‘Stories Shared’ co-art exhibit with Faith Ringgold April 25th, 2014!

Stories Shared
Opening April 25, 5-8pm
Gallery @ Large, 908 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee, WI, (414) 763.7379

Shimmerling Cover_webJoin us for Stories Shared, a gallery opening featuring the work of Caldecott Award winning artist and author, Faith Ringgold!

The exhibit will include 20 of Ringgold‘s story quilts and illustrations, the sculptural art of local artist and children’s author Andrea Skyberg, and the artwork of MPS students, who, with funding from Arts@Large, helped create the illustrations for Andrea’s new children’s book, Shimmerling. 
 The evening will also feature students of Skai Academy of the Performing Arts, performing excerpts from a musical production inspired by Faith Ringgold‘s book, Tar Beach.


FaithRinggold TarBeachMay 15th, 2014 6-8pm

Faith will be visiting Milwaukee and will give a  FREE lecture at the North Division High School Auditorium: Thursday, May 15th from 6:00-8:00pm. Boswell Books will provide books for sale at the event, and Faith Ringgold will be available for book signing after the lecture. Address: 1011 W. Center Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206

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Justin Winslow Studio Tour


Justin & Andrea _MICA circa 1997Not long into my freshman year at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, I was lucky enough to meet Justin Winslow, who was a bright burst of color in my world. We became fast friends, going out dancing at the Hippo in Baltimore, taking late-night walks to the City Diner, and of course, sharing our art with one another. Our work was very different — me a Fiber major doing some ‘art-school-esqe’ performance art, and Justin an illustration major who created amazing illustrations, some of which I even got to star in. He nicknamed me the flower doodler, because that’s all I seemed to be able to illustrate :). There was never a doubt in my mind that Justin would become a force in the illustration world after graduation. He has worked for clients like Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, HBOfamily, HGTV, MTV, Nickelodeon and PBSkids. Just take a look at his portfolio and you’ll see what I mean.

GeeksOut_tshirt_JustinWinslow_smallTell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m a full time graphic designer by day at Noise New York. When I’m not creating digital illustrations or infographics at work, I like to unwind at home in my room/art studio in Brooklyn, New York. Usually, “unwinding” might involve some wine and some new ink brush pens, microns, and watercolor paints. By day I’m digital, by night I’m hands on. Either way it’s a fun challenge to arrive at something visually compelling.

Justin Winslow Studio


How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’ve always had a personal home working space since college. I can’t imagine living without one. I’d be a mess. If I didn’t have my own space I think I’d go crazy. It’s my safe haven.
Are there any kind of rituals you do before you start creating?

I have my ways of unwinding, usually it involves a little self meditation and listening to music or enjoying just sitting around and goofing off and wasting time. I get the best ideas when I’m happy and enjoying a diversion. For me it can’t be all work, work, work, work. There needs to be inspiration breaks.

Justin Winslow studio

Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working?
I’m a big fan of working to music. It can totally color the tone of what you’re creating, but I don’t mind that at all. In fact, it helps me to be versatile and enter a new style if the music seems to match it. I usually just do a playlist shuffle on Rdio.com. I also love reading to inspire ideas for concepts or stories. I’m a big devourer of New Yorker cartoons.
Justin Winslow studio
Is there any special trinket in your space that inspires you?
I got a big yellow and red ceramic skull bottle filled with tequila from my family. It sits on my shelf. I’m looking forward to drinking it one day. I also bought a really swell orange amoeba plush toy. It always makes me smile. If my room caught on fire, I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t rescue the unicorn and robot figurines a fan made for me. I was really touched.
Justin Winslow studio IMG_3588 Justin Winslow studio
If you had a couple hundred dollars to improve your space, what would you do?
I’d probably take the plunge and buy that fancy Cintiq computer tablet for my home studio. I’m ready to graduate to a screen I can draw directly on.
What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
Solitude is important. Sometimes, it’s the only time you can really concentrate. Keep order in your space but don’t overly police the cleanliness. Sometimes ordered chaos is better. Also flat drawers or shelves for storage is important, because as you start to create, things accumulate.
Justin Winslow studio Justin Winslow studio
Any new projects you’re working on?
As of right now, I’m developing a new comic that I hope to put out there soon. You can see all my other recent projects at justinwinslow.com


Thanks for sharing your beautiful space, Justin! I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next!


Shimmerling wall hangings

In addition to creating the engraved feathers for Shimmerling, students from Bethune Academy and West Side Academy also created feathers to decorate their schools. I’m in the process of attaching these feathers to large wooden cutouts, which will hang in their schools to allow students to remember their involvement with the Shimmerling book project as well as to beautify each school. Our inspiration for these pieces were the Milagros from Mexico. The wall hangings will be on display along with the Shimmerling in the exhibit Stories Shared at Gallery@Large, which will open April 25th, 2014 with a reception from 5-8pm.

Leann Wooten Studio Tour


Today on Tuesday Tours I’m featuring mosaic artist Leann Wooten. I met Leann a few years ago at a gallery opening that featured the artwork she did with Milwaukee Public school students from Keefe Avenue school. It was the first youth exhibit featured at the Gallery@Large in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point. At the time, I was a fairly new artist educator, and witnessing the work she did with students really inspired me. Over the years I watched as the schools and community in Milwaukee became more beautiful from work created during residencies that Leann developed.

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 1Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m a freelance mosaic artist working in Milwaukee. I left the corporate working world to become a full time artist  and artist educator about 10 years ago after an intensive study of mosaic art in Chicago. This medium allows me to teach, create, and involve all kinds of people interested in the art form. I love going into the schools getting students involved in big projects, uniting communities, and teaching studio classes out of my own studio. I have exhibited my art, which is mixed media mosaic, locally and internationally.

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How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’ve always maintained a studio in every residence I’ve lived, and I’ve moved around a bit, from Nebraska to Texas, then Chicago, and now Wisconsin. I’ve had a variety of studios and they’ve all varied in size and location. My favorite studio was in my backyard in Texas. I affectionately called it the ‘art shack’ and it was home to many artworks and parties! While I’ve shared studios outside the home, I find I’m more productive having my studio in part of my home for the sheer convenience. I’ve maintained my current studio for 4 years, it’s a basement studio, so I’ve put in tons of lighting. The walls are white with lots of paper butterflies floating around to give it some atmosphere. I share this space with my students — half the space is their’s and the other half is mine.

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 10

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 7Are there any kind of rituals you do before you start creating? 
Once I walk into the space I get motivated to create something because of all the buckets and jars of tile, glass, beads, and found objects around me. This is where I can make a mess and leave it. I do like to organize a clean area first before working, and then I check out all the materials and compile a smaller group of those materials to get started. I work intuitively and I set the tone by turning on some music and getting in ‘the zone.’ It’s a wonderful place to be!

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 5

Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working? What are you reading/listening to now?
I listen to a huge variety of music — Blues, Rock, African, World Music, you name it! Many times I just hit shuffle on the iPod. My husband is a musician and we both love music. Currently I’m reading The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sydney Poitier, and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson.


Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 8

Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?

My whole creative process is usually triggered by the materials around me. I have lots of objects I’ve gathered over the years from garage sales and estate sales.

If you had a couple hundred dollars to improve your space, what would you do?
I would build more shelving, paint the floors, and add a wine bar!

Leann-Wooten-Tuesday-Studio-Tour 3What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
When making your studio be sure you have enough space, lighting, storage, and comfort. Surround your self with things that inspire you, play music, put in your ear plugs, and enjoy this little oasis! This is a sacred place for you to create in!

What are you working on now and where can we find out more about you?
I am currently working on some pieces to be shown at Walkers Point Center of The Arts, April 25th, Gallery Night, the opening is 5-9pm. You can find out more about me at my website –www.brokenartworks.com.

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Thanks for sharing, Leann! I hope to have a ‘Girls Night Out’ art workshop at your studio very soon :)



Shimmerling — final stretch!

Working till 3am is starting to get to me, but I’m excited because we’re starting to get some great shots and we’ll begin laying out the book this week! All the artwork will be featured in a co-exhibit Stories Shared with Faith Ringgold at the Gallery@Large, opening April 25, 2014, 5-8pm.

Here are some shots from the newest photo shoot.


Karen Konnerth Studio Tour

Over the last few years I’ve had my studio in the dark basement, but I recently decided that I needed a studio with natural light more than I needed a guest room. I began looking for inspiration to make a new creative space – one that is highly functional, but also attractive enough to be on the first level of my home. After looking at lots of different studios I realized I love seeing all the great places art gets made, and I figured other people might enjoy this too. So, every Tuesday, for as long as I have volunteers willing to share their creative spaces, I will showcase Tuesday Tours.


Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 9My first guest is Karen Konnerth. I met Karen through the online writing community 12 x 12 started by Julie Hedlund. This group of writers challenges themselves to write 12 picture books in 12 months. In addition to having the support and feedback from over 500 writers, 12 x 12 members also have the opportunity to submit manuscripts to a different agent or editor each month. Karen, a newbie to 12 x 12, says her immediate passions are writing and illustration. She’s been in her New Orleans studio for 15 years and in addition to having a great space to create her work, she also uses the space for workshops and performances.

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 10 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 6 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 3Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’ve worked as a full time professional puppeteer for over 30 years, also doing a lot of arts in education work — working with children as well as teachers, and now I’m also writing and illustrating books for children. Through puppetry, I travel a lot internationally to puppet festivals (especially South & Central America, as I can present in Spanish), and I also work through the US Embassy offering arts integration workshops for teachers in the Middle East and other places.



How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?

How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I have had this space about 15 years, and before that, I had a garage space, and before that I began making art on the kitchen table. It makes a huge difference to have my own space. The building is in biking distance from my house in a neighborhood populated by many creative people. It also has an elementary school across the street

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 4 with an awesome band (the band room fronts my corner, so I know all their songs). I have a tenant in the back of the building, so that covers the cost of the space, which is great. There’s an office space; a large room to build stages, rehearse shows, offer performances and workshops; and a compact workshop space with tools and materials for building puppets. I love to be able to come here knowing I can focus on my work. It’s a very happy place for me.

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 2


Are there any type of rituals you do before you start creating?
My office faces east, so I love arriving early and opening the door and window shades. It is a very bright and colorful space, and the neighborhood is quiet.


Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working?

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 12I listen to one of just a few things: Late Lunch by 3Manisha, a fabulous eclectic cd by Richard Scott, who is a local musician; some Latin and Caribbean music; a little of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos; and, if I get drowsy in the afternoon, sometimes I’ll listen to The Best of Culture Club (weird, I know). Mostly I like music without words when I work.

What are you reading right now? 
Currently I’m reading Show Me A Story by Leonard S. Marcus. I’ve recently read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, and A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. I’ll read on any topic, as long as the writing is strong. I love good fiction!

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 5 Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 7If you had $500 to improve your space, what would you do?
I think I would design and have built some sort of collapsible bench seating and low tables for kids in the big room. I have been really focused on my writing and illustration lately, but I think I’d host more community events if it were easier to set up.

What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
One thing – make/find a space that will not be a financial burden. My building was purchased very, very cheap, because it needed a lot of work. In your own house, any corner of a room that is designated as a place where you can be left alone to work, and  also, one where you can leave your work out, is great. Space and time go hand in hand. When my children were young, I had the garage space, but I mostly worked there only after they were asleep. Time is the biggest factor – if you can carve it out, you can work almost anywhere. But the time must be yours and yours alone – that is the hardest to find at some stages in life.

Karen Konnerth_Studio Tour 8
Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?

This varies over time, but lately, I’m inspired by the bright colors and fantastical images in a couple embroidered pieces I got in Oaxaca, Mexico last summer.

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Any new projects that you’re working on?

I’m in the process of writing a script for a new puppet theater show, which I will also build. I’m planning for the stage set to look like a large scale pop-up book. I’ll be posting the progress on my blog. My site is karenkonnerth.com and my puppet site is Calliope Puppets.

Thanks for sharing, Karen! And good luck with your projects!