for the weekend has consistently been a boon for the bars and restaurants that surround the studios, and many throw concerts to capitalize on the event. As Art-A-Whirl has evolved, the live music has arguably overshadowed the art itself. This weekend marks the 19th installment of the gathering.

"It's a pretty big issue, actually, within the arts community of Northeast," says artist Mark Rivard, who rents studio space and runs a private gallery in the California Building. "It's no longer an art show, it's a festival. I don't even know if I'll have my doors open in 2015. It's totally weird to see the crowds in the streets increase but have the money in your pocket go down tenfold."

See also:
7 events not to be missed at Art-A-Whirl 2014

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The best Black Keys fan art on Etsy

Categories: Art

The Black Keys have returned with Turn Blue, which dropped this week, and are heading out on tour. In addition to the single titled "Fever," collector fever is in the air. We're in love with 'The Boys With The Broken Halos', a limited edition print by TRAVISBRAUN on etsy (above), and a whole of of other homemade swag currently up for grabs.

To mark this momentous week, we've curated a collection of the best Black Keys fan art on Etsy.

See also:
The Black Keys announce 2014 tour dates -- Minneapolis in October

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Six undeniable reasons to create art

Steven Depolo/Flickr

A factor in the decline of decent art was recently dragged onto center stage by the New York Times in an article called "Brooklyn Communal Cool: The Brand." The piece, authored by a person who spells "mic" like "mike," focuses on a communal-living quarters in Brooklyn called the Clubhouse and its ties to a "new media" company called BKLYN1834. And if you couldn't guess by the fact that somebody started a company without any vowels, it's a bunch of bullshit.

Here's a choice quote that basically sums up the article:

"For our generation of artists, we realize that we are each our own brand, but not everyone knows how to manage this," Mr. Reid said. "Our business is to equip artists with these tools, which feels like a natural, organic progression of what we already do at the Clubhouse."

Amid the swirl of eye-rolls associated with the fraud and fakery of "indie" pop-art and its interaction in a new-media marketplace, we'd like to present to you the six legitimate reasons to make art. (Hint: it has nothing to do with "branding" and everything to do with this Bill Hicks clip.

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Leav: A GPS-based app for Twin Cities music and art explorers

Categories: Art, Technology
Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal and Weird Visions has created art for Leav.

Earlier this year, Twin Cities-based developers Six Impossible Things laid out their plans for Leav. Expected to launch this summer, the iPhone/Android app gives its users access to music and art around the Twin Cities based upon their physical location and other environmental factors.

The musical contributions so far come from some familiar names -- Zoo Animal's Holly Hansen and Rogue Valley's Chris Koza. Now, the Leav folks are wrapping up another Kickstarter fundraiser to commission another batch of art pieces for the project.

See Also: Interview with Leav's founders

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The best Twin Cities music photographer 2014 poll winner is...

Categories: Art
Credits from top left: Nate Ryan, Cameron Wittig, Rebecca McDonald, Steve Cohen, Chad Rieder, and Leslie Plesser
Getting to know the work of dozens of music photographers working locally over the past couple months has been a joy. After receiving nominations for more than 100 shooters for the best music photographer in the Twin Cities, we narrowed it down to 20 finalists. We profiled them and got a lot of professional advice, and then put it to the people for a vote.

Over 3,000 votes were cast, and now we're ready to reveal a winner.

See Also: 10 essential tips for live music photographers

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