Art Shape Mammoth

Last year, after having taken a two-year break from board work, I joined the board of directors for a placeless organization called Art Shape Mammoth. Started by some friends and neighbors I met living at the Tilsner Artist Co-operative in Lowertown St. Paul, they are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to connecting artists to new communities and supporting the development of artistic practice, dialogue, education, and research through creative public exchange. Programming includes;

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Garment Checkout

The ‘Collective Closet’ is a social experiment in shared possessions. We share houses, hand-me-down furniture, tools with neighbors. Some of us share our cars, jobs, emotional burdens or even sexual partners. Clothing is personal, it’s not the same, is it? Could we set aside a portion of our often overstuffed wardrobes to experiment with the presentation of self among friends? There are occasional clothing swaps, yard sale season, thrift shops, how about adding into circulation textile pieces deliberately engineered to go on a journey and to tell a story, with a message somewhat that of Paddle to the Sea, “Please put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea”.

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Stencil Justice

Yet another process I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this year, is where to settle on creating entirely unique, one-off handmade objects, or trying to make in limited quantities with subtle variations. Coming back around to ceramics, stencil cuts are something I’ve gotten into over the last two years for making a simple series. The images started out on New Years cards (we don’t do Christmas), and found their way onto hand-thrown wedding platters for friends and family. Then I got to thinking; what else can I apply these images to? While not having been much of a graffiti writer my day, I do appreciate the street-art crossover with sprayed stencil art, which has lots of social justice associations worth investigating later.

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The Living Gallery

Above, the lovely Sarah Holm of Black Spoke Leather Co. sports one of my brooches at the Golden Pearl Vintage, bringing it to life. Historically, my chief complaints about two-dimensional artwork is that it just sits there, it doesn’t do anything. In college, I recall being laughed at in critique for making that statement, but…

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PoHo Art Sho: Home Game

Because of all the history here, this location is charged with all sorts of good juju. This art fair isn’t really about selling my wares, it’s about participating in this community, seeing all of my people, gathering feedback, yes, but that’s just an added benefit. Events like this help keep us oriented toward the center (in this case, Powderhorn Park) of our people. What binds us together? Shared experience, values, location, identity as being of a place. This little public ritual helps tap all of the roots I’m growing out of. I may travel far away from this place, but it’s always going to be home.

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