Fantastic Four 

Minneapolis painters give Nashville’s art scene a boost

By all things holy in the world of spray paint and X-Acto knives, four of the most talented artists from Minneapolis are about to descend on Nashville. And they’re not coming quietly either.
by Lisa Donovan

By all things holy in the world of spray paint and X-Acto knives, four of the most talented artists from Minneapolis are about to descend on Nashville. And they’re not coming quietly either. They’ll be gracing us with not only a monthlong show entitled Whole Milk at Twist Gallery, but also—cue angels singing and trumpets sounding—an 80-by-30-foot mural on the side of the Viridian off of Church Street downtown.

By all things holy in the world of spray paint and X-Acto knives, four of the most talented artists from Minneapolis are about to descend on Nashville. And they’re not coming quietly either. They’ll be gracing us with not only a monthlong show entitled Whole Milk at Twist Gallery, but also—cue angels singing and trumpets sounding—an 80-by-30-foot mural on the side of the Viridian off of Church Street downtown.

The artists’ collective concept for the mural is to instill a sense of inspiration and wonder. But they also intend it as a sort of aesthetic refuge. According to their joint artists’ statement, “The mural, populated with unique skyscapes, abstracted mountain terrain, friendly giants and exotic creatures, will be its own secluded utopia, hidden within the city of Nashville.”

While maintaining drastically different styles, the artists—John Grider, Isaac Arvold, Drew Peterson and Eric Inkala—seem to be in the habit of showing and working together. Their murals are scattered throughout the Twin Cities, and their gallery shows all have been presented as group efforts. While the works they individually produce are stylistically and conceptually universes apart, they have a similar artistic ideology.

John Grider comes from a graffiti and stencil-art background. His contributions to the mural consist of “The Giant Angel” and “The Billy Goat.” “The Giant Angel” began as a collage using an image of a starving boy from National Geographic. Grider fits the boy with wings and grants him a life separate from the piteous muse. The work portrays an innocence and strength that resonates throughout Grider’s oeuvre.

Arvold’s art is oddly reminiscent of Nashville’s Mark Hosford, who’s known for his childlike yet macabre printmaking. Arvold’s style of storytelling and playfully dark themes create whimsy within the mural. His creatures, with their elongated legs and hybrid animal characteristics, create a kind of Shel Silverstein-meets-Star Wars-meets-Alice in Wonderland animal majesty. Set against “The Giant Angel” and “The Billy Goat,” these characters are of a scale that’s a little more down-to-earth. Combined, the images create the balance that is important to such a large-scale work. Arvold’s art is oddly reminiscent of Nashville’s Mark Hosford, who’s known for his childlike yet macabre printmaking. Arvold’s style of storytelling and playfully dark themes create whimsy within the mural. His creatures, with their elongated legs and hybrid animal characteristics, create a kind of Shel Silverstein-meets-Star Wars-meets-Alice in Wonderland animal majesty. Set against “The Giant Angel” and “The Billy Goat,” these characters are of a scale that’s a little more down-to-earth. Combined, the images create the balance that is important to such a large-scale work. Drew Peterson and Eric Inkala have a great eye for color and an even greater relationship with line. With their playful, bold hues, Inkala’s paintings take you back to the era of Peter Max and Sgt. Pepper’s, though with a solidly contemporary design. In his mural contribution, “Geometric Mountain,” Peterson uses math and perspective to create a sense of movement. His works in the Twist Gallery show balance manmade objects with the ethereal mysticism of nature. He uses colors taken from nature—specifically, the Northern Lights—to balance the organized mayhem in his art. Drew Peterson and Eric Inkala have a great eye for color and an even greater relationship with line. With their playful, bold hues, Inkala’s paintings take you back to the era of Peter Max and Sgt. Pepper’s, though with a solidly contemporary design. In his mural contribution, “Geometric Mountain,” Peterson uses math and perspective to create a sense of movement. His works in the Twist Gallery show balance manmade objects with the ethereal mysticism of nature. He uses colors taken from nature—specifically, the Northern Lights—to balance the organized mayhem in his art. The artists will unveil the mural during the “Art-Luck” potluck dinner and reception, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. After the unveiling, head over to Twist for the opening of Whole Milk to see what these guys do on their own and on a much smaller scale. The artists will unveil the mural during the “Art-Luck” potluck dinner and reception, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. After the unveiling, head over to Twist for the opening of Whole Milk to see what these guys do on their own and on a much smaller scale.

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