Artist Info: The Sketchbook Show

The thirty artists in The Sketchbook Show are at all stages of their career and work in all types of media, from illustration and printmaking, to sculpture, video, public art, and performance, among others. Each approaches their practice differently and the role sketchbooks play in it is just as individual. Some work in sketchbooks routinely, even daily, while others used this show as an opportunity to rejuvenate a long forgotten practice.

Below is a little bit of information on each artist included in this show, as well as links to individual webpages.

[Artists are listed alphabetically by last name.]


Lamia Abukhadra is a Palestinian American artist interested in interdisciplinary research-based art functioning as a platform to challenge harmful dominant narratives which perpetuate acts of violence and ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the Middle East.


Bruyar’s studio practice is grounded in printmaking, but encompasses drawing, photography and sculpture. Rachel moved to St. Paul in the fall of 2017. With this book, she is undertaking the task of getting to know her new city through historical places, events and markers.. She holds a BFA from the University of Washington (Seattle) and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Stout.


“I am an abstract painter and collage artist. I recycle old materials in combination with new ones to create layers resulting in surfaces of controlled chaos. Besides looking for ways to best use color, line, and composition, my work is part of a lifelong effort to help dismantle the patriarchy.


“My sketchbook is a place to work out ideas and not necessarily a place to showcase my drawing skills. In this particular sketchbook I am focused largely on a specific aspect of my work at Lake Hiawatha in South Minneapolis: Stormwater Mitigation. What I am doing is trying to visualize the stormwater mitigation system I have been working towards for three years. I want to see the massive storm sewer system that empties directly into Lake Hiawatha transformed to address four different types of pollutants that are present in this effluent, namely sediment, trash, chemical, and nutrient pollutants.  I envision using limited mechanical intervention, green infrastructure, and natural deltaic systems to capture these pollutants and thus remove these toxins from Lake Hiawathawhich is sorely afflicted by all of the aforementioned pollutants.”

Sean Connaughty is a multi-media artist and professor of art at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught painting and drawing since 2000. His work has been shown in Germany, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York City and Minneapolis.


Pete Driessen is a Minneapolis based multipractice visual artist, curator and cultural producer who creates abstract and sociopolitical paintings, mixed media installations, conceptual art statements, interdisciplinary public art, and performative participatory projects. Driessen was recently named Minneapolis City Pages 2015 Artist of the Year, and has been awarded numerous regional grants and awards. His exhibition record includes national and regional solo and group exhibitions at a wide range of venues, and his conceptual statement, The Gist of Ist, was recently published by Node Center for Curation, Berlin. Driessen recently orchestrated a monumental public art project, Trestle Support Systems, at the Northern Pacific Railway yard in Brainerd, MN, a former SuperFund site, for The Soap Factory ReThinking Public Space in Minnesota program in 2017. He currently directs and curates a hybridic, experimental garage-based gallery known as TuckUnder Projects that specializes in emerging and midcareer artists focusing on conceptual visual arts practice, curatorial projects and institutional critique.
Facebook/Pete Driessen


“I am a mixed media sculptor who combines unrelated imagery into hybrid sculptures to explore cultural contexts between generations of people. I often use a vintage toy/‘folk art’ aesthetic as a way to talk about the passing down of cultural values from one generation to the next.”
Facebook/Kyle Fokken Artist


perpetrator, Pony Cup designer, Artist, Artist-Installer, portrait painter/thinker, painter / curator / pitchman, artist (great artist according to Pollock), finder, sign painter, perpetrator/editor, Painter, watercolorist, painter scrapper, painter/theorist, Artist and Designer, Donut or almond Danish, Danish, stealing, portrait painter, artist picker, painter/artist, painter photographer, editor founder ex-president of Artpolice Comics Inc., Artist Organizer, portrait on back page of book is mine of Stu Mead, poster, designer of logo, pornographer worshipper, bricoleur, artist painter teacher, draftsman, artist / designer / painter, surfer/painter, perpetrator/craftsman, donut maker, copy cat, sign maker, artist smasher, auteur, painter writer, artist painter, artist-media installation, mustache maker (draughtsman), painter copy cat, finder painter saver, design and color, editor contributor, surfer/painter/artist/Cubs Fan, model and quoted statement, designer painter, mere artist, Artist performing tal, painter curator, silkscreener, artist surfer, found by curator, autre


“Over the past 5 years, I’ve integrated yoga and meditation [with my studio] practice, . . . , exploring consciousness on an aesthetic level I have been reaching towards for years. The work speaks of the weight we allow external forces, distractions and ideologies to tell stories of our identities through the reels of imagery coming and going like an endless tide from our active minds. My paintings are suggestive, figurative, landscape abstractions, naturally uncovering paradox through the balance between polished and raw, busy and calm, intuitive and intentional. Each painting is a different path to the same place. Once paradox is reflected back to us, observation begins to extinguish the perception of duality and all things connect.”



“I’m attracted to misfits and oddballs, peculiarities, freaks and sinners. I like ephemera and discarded scraps, faces, weirdness, and unexpected results. For this sketchbook project I’m using collage materials, gouache and ink to riff on the themes that keep coming back into my head – faces, tears, detached heads, doll heads, toys, monsters and the magical way a suggestion of personality can be created out of almost nothing at all.”


“I’m a multimedia artist who creates work to better understand my human experience, in part compromised of masculinity, Chicano identity, and culturally white upbringing. Currently looking for god/gods/divinity. Thank You.”


“I consider myself a spanglish artist. My work draws on my experiences growing up in southern Florida as a Cuban refugee. I merge my personal history with typical Cuban iconography. I love to use found objects and materials and see them as artifacts – a way to conjure a past that wasn’t meant to be. Sketchbooks help me to plan work and to ask questions. I’m a list writer in both Spanish and English. For me, the words contain the strength of images. With them, I stir up memories and open up new ways of seeing.”


Halleckson’s work examines the relationship between human senses and that of our natural physical environment. Her inspiration comes from time spent in remote unpopulated places, including northern Minnesota, the American West, and southern Africa. Mostly known for her paintings, her work confronts the viewer with the beauty and immensity of the atmosphere while highlighting its vulnerability to progressive environmental changes. This sketchbook details her process during this year’s Art(ist) on the Verge Fellowship as she experiments with creating immersive environments that offer a perspective of how the human body fits into the closed-loop system of this planet.


“Through my alien landscapes and characters I strive to create a progressive framework to examine how those who are alienated adopt modes of resistance and transformation.I transform the space into this world that I’m developing, to immerse the view and provoke them to discover and contemplate multiple cultures, myths, ancient stories, and indigenous aesthetics that I feel are valid. By dissecting them to develop my own language that can inspire I am collaging elements of the past and present to inform a vision of the future. I’m an avid sketcher. I work in small scale drawings and use them as reference.”

Christopher E. Harrison is a fine artist, public artist and designer in Minneapolis. He has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Christopher is currently an Arts Educator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He creates paintings, drawings and sculpture in his North Minneapolis studio.


Jeremy Jones is a multi-media sculptor based in the Twin Cities.

“I make toy-like objects to express the varied conditions of parenthood from weekly trips to kid friendly spaces like the playground to more spiritual notions of a child’s growth and transience. I primarily utilize a sketchbook during lunch breaks at work so that I can stay in a creative flow and feel connected to my work.“


Mari Mansfield is a digital illustrator and oil painter living in Minneapolis. Mari is a local activist and strives to represent familiar and diverse figures in her work. “[My] sketchbook is about honest feelings and imperfections.”


Joshua McGarvey uses his art-making processes to reflect on and confront perceptions of progress and heroism. Often seeking associative relationships between the emotional experiences that arise from actions and objects, McGarvey reorients the information surrounding an object as a means of analysis or mundane commentary.


“I am a painter and printmaker. Working as a muralist, most of my recent creative endeavors range from large scale to extremely large scale. I use my sketchbook as a means to practice my hand as opposed to my body, design compositions, and draw from life.”



Britt Omann is a nonrepresentational painter and screen-printer known for richly colored, large scale, layered works on domestic materials such as drapes, table cloths, and mended linen. In this show she is sharing small sketches based on her emotional and psychological health leading up to her hospitalization and inpatient treatment for a life threatening eating disorder. She sees  the layers of paint and other materials acting much like her eating disorder covering up deeper trauma. The layers of chaotic paint and markers were created with the materials she was able to use during this lonely and scary time.

alex m. petersen

Visual artist alex m. petersen is inspired by relationships of technology, sexuality and mythology. With a research based, aesthetically engaging career, he currently balances being an educator with a robust studio practice. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions in Portland, OR; Berkley, CA; and Minneapolis, MN. In 2016 he participated in a summer research and residency program at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland. He rides a bicycle, cuddles his hunky bf, and spends way too much time playing with his two fluffy puppies.


“Within my sketchbook lies a catalogue of phrases, citations, quotes, experiences, textures, research and experiments. It allows me to settle myself in a moment of quiet reflection and observations. Each page is a stream of consciousness imbued with the systems of energy surrounding me and the vast network of daily inspirations. This book serves as fodder for the paintings, drawings and installations that I create by allowing me to create without the pressure of perfection or watchful eyes”.


Nancy Robinson paints surrealistic self-portraits based on her daily life experiences. She’s exhibited her work locally and nationally, including a 2009 solo show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In addition to her painting career, Robinson is writing a novel and a gaggle of short stories about artists and writers living in the Upper Midwest. She also posts bi-monthly urban vignettes on the Blog page of her website.


“I am a visual artist that works primarily with textiles. [My] sketchbook is a process based exploration of repetition. It is a portable way for me to work while listening to the dialogue that surrounds me. I create the pages separately and bind them together in a book form.”



“My work explores ideas of gender, identity and liberty, drawing from the tradition of social commentary while creating a decidedly contemporary and humorous take on the question of how identities are constructed (and destructed). In my work I express my desire for feminism to be realized through the liberation of boys and girls. By creating active girls (often with big heads) and lounging or reading boys, I subvert the traditional gaze of Western art where the passive female body is most often the focal point … Through my work I am connected to the history of the graphic image as a medium and its tradition of rebellion and blasphemy.”

Jenny Schmid runs bikini press international and is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota.


John Schuerman is a self-taught artist and independent curator. Until 2017 he was the Gallery Director for Instinct Art Gallery, an award-winning contemporary gallery with an emphasis on art that honors the natural world. Schuerman’s deep interest in nature and human nature are reflected in both his art and his curatorial work.

“My primary artform is drawing and my line of inquiry is the human anomaly in the natural world. I’m always puzzling about what it means to be human and yet part of this vast universe.”


“I am a fabric, fiber and mixed media artist working in two and three dimensions. I look at the world in all it’s crumbling, faded and imperfect complexity; I look for stories.”


Maria Cristina Tavera (“Tina”) is a Latinx artist, independent curator, and activist influenced by her transnational upbringing between Minnesota and Mexico. As an artist she creates complex compositions of images appropriated from both historical and contemporary art to investigate how cultural icons express identities and construct shared communities. Tavera’s art is often humorous and yet simultaneously confront the dark legacy and pervasive effects of colonialism and racism in the Americas. Her images pose critical questions to the viewer about constructions of race, ethnicity, gender, and national and cultural identities.

Tavera has exhibited nationally and her works can be found in the collections of the Weisman Art Museum, Fargo Plaines Museum, and the Tweed Museum of Art. Her writings have been published nationally and internationally by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, as well as a book titled, Mexican Pulp Art.


“I find clay to be a seductive material due to its malleability and its ability to be used to make virtually any form, whether sculptural or functional. I am constantly challenging myself to push this material further, an ongoing exploration to create more visually stimulating work. Consistent themes in my art are color, pattern, texture, and a sense of whimsy. I draw inspiration from the natural world, studying flora and fauna which have unusual forms and surfaces, patterns, and color combinations. I express these themes and influences through both functional and sculptural work, sometimes combining both forms in the same object.”


Artist, writer, and musician, Derek Van Gieson has been published by The New Yorker, Fantagraphics, and The New York Times, amongst others. In 2015 Uncivilized Press published his debut graphic novel, Eel Mansions, and he is the author of three other art/lit books: Shutdown Vol. 3; Journey By Ferry To Celibate City or Thigh Town; and Enough Astronaut Blood To last The Winter. He is a current member of the band Witch Watch, as well as a former member of bands Murder Shoes, The Bridge Over River Qua, The Roman Invasion Suite, and The Paraguay City Rollers.


“My work is the result of the search for a chink in our façade, the little respites of actual thoughts and feelings that are accentuated by a burst of honesty. These truths are often an inner commentary that contains personal affirmations, lamenting, failed goals, and miscued comebacks. It is a glimpse of a person’s substance without the muddiness of overcompensation. Albeit rare and fleeting, these moments of clarity are a tool for coping for what is most important in our life.”

Joshua Wilichowski lives and works in Stillwater, Minnesota. His intimate watercolor paintings and sculptures of automotive parts and everyday items act as allegories that document the search for identity and worth within the submission of societal pressure. Wilichowski exhibits regionally, nationally, and internationally, and teaches Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.


“I use a combination of analog–graphite, charcoal, conte, ink, acrylics and papers–and digital techniques to make any number of ugly images; ugly narratives featuring ugly pictures in reference to any similar number of ugly historic and/or contemporary sociopolitical circumstances.

“As far as the sketchbook is concerned, things have always been pretty utilitarian. Beginning-stage drawings for scanning, a few lines here and there for later use, notes to myself I may or may not be able to read, and very, very occasionally an intentional study. Nothing in my sketchbooks is ever going to be particularly precious or particularly sexy, which is a relief.”

Jacob Yeates is a freelance illustrator, art educator, and Iowa expat. His work has been featured by Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, The Matador Review, 3×3, Creative Quarterly, Paper Darts, IH8 WAR, and Little Village Magazine, as well as appearing in multiple exhibitions in Iowa and Minnesota.