In our Crusade Supported Art program, we commission six photographers to make an image in an edition of 50, and we sell 50 shares. Shareholders receive an original, signed and numbered photograph from each of the six commissioned photographers. We have had two CSA cycles so far, and they have been a huge success. Photographer Kurt Simonson's image (below) was part of the second round CSA and was just shipped to shareholders a couple of weeks ago. We asked him a few questions to let you get to know him a bit better.
Had you heard of an art CSA before? What were your impressions of the idea?
I hadn't specifically heard of an art-related CSA, but I am always drawn to creative solutions for making and sharing art. I've loved all the various out-of-the-box projects that Jennifer has done before, so I was up for this idea instantly. As a teacher, I love to create and assign projects that push the students to look beyond the expected audience and codes of the art world, often encouraging students to think about art that operates in modes of partnership and collaboration, inside and outside of the gallery system. I also loved the idea of getting to wait and see what each of the artists would create and offer!
What about the program made you interested in being one of the participating artists?
I love the idea that the collectors were choosing to participate based on us as artists, not just based on a single image or theme. It's very encouraging to be reminded that there are viewers and collectors out there who want to invest in us as artists, with a bigger-picture view of our entire body of work. I was also honored to be included in some pretty exciting company, as I've enjoyed the work of all of the other photographers involved so far.
How has your experience been so far, and what else do you hope will come as a result of participating?
I look forward to having my work reach a new set of collectors, especially 50 collectors at a time! It's exciting for me to think that these new collectors have 6 images to either begin, or add to, their collection, and six new artists to follow and get to know.
Please tell us about the piece you created and how it fits within your larger body of work?
Fireworks is a new addition to the Northwoods Journals project, a body of work that explores the myth and memory of my upbringing in Minnesota. I enjoy how this image brings a slightly different season and tone to the larger series.
Fireworks are technically illegal in Minnesota, but you would never know it. Every year it’s standard practice to go across the border to Wisconsin and stock up for your own little Fourth of July extravaganza. My brother has delighted in this relatively harmless practice ever since he was a child, and not surprisingly, he has carried on the tradition with his children. I can’t help but realize that there’s something about the curious blend of playful mischief and overt transgression in this practice that is quintessentially Minnesotan.
To see more of Kurt's work, please visit his website.