5 with shawnequa linder

Shawnequa Linder’s “Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” opens Friday, Aug. 2, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The reception, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

The Omaha artist has exhibited at Omaha’s RNG Gallery, Hot Shops Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and MONA, among other venues. She also has been featured in The Reader and The Encounter magazine.

Get to know Linder via the little gallery’s “5 with” series.

When did you know you were going to be an artist?

It wasn’t until probably around 2003 when my friend, Wanda Ewing, asked me to do the “Crazy Eights” slide jam at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. I had no idea what I was doing because I didn’t think at that time that I was an artist, but she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. So I started hanging out with all these cool artists who thought I was an artist. Since then, I finally allowed myself to think of myself as an artist because I was growing into one.

Describe your process.

My subject matter is movement, texture and color, whether it’s applied in a nontraditional landscape or portraits. The work explores the varying relationships between pop culture and fine art.  

Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

  • My SpongeBob coffee cup
  • My Art Fundamentals book
  • All my paints

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration pretty much everywhere, from a nature walk or attending an art show or just eating food, LOL. But make sure you have a pen to write out the idea because it will fade away like a morning dream.

What do you want others to know about you/your work?

I have met so many incredible and interesting people since I started my art journey, and I’m hoping to continue sharing my gifts for the world to see.

“Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” runs through Aug. 31 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

5th annual running of the indie july 28

BENSON – The Indie, north Omaha’s premier road race, will celebrate its fifth birthday Sunday, July 28, in conjunction with Benson Days 2019. The event, hosted by the Benson Neighborhood Association, is presented by 1912. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit Citylight Arts Project, an arts nonprofit that seeks to grow the Benson renaissance through empowering the next generation of creatives.

Online registration for the 10K and 5K races, considered to be among the region’s most challenging courses due to the neighborhood’s hilly terrain, ends July 24 at noon at www.theindieomaha.org/registration. The cost is $30 per solo artist (individual runner) and $25 per band (team member). A band is five or more members. For those who miss the online deadline, cash-only registration is available:

  • Thursday, July 25, from 4:00 to 7:00pm at 1912, 6201 Maple Street
  • Saturday, July 27, during the Benson Days Street Festival at the 1912 booth
  • Sunday, July 28, at race headquarters from 7:00 to 7:30am

Activities will get under way at 8:00am July 28 at race headquarters, located at 6201 Maple Street in downtown Benson. New this year is birthday cake at the finish line and 2019 race T-shirt sales at race headquarters. Boone, the official mascot of The Indie, will preside over race day activities. Block 59 Design Group in downtown Benson is the 2019 official mascot sponsor.

The public is encouraged to line the race routes and cheer runners along the way. Race organizers have named the top 3 hills in the race:

  • Mount Evee, named after the winner of the inaugural Indie Pet Parade held last month, is located at 60th and Grant streets. Mount Evee is sponsored by the little gallery | benson.
  • Mount Erastus, located at 56th and Grant streets, is sponsored by Benson Law Center.
  • Mount Benson, located at 53rd and Pratt streets, is sponsored by Premier Physical Therapy.

A free 100-yard kids’ dash will follow the completion of the 10K and 5K races. There is no need to register, and participant prizes will be awarded while they last.

The after party will take place high above Benson on 1912’s rooftop deck. The prize pack includes:

  • Gold records for the overall 10K male and female winners as well as $100 cash
  • Gold records for the overall 5K male and female winners as well as $100 cash
  • $50 cash for the youngest runner
  • 5 $25 gift cards from 1912 to the team with the best time
  • A Benson Brewery draw glass to the winners in each age category

Allstate Insurance Company/Azizi & Associates Inc. is the 2019 cash sponsor of The Indie.

For more information, contact The Indie at 402.681.1901 or info@theindieomaha.org.

5 with jun lee

verdant prohibition speakeasy | woodcut | 43 by 64 inches | 2017

Jun Lee’s “Competition Contemplation” opens Friday, July 5, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street. Get to know her via our “5 with” series.

Q: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

As long as I remember, but my mom said it started when I was three years old. I asked her to draw me a snail, but she was stuck for a second. Then I took the crayon and paper from her and drew her snails. In her opinion, it was a good snail drawing for a three-year-old. From that snail drawing, I started saying I want to be an artist when I grew up.

Q: Describe your process. 

For the woodblock, I use 3/4” cherry veneer plywood. Before I start drawing, I check for any gaps or rough areas on the block. Once I have filled in any gaps with wood filler, I sand the block with 300, 400 and 600 grit to make the surface of the block very smooth. When the sanding is completed, I draw directly on the block in pencil. After the pencil drawing is finalized, I use black permanent Sharpie markers and color Sharpie markers to mark the outline and the color layers. I then spray shellac evenly on the block so I can seal the Sharpie to prevent bleeding when I print and facilitate cleaning between layers. When the shellac has dried, I finish the block with one more round of sanding with 600 grit, then I carve the area that will be white in the image. I use Futatsu Wari Moku Hanga, Pfeil and Powergrip for carving tools.

In a reduction woodcut, a single block is used for a multi-color print, and it usually begins with the lightest color and progresses to the darkest layer, which is the key image. After I finish carving the white layer, I print the first color layer, the lightest color. After printing the first layer, I clean and dry the block overnight. I then carve out the area of the previous layer on the block so it’s ready to print the second layer. This is why the process is called a reduction woodcut, because you carve the block progressively as you print the layers in order and reduce the printed area with each layer. Once you finish with the block, you cannot reprint the block because the block has been carved out and is only left with the key image. I print with Gamblin Relief ink and Cranfield Relief ink.

Q: Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

  • Printing press and large table surface.
  • My tool box. My carving tools, “lucky egg”, tape, markers and other materials are all in it. I work between the printshop and my home, so I have to have my tool box with me.
  • My printmaking “lucky charm”, a Gudetama lazy egg doll. It’s in my tool box so I won’t forget it wherever I go for a residency or to teach classes, whenever I carve or print. It started as a joke, but it’s been working as a lucky charm, so I don’t print without it.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

The memories from my childhood, books and current events. Most of my work is about competition, so I draw inspiration from memories from my past and how I view them through the lens of my current experience. I also take examples of competition from news stories and apply them to the general themes I use in my work. I like to focus on more personal stories versus larger issues because I feel this makes the issues surrounding competition more relatable to the individual viewer of my work.

Q: What do you want others to know about you/your work?

How I found printmaking was an accident. I majored in illustration for undergrad, and I was very happy with the choice of my major. It was my senior year, and my goal was to spend most of my time on my senior thesis project. I needed one elective studio credit and didn’t want to retake the same studio classes I took previously. My studio mate recommended that I take a printmaking course. I had never taken a printmaking course, so I signed up for lithography and screenprinting. At first, I really disliked the process. It took so much work and time for processing one layer, and we didn’t even have one single layer on the paper yet. But when I pulled the first print off of my first stone, it was like nothing I had ever done before. It totally got me hooked, and I’ve been on the printmaking road since then.