(Second of three Meander Blogs … )
This year John George Larson took his turn as the featured artist on the annual Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl poster. Chalk one up as another in a growing line for the collector’s of these interesting if not unique posters.
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m one of the collectors. Mine are framed and line the stairwell of my rural Ortonville home.
Not only is the art on each of the posters personalized, but each of the artists must go through a process before a poster is finalized by the printer, Andy Kahmann.
Apparently past artists are the ones who decide who will be upcoming featured artist, and that artist then works closely with Kahmann to create a design that will work well with the plate engraving process as well as lending itself well to the annual Meander brochure. A third of the poster image typically appears on the brochure cover. That poster design is a well guarded secret between Kahmann and the artist until an all-artist meeting held in the late spring when the revealing is often met with a chorus of cheers and applause of approval.
As one of the participating artists in the Meander, I was quite curious back in May when it was announced that Larson was the featured artist since he is quite well known as a potter. Being a potter, and he is an excellent clay artist, those of us who knew of him only as a potter quickly learned that Larson has talents that exceed well beyond the wheel. In this case he “shared the wealth” with the other artists from the 2016 event, creating his piece from the chosen images of those on that version of the Meander. Imagine my surprise to see my Prairie Clothesline image as part of his poster, which might be as close as I come to being the featured artist!
So I’m now in the process of piecing together a frame for Larson’s poster, which will be added to the collection on the stairwell wall. Which makes me wonder just how many others are poster collectors are out there? How many have the entire collection? Interestingly, some posters are quite rare, including the 2008 poster by Franz Albert Richter. Richter did a wonderful trio of bison, and Kahmann claims he has two of Richter’s posters hidden away, and that as far as he knows, those are the last of the bunch. “That one was quite popular,” said Kahmann.
For those who wonder, Bradley Hall was the initial featured artist the first year of the Meander in 2004, followed by Malena Handeen. Katia Andreeva was next in 2006. Milan’s internationally known rosemahler, Karen Jenson, followed Katia. The list continues as the “who’s who” of noted prairie artists: Deb Connolly, Lucy Tokheim, Kerry Kolke-Bonk, Audrey Arner, Don Sherman, Kristi Link Fernholz, Tamara Isfeld, Doug Pederson and finally, Larson.
Personally I have nine of the 14 posters framed and hanging. It would be cool to have all 14, although it’s doubtful that will happen. Especially if Richter’s bison are extremely rare.