Published October 3rd, 2023 by Pauline Moll
Participating artists L'Andrae' Bradley, Susan Costello Sepulveda, Mark Granlund, and Sharon Kaniess discuss their personal inspirations
Since 1991, the Saint Paul Art Crawl has showcased local artists in this weekend-long, multiple-venue event where crawlers can purchase art, interact with performances, and meet artists and art enthusiasts. I spoke with L’Andrae’ Bradley, Susan Costello Sepulveda, Mark Granlund, and Sharon Kaniess about their artistic practices ahead of the Saint Paul Art Crawl, happening October 6 – 8.
Sharon Kaniess continues to share her late husband Daniel Kaniess’s work with the world since his death in 2012. This fall, she has collaborated with curator Stephan Kistler to bring a retrospective, Existence, to ArT @ 967 Payne.
Pauline Moll: Daniel Kaniess valued his art being, as you write, Sharon, “human made.” This phrase sticks out to me in an age of increasing conversation about AI-generated art and plagiarism—and lack of humanity. How do you see Kaniess’s work having continued and new meaning in 2023?
Sharon Kaniess: Daniel thought a lot about the purpose and value of art, predicting decades ago some of where we are now in 2023. The drive to create and make marks is something that makes us human. He was not a luddite and enjoyed new technologies, yet felt that art and self-expression needed to speak to the core of being human. The website that he launched onto the young internet is www.madebyhuman.com. What is it that makes humanity unique? Since the advent of photography, art must be more than “perfection” and mere repetition. Aesthetic beauty can be many things. Art can speak to all of us (artist and viewer) about our feelings, communications, thoughts, and actions.
PM: You have continued to showcase your late husband Daniel’s artwork posthumously. How do you think of your own artistic process as a curator and shepherd of his work?
SK: In life, I was able to support his creativity, and it’s an honor to be approached to keep sharing his work. Through our conversations over the years of our life together, I learned about Daniel’s decisions and process. I watched the artist discover and edit his previous shows, and then write and speak about them intellectually and eloquently. I enjoy continuing to be part of that process.
Daniel Kaniess with his work.
Susan Costello Sepulveda is an abstract impressionist artist who finds inspiration for brightly colored nature paintings both in the outdoors and in human, cultural, and interpersonal contexts.
Susan Costello Sepulveda, Sneak Peak, Acrylic multi-media collage on canvas
PM: I was talking with a friend the other day who told me he’d edited a nature photo to brighten the colors. I told him I thought he’d brought out more of the essence of what it was like to see the landscape in real life by exaggerating what the camera had captured. I am really drawn to the bright colors in your artwork; they seem to capture the experience of seeing the flowers and natural things you paint. How do you choose and use color in your work?
Susan Costello Sepulveda: I use an intuitive process of lines, shape and color, working within color families (cold versus warm colors) to prevent making mud. I let each layer dry before adding the next. In between each layer are a series of marks added to create interest using markers, colored pencils, or crayons. There is no plan, no rhyme or reason, just line and shapes until I see what the painting is whispering to me. I then begin to break down the elements and think about color harmony and composition until I am happy with the final results.
Susan Costello Sepulveda
L’Andrae’ Bradley is an artist who came to Minnesota from Ohio with a constant sketch practice and uses pen and ink and bold colors to represent figures and abstract geometric designs.
PM: Recently you posted an ink drawing with the caption “I just never know how these drawings will turn out. I can imagine what kind of story it wants to tell the viewer.” This implies that your art is animate, that it has a desire of its own. I’m reminded of novelists who say their characters, rather than themselves, are writing the story. What is your relationship with the creative spirit?
L'Andrae' Bradley: In my relationship with the creative spirit, my recipe is some playfulness, mindfulness, and a hint of intentionality. Instead of looking for an answer from the unknown, I have come to an understanding; from what I have learned, you accept the unknown as the unknown. And when you acknowledge the unknown as the unknown, you can delve deeper into the mystery. Whatever I create allows me to delve deeper into my inner self while cultivating inner peace as an unexpected result. If anyone may have a more profound interest, I recommend Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior and True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art by Chogyam Trungpa.
Mark Granlund is an oil painter whose Finnish ancestry informs a love of, and comfort with, the Northern Minnesota landscape.
Mark Granlund, Reflections V, oil on canvas, 26 x 26"
PM: What’s a question about your art you wish you would be asked more?
Mark Granlund: I love asking other people questions about my work [laughs]! People just start going to questions and concerns about the environment. I think my paintings aren’t dark, but when you start thinking about landscape and rhythms and us trying to align ourselves with it, [climate change] comes up. It’s part of why I’m trying to use materials that are more sustainable. As an oil painter, that’s not always easy. I have switched to linen from cotton canvas—a large cotton canvas can take up to 54 gallons of water to make. Linen is way, way, way less resource-intensive. It’s made from flax and grown more in its natural environment and takes way less herbicide or fertilizer, even, whereas cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop we have. I have found a sawmill that will responsibly forest the lumber I use for my stretchers. And I’ve found recently a paint thinner that is plant-based, not petroleum-based. Someday it’d be nice to have my little studio run on solar panels.
PM: What is meaningful for you about being part of a larger arts community like the Saint Paul Art Crawl?
Mark Granlund: It’s exciting, and it’s great to play off of that energy and respond to the energy of having a really active community. Leading up to it, I’m talking to the artists who live in my neighborhood who are also involved, seeing their stuff, marketing together, and that kind of thing. The buzz has been increasing!
Susan Costello Sepulveda: I enjoy meeting the collectors and other artists; holding meaningful conversations and connecting; and sharing our ideals, collaborating, and building community.
PM: What currently informs your work?
L’Andrae’ Bradley: My creative spirit started as a child, and my mother pounded the phrase in my head: “Use your imagination.” Another influence was a college professor who strongly encouraged me to pursue a fine arts major because he noticed I had a unique pen and ink style. The third significant influence was my introduction to meditation under the guidance of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. While I was still living in Columbus, Ohio, in 2012, I practiced at a place called Shambhala Meditation Center. I got sucked into the practice and teachings.
Susan Costello Sepulveda: I’m drawn to things of nature. The smell and color of blooming flowers, the texture of trees, the sounds of the wind or waves crashing the coastal shoreline. Creating takes me from a state of being present in a world of war, death, and illness to a place of tranquility. We don’t always want to be reminded of what is around us, so I paint what brings me peace. Painting is meditative for me. I’m able to wash all the stress and anxiety away. Like pressing the reset button.
Mark Granlund: I feel that humans have internal rhythms and patterns that are harmonized or derived from the patterns and the rhythms you’ll find in nature. You’ll see this patterning in my northern landscapes, especially in the reflection of the water. There’s obviously rhythms in water, little ripples that repeat themselves in a pattern and then break the pattern, things like that. I find that as I am out in nature painting and observing instead of being busy, my patterns start to slow down and match what’s going on around me.
PM: How do you like audiences to view or consider your work?
Mark Granlund: I don’t try to lead people too much, but I do hope they sense some patterns, some rhythms inside themselves they start to notice. A painting is an object that is created by me putting my energy into it. And they bring their energy to it.
Susan Costello Sepulveda: I want my audience to get lost in the painting. To reminisce in their own experience of nature. How they felt, what they remember, the image of being there, like a day dream. Escape, for the moment of a hard day at work, the obstacles that life presents us, pleasure in just viewing the art work. ◼︎
Poster design by Dio Cramer.
The 2023 fall Saint Paul Art Crawl takes place October 6 – 8. See L'Andrae' Bradley’s and Susan Costello Sepulveda’s work, as well as Daniel Kaniess’s work curated by Sharon Kaniess and Stephan Kistler, at ArT @ 967 Payne, 967 Payne Avenue. See Mark Granlund’s work at Mark Granlund Studio, 1022 Burgess Street. Photos courtesy of the artists.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
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