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Archive for the ‘MInneapolis’ Category

Mythical Minneapolis

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Once every 100 years, you can almost see it.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

September 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

Northern Spark

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Eight hours and twenty-six minutes

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Written by kirkistan

June 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

Stone Arch: Extraordinary, Historic Power

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Flowing constantly beneath our heels

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Day in. Day out. Always changing.

Do you notice?

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

Walking Northeast Minneapolis

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Deep in the bowels of the Thorp building.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

May 19, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Flower Over City

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Just that.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

May 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Seeing may be the trickiest part of drawing

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Instinct and childhood definitions make poor interpreters of everyday life

Take this dumb sketch (Exhibit A). I made it while sitting in the lobby at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Those green trees? Utter fiction. Apart from a few pine trees, there is very little green in Minnesota right now. Green won’t even think about appearing for weeks.

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Exhibit A

Yet here we have green trees. I threw a dash of green there because trees are green. Except they weren’t green. They were brown. And scratchy and barren-looking. I commented to a drawing friend that my instinct said “green” from long use of my childhood definition of “tree.” And that slap of green was on before I even thought about it.

The gap between seeing and responding is the troublesome bit. If instinct drives my seeing, I miss pylons and electrical wires and gasoline tank farms and wireless telephone towers. All that industrial accretion I’ve seen one million times—all of it invisible. Even though it is really odd-looking stuff, jutting up into the sky at bizarre angles, like nothing in nature.

I don’t see people too: the clerk behind the counter. The janitor with the broom there, off to the side. I try to become practiced at not seeing the homeless man with his cardboard blessing at the end of the ramp. But that never works.

Mrs. Kirkistan and I volunteer at the Children’s Theater Company. It is simple duty: handing out programs. I was surprised this time by how invisible I became to children. Despite being squarely in their way so they must actively move around me to get into the theater. And when I verbally offer them a program, they twitch, suddenly surprised to see a human directly in front of them.

It’s not that I’m diminutive (I’m not). It’s because the entrance to the theater is awesome, like nothing a kid sees anywhere else. Walking through those double-doors into the dark red cavern with hundreds of seats stretching down and up into space and very strange objects akimbo on the stage—it’s hard for anyone to look away. All of that is purposeful on the part of the theater and adds to the experience.

It’s odd being invisible. And that makes me wonder how many people I miss in the course of ordinary life, simply because I have acted on instinct rather than actually believing the data from my eyes.

Instinct and childhood definitions are poor interpreters of everyday life.

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Dumb Sketch: Kirk Livingston

When Buildings Dream

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston. Dumb Sketch Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

March 13, 2015 at 9:25 am

Little Known Fact: Minnesota’s Blue Bridges

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Deep in the winter, just before sunrise, bridges turn blue.

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It must have to do with the bitter cold.

And you can also see the headlamps of the troll family making their way back to their cave after a night’s mischief.

So glad I caught all this action.

Minnesota! Weird, right?

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Written by kirkistan

February 4, 2015 at 8:08 am

Here’s the Story of a Man Named Quady

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Who was living with three alloys of his own

Yesterday I met Quady* for coffee. I was impressed all over again by the executive function of his brain: how he seems to effortlessly order complicated systems and businesses and talented people and even his own life. Quady** told me how he was weaving consulting with business acumen with creativity. I could not help but be impressed with the forward motion the guy exuded.

…and here’s the dumb sketch you ordered.

…and here’s the dumb sketch you ordered.

In fact, it was about ten years ago I met Quady at (yet) another Dunn Brothers on another side of Minneapolis to talk about how he grew the business he was running at that time. He was president of a firm that placed creative people in creative positions and his firm was on fire (that is, busy). At the time he gave me some solid advice which I resisted for years until embracing it fully: make a daily/weekly habit of reaching out to make contact with varieties of people.

And listen to them.

These days Quady is weaving together a consulting life that draws on his outsized executive function and his creativity plus a desire to walk alongside people. He’s a kind of CEO-for-hire and he’s currently working some high-level gigs. It’s the melding of these three threads that seems to open doors for him: the organizing gene plus the creative gene plus the people-smarts gene. Because he understands the moving parts of business, he can give solid, real-world advice to people. He gives the kind of advice that encourages from some deep place: the sort of advice like,

“Look. You’ve got this. It’s a stretch, but you can do it.”

And who doesn’t want to hear that?

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Dumb sketch: Kirkistan

*Not his real name.

**His real name was Markothy.

 

Charles Chamblis: Photographer’s Notes

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Story told by numbers

Charles Chamblis didn’t take too many days off from photography. With his camera he captured slices of life in the African-American community around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Go see his collection of Minneapolis-Saint Paul photos at the Minnesota History Center.

More on numbers here.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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