Spending just three hours on the floor of an iron and steel foundry is no joke. Your senses are assaulted by the noise, sparks, motion, gears, smell and heat; if this isn't your day-to-day, everything is foreign. The floor is a hub of activity and precision that requires a great deal of skill, focus and communication. And the women and men of the Dotson Iron Castings Foundry are up for the task. This company was built around a rich and diverse history that goes back to 1871 when a German immigrant brought his family to Mankato, Minnesota. The foundry industry is regarded as being the world's second oldest industry and its products are used to make roughly 90 percent of all manufactured goods. Despite major shifts and closures for this industry within the last decade, Dotson has thrived by remaining agile with technology changes and by being focused on the important contributions and impact of their skilled employees.
The Keys were many things, but lacking in colorful public art (under the gise of signage) they certainly were not. It seemed that we couldn't even drive just one block without my screaming "Turn around! We missed a good one!". *Mamiya 6 camera, Kodak Portra 160 film, processed/scanned by Indie Film Lab.
I've run into Patrick a few times around the Twin Cities. He's one of those people that comes at you pretty hard. If this were New York, one wouldn't even be phased. But it's the midwest and intense individuals who, I suspect, live out of their vehicles, and talk fast and random, can catch you off guard.
I was waiting in a parking lot for clients to arrive. They were late and I was glad because I wanted to spend the time catching up on email. But Pat had other ideas. Even though my car windows were closed and I was not making eye contact, he kept talking at me and motioning me to come over. I had no choice but to give in and embrace the moment.
Pat brands himself as a "traveling Minnesota street artist". And it seems he's prolific. The van is stuffed to the brim with his original artwork. His main medium is acrylics and he specializes in landscape paintings. Everything he needs to create is at his finger tips and he is adept at finding some of the best views in town to work from. It made me think about all of the unnecessary obstacles that I like place in front of myself in order unconsciously distract from the real work of creating art.
I enjoyed my time observing Pat while he worked on a city scape of the downtown Minneapolis skyline. But, just as with anyone, there's a limit to how much time you can spend in someone else's world. And although Pat's world is colorful, there's also an underlying gloominess. Like many, he wishes his circumstances were different, that he had more loyal friends and that lots of people would appreciate and buy his work. But, Pat keeps his head up and was looking forward to traveling West for the winter.
You can learn more about Patrick at his website: http://www.patrickginter.com