Support two worthy causes while collecting photography

Announcing two upcoming benefit sales that present opportunities to acquire editioned fine art prints at prices typically below market value. I am participating alongside many well-known artists – both events are free and open to the public (and promise to be a lot of fun).

 View details | List of Artists 

Sioux City Art Center Selects Opens 3/22

Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly

Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly

I am honored to announce that my work is included a juried show with seven other artists at the Sioux City (Iowa) Art Center. I am the only photographer presented.

Aimed at introducing residents of the area to artists of the Upper Midwest, Sioux City Art Center Selects is an exhibition designed to present visitors with an understanding of how regional artists are thinking and creating at the moment. Curator Todd Behrens selected five portraits from Uprooted, all of women including two pictures of women of color.

In addition to Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly shown above, Cousin Joan, Pastor Alma of Iglesia Vida Nueva, Eldoris (Lutheran church organist for 50 years) and Lynne and Jalynn (scholars in Sustainable Agriculture) are included. Presenting this vision of life in rural Iowa to a wider audience is a dream of mine and I am happy to be joining the other artists in public conversations on Friday and Saturday in Sioux City.

Opening reception is 5-7 pm on Friday 3/22, with artist talks and panel discussions happening on Saturday 3/23, beginning at 10:30 am.

Snow Days

Makala, October 2018

Makala, October 2018

As I was sitting in my office today (the umteenth snow day of 2019), I got to thinking about the amount of control I have over my day to day life. I was looking forward to a day of work and photography but knew by last night’s weather report chances were good that it wouldn’t happen.

 I recalled this shoot with Makala from last fall. I was in Belmond working on Uprooted when Makala (and her mom) agreed to let me photograph her. At the time I was photographing teenagers, with a preference to photograph them in their rooms. As an environmental portraitist, it’s a great opportunity and privilege to make a picture that speaks to the subject’s identity in a such personal way.

But here’s the catch: Last June while the family was away, an accidental electrical fire burned their house down; Completely gutted, it was a total loss. When I asked Makala about making a picture they were staying in a rental, and her bedroom was not technically hers. So, we decided to make some pictures outside in the yard.

 Come the morning of the shoot – snow! Inside their temporary home there was not a suitable setting for a teenager with a talent for basketball. But the basement! Plenty of space! And unusual enough to make you question what she is doing.

Because of snow.

Nurturing Creativity

© Kristine Heykants 2018

© Kristine Heykants 2018

When I was in graduate school I read A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s extended essay on the necessity for a woman to have a space and money of her own if she is to write. She has been criticized over the years as being elitist and privileged, yet I cannot argue with the essence of having one’s basic needs met in order to create. 

Fast forward to 2018 – self-care is a hot topic, and necessary for maintaining a creative life. I’m not referring to writing the next Great American Novel, screen play or music score. Whenever we solve a problem in a new way, it requires brainpower and creativity.

 In the spirit of Virginia Woolf and self-care, I give you my top six needs for keeping the creative fires burning.

·     Exercise most days. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, it’s enough to move for 30 minutes.

·     Eat nourishing and energy giving food. This means different things to different people. Personally, I try to avoid sugar and alcohol which throw my energy into a tailspin.

·     Maintain a daily meditation practice. I alternate between stream of conscious journaling, formal meditation practice, and listening to guided meditations.

·     Good sleep hygiene: go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This one is hard for me because I get a second wind around 10 pm and like to keep working on the computer: not conducive to sleep!

·     Socialize. This is especially challenging during the winter months in Minnesota when the pull to stay inside the house is strong.

·     Make time for pleasure and fun. Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way introduced me to the practice of Artist Dates – A mandatory once-a-week date with your inner artist where you take her wherever her heart desires. It can be frivolous (like playing your favorite childhood game) or serious (seeing a play on a challenging subject). The point is to LISTEN to what your artist self wants to do, without judgement.

How are you going to care for your inner artist today?

Power, Privilege and Edward Curtis

Such a Big Dream: Edward Curtis at 150   reception, © Kristine Heykants 2018

Such a Big Dream: Edward Curtis at 150 reception, © Kristine Heykants 2018

I recently worked on a project for the University of Minnesota Libraries documenting a reception and lecture for the exhibition Such a Big Dream: Edward S Curtis at 150, marking the 150-year anniversary of photographer Edward S. Curtis’ birth.

 My opinion of Curtis’ work has vacillated over the years, at first feeling his pictures presented a one-dimensional and romanticized portrayal of a marginalized ethnic group. After learning more about the political and social climate during which he made his encyclopedic work The North American Indian, as well as his personal commitment to the project and his work with tribes in the Pacific Northwest, I have arrived at a more nuanced view of his oeuvre.

 While taking pictures at the reception, I spoke with a Native American guest – perhaps the only one in attendance – about his perspective on the exhibition. He replied that he felt the pictures fed into so many tropes about the noble Indian and served to reinforce stereotypes constructed by European Americans. Even so, his friend’s grandfather had been photographed by Curtis and he was there to view the picture in person.

 I felt relieved to not be the only one there experiencing the duality of the work.

 Such a Big Dream: Edward S Curtis at 150 is on view at the Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus, through January 8, 2019.

If you desire to read more on the provocative subject of Curtis’ work, online art and culture newsletter Hyperallergic published an essay on a (separate) comprehensive exhibition of Curtis’ work here.