After I graduated from college, I worked a lot of temp jobs. I wasn’t very good at them as was paid like it, with tasks that generally involved a lot of alphabetizing and filing. Usually, I’d work for a few months, then take time off between jobs and collect books from the Minneapolis Public Library—typically classic works that I hadn’t read when I was in school. These independent studies would take me to either the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Arts Center or through the collection of greek sculptures at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

It was’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing with my life. From my earliest memories, I’ve always loved making art. I drew constantly throughout my life. College and an early residency as a teen at the Penland School of Crafts brought a reassuring sense of order and focus that I had nowhere else in my life. Creating art was absolutely my life’s purpose, but at ages 22, 23, 24, realizing that dream seemed so far away. What I didn’t see was that it was coming true in real time, in my moment-to-moment decisions and when I followed my inclinations to pursue these subjects which would all eventually coalesce into surprising artistic opportunities.

Eventually, I lived directly across the street from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was a passable first date location, I thought. A place I went nearly every weekend, to walk the galleries and think about Goya or a monumental copy of Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa. Its a fundamental touchstone for me.

On Thursday, February 18, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now will be opening its newest exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Among the many treasures in it is featured a large-scale woodcut of mine, Regresso ad Uterum.

If you are in the Minneapolis area or can make your way up to the MIA before the exhibit moves on, I would be so happy to connect with you. I couldn’t be prouder to get to attend this opening. I’ll probably take a moment to walk through those Greek marble figures, take a few breaths and consider at the context that 20 years can provide.

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  1. Congratulations Watie! What a grand accomplishment and how wonderful that more people will see your amazing work. Cheers!

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